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How To Improve Firm-Wide Collaboration Using Enterprise Relationship Management Technology

Business people share ideas represented by lightbulbs.As technology’s evolution accelerates, the pace of productivity speeds up and clients’ service expectations rise accordingly.

For professional services firms, an increase in clients who require cross-practice, cross-expertise and cross-border work demands an increase in collaboration, which is often at odds with the sectors traditionally relationship-protective partners and consultants.  

However, in today’s competitive environment, improved collaboration is key to profitable growth. Heidi Gardner’s in-depth look at the state of professional services collaboration makes it clear that everyone involved in deeper collaboration benefits. Firms who collaborate more effectively gain a competitive edge, resulting in increased revenues, profitability and improved client retention.

In fact, innovative business collaboration techniques can improve your productivity by as much as 30 percent.

So how can firms use technology to improved firm-wide collaboration?

Innovative organizations are using new tools and techniques, like enterprise relationship management (ERM) platforms to make the shift into a collaborative culture more quickly, less painful, and more scalable.

Read on to learn how strategic professional services firms use ERM tools like Introhive to improve collaboration, truly understand their client relationships and grow market share.  

Collaborative account management

Almost all of the professional services firms I talk to have key account initiatives. They’re all looking for more sophisticated ways to manage their key clients, but they’re challenged with how to map and understand these relationships manually.

For large, global firms with many contact points across their business, it’s difficult to analyse all the data this produces, let alone find useful patterns and conclusions (without having a dedicated team of data scientists at their disposal).

However, with Introhive’s passive contact capture and relationship mapping capabilities, not only can you take the headache out of creating and managing contacts, you also gain valuable insights into the true strength of your relationships across your firm.

When reading through Gardner’s article, this part jumped out at me, “Four months before the annual retreat of Caldwell Partners, a small executive search firm, the CEO asked all partners to name a potential client and to identify a colleague they could work with to try to win that account.”

I couldn’t help but think of the time and cost savings that firm could have realised if they had an ERM tool. With accurate relationship mapping, this firm could have instantly spotted which of their professionals had existing relationships with their target clients.

Related Reading: What is Relationship Mapping and How Does it Work?

Bridging geographic divides

Gardner’s article is filled with evidence that as you collaborate more effectively across service lines and geographies, your costs go down and revenues increase.

Another section that stuck out to me noted that, “…some firms have introduced a secondment program, in which senior associates or recently promoted partners spend six or 12 months in an overseas office…One firm can typically trace at least three, and sometimes 10 or more, new international referrals between home and host offices in the year following a secondee’s return…Partners say that they would not have known to contact a partner in the overseas office without that recommendation.”

Relying on word of mouth alone to capture global enterprise relationships may be the traditional method, but it’s certainly not the most efficient or cutting edge. In the digital age, firms are expected to move faster than ever before. Why not employ an ERM system to automatically pull in these secondment relationships, so professionals can leverage these new relationships more quickly?

Case Study: Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt

Client retention

Today’s clients say it’s easier than ever to take their business elsewhere. In this kind of environment, a focus on client retention is mission critical.

Introhive’s relationship capital strength visualisations make it fast and simple to spot a relationship at risk and will even alert you with proactive emails highlighting concerning relationship trends.

So, if for example, you can see your relationship with a client is weakening (you haven’t met with or engaged with them recently), you can then take steps to rectify the situation and nurture that relationship.

Related Reading: Relationship Capital is the Competitive Advantage for the Digital Age

Automate information sharing with technology for collaboration

As Gardner points out in her article, some legal professionals might fear relationship sharing, feeling that it takes away control. But, in reality, cooperation, helped along by technology for collaboration, such as business relationship mapping tools like Introhive, benefits not only clients and firms, but the individual professionals as well.

In addition to making collaboration easier, Introhive’s professional services customers are finding that the platform passively enhances their revenue-growing initiatives and supports client retention.

To find out how Introhive can help you innovate to grow your firm faster, while cutting costs, read some of our customer success stories, request a demo or contact me.

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