Monthly Archives: March 2015

10 Essentials to get CRM working effectively in your practice

Scrabble Are You ReadyIntroducing effective client relationship management to generate new business from existing clients and introducers is always a challenge as success or failure depends on the desire of the lawyers and their supporting team to make it work.  They have to understand their role and the opportunity to produce results from doing things differently to make it work.

Some key simple rules here to help get off on the right foot and keep the momentum going:

  1. Take a snapshot of where you are now. Otherwise nobody remembers where they started and how far they’ve come.
  2. You need to plan to be persistent enough to make it work. Without a plan, objectives and milestones to help you refocus, other short term initiatives will take over.
  3. Start with getting some data to work with cleaned for use; and processes to keep it clean.
  4. Must be led from the top with agreed business objectives … that’s where we make a start.  Consider client listening to create a different dynamic to open up client relationships.
  5. Define your business drivers, current pain points to address and what you want to achieve.
  6. Identify and target short term wins.  Make sure your people succeed and talk about them.  Have some clear targets and objectives to establish Key Account Management.
  7. Agree & communicate the plan. Identify most appropriate people, next steps, pilot projects.
  8. Make data input easy and part of the daily routine, within Outlook.  Monitor activity.
  9. Persist! Stay focused on the plan & objectives, listen to engage more, monitor constantly.
  10. Communicate beyond the current pilot. Nurture them for the future, communicate success.

Our starting point is usually a CRM AUDIT to define your business drivers, current pain points.

CONTACT us to arrange a CRM Audit of your practice or Independent Client Listening to kick start your CRM initiative or re-engage with it.  

CALL 0161 929 8355 or complete this contact form.

FREE DOWNLOAD: New 2015 Financial Benchmarking Report from NatWest on UK Law Firms

NatWestWell worth reading so you can draw your own conclusions on key areas of interest to you.  It’s easy to read and there is a lot of valuable information here to let you compare how your practice is faring with others like you; also highlighting how you might be able to do better.  We can help you make some of the changes that make a significant impact on bottom line profits.

The survey is a substantial review of law firms with fee income of up to £35 million. From across England, Wales and Scotland, 339 firms, employing 15,200 people, took part in the survey.

Download the 2015 report here.

Key questions asked here that the findings and conclusions can help you answer in relation to your practice:

Fees

  1. What do we need to do to enable fee earners to become more productive?
  2. Are we training our fee earners properly so that they maximise their fee earning potential?
  3. Are we confident about our pricing, and can we charge more if we get the service right?

Profit

  1. Have we benchmarked our performance against comparable firms and have we identified where we are below the upper quartile point?
  2. Are we under-recording how we spend our time and therefore not showing clients the full extent of our efforts?
  3. How can we get a better rate per hour for what we do, and do we understand creative fees?
  4. Do we use matter planning tools which help us to understand the profitability of the work we are doing?
  5. Do we have a clear strategy?

Lock-up

  1. Given that clients don’t want nasty shocks when they are billed, why do we wait so long before we talk about money?
  2. Do fee earners have the necessary management information available to manage lock-up?
  3. Are the appropriate ‘carrots and sticks’ in place to deliver improved lock-up?

Finance

  1. Do we have sufficient capital to run the business now, and will we need more capital if the firm grows again?
  2. Is it time to look again at our legal structure and how capital is to be retained within the firm?
  3. Is it right that we aim to fully distribute profits?
  4. Do we need to reconsider how quickly new partners are asked to contribute capital and how quickly departing partners can extract their capital?

For a complete picture and recent trends, you can also download previous reports below for:

Call us on 0161 929 8355 or complete this form if you want us to help you identify AND IMPLEMENT ways to improve the performance of your practice.

Sprint through the challenges when introducing or re-engaging people on your CRM system

business organizationIf you want to implement technology to support your approach to managing and developing client relationships, it helps if you can pre-empt and quickly address the inevitable obstacles that you are likely to meet along the way. 

Given that the project’s scope is likely to be quite broad, it takes a clear strategy – tested in pilots – to build the confidence and persistence needed to see initiatives through. It’s not easy, but being able to be pro-active with client data to develop stronger relationships, introduce new service propositions and open up new opportunities is the way forwards for most legal firms today.

Although not many are yet doing it effectively yet, it’s the firms that have started down this track – which takes commitment and drive – that will shine in the future.

Get focused on what really matters

What are your main reasons for investing in a Client Relationship Management (CRM) system? Are you looking to productivity? Cut customer service costs? Or increase sales?

Then decide where to get started with projects in bite-sized chunks – getting data cleansed, so people can share a reliable single view of the client.  Create the right structure for information you need to gather; agree what is the easiest way to do this and keep data up to date – make it really easy.  Don’t ask people to do too much too soon.  There is a circular challenge – people need to have reliable data to feel the benefits; but they have to help put the right data in before it can be reliable …  How do you address that?

More can be less

As you’ve probably already discovered, suppliers of CRM systems are eager to differentiate their products with different features, such as social media connectors or linked apps for smartphones and tablets.

However, more is often less. The extra complexity and blitz of features can just serve to distract you and your employees from your core aims. It might be great that you’ve got a feature that lets you tweet customers from within your CRM, but will that really make much difference to generating more business?  Maybe at some stage … but not at the outset.

Don’t forget the end user… from the outset

Input from your lawyers and support staff is crucial at every stage as they are the people who have to use whatever tools they are given. It’s essential you get end users involved in the buying decision – not just when you get to implementation.  By that stage, their hands are tied by the system you have already paid for.  Engaging them earlier will help point out barriers presented by certain systems and will likely save you a lot of time and money.

