Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Winning the Business Development Battle Part 13: The General

While there are many people who can aid and assist your troops in their business development battles, it is imperative to have the support of strong and effective 'generals'. This is why it is crucial that the managing partners, chairmen and other firm leaders be actively involved in any business development campaign.

Their leadership roles may involve many facets. Great leaders should be unwavering in their support for business development and the troops. They should measure and reward positive advances. They should also encourage and publicly praise individuals and accomplishments. While this may seem like an obvious or minor thing to do, it sometimes can be difficult for leaders who are overachievers themselves - and who have come to ‘expect’ this level of achievement from everyone else - to utter the words, ‘good job.’ Regardless, this is one of the most powerful tools in the leadership arsenal. 

Conversely, if any of the troops are not carrying their weight, a good leader should take corrective action privately and provide the assistance needed to promote the needed improvements. Most importantly, generals should lead the troops – by example. They should actively encourage business development. They should share their business development contacts. They should attend business development meetings. They should discuss the importance of business development to the firm as well as each individual. They should provide or serve as mentors for the newer recruits. 

Ultimately, when it comes to winning the business development battles, the troops are only as strong as the weakest link, which is why many firms are now focusing on promoting and rewarding leadership as one of the keys to business development – and firm – success. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

An Apple a Day Keeps CRM Failure Away Part 6 - A Second Bite at the Apple

If at first you don't succeed at CRM... so then what? Should you just give up? Throw in the proverbial technology towel? Admit defeat and go look for a job doing something easier - like maybe becoming a lion tamer or a crash test dummy? No, don't even think about it. 

You should never give up, because it's never too late for CRM success. Besides, you are not alone. There are plenty of firms who have had failed CRM rollout attempts. In fact, research suggests that 50% to 80% of CRM systems may fail. Some law firms have even had to roll out their systems a second time… and even a third.  

This is because, at its core (don't forget our apple theme), CRM is about people, process and technology – and when it fails, it’s not usually the technology that’s to blame – and it’s certainly not you. It’s the people and process issues. So to succeed with CRM, all you have to do is create the processes and fix the people. How hard could that be in a law firm? (OK, stop laughing and get to work.) To do this, just stop focusing on the technology and start finding ways to solve problems and help your end users and firm to accomplish business objectives.

But don't try to do too much or do it too quickly though. If you try to achieve perfection, you will always be in for disappointment. Never strive for things like 100% adoption or 100% data quality. That’s just setting yourself up for failure. Instead, try to achieve small successes. Help one attorney communicate his or her expertise to a key group of targets. Help one practice group improve their success on pitches. Help one Client team with cross selling. And when you accomplish these things, share the successes.

The best recipe for ongoing CRM success is get a good result, communicate it, repeat. Once you do this, you’ll find the next group of willing attorneys lined up at your office door. And then your problem will be getting enough staff and other resources to handle the demand. Frankly, that’s a pretty great problem to have.