So here’s a math problem: how much value does a 7-figure CRM
with less than 50% clean data have to a law firm? Does a CRM with 100% clean data
have 100% of its value? Yes.
So does a CRM with 50% clean data have 50% of its value? No.
The real value is closer to 0.
It’s all about trust – how do you know which contacts are
valid and which aren’t If you know that a significant percentage of contacts
are dirty, this taints the entire CRM.
How much does it cost to clean up all that dirty data?
It takes 6 minutes, on average, to clean up a CRM contact.
The speed with which a contact can be cleaned depends on a variety of factors,
including degree of familiarity with a contact, whether or not additional
research (LinkedIn, etc) is required, or whether it’s necessary to reach out to
one or more people to validate a contact.
So here’s the good news: it would only take 8 full time data
stewards to clean up all the dirty data for a 1,000-professional firm’s CRM.
But here’s the bad news: this assumes you can identify all
the dirty data, which you can’t. It would actually take dozens of data stewards
to identify all the out-of-date contacts and clean them up.
The problem is compounded because contacts are fouled at the
source. For CRMs sourced from individual address books, there is no way to know
whether those contacts are 5 minutes old – or 5 years.
Einstein summed it up in one of his lesser-known equations:
garbage in = garbage out.
So what are the options? There are two bad options + one
- Hire an army
of data stewards – for an Am Law 50 firm, 30-40 should be sufficient
- Get rid of
your CRM – undesirable
A growing number of Am Law 100 firms are pursuing a third
option, using email signature contacts, harvested from incoming firm emails, as
a high-confidence benchmark to compare against their CRM content. The concept
is simple, though the driving technology is considerably more sophisticated.
The idea is this: email signature contacts are accurate as of the time they are
captured. By comparing these fresh contacts against CRM content, it’s easy to
identify and update out-of-date information.
The results are surprising. A 500-attorney law firm turned
in the following results in its first 3-months: