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Law Firm CRM - Best practices, example reports, and example dashboards

Law Firm CRM - Best practices, example reports, and example dashboards
Law Firm CRM - Best practices, example reports, and example dashboards
Written by
Paul W Carlson, CPA
Published on
Dec 13, 2023

Paul W. Carlson, CPA (00:00):

When we work with law firms to improve their marketing and sales functions, we often find that the CRMs used by the firm have a great deal of room for improvement. So this video is going to walk through the bare minimum functionalities and reports that we expect from a law firm CRM. So this example is done from Pipedrive. It's not a legal-specific CRM. It is fairly simple to use, it's simple to implement, and it does seem to cover all of the basic requirements that we have. So the first requirement we have is, we need to have the Kanban-style lead list. So as leads walk through the process, we just drag them to the right, and we can click them as won or lost as the deals close out.


When we click into a deal, we expect to see a functionality where we can see a history of all the notes and activities that have occurred with the deal, and we want to see the ability to sync all firm email addresses with Pipedrive. So when we receive emails from, all of their emails are automatically synced into the deal. So the initial contact from the client will go into the deal. All the emails that we send to the contact will also be posted.


So what that does is it allows us to easily log in and see the full history of a deal. So that's invaluable when it comes to understanding why we lost deals. We can see the history. We can also go in and see that detail when we've won the deal. So we can pull out all that information from those intake conversations and bring them over into the case management system. Then there's those deals that are stuck. They've been open for two weeks, that we want to click in and see why is this deal stuck. Is it on us, or is there something with a client that's just taken a while to bring in?


Next piece we want to see is some sort of dashboard where we can pull up metrics of number of deals that we've started this month that gives us an indication of, is the sales function and marketing function on progress. We want some reporting of deal conversion. I'm actually going to bring up a bigger version of this. So this is the big aha that's missing from so many CRMs, that this tells us of the deals that closed within this timeframe. So all the deals that were marked as won or lost will now show up on this graph, and this shows us when deals were won or when they were won or lost. So we can see that we had three new leads, but only two were qualified. So that means we lost a deal in the qualification process.


From the consultation complete stage, we only have one client hired. So that means we did a consultation, and a lead decided not to hire us after that stage. So this allows us to see, of those 100 leads that the firm's going to pull in this quarter, where do we lose that work? To make this even more interesting, now we can go in, and because we have lead types on all of our deals, that now we can see that our close rate for client referrals is 100%. We had one client referral for the period and landed the deal. We go to Google Ads, we can see that, oh wow, we have a Google ad, came to the consultation, and did not hire us. I usually see where Google ads don't turn into great clients. So this is invaluable for allowing us to see conversion rates by lead type.


Some firms will have a different pipeline for different divisions within the firm. So there we can see the salesperson for Division A. How are they doing? We can go see how this salesperson for division B is doing. If the firm has multiple salespeople, we can filter this based on the person responsible for the deal to see conversion rates for specific salespeople. So this is a tremendous tool for just understanding that once a lead comes into the firm, what happens to it, and can we identify training opportunities within the firm?


The other piece that seems like it should be much simpler, but it's very difficult, is, every deal or lead that comes into the firm, we want to identify a lead type for that lead. So just the options. This is a pre-built list. So we can identify client referral, returning client, professional referral, some paid advertising options, and then just an unknown option. If a lead is a referral, we want to know the name of the person that provided the referral. So with this level detail, we can track all of this for a couple of months, and we can go back and see how much work or how many new matters did we receive from Avvo leads. We can do that ROI calculation. Once we're starting to track the referral source, we can push this to Excel and do a little bit of subtotals, and we can see the total number of referrals provided by person.


The favorite story that I love to hear when firms turn this on is, they'll do this analysis and they'll find it. They'll have a referral partner that's been sending them just tremendous quantity of leads, and they never really knew it. The person was completely off their radar. They weren't saying really taking care of the relationship or sending thank yous, and they'll just be mortified that, "Wow, this person was being such a great friend of the firm and we had no idea." The inverse is, you can have referral partners that demand a lot of attention, and either they just don't provide a whole lot of leads, or we can also filter this that we can identify. Maybe a referral partner is sending us lots of leads, but we lose all of them. So then we can go back, and maybe we want to change that relationship.


While we're on the idea of referral partners, a lot of firms or we will encourage firms to identify their key referral partners, and we will give them categories of gold for people that we know that are great referral partners, silver for strong referral partners we're not so sure, and maybe we have some prospective referral partners that we're working with them to help start a conversation with the firm that will provide referrals in the future. But from this, we can see how much is the firm interacting with each of these referral partners. So we can see last activity date, last email received. I think it'll give us total email messages. I'm in a sample data, so in a sample file. So a lot of the data is not here, but these numbers would all populate when it's real.


Then the other piece is, we can go back and run these subtotals to see how many won deals we received from a referral partner, and from that, we can start to decide should they be gold or should they be silver. We can start to shift folks around. Then the other piece we can do is we take this filter, so it's the same folks that are identified as referral partners, and we shift them over into this view called the contact timeline. What this does is this lists all of the interactions recorded within the CRM with that referral partner over the last three months. If we had email sync connected to the sample data file, every time we emailed Person O, we'd see a little email folder every time an email was sent and received from that contact. So I have a manual one here just for reference. When we meet with that contact for lunch, we can put a little activity, saying we went for lunch.


A lot of our firms will start to adopt a process where they do a regular touchpoint process, with their clients with their referral partners, so every two or three months they'll have a structured touchpoint. I did this the wrong way, so I want to turn off everything and show the touchpoints. So here we can see that we completed our touchpoint with this contact in October, and we completed a touchpoint with this contact in January. So now we know this person is on track, and then we can check these other contacts and make sure that they're also on track, that we're nurturing that referral relationship. So that's just a quick overview of the basics we're looking for in a law firm's CRM.


Notice that a lot of this conversation is focused on pulling in leads into the firm, making sure we take care of those leads through the sales process, doing a good job with lead attribution and understanding where those leads come from, and then a strong focus on taking care of referral partners. This whole concept is based on the sales function and making sure we're not losing money based on doing a bad job with sales. Pipedrive does not integrate with any case management system. So when you win those deals, you're going to have to manually enter all of the case details into your case management system. Usually, the firms find that it's a whole lot cheaper and less expensive to have someone do that duplicate entry versus the lost revenue because they don't have their sales process under control. All right, thanks. Bye-bye.