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May 13, 2022

How to Unlock Performance in Your CRM: Part 2


The Data You Need for ROI
Written by Sara Coffey for SurePoint Technologies

In the first post of our “Why CRM” series, we discussed the importance of using a system that aligns with your firm’s strategic goals. Often that starts with a gap analysis to understand the problems a CRM can help you overcome. ROI is one of the easiest ways to show value, but it is also one of the most misunderstood. Jennifer Whittier, VP of CRM at SurePoint Technologies, says “with the right data, showing ROI can be easy!” In this post, we’ll look at where to find it, so you can do just that.  

Before we can show ROI, we have to find the data. One of the biggest hurdles to unlocking performance in your firm’s CRM and realizing ROI is incomplete or inaccessible data. When data exists in silos (in different locations, platforms, or with different people). When we look at ROI, there are three essential data sets to consider:

  • CRM data
  • Relationship data
  • Financial data

In this post, we’ll look at the first two. CRM data might include mailing lists, engagement with firm marketing activities, what events a contact has attended, and current contact data. From intake to automation, each of these touchpoints comes together to show the contact’s journey. By adding marketing and business development activities to the system, you’ll know what’s working (and what isn’t), so you can focus your strategic efforts accordingly.

Relationship data comes from your lawyers’ inboxes – the people they are communicating with every day and who might not make it into the firm’s CRM. These could be client contacts, referral sources, and other contacts with whom your lawyers are communicating. This is one of the reasons ContactEase has an industry-leading adoption rate. Seamless Outlook integration ensures the relationship data is added to the CRM automatically. It also means that there’s nothing new for lawyers to learn. For them, it’s business as usual and that makes things much easier for marketers as well.

Relationship data is especially valuable because it allows you to understand not just what relationships exist, but the strength of those relationships. It can be used to inform pitches for new work, decisions to get involved with industry organizations, and even growth opportunities such as new offices or new practice areas.

Data-Driven Decision Making

As we emerge from the pandemic, in-person events are making a comeback. “It’s a great thing,” Whittier observed. “People are feeling energized. They want to get back into a routine. We’re seeing an uptick in new technology projects and firms are seeing an increase in sponsorship requests, too.” This is one area where the right data can help firms make informed decisions. When the firm receives a sponsorship request, especially one from a client, they are faced with questions such as:

  • Should we sponsor this event?
  • Can we say no?
  • Is this the right audience for us?
  • Are we spending too much time marketing to one group of contacts?

When the request comes from a client, there are additional questions to consider:

  • How much business does this client send us?
  • Will this result in more business?
  • What are the implications of saying no?

By bringing this data into your firm’s CRM, you can see who you’re marketing to and know if your efforts are working. It’s easy to see when you don’t have a good mailing list or to identify cross-selling efforts that are really working. With this data, you can answer:

  • Are we targeting the right people?
  • What activities are generating revenue?

When firms track this data, it is easy to justify the marketing spend for the activities that work and identify and cut back on the ones that don’t by using the data to show:

  • Average spend per client
  • What the firm is doing
  • What worked
  • What didn’t

In a scenario all too familiar for many law firm marketers, a lawyer pops in and says, “A client would like us to sponsor this event. Let’s do it.” With the right data, you can take a step back and analyze the benefits as well as any potential risks.

No More Random Acts of Marketing

The firm may choose to sponsor the event, but you can clearly define expectations and use data to ensure the benefits are realized. When the related activities are added to CRM, you can follow the event through its lifecycle to identify new relationships developed or business generated. Further, you can use this information to inform future decisions such as whether or not the firm should honor subsequent requests.   

When it comes to data, Whittier prefers to think about it in terms of revenue growth. This is why the relationship data from Outlook is especially important. There are only a few areas where relationship and contact data reside making it easy to find. One of those areas is in your lawyers’ emails.

Go Beyond Who Knows Whom
Every day, your lawyers spend much of their time communicating over email. If you have a CRM platform, you know that those contacts don’t always make it into the system. That’s where enterprise relationship management (ERM) tools, like ContactEase Relationship Discovery (CERD) enter the picture. ERM goes a step further than CRM. Where CRM can show relationships, ERM identifies the strength of those relationships.  Relationship data also comes in the form of a phone call or business card handed over during a networking event. Tracking that information and making sure it gets into your CRM, so you know who your lawyers are talking to and how often.

Up Next: Financial Data – The Missing Piece of the ROI Puzzle

Now that we understand the role that the firm’s CRM and relationship data play in ROI, we’re ready to look at the next set – financial data. Historically, it’s the financial data that has been missing from the ROI equation. Understanding the data available from your firm’s time and billing system is essential to realizing ROI. Many CRM platforms, including ContactEase, integrate with time and billing systems to provide a complete picture of a firm’s relationships. Our next post will get you started.

Are You Ready to Unlock Performance in Your CRM?

Contact us for a free gap analysis and learn how ContactEase CRM and SurePoint LMS can align with your firm’s goals and help you deliver ROI.


About SurePoint Technologies

SurePoint Technologies is a leading provider of financial and practice management software to law firms nationwide. For more than 40 years, law firms have relied on SurePoint’s award-winning enterprise software to drastically improve workflow and maximize financial performance. With a community of more than 70,000 members, SurePoint continues to transform the legal industry by enabling law firms to unlock higher performance by freeing lawyers of administrative burdens so they can spend far more time focusing on their clients and their practice. Learn more at