CRM Integration Options That Add Value

Chris Fritsch
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There are plenty of benefits to be gained by integrating systems with CRM, as we discussed in our last post, “The Benefits of CRM Integration.” So, what are some of the more beneficial CRM integrations when it comes to legal marketing technology? Here are a few:

  • eMarketing Data: The value of a CRM system can almost always be enhanced by the integration of an eMarketing system. This can be extremely beneficial to bring in analytics and potential business development activities gathered from email campaigns and events. Often, these integrations have already been built by the system providers, offering cost savings as well. As an added benefit, enhancing the CRM system with this collected eMarketing data can drive system adoption and value, which most firms struggle to achieve.
  • Time and Billing Data: CRM can also be tied to the time and billing system. Many firms have done this in the past, and while the cost may be more than some other types of integrations, if a firm has a common time and billing and CRM system, it’s usually not prohibitive. Some data that can be beneficial to bring to the CRM includes things like client information, ranks and numbers. Additionally, if the IT department has added industry information to the billing system, that data can be beneficial for targeting and segmenting lists in the CRM. How many marketers struggle when asked by an attorney, “Why can’t we just pull a list of our clients and prospects for the industry seminar we are doing?”
  • External Data Sets: External data sets can also be connected to key firm systems. Company news and information and industry codes can be brought into the CRM and connected to company contacts. This type of connection can be beneficial, but it often requires a meticulous initial matching process and ongoing subscription costs for the information to prevent it from becoming outdated. Be sure to think carefully about whether you want to go beyond marketing uses and provide the information directly to the attorneys. Information changes frequently and is never perfect, and often an attorney will be turned off by discrepancies in the data. Trained to find fault, attorneys will often conclude that if the data is bad, therefore the system is bad, and this can discourage use of the CRM.
  • HR Data: Integration of the firm’s HR system can also provide value. Automating the creation of user accounts in the CRM offers efficiencies. The HR data can also be used to feed firm directories and provide computer or mobile access to key firm personnel information. Attorneys can also be related to clients, matters, experience or opportunity records.

Focusing on integration strategies can provide a firm foundation for CRM success. However, this is only the first step. The more critical step involves dealing with the people and process issues and change management challenges that are inherent with CRM – which is where many firms fall short.

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Chris Fritsch
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