Moving Beyond Traditional CRM Software for Law Firms

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Despite the numerous benefits relationship management provides to firms — including unifying data and providing key insights on client matters — it’s often difficult to convince partners and professionals to embrace traditional CRM software. Many professionals and firm leaders fear the software won’t meet their firms’ unique requirements, or that it won’t accurately capture and maintain all the client matter data.

During the Intapp webinar, “Your Partners Will Never Use a Traditional CRM,” Jeannie Muzinic, Chief Business Development and Marketing Officer at Fisher Phillips, and Christopher Di Masi, Chief Information Officer at Winstead, addressed how modern purpose-built CRM software for law firms goes beyond traditional CRM to meet your firms’ needs and help your professionals work more efficiently and collaboratively. Discover how a CRM can improve your firm’s productivity and profitability, and learn best practices for rolling out a new system.

Accurate and Accessible Data

One of the biggest traditional CRM-related challenges that firms face, Muzinic argues, is ensuring data integrity. “As we became more and more focused on data and accountability around marketing and business development programs, we needed a platform that could support [that data] and have our partners and associates feel confident in that information,” she explained.

To achieve this end, Fisher Phillips transitioned from a static database to a purpose-built legal CRM that serves as a single source of truth. The firm’s lawyers can now easily add and access important information in one place, minimizing the risk of professionals losing or not finding the data they need.

Di Masi likewise emphasized the importance of establishing a single source of truth where professionals can collect and store data from multiple sources. He explained, “[Firms] want to passively collect as much information as possible. That’s why it’s so important to integrate your CRM with other systems. If you can present information in one place, that’s a big win for lawyers — and it promotes the use of the CRM.”

To further promote the adoption of a CRM, Di Masi revealed that firms must invest in a system that offers advanced capabilities to support their professionals. “[Your CRM] needs to deliver business development tools for the lawyers, and straight CRM doesn’t do that.” OnePlace Marketing & Business Development provides professionals with the tools they need to develop effective campaigns, track the ROI of their efforts, and improve client retention strategies.

Visible Impact of a Modern CRM

Muzinic shared how investing in a modern CRM has bolstered her firm, improving productivity and profitability. Muzinic explained, “We’re in the process of revamping our firm’s strategic plan and vision. There’s a very significant piece around the marketing and business development function [to promote] more accountability around our team and help drive revenues.”

Muzinic also revealed how using a purpose-built legal CRM has increased transparency within the firm. “Our system allows us to create different permissions and different dashboards depending on who the user is,” Muzinic said. “We can create different access points for our firm’s practice group leaders, industry team leaders, chairman, or other areas of firm leadership, and have other access and permissions for the general lawyer population.” By establishing better control over its data, Fisher Phillips can easily share the right information with the right people.

Both Muzinic and Di Masi also discussed the usefulness of using a legal CRM with mobile capabilities, especially since so many teams are dispersed and working remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “[Professionals] can be anywhere at any given time, so to be able to access [data] quickly on the go is key,” said Muzinic.

A Successful CRM Rollout

Knowing that implementing new CRM software for law firms can be a daunting task, Di Masi and Muzinic shared advice on setting up your firm for a successful rollout. “We have a leadership group that takes a look at our various iterations of the CRM and gives us their feedback,” said Di Masi. Having a committee like this can provide your firm with observations about the system that might not have been obvious to the IT team, and can help your firm suggest further improvements to the CRM.

Winstead also established a training team dedicated to helping the firm’s professionals learn how to properly use new software and platforms, including the CRM. However, as Di Masi pointed out, it’s important for training teams not to overwhelm professionals. “It needs to be concise, short training, with just little snippets of information,” he explained.

Muzinic shared that Fisher Phillips maintains a development committee to promote the adoption of new platforms and processes. “Any time we roll out a significant project, we bring in the development committee because we also know the importance of champions across the firm,” she explained. She stressed how important it is to have firm members who encourage the adoption of new technology and highlight the benefits. By doing so, other professionals are more likely to learn and use the tool at a faster rate.

Is your firm looking to invest in advanced CRM software? Schedule a demo to learn how OnePlace Marketing & Business Development offers next-generation technology to accelerate growth and strengthen client relationships.

Written by:

Lavinia Calvert

General Manager, Marketing and Business Development Solutions

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