While claims of fantastic returns from law firm marketing expenditures sound great, in real life, they rarely materialize. At least not in the short term. Sadly, many law firms are as effective with their marketing as they are with playing the lottery. We believe that those who spend the marketing dollars own much of the responsibility for the poor results. After all, no one wants to feel like a fool. There is a tendency to pretend that marketing expenditures return more than they do. On some level, we have to accept that swinging and missing is a necessary part of the process, but we must recognize and when we strikeout.
Considering the average defense law firm spends between 2-4% of revenue on marketing, we are always surprised that most have no automated CRM (Client/Customer Relationship Management) or MAS (Marketing Automation System).
Larger firms with marketing staff may have better experiences, but many small and mid-sized firms don't understand the benefits of an effective CRM and MAS. Many of these firms prefer to rely on more traditional methods that include entertainment, conferences, speaking, and limited trade journal advertising.
Here are some of the frequently asked questions when we talk with law firms and lawyers about the benefits of a CRM and MAS.
Why invest the time and money into an automated CRM/MAS system?
Imagine the security that comes from a consistent stream of new and repeat business that your firm can do successfully and profitably. Imagine the kind of law firm you and your partners can build with a consistent stream of work that will support long-range planning and organizational development. Most law firms fail to focus on the fact that they sell results, and law firms who get great results should never hurt for business. So why do many excellent lawyers struggle to keep themselves busy? The simple answer is they lack visibility and better-organized competitors drown out their accomplishments. When properly managed, these systems ensure that you and your firm are not overlooked.
If a properly configured CRM/MAS can solve this problem, why are so few firms using them effectively or at all?
There are several reasons, but the most prevalent ones include a lack of knowledge, experience, and time to find and implement a system. Add to these reasons a lack of a single source to help select, configure, implement, operate and maintain the system. In short, most law firms don't know how to find, buy, implement and maintain an automated marketing system. As a result, they either dismiss the benefits or believe they are achieving the same benefits some other way.
What are the risks?
We understand that firm management and partners may worry that their investment won't pay off. Or, they don't think they have the internal resources to stay with the project until it is useful.
If you have a great law firm that gets great results, don't you deserve to have your place in your target clients' buying process? Don't you owe it to yourself and your team to implement a proven system designed to secure the best opportunities for success?
We think great lawyers and law firms who put in an honest effort should not miss opportunities because they get overshadowed in the market.
System-based marketing is not a quick fix, and any candid advisor will tell you that it can take years to get to a level of consistency that supports a predictable level of new business. The good news is that there are tools and resources available to accelerate the process and improve success rates.
Shouldn’t we just sign up for a system and take advantage of the free vendor support?
A typical objection to implementing a CRM/MAS is that it is too complicated and expensive, and success is not guaranteed. Not much of this statement is untrue, but it is the wrong side of the equation. The better approach is to ask how we can deal with the upfront cost and implementation, and who and what can fast track that for us?.
Many marketing automation projects fail to deliver because "poor plan" always seems to meet up with "poor system." Many firms start with purchasing a system and then depend on the system vendor to show them the way. They trust software vendors with their messaging, strategy and branding, which results in a system designed for some other firm.
Rarely do clients find a plug-and-play system they can implement without significant support. Larger CRM/MAS vendors don't have the resources or business model to customize or manage the long-term implementation and support needs of any customer. They typically rely on partners to manage the project, provide hands-on support, and manage the full system buildout.
We are a Hubspot partner. Hubspot is an excellent system, has a solid base implementation and support team, and provides an unparalleled education level for their clients and partners. Even with all that support, law firms still need someone to manage the implementation and system buildout, create marketing processes, create planning documents, create policies and procedures, build a team of internal and external resources, and support the user adoption process.
How do you help clients and what are the steps in your process?
When clients hire PerformLaw, they benefit from a proven project manager and knowledgeable marketing team who has successfully managed Hubspot MAS/CRM system implementation systems in law firms.
We will guide you through our marketing system development process that includes:
As with any engagement we do for clients, we offer ongoing support to help manage and maintain their systems once the implementation process is complete.
An Important Final Thought
A perfected marketing and procurement (sales) system allows the firm to focus on more than just getting new business. Sales and marketing must always get their due, but no plan and a flawed system create an overemphasis on ineffective sales and marketing tactics that are expensive and lead nowhere.
Firms forced to worry about new business continually have no time or resources to build the infrastructure needed to support a brand that attracts the best talent and clients.