Choosing the right CRM consultant for your needs can be tricky. What should you look for?
Sales, customer support and business experience
CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems today are much more than just a sales tool to manage your leads, opportunities and pipeline. A good CRM will also allow integration of customer support and marketing activities. CRM should help you grow your business with better sales planning and customer support. So why would you hire a CRM consultant with essentially an IT background? A seasoned business entrepreneur who has grown a business can often give more complete advice. The CRM system is just a tool, fitting it to your business is the real secret sauce. Look for someone who can understand your business and how a CRM can help achieve your goals.
Understand your pain points and challenges
Growing a business always comes with pain points and challenges. The right business CRM consultant will make sure he listens and understands your business objectives & realities. This should be the starting point. Be wary of the consultant who jumps into a nice flashy demo of a specific CRM with all the bells and whistles.
Bigger is not necessarily better
Doing business with a large consulting firm can appear to be more comforting and a safer bet. We believe that unless your business is a large multinational, choosing a large firm is often a mistake. Large firms will excel in mandates requiring large teams implementing a CRM across continents and guaranteeing 24/7 support. In most other cases, a smaller firm can provide better customer intimacy and direct access to senior partners instead of less-experienced junior staffers often assigned by larger firms. Remember, it’s all about the business experience of the consultant assigned to your account.
What about offshoring?
Offshoring can be tempting with lower hourly costs and sometimes quicker access to specific skills. But having experienced it first hand, it is not without challenges and may not be a good fit for many projects. Communication is more difficult for obvious reasons and you often have less control over who is doing the work. Delays are not uncommon, as it is difficult to direct a project with people in different time zones and who may not understand your business environment. So for any CRM project, be sure to ask who is doing what and where.
Development, Support and training capabilities
Ensure your CRM consultant has the necessary development capabilities. For example, for a successful Salesforce implementation, the Salesforce Partner should have certified Salesforce developers. And implementing your CRM is just the start. Remember to make sure your CRM consultant offers training and on-going support.
Transparency and neutrality
Make sure you ask your consultant if they will receive a commission from the CRM vendor they are recommending. If they do receive a commission, maybe question their neutrality in the process. Transparency is also important. We at Soljit are a proud Salesforce partner and although we often recommend Salesforce to our clients, we don’t do this systematically. We always take the time to listen and to understand our clients needs before recommending a specific CRM and the customization required.
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Author: Louis-Nicolas Hamer