A number of questions occurred to me as I sat through the Dreamforce sessions, mostly based on my experience working with clients or at law firms.

  1. How does all of this advanced sales type information relate to law firms?

Well, I don’t think it does. Lawyers refuse to think of themselves as salespeople or to think of their services as something to sell, even though being a rainmaker is clearly a salesperson and their services are something for which they want to get paid. From the little I know about Salesforce products, I believe they could be used in a law firm. Knowing each touch a client receives would give the partner for the client a good sense of how the client is being treated. If the partner has clients without any ‘touches’ for a period of time, then s/he would know to find something to send to the client to remind the client how valuable they are to the firm. This is where library staff could assist.

2. Are legal services disconnected episodic events? If so, how does that relate to the relationship based aspect of selling legal services?

If a client is involved in an ongoing legal matter, s/he will have more contact with lawyers than s/he would like. However, for other legal services, such as estate planning, they may be one time or disconnected episodic events. Years might go by before a change in a will or trust needs to be made. Still, the law firm should want to let the client know s/he is important. If the law firm or partner relies on anecdotal information, it is harder to keep in touch. Lawyers are busy and can easily forget a happy client. The law firm should want their client to get to the ‘Advocate’ section of the customer journey.

3. Is the cloud aspect of Salesforce a problem for law firms?

Most law firms are lax about security, don’t read license agreements carefully and don’t require users to change their passwords frequently. In light of that, probably not, but for some law firms the cloud is a problem as companies providing the cloud services allow themselves to share information, via their license agreements, with others.

4. Is the customer/client at the center of law firm transactions?

Most of the speakers at Dreamforce talked about how the customer was at the center of all transactions at Salesforce. Most of the Salesforce executives who spoke reiterated their commitment to customer happiness. I don’t think the same is true at law firms. I think the partners’ money is at the center of law firm transactions. I don’t think money is a bad thing in commercial enterprises (you wouldn’t be reading this if I did), but I do think that happy customers bring in more money.