Date: 01/29/2016

From the AAM Minute - Best Practices

Brenda Sleeper, ContactEase

Engagement and adoption with a customer relationship management (CRM) system begins with looking at the different personas that will be using the system. Visualize the team members and the different needs that each of the individuals will have; what is important to ‘Paul the partner’ is different than what is important to ‘Angie the admin.’ Involving your team members from the onset is important to the success of your CRM implementation and usage.

The overarching issue we have learned from firms adopting a CRM is that your team members do not know what they do not know. Partners and team members can be skeptical, so you may need to focus on small introductory programs to gain their trust. Consider treating implementing a CRM like any major firm initiative and engage the entire firm from the administrators to the partners – do not leave anyone out. Driving change is difficult, but the earlier you bring everyone into the fold the better. CRM success begins and ends with communication and training.

Guidelines for broader CRM engagement include:

  • Conduct a needs assessment of your team members. What is important to them?
  • Treat your team members as if they are your clients. Bring everyone in the firm to the table – CRM effects everyone.
  • Using the firm’s strategic plan, identify areas and socialize where a CRM can most impact the operational and growth goals.
  • Build awareness and generate excitement about the CRM. Start by developing and implementing ‘champions’ that are supportive of the CRM. Find representatives in each practice group.
  • Create a process for a phased approach to the rollout.
  • Education and training is imperative! Make training a continual process with lunch and learns and one on one training. Set up an intranet page with CRM information including a Q&A section and training information/user guides.
  • Plan a ‘CRM Day,’ inviting firm members to drop in to the main boardroom for breakfast, lunch, or snacks and to watch a presentation about the CRM and ask questions.
  • Remember that team members will likely be using the CRM for different reasons so a goal may be to help team members discover the benefits by showing them examples. If you have multiple offices, travel to those offices for training.
  • Track participation and build in CRM accountability structures that tie into firm goals.
  • Solicit ongoing feedback from partners and team members to measure and gage their progress.
  • Celebrate victories and communicate successes. Success early on builds momentum and motivates employees. It can be contagious.
  • Track impacts and benefits, measure ROI, keep a file of wins, and share the results.
  • Communicate the benefits using a variety of communication methods. Regularly email CRM tips, best practices, and success stories.
  • Make your CRM implementation a major firm initiative just as you would a rebranding or a new website. Give the project a theme, or brand the CRM project so firm members recognize it as a valuable communications and business development tool. One firm actually branded their CRM as ‘TM Connect.’
  • Consider using the concept of ‘gamification’ to drive user engagement by making it competitive; e.g. points for entering business development activities, a contest for cleaning up the data, give away raffle tickets, prizes, etc.
  • Provide food – all good decisions are backed with cupcakes and cookies!

Remember it is all about understanding how implementing a CRM can improve your firm. You want members of the firm to reach a point where they say, “We should have done this years ago!”

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