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  • January 18, 2018 3:21 PM | Kirsten Lovett (Administrator)

    By David Whiteside, Director of Client Growth & Success at CLIENTSFirst

    Are there correlations between CRM and Taxes?

    When we see so many firms struggling with CRM “adoption” it creates a question: Is it possible that the professionals in your firm view your CRM system as a tax? Like a tax, CRM benefits the firm and others, but not them?

    The most common frustration heard when rolling out a CRM – my users just won’t adopt and use it! The initial tendency is to blame the users as being stubborn, obstinate and unwilling to “change”. But the real question is WHY are they unwilling to change? Could it be your CRM is viewed as a “Tax” on the user?

    A few Tax Factoids:

    • Any tax tends to depress the activity being taxed (i.e. income taxes directly affect the number of employees that can be hired).
    • Taxes are frequently used to affect behavior (i.e., ‘sin’ taxes on cigarettes and alcohol).
    • Tax breaks or credits are often viewed as benefiting a select few while they result in higher taxes for everyone else.

    About everything from our paycheck to our gas tank has some type of tax on it.  The reason for this dislike of paying taxes is simple. Rarely does anyone feel they received benefits from their tax dollars equivalent to the taxes they paid into the system. My tax dollars benefit others more than me. Human nature at work - we just don’t like to pay for things when we don't see any value or personal return (aka, WIIFM: What’s in it for me!).

    Let’s do a quick “Tax Audit” of Your CRM:



    Viewed as a burden

    Viewed as a burden

    Viewed as good for Uncle Sam?

    Viewed as good for “the firm” or Marketing Department?

    Viewed as paying an unfair share – benefits others more than me

    Viewed as paying an unfair share (lost billable hours)

    Goal of individual is to legally minimize their share of taxes

    Goal of individual is to legally minimize their share of the CRM Tax?

    Failure to comply has serious penalties

    Failure to comply has serious penalties?  Failure to comply has no penalty?

    Full compliance has no tangible reward(s)?

    Ultimate benefit to the individual hard to measure and often perceived as a negative benefit relative to the amount of tax paid

    Ultimate benefit to the individual hard to measure and often perceived as a negative benefit relative to the amount of tax paid

    Fail the Audit? You are not alone.

    With a little introspection, you may find users simply don’t see any WIIFM, and your CRM system is viewed as a “Tax” on the users. Like most of us that means we see the benefits flowing to Uncle Sam and “those less fortunate”, and not a “tax break” that provides benefit to me.

    How Do We Change the “Taxation” view of CRM?

    Success lies in three areas:

    1. Understanding your firm’s unique culture and the limitations, strengths and challenges your culture creates.
    2. Once you understand the firm culture and challenges, you can now have realistic goals of what you want CRM to do. What does success look like?
    3. An effective rollout plan that communicates effectively to the culture, and trains users on not just how to operate the system, but how the system specifically benefits each unique individual.  

    Notice “Culture” was mentioned in all three. You have likely heard the saying from famous management guru Peter Drucker, “Culture Eats Strategy for Lunch Every day”. This is especially true where the value to users is not obvious and in demand. Relative to document management and time & billing systems, CRM systems rarely have a high demand from attorneys and CRM deployments can be the firm poster child for challenges in getting user adoption.

    Defining WHY and for WHOM we need CRM:

    I often see charters and business cases with a list of desired benefits that look like this list below:

    1. Better client relationships. ... 
    2. Less client attrition….
    3. Improved ability to cross-sell. ... 
    4. Increased revenue and profitability. ... 
    5. Increased team collaboration. ... 
    6. Improved efficiency in serving clients. ... 
    7. Greater staff satisfaction. ... 
    8. Cost savings. ... 

    These are all worthy objectives on which to build a business case – but none of them contain a WHY and a WHO? Why are each of these important? And to whom are they important?

    The WHY and the WHO are important because they define who is the customer? Are you focusing benefits on the lawyers? Their clients? The firm? Or the Marketing Department? Who cares about these items being improved? What benefit will they gain by having them improved? Do they see the need? Or are you selling to a prospect without a perceived need? Is it worth the cost to the “customer” in money, time and effort?

    Making the “System” Deliver the WHO and WHY Benefits to the “Customer”.

    To get the adoption you are looking for here are some suggestions.

