When some larger firms with sophisticated marketing departments began to realize the limitations of spreadsheets years ago, they started looking for alternatives. But because the profession had not been focused on sophisticated business development tracking in the past, there were not many choices of pipeline software available that could meet the specific needs of law firms.
So as an interim solution, some firms started testing CRM software such as Salesforce to help overcome the limitations of spreadsheets. While these CRM systems included advanced pipeline functionality, unfortunately they didn’t make sense for a firm-wide deployment. Even though they had been commonly used for contact management in most other industries, because they were web-based, could be extremely expensive and were hosted in the cloud rather than inside a firm’s firewall, the lawyers wouldn’t embrace them.
To compensate for a lack of attorney utilization, a few firms did have some successes with deploying a limited number of licenses to BD or Marketing managers who would work with key lawyers or practices and were tasked with entering the data and generating the reports. But because the systems were not readily accessible to all the lawyers, many of the key business development contacts remained where they had always been – in the attorneys’ Outlook, which made these early law firm pipelines into just more “silos” of disconnected data….