A few years ago, I was asked to conduct a workshop on the four stages of building a business case for Client Relationship Management (CRM) software and strategy at a professional services organization. I have been involved with doing so as an in-house law firm CMO as well as from the outside as an expert on building high performance sales teams. I also wrote a series of short articles to support the needs of business development experts inside firms trying to enable collaboration and teamwork with the use of powerful technology.

The lessons remain the same whether or not you are launching your first CRM initiative or still waiting to get results from the one you started years ago:

  1. CRM systems benefit the CLIENT when used properly.
  2. CRM is a tool to facilitate communication, collaboration, and team based business development.
  3. CRM does not create strategy. It enables it.

This is article one of this series.

The need for CRM will be defined by what the firm needs to do versus what it is presently capable of doing. This execution gap is what will motivate the firm to take action. The savvy business professional will also frame it in such a way that the primary stakeholder that benefits is the CLIENT.