    • Set up meetings with key stakeholders. Interview them for their feelings and perceptions of the business case issues you have created. Do they agree these are problems important to solve? How do they see themselves benefiting from solving these problems? Collect feedback and assess findings. Does the feedback and the user’s perceptions of what they need/want strongly or generally agree and support the business case? Disagree? Hear any new desired benefits? Look for consistent responses as well as outlier responses. One to really pay attention to is the sensitivity to “privacy”. This often manifests through comments about “my clients” and any comments showing reluctance to share contacts and information. This is often the number one culture hurdle that will challenge success. Don’t assume it will change or go away. Develop the CRM plan knowing it exists. This culture risk mandates a “pilot” program that includes testing the culture’s willingness about sharing.
    • Using your stakeholder interview findings, define what is important to each user group and each individual user. This will determine what functionality will be accepted and adopted (target three to start), be the basis for the “Communication Plan” messaging, and how to focus the “Training Plan”. Be certain they are designed to meet the unique needs of each user.
    • The technical functionality of a CRM system comes factory installed. The challenge is they come factory installed with way more features and functions than any one firm can ever use, more than any user can be trained on and rarely configured in an optimal way to support your unique workflows. A good rule of thumb is let’s start by focusing on the top three requirements that will really move the needle. The top three vary by firm and even by practice and possibly individual users within a firm. The more tightly you can identify the top three and why they are important to each user or group, the more adoption you can expect. Configure, communicate and train on these three. You can add more features and functionality over time. But important to walk before we run.
    • Communication Plan - are we communicating individual WIIFM benefits? Is it specific? Or is the message closer to “Tax man is here”?
    • Training - Be prepared to train every lawyer right at their desk as the WIIFM adoption battle is often won one lawyer at a time. Video training may work for Marketing team or as a primer. Group sessions as primers for attorneys can work (be sure to have food!). But real adoption only happens when lawyers are trained deskside on what is specific to them. Depending on the system plan 15-30 minutes. Sound like a big effort? It is, and is critical to success.
    • The last point is CRM is not a project that now ends. It is a fundamental change in how the firm does business. Plan on the communication, training and data quality effort to continue forever.

    Data Quality:

    The last key to success is high quality data. Data is the oxygen that keeps your system alive. If a user perceives the data is bad, they will quickly make the leap that the system is bad, cannot be trusted and no point using it. All other effort can go down the drain if the Data Quality is perceived as poor. Make a commitment to keeping data clean and up to date. It costs money, time and resources to have good data. Finding and training high quality data professionals is much harder than it might seem. But the investment is critical and worth it.

    You can get there – but let’s not be a tax on our users. Let’s focus on passing the WIIFM audit.

    About the Author:

    Dave Whiteside is Director of Client Growth & Success at CLIENTSFirst.

    Dave’s focus is helping the company grow and expand its CRMData QualityeMarketing and Client Intelligence service offerings, and building alliances that help deliver additional value to Clients.

  • January 15, 2018 9:06 PM | Kirsten Lovett (Administrator)


    Submit your nomination now for the 2018 LSSO Sales & Service Awards

    Deadline Thursday, February 15, 2018

    We're less than a month out from the deadline to submit for the LSSO Sales & Service Awards! The awards salute the efforts and results of individuals and teams who have spearheaded initiatives contributing to law firm revenue growth. 

    If you or someone you know has demonstrated innovative techniques in retaining or growing firm revenue, submit a nomination on or before February 15, 2018 in one or more of the following categories:

    Sales & Service Executive of the Year – This award goes to a leader who played a crucial role in retaining clients and/or growing firm revenues in 2017. 

    Sales & Service Team of the Year – This award goes to a team who played a crucial role in retaining or growing firm revenue in 2017.  

    Sales & Marketing Collaboration Team of the Year – This award goes to the sales/business development and marketing/communications team who collaborated to retain or grow firm revenue. 

    Awards will be presented by Berbay Marketing & PR​ at the 15th Annual RainDance Conference June 6-7 , 2018in Chicago. Click below to learn more and submit a nomination.

    Submit Now

    Questions? Contact

    Beth Miller


    Thank you to our sponsor, Berbay Marketing & PR. Founded in 1995, Berbay Marketing & PR is a marketing and public relations firm specializing in fueling law firms' revenue growth. Follow Berbay on TwitterFacebookLinkedIn and Instagram.

  • January 09, 2018 7:07 AM | Kirsten Lovett (Administrator)







    The 25th Annual Marketing Partner Forum
    January 24-26, 2018

    EVENT LOCATION: Terranea Resort, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
    PRICE: $2695

    "It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly, one begins to twist the facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts." - Sherlock Holmes

    Intelligent business requires business intelligence in all its myriad forms. Indeed, in an industry where failure and success seem to pivot upon the razor's edge, the ability to make fearless and informed decisions is a fundamental step for securing (or maintaining) new business.

    This month, the Thomson Reuters Legal Executive Institute proudly presents the Silver Anniversary of Marketing Partner Forum featuring interactive workshops, breakouts, panel discussions and more on the evolving synergy between business intelligence and revenue strategy.

