Is CRM for my Practice?

By May 31, 2011articles

If you are serious about customer service and the resulting benefits in growth, then you need a firm wide plan in managing your customer relationships.  The growing accountancy firms have, and are still investing in CRM systems.  This investment involves much more than buying the software, it’s about maintaining and developing the system for the growth of the practice.

Talk to Your Clients

In order to create good rapport and long term business relationships, plan for you and your partners to talk to your top 100 clients more frequently.  Consider one more means of communication each year than you do already, the aim is to truly understand more about their business.  What’s the result? More business from existing clients.

Should I use a CRM system for this?

Yes, this simple process can be tracked, recorded and reported on for increased business.  It is therefore a very easy first step to buying in the senior management to a new system, whilst demonstrating maximum ROI.

The biggest mistake we find from accountants is that they try to do too much too soon and therefore lose the buy in, which results in poor ROI.  Introduce a CRM system in small chunks across the business and start where the ROI is easiest (your clients!)

New Business, Engagement and CRM

Why do new clients join the faster growing practices?

They:-
• Create momentum in the marketplace through maximum engagement
• Offer great service to clients
• Actively market to referrers
• Actively market to prospects

These means of engagement will be processes through a whole host of communication channels from telephone, events, referrals, mailings, email and social media.  All of which can be maintained on the CRM.

Talk to your Prospects

Have your partners focus on the top 100 prospects, and begin to encourage them to use the CRM. Use the system to report on quantity of meetings, prospects you expect to become clients (the pipeline) and include this as a section in your partners meetings (which has developed into a sales meeting). A bit of competition between partners soon delivers results!

From this stage you can increase your level of engagement.  Remember a FD of a FTSE company will see branding from a Top 4 firm 100s of time a year, how often will your prospects see your name? Good data means it is easy to communicate with your prospects through telephone marketing, events, emails and mailings.

A CRM is only as Good as the Hand that Feeds it

The biggest mistake here is not keeping an up to date database on your prospects, contacts and communication within. Information is readily passed around from marketing, secretaries and partners, with no clear path. Accountants like rules, so make them around managing your prospects data, including reviewing it on a regular basis.

Our clients now use us to feed and maintain their data for their CRM systems (often for their clients as well).

Summary

• To be serious about growth with clients and prospects you will need a CRM system.
• Implement it in small steps where you will maximise your ROI with senior users.
• Use experts to help you feed and maintain your data on the CRM system to generate the opportunity for maximum engagement with prospects.

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