As the year draws to a close and the festive season brings new networking opportunities, it’s an ideal moment to reflect on the importance of contact and relationship management, especially for new attorneys joining a firm. This period is a crucial time for focusing on marketing and business development, leveraging the season’s spirit of connection and reflection.
Despite the assumption that lawyers naturally excel in relationship management, our experience as CRM success consultants tells a different story.
We’ve trained thousands of attorneys, revealing diverse and often unstructured approaches to contact management. From reliance on mobile devices and emails to the use of platforms like LinkedIn, attorneys today manage their contacts in various ways, often outside centralized systems.
Seasonal Shifts in Contact Management
The shift in contact management practices isn’t solely a generational trend. Seasoned attorneys are also adopting diverse methods, influenced by:
- The necessity to access contacts on mobile devices due to increased out-of-office work.
- The ease of searching for contacts online, reducing the need for traditional address books.
- The convenience of LinkedIn and similar platforms for expanding professional networks.
- Email signature-based software for contact creation, streamlining the process.
- The time constraints of attorneys, where non-billable activities like contact entry are deprioritized.
The Importance of Effective Contact Management Regardless of the varied methods, the challenge for law firms remains: maintaining a centralized, accurate and complete contact database is vital for effective marketing and business development. This centralized approach also addresses security concerns of having contact information outside firm-approved systems.
To tackle this challenge, firms must first understand the extent of the issue, analyzing which attorneys actively share contacts in the CRM system. Solutions may vary, from targeting just a few younger associates to addressing a broader group.
Changing behavior is the bigger challenge, requiring a demonstration of tangible personal benefits, not just advantages for the firm. Lawyers must be convinced that formal contact management offers substantial personal and professional benefits.
Year-End Tips for Contact Management
In the spirit of year-end reflection and preparation for fresh starts, here are 10 top tips for effective contact management:
- View contact management as an investment: Contacts are assets and investing time in them can yield future benefits.
- Cherish your relationships: They are key contributors to an attorney’s career success.
- Ensure complete contact information: Missing details can hinder effective communication.
- Regularly update contact info: With contact information changing frequently, staying current is essential.
- Streamline the process: Delegate or automate updates, but make sure they happen.
- Record notes and activities: This helps in recalling important discussions and dates.
- Maintain consistent communication: Share updates, information and invites with your contacts.
- Set reminders for follow-ups: Regular contact helps in maintaining and strengthening connections.
- Embrace technology: Utilize various systems and tools for efficient contact management.
- Start now: It’s never too late to focus on one of the most crucial aspects of your career – your relationships.
Effective communication and training are key to imparting the importance of these practices. Regular outreach and instruction, particularly for new associates and lateral hires, can emphasize the long-term value of centralized contact management. Once attorneys realize the ease and benefits of efficient contact management, most are likely to embrace these practices, especially during this reflective holiday season.