What makes CRM successful in professional services firms?

The third in our series of blogs regarding the implementation of CRM into professional services firms and the key steps to success.

Clear understanding of the role technology plays

Technology is a great facilitator, but it is not a panacea.  Those involved in implementing CRM technology must do so with an understanding of how the stakeholder groups within the firm, fee earners, support staff and even potentially clients, will use the system.  Too often systems are deployed which require data to be entered in two different places, or require an unnecessary change in existing business processes that already work well.  If this is at the heart of your CRM implementation plans then they are destined to fail. 

You can sell all the business benefits you like, but at the end of the day fee earners will only use systems if the processes used are at least no more difficult than the way they currently operate.  It’s also important to bear in mind that if you approach selling the system on the basis of “fixing what fee earners do wrong” you are likely to get a less than positive reception.  A much better approach is to explain to fee earners that CRM technology is here to make easier that which they already do well, and enable them to make time for other potentially more important business development tasks. CRM technology represents a significant investment in technology and time for firms, and this could be wasted unless you determine what the system is for and how it will support your existing business development activity rather than change it for change’s sake.

In the final blog in this series we’ll talk discuss how important having a clearly defined data management plan is to achieving success with CRM.

Blog 1- Explicit Management Support 

Blog 2- What does CRM mean to your firm?

Blog  4-Clearly articulated data management strategy