A great deal has been written over the years about how to implement CRM systems successfully in a professional services firm.  By now I think it’s fair to say that most people are familiar with the keys to success.

  • Make sure you have senior management buy-in
  • Be really clear what it is your trying to achieve with your CRM system
  • Don’t underestimate the amount of time you’ll have to spend training your users
  • Don’t forget to clean up your data.

But despite the fact that we all know these things, why are so many firms still not achieving the return on investment from their CRM system that they expected?

This is the first in a series of blogs on how CRM has to be completely re-positioned within professional services firms as the “backbone to strategic projects” rather than a “project in its own right”.

Over the series I’m going to explore some of the reasons why CRM systems have failed and the challenges that CRM systems face in order to not become obsolete as our expectations of what technology can do for us develop faster than the software can keep up.

I’m also going to explore some practical solutions for those of us working in professional services marketing that can help us stay relevant and useful as the world changes around us.

In particular I’m going to explore in some depth the idea that CRM systems have been living in their own silo for too long and that it’s time to break out and see what’s going on in the rest of the firm.

The more things change……the more they stay the same?

In an increasingly competitive and internationalized global market, only one thing is really certain, change.

Only those firms that can respond to change will survive.  But as attitudes, laws and technology move on, do we need to completely re-invent the wheel or actually should we be increasingly relying on the principles of good business development and client communication?

Just because technology allowed us to “info’bomb” our clients did this really give us the right to do so?

Surely it makes much more sense to provide clients with information they ask for in the manner that suits them best, even if that increasingly means, as marketers,  we have much less control of our audience?

Furthermore, as more UK firms look with interest at securing strong foundations in other markets by merging with international firms, what impact might this have on existing client relationships of the combined firm?

And how will firms rise to the significant cultural and technical challenges of combining mature client lists, business development processes and CRM systems?

In order for CRM systems to succeed the managers of those systems need to understand both how they are effected by significant events taking place in the business and also how they can effect those events.

Good CRM technology deployment can be a critical factor in helping firms rise to the challenges of a rapidly changing world.  But where do we start?

In the next blog I’m going to explore one of the most significant challenges facing professional services firms:

Merging with another firm.