CRM consultants come in all shapes and sizes. Big firms, niche players, all with experience in their field and all with a proven methodology. So what should you expect from a good CRM consultant? What would be the best approach to deliver a service that adds value to you and your business? Here is a 7 point guide that may help.
Every business has its own way of thinking and some unique terminology. Your people understand this; there’s a kind of shorthand in play that moves things along nicely. A CRM consultant needs to understand this vocabulary and learn how to relate it to the methods that will be used during the business investigation. This takes a little time and effort at the outset and grows during the course of the assignment. It is vital for effective communication.
Your senior team will have a series of short, medium and long term goals for the business. Horizons they have in their sights. Growth, diversity, innovation, customer experience, customer satisfaction, shareholder value, best place to work. It’s vital that the CRM consultant understands these goals. CRM can deliver efficiencies; make things faster, cheaper, better. In turn this delivers insights and creates more time for your people to become more effective. With a true understanding of the top level goals, your consultant will be able to point the way to these insights and improved effectiveness.
Having said that things can be faster, cheaper, better with CRM, your consultant needs to appreciate the way you go about things. How you engage customers in different markets and in different geographies. What skills your people need to deliver great customer experience and greater efficiencies.
Some time ago Harvard Business Review (HBR) published ‘CRM Done Right’. The research identified that you don’t need perfect data for effective CRM – but you do need key information that helps people understand your markets, your customers, and helps deliver insights that support decisions. Data driven improvements that lead you towards your goals.
There are hundreds of CRM, marketing automation, sales and customer service tools out there. Market leaders, low cost tools, niche applications, line-of-business specialisations. Selecting the best tech to match your business has two aspects: (1) good software and (2) a relevant implementation partner. Using a scorecard is often the best way to determine what looks best for your business. The scorecard weighting should be biased towards the relevance of the implementation partner over the software function, because the key to success is in the way CRM is deployed, not in the software per se. A scorecard can be a major asset within the 7 things you expect from a good CRM consultant.
Best fit should be a collaborative assessment between the consultant and your team, not a directive. This is always the case because the relationship with the implementation partner will be an important factor in delivering success, as stated above. Moreover, the gap analysis must show how data migration will take place from old to new – always bearing in mind the relevance of the HBR check on ‘perfect data’. Don’t be tempted to take it all as a default position. Best advice is often to create a staging platform and clean data thoroughly before it goes into the new system.
And finally, the best plan is not a boilerplate exercise. There’s no one-size-fits-all. The priorities for your business, and the nuances of engaging your teams in a transformation from old to new, will determine your best way forward. The consultant should be looking for quick wins. Deliver something tangible as quickly as possible. Show a return from all the effort required to improve your CRM culture as soon as possible. Then your people will see some gain and work with you to deliver the top levels goals of your business.
If you would like to find out more about the 7 things you should expect from good CRM consultants, please get in touch.
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