Recently, some CRM developers have begun building pipeline tools to meet the changing needs of law firms. A few years ago, Microsoft began offering a version of its Dynamics CRM through industry vertical resellers who configured the software specifically for law firms. This product, CRM4Legal, has since been acquired by Aderant. Two other companies have also released new offerings built on the Dynamics platform: Business Development Premier from Thomson Reuters and ProfessionalCRM from Consulting4CRM.
More recently, LexisNexis InterAction, the industry leading CRM for large law firms, began beta testing their new Business Development Module that should be released this year and has easy data entry, automated alerts and advanced analytics and dashboards. Additionally, ContactEase fromCole Valley, the most popular CRM used by mid-sized firms, has also implemented a new Tracking Module for Opportunity and Pipeline Management. The advantage of these pipelines is that they and are tied to existing CRM systems that work completely within Outlook and are typically deployed firm-wide, allowing attorneys’ contacts to flow in with very little effort, time or training required. This allows a firm to better leverage relationships into opportunities and, ultimately, new matters.
Even Salesforce has finally officially entered the law firm pipeline picture through several partners including one vertical reseller whose product, OnePlace, is configured specifically for professional services. Their cloud-based system is being looked at by a few US law firms and has been adopted by one firm in Canada.
While it’s great that firms are finally focusing on business development tracking and new pipeline software for law firms is being developed, it’s also important to make sure that we don't forget the fundamentals of successful business development as we move forward so that we don't repeat past failures….