We’ve recently run a series of blogs on the importance of being able to accurately track sources of business, including referrals in your firm.   In this, the final in the series, our Directors’ Briefing Room, we’re going to summarise the key issues and make recommendations for how to address these at your firm.

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At the heart of the issue is the problem that too many firms just don’t see CRM as being an integral part of the firm’s overall business strategy.  And therefore investing time in tasks such as measuring return on investment for business development or understanding which sources generate the most business just doesn’t seem to be sufficiently important.

So what are the key issues?

  • The new business intake (NBI) process is not connected to CRM so there is no direct connection between effort invested in entering information in NBI and being able to market to clients and contacts in CRM;
  • Most NBI forms are badly designed.   They focus on large amounts of unnecessary data capture and don’t put enough emphasis on source of business.  Most forms have only a single text field for this;
  • Professionals don’t get involved in the NBI process.  It’s seen as an administrative task so secretaries do it.  Therefore it’s purely an exercise in data entry not information gathering;

And the solution is?

  • Integrate NBI with CRM.  The flow of information between finance and business development needs to be tightened.
  • Demonstrate the benefit of capturing the information.  We need to implement reports that show which channels and which referrers are generating the most business and the business development activities taking place with them.
  • Communicate to the firm that NBI is NOT an administrative process.    This is the point at which your information management is the most critical not simply an exercise in getting a client number.   So streamline it, integrate it and report on it.

CRM vendors have often been reluctant to get in to the debate about ROI, but that doesn’t make sense to me.  The ROI of the CRM system is not what we should be measuring, it is merely the tool that enables us to measure ROI of our business development activity and the first step to doing this is working out from where and how we’re winning new business.