Succeeding with Your CRM

Posted on April 4, 2013

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Today I worked with staff in various offices who are using our law firm’s CRM (client relationship management) software program to help promote our upcoming seminars in April and May.  For those of you unfamiliar with a CRM, it is a powerful, robust technology to help with marketing communications and business development initiatives.  Basically, a great tool for building better relationships with your clients, prospects and referral sources.  Sounds great, doesn’t it?  Well, I think so.  The problem is convincing people that this piece of technology can help them develop business opportunities and is worth the time spent learning how to use it, and perhaps, change the way one manages their business development initiatives.

To successfully implement a CRM, one needs to realize that what you’re doing is not simply implementing a new technology, but actually a culture change.  Teaching the technology is the easy part, it’s the culture change that is the tough part of this equation.  People are reluctant to give up the comfortable way of doing things, particularly when technology is involved, to try something new.  This is simply human nature.  How do you make sure your CRM won’t fail?  Well, here are three ideas.

  1. CRM’s Need to be Nurtured:   One of my colleagues is a gardener, and every Monday our conversation will start with catching up on her various gardening initiatives when the weather has been cooperative.  As we converse, I can’t help but draw parallels between her garden and the CRM implementation.  When one plants a garden, they prepare the soil, plant the seeds and then nurture it along to make sure the plants and flowers grow.  A CRM implementation needs to be tended to in exactly the same way.  Getting “buy-in” from leadership is like cultivating the soil to prepare it for the seeds.  The initial training is planting and watering the seeds.  What gets skipped sometimes is the nurturing to make sure this CRM grows.  You see, you need to weed, feed nutrients and nurture the CRM along.  Not unlike plants, some people will grow quicker in their knowledge of CRM, then others.
  2. What’s in it for Me:  Yes, a good technology implementation will focus on these five letters – WIIFM.  Once you focus on the WIIFM principle, well, you’ve got a technology adopter.  For a CRM, the attorney or professional needs to see the ROI of their time spent if they will say yes, I’ll give it a shot and try to use it for my business development.  And the ROI needs to come pretty quickly and provide something they perceive as valuable to them.  This could be a quick response to an email communication or an opportunity to meet with a good prospect or deeper relationship with a client.
  3. Everyone Learns Differently and at a Different Pace:  Yep, it is true.  One needs to remember that everyone learns differently and at a different pace.  It is good to develop a CRM training curriculum, quick guides, handouts and ongoing training.  But remember the mantra “everyone learns different and at a different pace.”  Get creative when rolling out a CRM technology, and for that matter any technology, so you can bring everyone along to eventually jump on board and embrace the technology.  Figure out how your various members of your audience learn and adapt your approach to them.

Bottom line is to learn how people learn, what their WIIFM is and nurture them along as you would each flower and plant in your garden.  Is it easy…no.  Is it rewarding?  Yep, watching the CRM garden grow is well worth each nurturing moment.  Trust me.

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