    Register today to join an elite faculty of peers and clients at one of California's most charming resorts.

    NEW this year is a solo and small law firm track containing sessions designed specifically for firms with 10-15 partners or less!

    Less than 10 seats remain!


    Register today and take advantage of our special 20% discount for LSSO members valid until January 17, 2018. Enter LEXMPF18
    at checkout.




  • January 04, 2018 1:03 PM | Kirsten Lovett (Administrator)

    Become a Master Coach with our Certification Program 

    Coaching is becoming a profession within the legal profession.  Learning to become a business development coach or to refine your coaching skills to help lawyers reach their full potential for developing business is a great career opportunity. Through Legal Sales and Service Organization's (LSSO) partnership with LawVision, we bring our attendees and members unparalleled opportunity for advancing their careers as business development coaches. Further, our coaching certification will provide you with the training, tools, and credentials to coach lawyers at all skill levels. 

    LSSO's Coaching Certification program is delivered through classroom instruction by sales and coaching experts, accompanied by in house coaches who will provide case studies and examples of the day-to-day challenges and opportunities they face and discuss the methods for meeting those challenges and leveraging opportunities. Onsite programming, a live coaching session and one class follow-on webinar will complete your certification.

    Register Here - Early Bird Discount Now Available


    Silvia L. Coulter, LSSO Co-Founder and Principal, LawVision Group

    Jim Cranston, Principal, LawVision Group

    Location: Goulston & Storrs, 1st Floor Conference Center, 1999 K Street, NW, Washington, DC

    Dates: March 8 & 9, 2018

    Registration: Early Rates Available - click here

  • December 27, 2017 10:58 AM | Kirsten Lovett (Administrator)

    Ballard Spahr is hiring a Marketing Technology Manager and Marketing Specialist. See the job postings on LSSO's job bank:

  • December 18, 2017 8:49 PM | Kirsten Lovett (Administrator)

    Register for LSSO's RainDance 2018 Conference before January 1, 2018 and receive an extra $25 off the early registration rates.

    RainDance 2018

    June 6 - 7, 2018

    Chicago, IL

  • December 07, 2017 9:20 AM | Kirsten Lovett (Administrator)

    Legal Sales and Service Organization Announces Call for Entries for 2018 Sales & Service Awards

    February 15 Deadline in Three Competition Categories


    Boston, MA – The Legal Sales and Service Organization (LSSO) and Berbay Marketing & PR invite sales, business development and marketing professionals in the legal industry to submit entries for the 2018 Sales & Service Awards. The awards salute the efforts and results of individuals and teams who have spearheaded initiatives contributing to law firm revenue growth. Winners will be announced at LSSO’s 15th Annual RainDance Conference June 6-7, 2018 in Chicago, IL.

    Nominations must be submitted on or before February 15, 2018 in one or more of the following categories:

    • Sales & Service Executive of the Year: This award goes to a leader who played a crucial role in retaining clients and/or growing firm revenues in 2017. Nominate an Executive of the Year

    More information on categories and submission guidelines can be found at or by contacting Beth Miller at 850.294.8464 or Follow conference and award updates on Twitter: and hashtag: #LSSO2018


    About LSSO

    Launched in 2003, LSSO delivers the education and resources that lawyers and those who work with them need to improve their sales and client service skills with exclusive research, and tools and information for members only. LSSO supplies the legal marketplace with innovative, groundbreaking events and resources, including the annual RainDance Conference and LSSO's Process Improvement Certification Programs. Follow LSSO on Twitter and LinkedIn.

    About Berbay Marketing & PR

    Founded in 1995, Berbay Marketing & PR is a marketing and public relations firm specializing in fueling law firms’ revenue growth.  Follow Berbay on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.


  • November 20, 2017 1:06 PM | Kirsten Lovett (Administrator)

    By Simone Hughes is the Chief Marketing Officer at Field Law

    The most effective and influential leaders are those who inspire people to feel empowered and align their thoughts, creativity and actions to the expressed goals and objectives of the firm.

    There is a lot of supporting research on the power and ‘how to’ of empowerment. Here are my top three things great leaders do to empower people and drive exponential change and value in a firm:

    • Contextualize the firm’s vision.  People need to understand why they are doing things and how their activities are going to contribute to the overall accomplishment of the vision. Sure you can order people around, but not everything is always known. When people know the ultimate goal, they can improvise and make their own decisions by being able to screen them against desired outcomes.
    • Give people the tools and training they need. Supporting people with the right tools, onboarding, training, coaching and mentorship to develop themselves and their teams is an investment that pays off by increasing: skills, loyalty and engaged productivity. There are few life-long jobs anymore and so a firm’s competitive advantage is the retention of their top talent. If leaders and managers don’t provide a learning, career-friendly workplace, good people will leave for firms that do.
    • Create a supportive, positive and rewarding workplace. People respond to a leader that listens, has their back and creates a workspace that values taking calculated risks. Our world is changing so quickly, leaders need to trust their people to take action. Calculated risks that result in unanticipated results need to be considered learning instead of failures. Recognizing firm-aligned work effort is essential.

