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Freshfields Follows the Road Less Travelled – Differentiating Through Customer-centricity

Introhive provides law firms around the world with the ability to build a solid foundation of data to help them find, win and grow their firm’s revenue and build their brand. This is why Introhive are proud to partner with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, a global elite law firm serving clients in 150+ countries.

Freshfields is a recognized leader in executing complex cross-border transactions, mitigating operational risks, and streamlining regulatory compliance. Their teams and services span multiple regions, industries, and areas of expertise, including transactional, corporate governance, regulatory, and litigation.

At Dreamforce 2022, Craig Ashton-Chalmers, Sr. Global Manager, CRM & MarTech at Freshfields, took the stage to share the inspiring story of how the firm succeeded in reinventing their business and standing out in a hyper-competitive marketplace by focusing on service as opposed to product, with the help of Introhive.

Deliver to Grow

Ashton-Chalmers explained that international law firms rarely succeed in differentiating themselves on the “what” – it’s more about the “how.” 

“The law doesn’t change – it’s how you engage, respond, and deliver to clients that sets you apart,” he says. “At Freshfields, we understood that consistently delivering service excellence was the only path to sustainable, profitable growth. In addition, we knew that in the realm of the law, individual partners might be really good at their jobs, but turning that work into profit requires collaboration. The same is true for systems.”

He related that before establishing their current CRM model, the firm was operating 18 disparate systems. The inevitable result was convoluted processes and systems that didn’t interoperate. “The data generated by the various systems was never consistent. We couldn’t get the same metrics twice no matter how hard we looked for it.”

As a result, the firm tended to be more product-focused than relationship-centric. “Targeting was largely speculative. Partners typically relied on cold introductions. Preparations for client outreach were somewhat incoherent. Everyone within a firm and across different branches had their own view of how best a client relationship should be approached and expanded. 

“Additionally, most of us relied a little too heavily on intuition. Of course, intuition has its place when you’ve been working on a client account for some time – but not when it comes to opportunity-spotting! Last but not least, engagements were transactional at best – once the work was complete, everyone moved on. That’s not client-centricity.”

To operationalize their vision to differentiate on the basis of client-centricity, Freshfields decided to harness the complementary strengths of Salesforce CRM and Introhive’s customer intelligence technology. 

The firm elected to adopt a multi-stage approach, the first step being to deploy Introhive’s solution to thoroughly cleanse all their data. “We knew that rolling out the new Salesforce CRM system using bad data wouldn’t deliver the desired outcomes,” said Ashton-Chalmers.

Once the Introhive solution had rationalized and validated all their data (with a 97% validity rate!), Freshfields moved ahead with their Salesforce deployment. Subsequently, they integrated a Tableau analytics solution into the environment. From finance and practice management to HR, everything now feeds into Salesforce, so there’s only one record per client.

Collaborate to Win

Collectively, the new MarTech stack enables advanced “white space” analysis of all the firm’s accounts. “Now, we have an automated means to get a real-time, 360-degree view of all existing relationships between the firm’s employees and our clients,” said Ashton-Chalmers. “Even better, the system proactively identifies areas where we might be missing opportunities to cross- and up-sell within accounts across different practices and geographies. For example, it might bring to our attention that we’re doing extensive litigation work with client X in Asia and the US, but none for any of their European branches.” 

“Moreover, it will precisely pinpoint where strong and longstanding relationships between members of our firm and individuals in the client organization exist. That makes it much easier to coordinate warm introductions to the most influential stakeholders when we’re looking to get a foot in the door in other geographies or practice areas.” 

The CRM also serves up dynamic, predictive insights about what’s about to happen in the market. This means the firm can seize the first-mover advantage rather than reacting after the event along with everyone else.

Prepare to Impress

Now, account pre-discovery is almost entirely automated, thanks to intelligent CRM. The system gives partners everything they need to know about a new client in the form of a comprehensive briefing intelligence delivered directly to their inboxes. The digest summarizes the participants, agenda, and outcomes of all prior meetings that have taken place with that client. 

This sets partners up to make a good first impression and ensures that their time spent with the client is as productive as possible. “Clients immediately get a sense that the partner and the firm are genuinely interested and invested in their success … and more satisfied that every billed hour was value for money,” concluded Ashton-Chalmers.

Key Results

Freshfields results with Introhive
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