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June 23, 2022

How to Unlock Performance in Your CRM: Part 4

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With the right data, ROI is easy! In this series, we’ll show you where to find it.

Written by Sara Coffey for SurePoint Technologies

About the Series

Return on investment (ROI) is one of the most important factors in evaluating technology but is often the most misunderstood. Earlier posts shared tips on unlocking performance in your CRM with the right data and where to find it.

In the final post of this series, we’ll look outside the traditional Martech stack and at a frequently overlooked source of data – your firm’s financial and practice management system. Using examples from the SurePoint Legal Management System (LMS), we’ll share how law firm marketers can use data to inform and focus their marketing and business development strategies. Are you ready to uncover opportunities in your financial data? Read on!

Looking Outside the Martech Stack

Most law firm marketers are aware of the marketing technology (Martech) that can help them do their jobs better. From client relationship management (CRM) platforms like ContactEase to email campaign tools like Constant Contact and Pardot, and everything in between, a good Martech stack is truly a marketer’s best friend!

For firms that offer some sort of business development coaching to their lawyers, time and billing data can provide invaluable insight. We will highlight a few scenarios where LMS can be a powerful resource for marketers.

Scenario: Some attorneys are not meeting their billable hours. Marketing has been asked to meet with them and develop an account-based marketing plan to help drive awareness and stay top of mind.

There are several options available to LMS users. When working with attorneys who are not making their hours, the Practice Management Watchlist – My Team is a good place to start. Marketing can identify who is behind, and look at the timekeepers’ clients, matters, recent activities, and more. When meeting with individual attorneys, marketers can use data specific to their practices to help them strategize and plan targeted outreach. This helps marketers and lawyers alike to quickly understand where to target their efforts. Use benchmark reporting to measure the impact of these meetings.

If a particular attorney is really struggling, marketing can use data and drill down even further. Maybe they were on vacation, or maybe they’re brand-new to the firm and need additional guidance. Being able to see at a glance who is performing or underperforming is one way to be able to help marketers focus their efforts.

LMS watchlists place valuable data at your fingertips such as rate audits, new clients/matters, client/matter investment, and firm practice analysis. This data provides marketers with insight into the types of specific programs and tactics to develop. It can be used to guide client onboarding and ensure that new clients are added to a sequence of emails that highlight legal, regulatory, or industry updates related to their business. This also serves to showcase the expertise of the attorneys firmwide and aid in cross-selling efforts.

Scenario: You’re meeting with an attorney to work on their business development plan.

When working with individual attorneys, marketers can pull individual watchlists to understand that professional’s clients, practice groups, and even when they came into the firm. If your lawyers aren’t talking to your clients, someone else is. This is a great way to help attorneys ensure they are staying top of mind.

Regular review of new client/matter reports is good practice and can help ensure the attorney is reaching out appropriately and that the client is receiving relevant mailings. My Client/Matter Minding is designed to show clients and matters that haven’t had a time entry entered for them in a set number of days.

You can also use the Firm Client/Matter Minding watchlist to understand who else in the firm is working with the same clients or if there is someone who should be introduced. This report helps you quickly see at-a-glance potential cross-sell opportunities.

Scenario: Your firm is considering the launch of a new practice area.

One way to evaluate the feasibility of a new practice group is to look at the firm’s time and billing data. Whether the new group focuses on a particular type of law, industry, or even geographic area, the data can be used to analyze trends, identify potential areas of growth, or look at clients in a particular industry.

If you notice a dramatic increase in certain areas, you can start to research to see if there are additional opportunities to grow this area and serve more clients. In LMS, you can easily see profitability data for practice codes in real time and then drill down to the attorneys working on those matters. From there, you can begin to build out a strategy to grow and expand the practice area.

Scenario: The management committee is considering raising its rates for a client.

With many firms expected to raise rates in 2022, your firm may be thinking of doing the same. LMS features built-in functionality so firms to easily see how long they’ve been billing clients and at what rates. Using rate audit functionality, firms can evaluate current staffing and other logistics before building out their value proposition and approaching a client. Just as firms are considering rate changes, clients are constantly evaluating the value of the firms they use. Many firms are seeking help from their marketing teams to help them develop a playbook for these conversations.

Profitability and Pricing

As firms continue to add pricing professionals to their teams, rate data is especially important. The LMS Profitability Dashboard analyzes profitability across many dimensions. You can track the success of traditional, hourly matters against alternative fee arrangements.

SurePoint’s proprietary method allows firms to understand profitability by looking at collected hours, collected fees, and other data points. This can be used to understand success at the firm, office, practice, and attorney levels. It can be especially helpful when deciding how to allocate resources. A practice group may be wildly successful in terms of hours, but indirect costs (travel, expenses, staffing, etc.) keep the group from becoming more profitable. Conversely, some practices may bill fewer hours but are more successful in terms of the fees collected.

Use Time and Billing Data to Move Marketing Forward in Any Scenario

The scenarios in which time and billing data can help move marketing strategy forward are virtually endless. LMS dashboards are tailored to specific law firm personas such as billing attorney, CFO, managing partner, etc. Marketers can use these for a high-level overview of total revenue, net income billing realization, collection relationship, and more.

It’s also easy to see how much cash the firm has on hand and how much revenue. When you look at data year-by-year or even quarter-by-quarter, marketing can see how revenue is being tracked and how it compares over time. Coupled with CRM data, it can be used to identify activities that led to new business and those that had little or no impact so you can adjust your strategy.

Use Data to Ask the Right Questions

For instance, if a practice group brought in six new clients during the last quarter of 2021 but hasn’t added any new clients this year, a closer look at the data may be necessary. Marketers can ask questions to understand how to track goals, where to focus business development efforts, and focus on underperforming attorneys to develop a plan and win new business.

Filter the data by location, practice group, or attorneys so you can drill down and target based on any number of factors. Use this information to create campaigns targeted to clients and prospects in those practice groups and track them to understand the success of those campaigns. Knowing who the firm isn’t getting business from is just as important. Using data to easily identify clients or practice areas that were once thriving but are now down can help your marketing team target efforts.

Unlock Performance in Your CRM with Data

The marketing function in law firms has evolved over the years. While many firms distinguish between marketing and business or client development, marketers in midsize firms often wear multiple hats. Data from the firm’s CRM, and from non-traditional Martech sources like financial and practice management systems, can help marketers focus efforts and play a role in the firm’s overall profitability. With robust platforms like ContactEase CRM, SurePoint LMS, and Coyote Analytics, marketers have more options than ever.

Are You Ready to Unlock Performance in Your CRM?

Contact us to learn how ContactEase CRM, SurePoint LMS, and Coyote Analytics can help your firm unlock performance and maximize profitability.


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 100,000 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