    Leaders in legal need to spend more time on empowering people. It is especially difficult as most firms do not have deep human resources support nor value this aspect of running a business. It takes a lot of time to lead people and manage their progress. But the investment will outweigh the effort over time.

    About the Author

    Simone Hughes is the Chief Marketing Officer at Field Law and a member of LSSO's Editorial Board. She leads the integrated marketing, business development, brand and public relations functions to support the firm's strategic priorities of professional excellence and client service.  

  • November 20, 2017 12:55 PM | Kirsten Lovett (Administrator)

    By John O. Cunningham is the chair of LSSO's Editorial Board and Freelance Writer, Editor and Marketing/Communications Consultant

    History offers an abundant number of illustrations of leaders who used crisis or failure as an opportunity for positive change and growth. Consider just three examples:

    1. After the Great Depression, Franklin Roosevelt pushed for creation of the Securities Exchange Commission and Securities Acts that empowered regulators to clean up stock market fraud and mandate full and timely disclosures to investors. The intense study of the collapse also paved the way for greater understanding of the economic effects of monetary policy, tax policy and government subsidies.
    2. The leaders at IBM have successfully reinvented the company a number of times over the years, dating back to the 19th century, when its primary products were punch cards and time-keeping systems. Each time that leaders of the company charted a new course to maintain IBM’s relevance and its position of industrial leadership, the change was catalyzed by the dwindling utility and profitability of a prior generation of products or services. Thus, IBM has brought us over the years magnetic storage tape, electronic typewriters, digital calculators, data processing machines, hard disk drives, mainframes, super-computers, and now quantum computing and artificial intelligence.
    3. When Teddy Roosevelt lost his mother and wife within a period of 24 hours in 1884, he wrote in his diary that “the light has gone out of my life.” He then went west to the Badlands, became a Dakota cowboy, and eventually led efforts to organize ranchers’ efforts stop overgrazing and other practices that hurt the land they depended upon. His work resulted in the formation of the Little Missouri Stockmen’s Association. He was also compelled to coordinate conservation efforts and was able to form the Boone and Crocket Club, whose primary goal was the conservation of large game animals and their habitats. After a bad winter wiped out his herd of cattle, Roosevelt returned to the East with a renewed vigor and a sense of public purpose that eventually vaulted him to the presidency in 1901.

    It makes sense that governments, commercial enterprises, and individuals take their greatest leaps forward after crisis or failure. That is when we are most receptive to challenging what we have known, when we are most open to learning from others, and most convinced that the old ways and familiar places cannot be relied upon forever. Inertia is the tendency of a body at rest to stay at rest, and forward motion often takes a catalyst which rudely tells us that we’re doing isn’t working.

    For law firms, the last recession and the increasing competition from in-house law departments, contract lawyers, technology providers, accounting firms and non-traditional outsourcing have all provided a rude and disruptive spur to competitive and collaborative innovation.

    For those firms who are taking new approaches and adopting new methods and tools to deliver legal services that are faster, more relevant, and more cost-effective, there is a great story to tell… and a great opportunity for a leap forward. For those who are still pining for the good old days, there’s not much of a future.

    About the Author

    John O. Cunningham is the chair of LSSO's Editorial Board and Freelance Writer, Editor and Marketing/Communications Consultant. You can read more of John's articles on his blog.

  • October 23, 2017 10:37 AM | Kirsten Lovett (Administrator)

    Thank you to all the RainDance attendees and LSSO members who responded to the 2017 Law Firm Marketing and Business Development Survey conducted by LexisNexis in conjunction with Catapult Growth partners.

    You may access a copy of the survey results here.

    The survey questioned law firms about increasing pressures in the marketplace and what they were doing to set themselves apart from their competition. During March-June 2017, 160 legal marketing and business development leaders, including 40 Am Law 100 Chief Marketing Officers / Chief Business Development Officers (“C-Levels”) were surveyed about their marketing and business development structures, strategies, tactics, measurements and more.  This year’s results prove that the leading marketing and business development departments are seeing the opportunity to be agents of change and are helping their firms chart new paths to improve strategy execution, differentiate, and thrive.

    Survey Results

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