Far too often in large law firms, the business development (BD) and marketing functions are way too siloed and are even broken down into sub-functions such as email marketing, events, online marketing and so forth. Consequently, the CRM system too is viewed differently by these siloes – a data management tool, an email campaign solution, an events management system and so on.
This approach is counterproductive. It prevents the firm from taking a holistic view of BD and therefore a targeted and streamlined approach to the achievement of business goals.
CRM is a BD tool and should be leveraged for the objectives that the firm wants to achieve. Here are some tips to help BD teams adopt this kind of thinking and approach:
Way too often, initiatives are devised based on the tactic – i.e. “we are doing an event for GCs”, “we are arranging a webinar on the latest developments in litigation”, “we need to push out an email campaign to announce a new service” and so on. A better approach is to be led by the objective for the tactic – for example, “we need a campaign to strengthen relationships, and so will organise an event for GCs.” Or, “to achieve the revenue target of £X this year for the new service, we need to organise monthly webinars for lead generation.”
Let’s say, the objective behind a new email campaign is client retention. Rather than doing another blanket email outreach, develop a distribution list by looking at intelligence that resides in the CRM system – what is the relationship score with the target individuals, what has been their level of engagement historically, what type of content have they engaged with previously, how often do they interact and on what format, does the firm reach out to them only on matter-related issues or more broadly too, and so on. This kind of analysis will help determine which clients are potentially at risk and so enable you to appropriately make contact with them in a meaningful manner.
BD done correctly can help the firm lay the groundwork so that when the client needs assistance in a new area, there is already an element of trust established in the organisation’s ability to meet those needs. This can support a firm’s BD efforts say to meet a business objective of increasing revenue in a specific sector. CRM systems, in addition to relationship information, also aggregate external information such as news and market developments pertaining to clients. Use this information to identify where there might be cross-sell opportunities, today or in the future. For example, a corporate M&A client may need assistance in HR law in the near term on account of an imminent acquisition coming to fruition.
The same goes for referral opportunities. Most firms don’t take full advantage of their referral networks by strategically and proactively analysing information for reciprocal opportunities. Delving into the CRM system can throw up ideas to help formulate a referral strategy and engagement process specifically for referrers.
In essence, BD and marketing mustn’t be tactical. Every initiative must be driven by a business objective and actions devised based on evidence and data. A CRM system is designed to surface insight and intelligence to support such an approach. It is a BD tool.