CRM Solution Creates Business Development Opportunity

Porter & Hedges is one of the last re­maining mid-sized firms in Houston with 100 attorneys that regularly vies for busi­ness with much larger multi-office firms. To level the playing field as smoothly as possible, the firm embarked on a plan to improve its business development in­frastructure. By shoring up technology, marketing and customer relationship management ("CRM") foundations, Por­ter & Hedges would be more competitive in business development and competitive intelligence.

The first year of the quest was taken up with in-depth research, evaluation and analysis to exhaust possibilities and CRM solutions. Prospective consultants were charged with implementing a solid busi­ness development program, along with a new, first-time CRM solution that would elevate how the firm tapped the treasure trove of clients internally.

CRM Selection Criteria

With the support of firm leadership, marketing and IT together were required to critically and clearly understand how internal customers would use a CRM so­lution. Pre-purchase factors included dis­cussions surrounding interface, ease of navigation, long-term utilization, scalabil­ity, and intuitive adoption. Other issues weighed heavily on the final decision:

  1. The solution needed to seamlessly integrate with other software and da­tabase applications already in place.
  2. The process for data input had to be simple and intuitive.
  3. A synchronized interface between Outlook, Elite and the CRM solution was required.
  4. Reports, modules and streamlined workflow were necessary and scal­able.
  5. The CRM solution had to grow with the firm, offer endless possibilities and contribute to ROI.

After a thorough investigation, Porter & Hedges made a strategic decision in the fall of 2007 to deploy LexisNexis® In­terAction® software.

Ramp Up

IT and marketing played a critical role in their compatibility and cohesiveness lead­ing up to the first data dump. Every law firm investing in installing and deploying a sophisticated solution like InterAction must ensure these two teams are in synch. At Porter & Hedges, the IT department is the bona fide expert in InterAction; they know the system better than anyone firm wide, and marketing relies on them for their earned knowledge.

In advance of the first data deployment, marketing and IT can expect to devote a significant period of time for a mini­mum of two weeks preparing for launch. This effort can encompass anything from hardware and software synch, installa­tion, communication, training, assign­ing roles and responsibilities, and more. Because the teams were congruent, we were able to keep the pace to an even keel and collaborate on everything need­ing completion. We relied heavily on the LexisNexis software consultants and our hired consultant to guide us on the "what next" of the process.

The premise behind marketing is to find the right software that works with the firm's personality and culture. The CRM system apple must pair with the at­torney apples. Then, the issue becomes how best to implement the system in an efficient and expedient fashion. That process includes the early identification of attorneys' concerns about data confi­dentiality and relationship ownership. One way to mitigate the potential issues is to ensure that senior leadership is on board with strong support of the CRM solution.

To read the rest of this article, click on the attached PDF document.

Attachment: PorterHedges_CRM.pdf