More firms are implementing client relationship management (CRM) tools to gain the benefits of automating processes like intake, document processing, and improving workflow efficiency. Even small firms can benefit immensely, especially since without a CRM, you’re running the risk of issues like significant errors, mismanaged calendars, and high client retention. They can be used to automate processes from scheduling to billing and so much more.
What is a client relationship management tool?
Just as the name suggests, this tool helps law firms manage and engage clients by keeping track of critical information about their needs and current cases.
There’s still a major gap in the adaptation of legal tech tools overall in the industry. The ABA reports that only 41% of lawyers state that their firm had CRM software available and only 22% of lawyers surveyed reported that they personally use CRM software.
Here are several reasons why implementing a CRM is critical for small firms seeking to grow:
Personalizing your client relationships
When your firm employs a CRM, it will help guide you through the customer funnel from the moment they become a prospect, until you close the deal. The software uses the data you receive from clients to create custom messaging that feels personal. Firms looking to improve their marketing strategy and client relationships rely on CRMs to build a better system of tracking their interactions with clients and engaging with them based on specific pieces of information.
Streamline your firm’s intake process by creating a painless automated system of receiving information from prospects. You can make scheduling appointments much easier with the calendar management features such as allowing clients to see your calendar and schedule meetings at their leisure. You’re able to guide potential clients along prescribed pathways that help you provide a better experience and improve how you manage your current clients. This makes for a better source of data to inform your entire intake strategy.
Your CRM should support your firm throughout the lead nurturing process. Lead tracking involves all the messaging and steps involved in transforming a prospect into a client. Firms can decide exactly which steps and messaging should follow new leads from first touch to the intake process. Many small firms leave promising prospects neglected without the lead tracking tools provided in a CRM tool—which means they’re leaving significant amounts of revenue on the table.
Make the process of obtaining signatures a breeze by using your CRM to collect signatures in your document management workflow. Instead of purchasing or additional software or managing the sending and receiving of paper, a CRM will collect those signatures and even notify you when documents are ready for next steps.
Beyond the intake process, you can use your CRM to manage the tasks of everyone in the firm, collaborate, manage scheduling, and your most important workflow: clients. Turn those manually written to-do lists into shared items you can seamlessly collaborate with other firm employees to get tasks completed. CRMs also have features that allow you to set up reminders to give assigned members of a task a nudge when deadlines are approaching.
For most legal professionals, learning how to create effective and engaging emails was not a part of training. With a CRM most of the leg work is done with templates and ready-to-use designs that can help you upgrade your marketing process to the digital space. What’s also great is that you receive useful data that helps you to understand how recipients are engaging with your messages. This allows insight on improving current and future messaging to transform more prospects and engage more personally with current clients.
Reporting & data insights
While the main purpose of a CRM is to organize your list of clients and their data, it can also be used to get insight into their interests, values, and needs. How this data can be used to maximize growth is what firms who don’t use a CRM are missing out on. You’ll have access to reports that inform on how to improve the billing process—which is one of those areas where you don’t need any bottlenecks. CRMs have made it convenient to see both the internal and external activity of your firm in one tool.
As you sift through the tons of information about CRMs and law firm automation online, keep in mind the above points. Use them as a guide as you seek the system that most fits your law firm’s needs. At the very least, you’ll have a baseline to measure what you’re looking for in quality, usability, and available features