70% of law firms use a CRM system, according to a recent study. But despite widespread market penetration, CRM systems are primarily used by the marketing and business development departments, with utilization rates as low as 5% among lawyers.
Why is this the case? And more importantly, how can law firms address this problem given the increasing need for lawyers to engage in business development?
Why CRM Doesn’t Work for Lawyers
While CRM systems have advantages, like the ability to send newsletters, mass emails and centralize information, they also have their fair share of disadvantages. These disadvantages contribute to low utilization rates among lawyers.
CRM for law firms requires sufficient training to ensure everyone understands how to use the system. Unfortunately, many CRM systems are complex and require excessive data entry. For a lawyer who is already pressured for time, this can prove problematic. As such, many lawyers avoid the learning curve altogether, which contributes to low utilization rates.
Dealing with Inertia
It’s no secret that lawyers don't like change. For most of their careers, they focused solely on practicing law, without worrying about growing the business pipeline. They also neglected tools and systems that support business development, like CRM. As such, many lawyers are reluctant to change how they work, which is only reinforced by the complexity of many CRM systems.
Lack of Accountability
A recent study found that at 86% of law firms, lawyers face little accountability for using CRM. When marketing departments are under-staffed and spread thin, as they so often are, trying to get lawyers to use CRM for pipeline managementis just one more of myriad tasks that seems to barely move the needle. It’s no wonder marketers can’t find the time to hold lawyers’ hands through CRM trainings.
The Writing’s on the Wall
The message is clear: CRM is not an effective pipeline management tool for lawyers. While undoubtedly useful for marketing purposes, most CRM platforms are ill-equipped and overly complicated for managing lawyer pipelines easily.
To combat this problem, law firms are resorting to simpler business development tools that require less data entry, time, and effort on the part of their lawyers.
For more information on the state of CRM in law firms and technology alternatives that work for lawyers, download our guide.