CRM (customer relationship management) software has traditionally been used by sales teams at large corporations, but these days, more and more small and medium businesses are adopting CRMs to improve their customer relationships and increase their sales. Although lawyers don’t tend to think of themselves as “salespeople,” that doesn’t mean they can’t benefit from using a CRM. Here are the 3 main reasons your law firm needs to adopt a CRM.
1) Build stronger relationships with clients
The reason CRMs exist is to have a place to capture information and keep track of communications with potential and existing clients. Law is very much a relationship-driven business, so it’s interesting that many law firms aren’t utilizing CRM software, which is designed for this very purpose.
Every CRM includes a similar core set of features to improve communications and help manage relationships with prospective and existing clients. We developed the Lexicata CRM specifically to meet the needs of a law firm, so it also includes some other useful features such as online intake forms and e-signatures.
Here is a list of the main features provided by the Lexicata law firm CRM to give you an better example of what a CRM can do to improve your client relationships:
- Contact database: store all your leads, clients, referrers, colleagues, and any other contacts you’d like to track and follow up with
- Custom contact types: assign a customizable “type” to each contact for easy categorization and to help you separate your clients from other types of contacts
- Lead source tracking: designate a source for each lead to learn where your business comes from and how effective your marketing campaigns are
- Matter status pipeline: set up custom matter statuses and visualize your matters on the pipeline to see where each one currently stands in the process
- Notes: add notes about your matters and contacts so everyone is up to speed with the latest information about each case
- Tasks & reminders: schedule reminders for yourself or your staff to prevent leads from slipping through the cracks
- Email sync: connect to your Google, Outlook, or other IMAP email account to automatically pull in email correspondence and quickly send out emails and follow ups
- Email templates: draft and save unlimited custom email templates and schedule automatic follow ups and reminders to go out in advance
- Email marketing integration: automatically sync contact lists in the CRM to your email lists for sending out newsletters and marketing emails with an integration to Mailchimp
A CRM is not just a database for all your contacts. When combined with all these other powerful features to improve communications and keep you on task, you can start to imagine exactly how adopting a CRM will make you more efficient and improve your relationships with all your clients.
2) Generate reports on key business metrics
Another reason why your law firm should start using a CRM is because of the data and intelligence that can be gleaned from it. Many law firms don’t track important numbers like client acquisition costs, client lifetime value, conversion rate, ROI, etc. Using a CRM can make collecting this data significantly easier.
Armed with these metrics, you’ll be able to make smarter business decisions and continually improve your marketing and operations. This is the key to driving more sales and growing your practice.
For example, we built some of these analytics directly into the Lexicata dashboard, and the reports will be generated automatically just by using the CRM to track and intake new potential clients. Here’s a list of the basic reports currently offered:
- Conversion rate: i.e. what percentage of your leads become clients?
- Pipeline value: i.e. how much revenue could you earn from all the leads in the system?
- Top aggregate lead sources: i.e. where do clients discover your firm?
- Top lead sources over time: i.e. how is that discovery changing from week to week?
- Top matter types: i.e. which specific services or types of legal matters make up most of your business?
Best of all, you don’t have to use Excel or any other programs to generate these metrics. Your CRM can produce them automatically, just by using the software, and this will help deliver some critical insights about the health of your business.
3) Streamline your workflow and improve the client intake process
The legal sales process involves a lot of information gathering and paperwork. If you do it all manually by hand, using paper intake forms and documents which later have to be transcribed and/or scanned into a database, the process can be extremely cumbersome.
A good CRM will offer extensions on top of the client database in order to help you streamline and organize other processes in the sales cycle. Not only will this save you time, but more importantly, it will help boost your conversion rate by reducing the amount of effort required on the part of your clients.
Many CRMs will have marketplaces of add-ons that you can purchase and integrations with other software. You can also use a tool like Zapier to connect your CRM with other popular programs.
Because the Lexicata CRM is designed specifically for a law firm’s needs, it comes out of the box with additional features to help lawyers with client intake and retention. Here are a few of them to give you an idea of the possibilities:
- Custom intake checklists: stay organized by creating template checklists for all the steps that need to be completed for each type of matter
- Online intake form builder: build custom web forms to capture the information you need directly into your database, eliminating the tedious processes of scanning and data entry
- Document automation with e-signatures: instantly draft and send out client agreements for electronic signature with an integration to HelloSign
- Clio integration: cut down on data entry by exporting contact and matter details, documents, and other files directly into your case management system
As you can see, a good CRM has much more to offer than simply storing contact information in a database. Modern CRMs are flexible and customizable, and they offer reporting tools, plus powerful extensions to streamline other business processes, such as email marketing or getting contracts signed.
Because law is such a relationship oriented business, law firms who invest the time to implement a CRM into their core workflow are will position themselves for continued success and growth in today’s competitive legal marketplace. Visit our website for more information about the Lexicata CRM for law firms, or to schedule a free product demo.
Aaron George is an entrepreneur with a background in law and technology, having started a successful mobile app development business during law school. He is an active blogger, a graphic designer, and a lover of music and all things sports related. Currently, he is co-founder of Lexicata, the CRM and client intake solution for lawyers. Connect with him on LinkedIn here.