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Time Is Money: The Hidden Cost of CRM Systems

An Hourglass Counting Down TimeA well-adopted CRM system can deliver an ROI of as much as 245 percent. So it makes sense that more than 80 percent of the United Kingdom’s top 200 law firms have invested in a CRM tool.

The goal is to help lawyers and business development teams better understand client relationships, spot opportunities, win more work, cross-sell and retain clients.

But a CRM system is only as good as the data it contains. And if your CRM adoption levels are low ROI will remain elusive. And to achieve high adoption levels, there is the often forgotten about cost of time to consider.  

Time Isn’t Cheap

Exactly how much time does CRM require?

On average, users spend 5.5 hours each week on CRM activities. This quickly adds up to a massive time commitment and investment, bringing your CRM’s potential ROI down.

Here at Introhive, we carried out our own study on the time CRM tasks take and discovered the following results:

CRM Task Time Taken (minutes)
Add New Company


Update Company


Add New Contact


Update Contact


Add New Activity / Notes


Add Task


Add New Opportunity


Update Opportunity


Search for Information




This wasn’t a formal, in-depth study, just an internal exercise on a handful of our users. However, as you can imagine, our people are probably above average when it comes to using a CRM system. And even as experts in CRM, it still took us nearly an hour to perform just one of each of these tasks. When you multiply this time across your firm, it soon adds up.

For example, let’s assume you have 500 CRM users.

To ensure that your CRM is a success, you will want all 500 people to consistently carry out at least the basics, including:

    • Add new company details
    • Add new contact details and keep them up to date
    • Search for useful information contained in CRM to plan / enhance their interactions with clients
  • Log new activities, such as meetings with clients, and notes on these activities to inform others of what was discussed

This is before they start getting involved in more sophisticated use like creating and updating opportunities and tasks.

Using our internal study as a benchmark for the time those tasks take, that equals 32 minutes per person, per day. In reality, this could easily be closer to an hour if you want to ensure that each and every contact and subsequent activity are recorded in full. But let’s make this even easier and look at some bare minimums.

Let’s say on average, CRM tasks take each person in your firm just 10 minutes per day. If your 500 users spend 10 minutes each day adding, updating, and searching your CRM, that’s 21,650 hours of work time per year that goes to administrative CRM tasks. At minimum wage (£7.50 per hour), this equals £162,375 per year. And considering that 10 minutes is a conservative estimate and that your users aren’t earning minimum wage, your CRM tasks are likely to be easily costing you 3 or 4 times more than this.

Automation Saves Time, Generates Money

A CRM is only as good as the data within it. For any CRM project to be a success, the rule must be that your people must enter all relevant information all of the time. So, you have a choice: you can make this rule reliant on manual data entry by busy professionals, or you can automate this administrative work and make it as easy as possible.

Investing in CRM automation like Introhive reduces the need for manual data entry, allowing your business development or sales team to spend far less time on those tasks. This frees up your team to focus on their day jobs – advising clients, billing, developing client relationships, networking, business development, and more. It also eliminates the price tag that comes with those manual tasks.

Automation doesn’t just save time and money, though. It also helps your team find more accurate and useful insights that drive more growth. Plus, with 60% of contacts never making it into CRM systems, tools like Introhive can uncover thousands of new marketable contacts. Just think of the new revenue that can be generated from these additional contacts.

Spend Your Time Wisely

In the absence of any actual research into your own CRM usage, I appreciate the above contains numerous assumptions. However, I’m sure you can find much sense in these approximate costs and savings in relation to your own current CRM situation.

Unless you eliminate the need for manually entering, updating, and analysing contact data, your CRM cost will rise faster than you realise.

Most of our clients have calculated that the time savings achieved from reducing manual data entry alone more than cover the cost of Introhive. And that’s before they look at what extra revenue they have achieved from improved marketing reach, deeper understanding of existing relationships, client retention, leveraging relationships to create new sales opportunities, cleaner contact data for GDPR compliance, and so much more.

To see how Introhive’s CRM automation can help improve your CRM ROI and reduce CRM costs, request a demo.

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