Across professional services firms, CRM adoption is less than 10% even though most implementations are considered successful. In fact, 60% of CRM projects fail to meet expectations. Those organizations that describe themselves as ‘not happy with our CRM results’ struggle to solve that problem. And that’s largely because they’re focused on the technology and how to get their users entering information into the CRM system. The real focus should be on how CRM improves business development and client interactions.
CRM automation has been shown to trigger widespread CRM adoption because it automates nearly all the work users need to perform. As a result, they focus on their strategic priorities while calling upon accurate data and timely intelligence. Let’s explore four key ways that CRM adoption impacts professional services firms.
1. Improves Client Retention
Driving more business year over year is always a priority, and professional services firms tend to go about this in three key ways:
- Acquire another firm
- Launch new service offerings
- Cross- or up-sell existing clients
Of the three options, the third is the least expensive. Plus, the more services a firm sells to a client, the higher the revenues per client and the less likely that client is to churn.
The first step to successfully cross-selling or up-selling is showing that you understand your existing clients’ needs. Then you offer them a service that will measurably impact their business.
CRM automation delivers relationship insights that help your business development professionals gain that foundational understanding. With it, they can easily determine what’s important to the client. For instance, they can see who knows whom within a company and upcoming events that are going to affect a client’s financial well-being. Calling upon these insights, they can engage in meaningful conversations and present the client with options for improving their business in some way.
2. Improves New Client Acquisition
Just as it pays to lead with insights when further developing relationships with existing clients, it’s important to open with these when meeting with prospects. Rather than make the mistake of presenting a deliverable, your business development professionals should demonstrate a knowledge of the prospective client’s business and industry. And they should come prepared with ideas and recommendations that will provide added value.
CRM automation can help. This software can send a pre-meeting digest of important information – such as insight on meeting attendees, previous communications, and useful company news – to your business development managers. This empowers them to get the most out of a meeting without lengthy preparation.
3. Boosts Billable Hours by Slashing Administrative Tasks
On average, firms’ CRM users spend 5.5 hours per week updating the CRM system with data – or pulling needed data from the system. If your fully loaded cost per hour is $200/ hour, your firm is spending $57,200 per year per CRM user with data entry alone – that’s not accounting for the missed revenue in terms of billable hours. Plus, when your business developers are spending time fussing around with your CRM system, they aren’t spending time finding new clients, tracking relationships, and building more meaningful connections. That’s a missed revenue opportunity.
Your firm can put this issue to rest by automating data entry. CRM automation reduces the time people spend entering data and updating records because it automatically keeps records up to date and adds new contacts as they come into the pipeline. Plus, as mentioned earlier, it enables your rainmakers to spend less time researching clients and prospects, and prepping for client meetings.
4. Provides Better Reports to Leadership
Most professional services firms have defined processes to track just about every task that takes place inside the firm, from how to handle time and billing to how to audit a financial statement. Yet when it comes to business development, most firms lack any processes or helpful systems. As a result, each business development manager does their own thing and results are unpredictable at best.
Your firm can turn this around by uniting all client-related information in a centralized 360-view that shows:
- Sources of business/revenues
- Where business/revenues are being lost
- Clients or opportunities that are at risk due to a poor relationship
- Where the business development team is excelling
- Where business development needs improvement
With this information in hand, your executive team can better identify top performers, better understand growth potential within existing accounts, and better plan to reach predictable results.
Remember: Business development isn’t the same as sales. Your business development team should be focused on strategically growing existing accounts while acquiring new revenue sources. To succeed, it needs the right resources. While your CRM system is a good, centralized location to store important prospect and client information, adding CRM automation to the equation helps you harness the full value of this investment.
Ready to accomplish even more with your business development efforts? Learn more about how to automate your existing CRM with a personalized demo of CRM automation.