Friday, April 30, 2010

Achieving CRM Success - What Will It Cost?

We are fortunate to have a number of knowledgeable CRM providers with specific professional services industry expertise. All the companies understand both the profession and the business of law and have excellent products and technology created and customized specifically to succeed in a law firm environment.

Unlike non-legal CRM providers whose products may ‘sync’ with Outlook in order to move Outlook contacts into a separate system, these products truly integrate. For the attorney, this means accessing the core functionalities of CRM without leaving the Outlook environment. It also means that only moderate training will be required and there will be few changes to their business processes.

Despite some perceptions to the contrary, the pricing of professional service CRM providers is usually lower than the pricing of providers outside the industry. Even, the perceived low cost solution, starts at around $65, according to their published pricing. While this may initially sound reasonable, that cost is per user, per month. When you do some simple math (which is good, because, as lawyers, many of us don’t relish math), this equates to $780 per user per year – every year. That also doesn’t include additional licenses you need for marketing and support staff. Some firms have suggested that the price of CRM systems from industry providers is too high, at least in proportion to the benefits. (I would first suggest that these firms are not recognizing the value of their systems due to inadequate strategies and planning, but that’s a topic for another post at a later date). Even so, the price would almost never be $78,000 per year for a 100-attorney firm.

Another important consideration is that law firms have unique needs. It could be a challenging, and expensive, proposition to try to meet those needs by attempting to customize a system that was built to automate and facilitate the business processes of corporations or sales organizations. While there may be commonalities, providing professional services is not the same as selling widgets. 

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