Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Diving Into CRM Part 5: The Lifesaver

You thought you were ready, so you took the plunge and dove right into the CRM pool. You had a plan, prepared adequately, worked hard, committed resources, staffed up and seemed to be paddling along smoothly. You headed directly for the deep end because you thought that was where you would best be able to provide real value to your firm. But at some point along the way, you started to get a CRM cramp and suddenly you realized you could be in real trouble. You got a little scared and weren't sure what to do.

First, relax. Whatever you do, don’t start struggling or flailing as that will only make things worse and wear you out. Plenty of marketing and CRM professionals before you have done this and ended up drowning in the CRM pool. Maybe that's one reason why their average tenure can sometimes be less than 18 months.

You can also take a deep breath and try to float for a while, assuming that if you don't stir the CRM waters, you won't cause any more ripples – and maybe the whirlpool will finally calm. While I know it can be tempting to take the easy way out when you run into CRM issues and just let the current carry you back into the basics, you will likely lose control of where you end up. Ultimately, if you float too long you are likely to end up just treading water or worse, circling the drain.

So don't give up. Instead, you may find that if you just signal for help, someone will often throw you a lifesaver. Call up your peers, colleagues or your CRM provider for support and ideas. Reach out to industry associations like the Legal Marketing Association where there are articles, white papers and presentations on CRM success. Join a LinkedIn user group for law firm CRM systems. Several top CRM providers including ContactEase, CRM4Legal, Hubbard One and InterAction have these types of groups where you can post questions and learn from other members. Subscribe to blogs like that focus on CRM best practices. Finally, don’t forget that you can always contact a CRM consultant. We're always happy to throw you some helpful information, ideas or other 'flotation devices.'

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