Realise the value of integration (Microsoft Office etc.)

The biggest challenges you’ll face with any new CRM system is user adoption. Anything that you can do to reduce the friction of using the system, will make this upcoming problem easier to handle. That’s where an integration with your existing systems become really useful.

Don’t be overly ambitious (sprint – in small chunks)

When you start out with a CRM system, you might want it to do a lot of things with it. If you pile all these requests up, you can build something that adds a lot of extra cost and time. Then you might discover that some of these features aren’t necessary later down the line.

At Inpractice UK, we use our experience of working with lawyers over many years on business development alongside the SPRINT methodology with our technical implementation partners (Crimson, when working with Microsoft Dynamics CRM) to build your CRM system. This means we focus on keeping the build process as lean as possible. We first build the elements and features which will get you the majority of results. You then test and pilot them, we modify based on your feedback from the pilot group – then we move on. This ensures that you don’t waste money and that we build something that genuinely benefits your business the way you want to develop it.

Plan for change management and training

It takes time for people to figure out how they can best use a CRM system.  They need clear guidance, but also time to play with it, see how it works and to understand how it will benefit them. Change management and training is often more work than you expect it to be but we have the capacity and the patience to deliver all the training and ongoing support you need to guarantee you get the best experience for your users, so they adopt the system.

We can help you set out your objectives, strategy and plan of action to steer you through the potential pitfalls in implementing (and continuing to develop) your CRM system, so please …

CALL Inpractice UK on +44 (0)161 929 8355 now.  You may qualify for a FREE CRM Discovery Day.

WildHearts – The Red Nose of the Business World.

Wild Hearts - Business for GoodYou’ve seen a lot about Red Nose day, but do you know about WildHearts, an international initiative to help people in business raise money for a great cause in the developing world; specifically to support women and their families to lift themselves out of poverty.  Check out the many videos to see how this works in practice.  Then contact WildHearts to see how you can get your people involved in November this year … for starters.

Motivate your people to discover their ability to innovate.

Micro-Tyco is Just one of their Wild Heart initiatives that has run since 2010.  A challenge to raise money for good causes across the world, that you and your employees could enjoy taking part in, whatever size your business.  Deloitte, Pinsents and CapGemini are some of the larger professional practices taking part, but this can motivate, inspire and reward people at any law firm.  Getting involved will help your people to discover, apply and develop their skills and ability to innovate, raising a lot of money for some exceptional causes.

Get involved now to be ready for the next challenge to be launched in November 2015.

Micro-Tyco is an award-winning talent development programme that has been adopted by many schools and businesses – including law firms like Pinsents, Harper McLeod and Linklaters – to enable their employees to develop and demonstrate their ability to innovate, with the money raised then invested in microfinance projects in the developing world, helping to lift thousands of female entrepreneurs and their families out of poverty.

Contact Charlie Thornton: charlie@wildheartsinaction.org or call +44 (0)7792 185754

Micro-Tyco has been so successful that it has been adopted as a compulsory part of graduate training for multi-nationals such as Wood Group, RBS and Capgemini; also used by Deloitte as a talent identification strategy in UK universities and many companies like Clydesdale Bank, British Gas and NG Bailey use Micro-Tyco as an executive development programme.

What is Micro-Tyco?

The Task:  It is deceptively simple –  teams of up to 5 people receive £1 on taking up the challenge on 1st February and 1st November each year.  They then have 30 days to do whatever they can to turn that £1 into as much money as possible.

The Motivation:  All the money created invested in micro-finance projects around the world, to empower female entrepreneurs and help them lift their families out of poverty.

The Results:  Micro-Tyco unleashes a participant’s latent talents, fostering essential entrepreneurial thinking, resourcefulness and team work.  To help participants develop and grow their pound further, teams receive world class business training via video from the Micro-Tyco Mentors, including Sir Tom Hunter and Lord Digby Jones and are given access to online learning resources to help support them on their entrepreneurial journey.

Over the last three years, over 22,000 participants have been inspired to learn the latest entrepreneurial thinking via the multi-award winning professional development programme Micro-Tyco. Endorsed by Babson College, the world’s number one school for entrepreneurship,

Micro-Tyco has proven to be so inspirational that over £600,000 has been created by the teams and invested by WildHearts in microfinance globally. By ‘becoming Entrepreneurs to fund Entrepreneurs’, participants gain a deep experiential knowledge of the transformative power of compassionate entrepreneurship. WildHearts also invest significantly in UK education; providing enterprise education, training and events to school pupils across the country and helping young people into employment (more info below). By associating business excellence with economic justice, Micro-Tyco inspires the Leaders Our World Deserves.

To give you an idea of the impact of  Micro-Tyco, please take just seven minutes to watch the short videos below.

Video (2mins) – How Micro-Tyco has revolutionised Deloitte, RBS and Wood Group’s Talent Strategy from the Heads of Talent

Video (2 mins) – How Micro-Tyco helps talent to emerge (Graduate from Talisman Sinopec Energy explains how Micro-Tyco led to her promotion)

Video (1 min) – Ugandan microfinance client whose family’s future has been transformed by her £100 WildHearts microloan

Video (2 min 20) – The impact of Micro-Tyco on School Children (very funny!)


For more information, contact:  Charlie Thornton at Micro-Tyco & WildHearts at charlie@wildheartsinaction.org or on +44 (0)7792 185754