Thursday, April 28, 2011

The CRM Finish Line

Once you have gotten through the CRM hurdles, it's only natural to start looking for the finish line. Surely it must be close. I mean, come on... you've worked so hard. Clearly deserve your reward or maybe some recognition - or at least the satisfaction that comes from a job well done. Actually, forget satisfaction... you deserve a medal. Right? Or at least a rest. 

Unfortunately, the problem in looking out for the CRM finish line is that you must assume that there is actually is one. I hate to be the one to break the news to you: there isn't actually a CRM finish line. In fact, this is one really, really long race.

I know that right now some of you may be thinking how depressing this sounds. You have worked so hard ... endured so much... and for what? Now I'm telling you that you aren't done - and you don't even get to rest. You may feel a little like Sisyphus, the guy in mythology who was doomed to spend eternity pushing a huge rock up a steep hill only to have it roll back down each time he got near the top. (OK, I admit I took way too much Latin as a kid, and I've been looking for a chance to use some of it... but I digress.)

But wait. Don't get discouraged. The fact that CRM is never finished is actually good news. (And yes, I am one  of those annoying glass-half-full  kind of people). Because there is no finish line, it means that, when it comes to CRM, you don't have to worry about being in a hurry. You can take your time. It's not a competition. In fact, all you have to focus on is moving forward and getting a little better each day. If you just do that, you will have won the CRM race without even breaking a sweat.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Stop Selling and Start Helping

So many attorneys are hesitant about developing business because they don't like the concept of 'selling.' They bristle at the thought of picking up the big, scary telephone or meeting with a prospect one-on-one to 'pitch' their services or, even worse, having to 'close' business.

If you are one of these lawyers, I have good news for you: you don't have to 'sell' to develop business. In fact, I don't even recommend it. Experience teaches us that a sale is often just the pleasant by-product of helping a Client succeed. So instead of selling, you should be in the Client success business. 

To help your Clients succeed, first you must first understand their needs. To do this, you have to do your homework to gain an understanding of their business and industry. Then you need to plan and prepare to have a business conversation them. This conversation will involve a ‘needs assessment,' which simply means asking questions that are designed to surface the Client’s challenges, issues and/or problems – aka needs... 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The CRM Hurdles

While you are running your CRM race, sometimes you can get ahead of yourself - even though you paced yourself, hit your stride and were prepared to go the distance. Your goals are set, everyone is trained, the data quality is under control, the assistants aren't complaining, the technology is chugging away - and, most importantly, your attorneys are actually using the system. Yep, it’s all downhill from here.

Then suddenly you run into the CRM hurdles: Out of nowhere, your key staff person quits. The venerable old server finally gives up. The attorneys’ new smart phones pour a river of personal and incomplete contacts into the database. Your time and billing integration doubles the database with duplicates. Microsoft stops supporting the software you've been using since '03 forcing you to upgrade to 'the Ribbon' and retrain everyone on everything. The custom integrated software you had developed is no longer compatible with the new release and will have to be rebuilt.

You suddenly feel your heart racing and you're thinking of giving up the race. But now is not the time to stop. You’ve come so far. There’s no turning back now. To keep pace through the CRM hurdles, you just need strategy - and a good sense of humor doesn't hurt. Just try take them one at a time - slow and steady - and keep breathing. The finish line is in sight. It'll be ok...