Wednesday, August 5, 2015

CRM Building Project – Part 2: Teardowns

Many of the firms we work with have had their CRM systems for years or even a decade or more. They can likely still remember their original “move-in” day when they first bought the system (which hopefully didn’t require a mortgage) and migrated all their information in. At that point, their CRM system felt like the perfect place.

But sometimes a firm begins to get “growing pains.” Over time, these firms may have acquired a lot more “stuff” and may feel like they are outgrowing their CRM home. As a firm “family” grows, acquiring new offices and attorneys, the number of contacts often grows exponentially. If “spring cleaning” projects are not attended to regularly, data can become outdated. As marketing and business development projects increase, the number of e-mail campaign and event lists multiply. The next thing you know, a firm may suddenly feel like they need to make some home improvements. They may start to consider a renovation, an integration – or even a complete remodel. At this point, it’s important to stop and consider whether it really make sense to demolish everything and start over … (and yes, these are the actual before and after pictures of my house of 14 years being flattened.)

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

CRM Building Project – Part 1: New Construction

So for some reason, one day about a year and a half ago I decided that it would be a good idea to build a house. Not sure exactly why I thought adding this to my never-ending list of existing projects would be a smart thing to do (OK, perhaps my friends weren’t entirely wrong when they suggested that I was a bit of a type-A) but it seemed like a good idea at the time. Imagine the idea of having your dream house – designed exactly to your specifications. I’d finally get to have all the things I wished my current house had: more space, a garage, a guest room for friends or colleagues to use when they came to town, a modern kitchen, a fireplace and a roof-top deck.

But, of course, I didn’t decide to just build a new house. No, I decided to tear down the existing house (yep, that’s it there in the picture) I have lived in for almost 15 years and build my new house on the existing lot. Again, not sure what I was thinking. I obviously didn’t contemplate the fact that this would mean moving twice, but that’s a story for another post. Anyway, the good news is that my house building project has inspired me to think about how building a house is a lot like building CRM…

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Data Quality Do’s and Don’ts – Part 6: The CRM Wreck

Having worked with almost a hundred firms to help them achieve and enhance CRM success over the last 8 years, the biggest challenge we always seem to run into is CRM adoption. Firms consistently tell us that their CRM system is literally a ‘wreck’ due, in large part, to poor participation.

These firms frequently say that in the beginning of the CRM deployment, everything seemed to be running fine. They purchased the right system and implemented it without a hitch. The system was firing on all cylinders, but then at some point they seemed to hit a wall with adoption.

Down the road, this seems to become an issue for almost every firm. In fact, we ran into this exact scenario just last week. After investing thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours of time into their CRM implementation, the firm just can't get the partners to take the wheel. 

While it can be tempting for some rubberneckers to simply do a drive-by and observe this type of CRM car-nage, we think it’s more helpful to put on the brakes and actually analyze a CRM crash to help a firm shift gears and accelerate change…

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Data Quality Do’s and Don’ts – Part 5: Herding the CRM Cats

The beauty of a CRM system is that by relying on the collective information of all of the CRM users, contacts should be kept updated across the organization. If anyone gets updated information and simply modifies their contact information in Outlook, updated information should flow out to everyone who shares that contact. Everyone wins. That is, everyone who participates.  

But as we all know, getting everyone to participate in CRM can sometimes be like herding cats… very smart cats… with opposable thumbs. If users don't participate, if they don't share their contacts and relationships, if they don't update information or if they don't regularly review contact updates, then nobody benefits and CRM becomes just another piece of overpriced and underutilized software – aka, the glorified rolodex. So the question becomes, how do we keep this from prevent this from happening

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Data Quality Do’s and Don’ts – Part 4: The Missing Pieces

One of the most common CRM data quality complaints we hear as CRM Success Consultants is that key pieces of contact data in the system are missing. This significantly reduces the value of the system and hinders adoption. Let’s face it, it’s challenging enough to get people to actually use the system. But if they finally do decide to go looking for something and can't find it, it will be exponentially harder to get them to go there again.

What’s even worse is that, without complete contact information, it can be challenging or impossible to communicate with your contacts – which is the whole reason most organizations bought the CRM system in the first place. The goal is to share relevant information, communicate expertise and occasionally invite people to events. Without complete data, all the time and intellectual capital spent on producing content and events is wasted. And in a firm where professionals are often billing hundreds or over a thousand dollars an hour, that adds up quickly.

To solve the CRM puzzle, you have to ensure that your data is not only clean and correct – but also complete. Fortunately one of the benefits of CRM is to assist in this process. When users know the same contacts and they share this data into the CRM, when the duplicate records are merged, the final record will contain information from each of the users. Even if each person only has a piece of the puzzle, when the record is deduplicated, the pieces will come together into a much more complete picture. This is why data stewards are such an important piece of the CRM puzzle…

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Data Quality Do’s and Don’ts – Part 3: Adopt the Orphans

There is nothing sadder than a poor lonely little orphan – especially in your CRM system. When a record is left in the system and all the attorneys who once knew the contact are gone, the record is essentially abandoned. It’s left all alone in a CRM world where relationships are so very important.

So what is a CRM caretaker to do? Well, start by regularly keeping watch for the little abandoned orphans. It’s rare for them to be left prominently on your CRM doorstep. Instead, you have to go looking for them. Run regular searches for records with no relationships to individuals still at the firm. 

Once located, orphans require care and feeding. Essentially the firm should have a transition policy in place to assure that its orphans don't go uncared for. When attorneys leave the firm, their contacts should be regularly reviewed to determine whether they should remain in the system. Frequently, the answer is yes because they usually have a history with the firm and may be receiving communications.

The important orphaned records that remain should be ‘adopted’ by other attorneys in the firm who will agree to ‘foster’ relationships with them. With a little attention and nurturing, they may someday grow into happy new Clients...  

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Data Quality Do’s and Don’ts – Part 2: “I See Dead People” (in my CRM system)

Many of us may remember that quote from the chilling movie The Sixth Sense. But seeing dead people in your CRM system can be almost as disturbing. Nothing is more likely to cause end users to tune out and turn off than finding deceased contacts in the system.

Even more disturbing, these contacts are often known by multiple people in your firm - but not everyone is always aware that the person has passed. So when the contact is taken off a mailing or event list, sometimes people will continue to add them back to the list. This can be incredibly problematic, as the last thing anyone wants is to send a card or invitation to a prominent former Client who died and then receive an uncomfortable phone call from their family or former company.

So you have to have a consistent process and procedure for dealing with deceased contacts. One good method is to have your marketing or data quality team involved in the process. When they find out that a contact has died, they can put ‘DECEASED’ in the title field and move all contact information to the notes field, along with the date the contact was marked deceased. This way, you ensure that the person should not receive future e-mails or calls. These updates will then flow back to other people who know the contact and everyone who looks at the contact record will then be aware of the person’s passing...