A CRM Consultant does more than help you and your company choose the right customer relationship management solution for your business. They can work with you to create effective systems and processes, help train your staff on the new system, and advise on best practices for future growth. Choosing the right consultant can make a substantial difference in your productivity and bottom line. Before you hire a consultant it’s important to make a few key preparations to support the conversation.
#1 What Are Your Existing CRM Problems?
Take a look at the system or systems you’re currently using to manage customers and evaluate them. What’s working for you? What isn’t working and what needs improvement? Understanding your existing problems will help you choose a consultant who is capable of solving them. It’ll also help any consultant you hire understand exactly what your company needs in terms of CRM technology and processes; and how to implement them.
#2 Create a Project Initiative
As if you’re creating an initial project description, outline what you want your consultant to achieve. What are your expectations regarding deliverables, deadlines, success criteria and timeframes, and even reporting structure? How does the consultant fit within the project team and/or steering committee? How are final decisions made? Plan your CRM project so you can identify the right person/s or services to fulfill your needs and expectations.
#3 Establish Quantative Goals
Identify exactly what you want your consultant to achieve. When you’re communicating with potential consultants you can discuss the deliverables and make sure they’re confident they can achieve the objectives.
Once you’ve identified your problems and goals and you’ve created an initiative, it’s likely time to start communicating with potential providers. Identify a few top service providers and begin the communication and comparison phase. Here are a few questions to ask your potential CRM consultants:
Do They Have A Relationship With A Specific CRM Publisher or Provider?
While you may think that this limits your potential solutions, if a particular solution is the right one for your organization then such a relationship can be a benefit. If the CRM consultant is partnered with a solution manufacturer, they have invested in the expertise to apply the technology to solve business problems; and are intimate with the supporting vendor organization. They may be able to provide insight to the future development and how it may affect your business. On the other hand, a consultant with only one tool in their bag will almost always prescribe that one solution for every problem.
Do They Have Experience With Companies Like Yours?
In addition to being familiar with your industry’s best practices, it’s helpful when a consultant is capable of consulting with an organization of your size. The outside experience a consultant brings will avoid reinventing the wheel when solving problems.
What Level Of Ongoing Service Will You Receive?
In addition to advising your business on which solution is the best choice, they can also help you grow with your chosen solution. Your business will change and evolve over time. Therefore CRM is rarely ever one and done. Leverage your consultant to create a discipline of continuous improvement with you how sell and service your customers.
How Closely Will The Consultants Work With You?
Does the consultant offer training? Will they work with your team to customize the system so that it best meets your needs? Understand their best practices approach but flex it to fit your culture and methods. Will they return to perform additional trainings as your business grows and changes? Will they help you assess your systems to ensure you’re maximizing the CRM solution?
Finally, judge any potential consultant not only on their offerings but also on their reputation. Do they have a solid standing as a provider who follows through? Finding CRM consulting services isn’t difficult, as they are abundant. However finding the right consultant for your specific needs can be a challenge.