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