You and your colleagues have made the big investment in CRM for your professional services firm. You did your homework and you worked hard to get everything right.

You engaged everybody in a collaborative project and you identified your executive sponsor. You developed the scope and outcomes of the CRM project and you researched the market. You shortlisted available CRM partners and you ran your structured pilot project. When you finally signed off on the investment everybody was confident that you’d made the best available decision.

Here we are, some months later. And your fee-earners just aren’t engaging sufficiently.

All that care you took to start your CRM with good, clean data is being undermined because it’s not being maintained by the people in day to day contact with existing and potential clients.

They speak of having insufficient time to keep the records up to date. “Of course”, they say, “we are absolutely committed to the idea of CRM. We understand the value of shared information. It’s just that we don’t have the time…”

No time or insufficient motivation?

We all know that when people say they have no time, what they really mean is that something else has a higher priority. And of course, there are many things that fee-earners can do with their time rather than keeping your CRM up to date.

The big question therefore is how to motivate fee-earners to be avid, passionate users of CRM?

Surprising as it might seem, there’s an easy answer to this question.

The answer is to make the life of your fee-earners easier and more successful in direct proportion to the level of their engagement with your CRM system.

We’re proposing that it’s an easy answer. Of course the reality is that whilst it might be easy to come up with the answer, the challenge is how to actually deliver the evidence to fee-earners that their enthusiastic use of the CRM system is making their lives easier and more successful.

Here are three of the biggest areas of CRM vision and execution that have the potential to transform fee-earner engagement:

  1. Business Development Leadership to win more and better new business
  2. Efficient and Effective Marketing Processes to nurture relationships and create new leads
  3. Improved Client Satisfaction – because everybody in the firm is aware of client expectations and can play their part in delivery

1. Business Development Leadership

How would it be if fee-earners knew that their Business Development Coach reviewed every significant entry in your CRM system? And that as a consequence of this continuing review, this BD coach played a really effective role in helping fee-earners to make the very best use of their time spent in business development activity?

This is exactly the role played by a Business Development Team Leader in a professional services firm. This role is currently rare but will become much more common. With a growing number of firms chasing business from increasingly sophisticated clients, the best new work will only be won by learning how to co-create greater value with clients.

Keeping their CRM up to date will enable fee-earners to enjoy more success because of the support that this new CRM data triggers from their business development coach.

2. Efficient and Effective Marketing Processes

It’s really hard to find the time to stay in touch sufficiently with everybody. This is a huge priority for your colleagues in marketing. They are learning how to use all aspects of social media, along with more conventional email and events to nurture relationships.

The last thing that anybody in your firm wants is to contribute to spam messages. The future of marketing is to move away from unsophisticated broadcasts of messages and towards increasingly accurate, one to one conversations.

And the connection with CRM? Well of course, this level of respectful and sophisticated market nurturing can only come with accurate and up to date data records.

Fee-earners can make the best use of their precious business development time by equipping their colleagues in marketing with the best available data. Marketing professionals will turn this data into a flow of incoming enquiries.

3. Improved Client Satisfaction

OK, so I know that this should really be at the number 1 slot rather than third in the list!

If we’re taking such care to record and share our conversations and agreements with clients, everybody can be on the same page when it comes to delivery.

Effective use of CRM means fewer and fewer unpleasant surprises when it comes to client satisfaction. And fewer surprises means happier, stickier clients who become advocates for you and your firm.

We started this with the big question: how to motivate fee-earners to be avid, passionate users of CRM?

Our answer is to make the life of our fee-earners easier and more successful in direct proportion to the level of their engagement with your CRM system.
And the calls to action from this blog post?

  1. Implement the role of Business Development Leader or Coach who will use CRM data to enable fee-earners to be more effective and successful.
  2. Encourage marketing colleagues to highight the correlation between great CRM data and the quality and quantity of incoming enquiries.
  3. Rekindle your original vision for how brilliant a tool your CRM will be as you learn to co-create greater value with your clients.

What are your observations on these issues? It will be great to have your feedback as a comment!

Thanks for reading.