Increased tech stack adoption, more targeted marketing, strengthened client and prospect ties, increased cross-selling and even revenue growth are all some of the potential payouts.
But, as I recently shared with Accounting Today, three common challenges stand between many firms and their CRM success stories.
Read on to find out how your firm can use new, integrative technology to overcome these barriers and reach CRM nirvana.
1. Accounting is a reactive industry
Core services lines (like tax and assurance) follow the recurring engagement sales model for often life-long customers. Because of that, accounting firms often don’t see a need for more proactive sales measures.
To push past this barrier, seize new business opportunities and build their books, firms should draw inspiration from businesses without the luxury of recurring sales.
The enterprise relationship management (ERM) tools some of these organizations are using
help them get an aerial view of their organization’s overall business-relationship network, which helps them visualize new opportunities for growth. With a relationship intelligence automation tool like Introhive, for example, accountants can discover who knows who (and how well an individual—whether internal or external—knows a prospect).
Armed with proactive insights from their ERM, accountants and key account managers can then strategize before hunting for new engagements, identify internal and external referrals, target key prospects and, ultimately, grow revenue for the firm.
Related Reading: How to Find an ERM Solution You Can Count On
2. Networking remains king
Despite CRM’s proven efficacy and wildfire growth, nearly 40 percent of accounting firms don’t have a CRM system at all. And of those firms that do, less than 5 percent of their accountants use the system regularly.
I think we can trace this sluggish adoption to the fact that while other types of businesses practice aggressive, external sales measures, accounting firms tend to build business internally. And because accounts tend to rely on their trusted networks, some would-be CRM users neglect to enter data into the tool, due to a lack of perceived value to their business development efforts.
To get past this hurdle, you could ramp up a complex communications campaign touting the fact that CRM tools help firms maximize existing client relationships and are proven to help practitioners grow their existing book of business.
It’s true, after all. Maintaining a CRM that serves as a system of record and a single source of truth gives accountants insights to better predict additional services clients could benefit from, particularly when it comes to building and protecting their assets. And businesses are 60 to 70 percent more likely to sell to existing clients, making cross-selling critical for firm building.
But perhaps there’s a faster method…
3. Accountants are also salespeople
Which brings me to the final challenge I often see standing between accounting firms and CRM success: the age-old time crunch.
Outside of professional services in general, businesses tend to have designated salespeople managing lead generation, CRM data entry and business development initiatives.
But accounting firms, on the other hand, expect their professionals to wear more than one hat. If you’re an accountant and client liaison, you’re also a salesperson and a prospect researcher. Throw learning a new tool, like a CRM system, onto that already full plate and you’ve got a recipe for low adoption.
Luckily, there’s less painful solution than a hearts-and-minds change management campaign: data automation. Using CRM data automation tools, like Introhive, accounting firms can now eliminate manual data entry. With just the click of a button from Introhive’s contact and activity sync solution, accountants can add new contacts, update client and key account data and add meeting notes to the CRM, without ever having to leave their email. Indeed, contact and activity sync saves practitioners an average of 5.5 hours per week. Handy, right?
Transcend CRM success barriers with adoption-automating tech
A well-implemented customer relationship management (CRM) tool and strategy can help your accounting firm grow business faster than ever. However, a lack of time for data entry, reluctance to embrace new processes and incentives for reactionary sales approaches often get in the way of CRM adoption.
But with CRM add-ons, like Introhive’s enterprise relationship management (ERM) platform, your firm can break through these barriers, by working with user behaviors (like constant email presence) to help them harness the power of data without all the busywork.
And when you add on relationship intelligence automation, your team can also take advantage of an aerial view of your total business network—for a big advantage on client retention and business development. To learn how Introhive can help you acquire new business and strengthen existing relationships today, contact me or request a demo.