Skip to content
June 3, 2022

How to Unlock Performance in Your CRM: Part 3

136

Unlock Performance in Your CRM with Financial Data

Written by Sara Coffey for SurePoint Technologies

Unlock Performance in Your CRM with Financial Data

In our “Why CRM?” series we’re taking a deeper dive into the SurePoint webinar, “Why CRM? Why Now? Strategies for Unlocking Performance in Your CRM.” The webinar focused on how firms can use CRM to drive marketing efforts and realize ROI. ROI is dependent on three data sets: CRM, relationship, and financial. In the last post, we looked at the first two data sets: CRM and relationship. Historically, it’s the financial data that has been missing from the ROI equation and one of the reasons many law firms struggle to show value when assessing the success of CRM and other marketing-driven initiatives. In this post, we will explore the third data set – financial.

Financial Data is Essential to ROI

Your firm’s time and billing system is a wealth of knowledge, but it’s only useful for measuring ROI if you can access the right, current and accurate data. Many CRM platforms, including ContactEase, integrate with law firm time and billing systems to provide a complete picture of a firm’s relationships.

Have you ever been asked to pull together a list of your firm’s top clients? Often this required an email or visit to someone in your firm’s finance department. Once you’ve outlined your request, you may have to explain further – why you’re asking, what you plan to do with the information, and where it will be shared. However, often you’re provided with a report that includes no useful context.

For example, you may see total hours billed, fees, or matter descriptions, but you don’t see the relationships between client contacts and your firm’s attorneys. You don’t see all the business development activities that led to the new business. Without that information, your ability to identify cross-selling opportunities or trends is limited. When marketing and financial data is siloed, it is difficult to correlate revenue generation and engagement with firm-sponsored events and content.

To make use of the information provided, you have to understand the relationships that exist between your firm’s lawyers and its clients – both at the company and individual levels. With his information, you’ll have valuable insight to drive your firm’s marketing and business development strategies forward.

Your firm’s financial data contains the details needed to paint a complete picture. Your financial management system should easily display top new clients, new matters, top-producing attorneys, hours per matter, clients, profitability metrics by attorney, client, and matter. With the right and current information, you can easily understand things like where business is coming from, how clients are engaging with your marketing, the events that lead to new business, and even opportunities for growth like new industry or practice areas and geographic expansion.

Connecting Financial Data to the Client Journey

So, how do you get to the data? A good relationship with your firm’s finance professionals helps but if you’re constantly asking them for this information, you may want to consider a more efficient method. This is why CRM integrations with time and billing are so critical. An integration between your CRM and time and billing system eliminates the back and forth between people and reduces the potential for error to improve efficiency and lead to greater ROI.

How to Get Started with an Integration

Many ContactEase customers choose to integrate with time and billing systems like SurePoint’s Legal Management System (LMS). An integration may seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Many firms choose to start with a simple export and move into a formal integration as they realize the value of the data. So, how do you get started? It can be as easy as an Excel spreadsheet.

The Complete Client Story

Corporate law firms (those representing businesses) may find that their financial data is often presented at the company level as a client matter number or total revenue. When you combine financial and relationship data by integrating your time and billing and CRM systems, you can map both data sets to a master record. This makes it easy to see and connect the financial information at both the entity and individual levels.

When firms relate the data to the company and the individual, the full client picture starts to emerge. It is easy to see who the lawyers know and who they are working with so you can use the information to break it out into practice groups, office locations, and individual lawyers.

Uncovering Opportunities and ROI

With the right financial data, firms begin to see how relationships evolve and uncover new opportunities to cross-sell or even move into new practice areas or industries. This works for both new clients and longstanding clients as well. As your CRM tracks the journey from contact to client, you can also see the corresponding financial data at each stage. This helps you evaluate ROI and truly see the whole picture of what’s happening in the firm.

With the right data you can easily look at the actions taken, how much they cost, and if the efforts resulted in new business. It really is that straightforward.

A simple export/import can help establish a benchmark to measure where your firm started, allowing you to use the data to make decisions in the future. All of this helps equip lawyers to understand the information available and reinforces the need for accurate data.

Marketing Helps Prioritize the Data

Once the data is uncovered, it can be challenging to prioritize it. It is often up to marketers to build the methodology and provide lawyers with data that is going to help them focus their business development efforts. Moving that data from your time and billing system into your CRM ensures that the data is accessible and in one central location. With a solid client profile, you can help lawyers coordinate outreach with a short list of targeted contacts, run reports to analyze gaps in relationships, and identify new targets rich for cross-selling. When working with lawyers, you can use this data to rank contacts and make it easy for them to prioritize their outreach.

When you can quantify business and tie it back to marketing and business development efforts, showing ROI is easy. And when you make it easy for your lawyers, they’re going to love you for it. They’re also going to be more likely to engage with future marketing activities and be willing to share their results with lawyers and key stakeholders at the firm.

SurePoint Technologies CMO, Lydia Flocchini joined the webinar to share her thoughts as a marketing leader and lawyer. She believes that integrating data from CRM with time and billing is essential to revenue growth at law firms. This is one of the reasons she is so excited about SurePoint’s recent acquisition of ContactEase CRM.

Flocchini shared that when marketers have financial data at their fingertips, it gives unparalleled insight into developing strategies, programs, and tactics to help drive new business, win business, and retain clients. For instance, a marketer may be able to pull a list of all their clients and quickly see those where billables and revenue are declining. This may be a sign that the client might be looking to leave the firm. Armed with this information, the marketer can design a plan to re-engage the client through thought leadership, events, advisory, or alert newsletters. This also serves as an opportunity to research emerging issues or business challenges facing the client and to develop a focused plan to address them.

Use Financial Data to Grow

What about if the firm is considering launching a new practice area? By utilizing available data from CRM and time and billing, you can see profitability trends by clients, practice area, matters attorneys, and more. Using Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) practices as an example, Flocchini said that many firms were already advising clients on compliance issues in this area. Marketers could use their CRM and financial data to readily identify matters related to ESG including energy, regulatory compliance, privacy, labor and employment, corporate governance, who handles them, who the top attorneys are, identify potential prospects, forecast revenue, and determine whether to “productize” the practice.

In our next post, we’ll wrap up the discussion and take a closer look at how dashboards and reporting can help marketers and lawyers make data-driven decisions.

Are You Ready to Unlock Performance in Your CRM?

Contact us to learn how ContactEase CRM and SurePoint LMS can align with your firm’s goals and maximize profitability.

Links:

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 https://surepoint.com.