Dear Santa

Well another year has passed and all I can say is thank goodness that holiday card hell is over for another year!

I’ve just finished cleaning up all of my data and sending out holiday cards to our clients, can it really be so difficult? It just seems that every year we have to go through the same process of being told in November that we have to go through out contacts and work out who should be sent a holiday card. It takes so long to do I just wish that there was a better way to do it.

However things are going to change. We’ve just invested in a new CRM system and I’m determined that this time next year everything is going to be much easier.   We had a system before but no-one really knew what it was that we were meant to be doing with it, we just bought a CRM system because some people we knew at another firm had also bought a CRM system. I wish I’d known at the time that it was not going to be that simple just to implement the technology and hope for the best.

We’ve learned our lesson though and have lots of New Year’s resolutions to make sure that we don’t have to go through the same problems with our contacts next year. So I’m not writing to you to ask you for anything, it’s a different sort of list. This is my list of resolutions and I hope you approve.

  1. We need to be really clear what the system is for. This sounds obvious but it’s not. It’s really all important understand the programmes that the system is here to support. For example our key client programme which is really important to us.
  2. People won’t have the choice when it comes to taking part. That’s the mistake we made last time we let people choose which contacts, activities and appointments they wanted to share. It just doesn’t work, CRM is not a choice it’s critical for the firm.
  3. We need to be clever about how we use the technology. That means it has to fit in to everyone’s day job in Outlook and mobiles. But it also means that we have to enter data once and use it many times across systems. For example if we link the CRM system to the new business intake process we can capture things like the referral source of the work.
  4. We’ve really got to focus on the data. If the system is every going to be successful we need to make sure that everyone takes responsibility for their own data. There’s no point in hiring an army of data stewards, all they do is re-check other people’s work and it’s impossible for them to know if someone has changed their data or not. We tried this before but I’m determined that every person in the firm needs to own their own data.
  5. Finally we need to train people properly. It’s a false economy to think that we can teach people in classrooms which buttons they need to press. The reality is that we have to spend time with people at their desks and in their team meetings showing them how the system really supports them, not focusing on functionality which may not be relevant to them.

It’s not a very long list of resolutions I know. However I feel that if we focus on these 5 key things that we are much more likely to be successful.

Thank you for taking the time to read my letter, and wish me a merry Christmas and good luck for 2016.

Yours gratefully


Managing Partner

Stanton Allen LLP