In the past with On-premise software installations, there was an absolute need for expert consultants who were able to install and configure the software and ensure other applications, such as Word and Outlook all worked together, liaising with IT over the upgrades and enhancements.
But in today’s world of Cloud Based CRM systems, which are always available and ready to go, the question is “do you still really need CRM Consultants”?
Well, my view of course is Yes!
Let’s add a caveat here; “Nearly always it is yes”. However, this depends on the system, your functional requirements and integrations, plus the number of users and past CRM experience.
But as a general rule, the more complex the projects, the newer to CRM your users are and the more functionality required, you should be using CRM consultants.
A consultant can help with a successful adoption in a number of ways:-
Business Process Understanding
The reasons for introducing a system may be clear and whilst you may have internal IT itching to do some customisations and some low level changes. What they are unlikely to be is experts in Sales and Marketing Alignment and Processes as well as how these are implemented into your system.
CRM consultants understand the business processes involved and that cloud based systems are not just adding a few custom fields here and there. A good consultant helps you to understand the overall process and the business requirements and objectives behind any deployment.
This is why a CRM Cloud Migration Workshop can be so useful. There is sometimes a tendency for internal IT to focus on field customisations and they are not usually able to appreciate the various interactions and processes between sales, marketing and customer service departments.
That said, for some deployments using internal IT may be adequate, but for larger projects you need to consider using external consultancy. My best analogy here is that just because you are technically minded, you may not be able to fully service your car and you may not have the technical skillsets, toolkit and importantly the time to learn this in the timescale required.
Where IT have been initially involved in an evaluation or software trial we frequently find a tendency to add fields to ‘customise’ the system, but that much time may be etter spent on learning and asking questions. For many clients the key is in the User experience and how to do their job better, quicker and more effectively…
When researching successful CRM deployments, User Adoption and Ownership of data is stressed. Customer Relationship Management is not just about a choice of software but also about adopting a culture and which most Sales and Marketing teams nowadays fully embrace.
The biggest reasons for failure are the lack of enthusiasm and understanding from Users. High quality training delivered by experienced expert trainers can reap dividends in engendering understanding and enthusiasm in your Users. Our Trainers can help in channelling ideas to improve the system and recognising good ideas for future development.
This element can range from simply integrating with applications such as Word and Outlook through to feeds coming in from your ERP system. This area includes working with other applications such as email marketing applications like Constant Contact email marketing all the way through to high end marketing automation integration with systems such as HubSpot. This knowledge is unlikely to be found within your internal IT department.
Helpdesk and Support
IT will have other important mission critical services to support and may have only limited time available to provide in-depth, ongoing application support since they may be limited in their experience and understanding of the system.
Since many of us involved in the industry now have almost 20 years’ experience and in-depth knowledge across multiple systems, we can help in advising and ensuring that your system is properly implemented with realistic objectives. In addition, we apply hard won best practice in your adoption which will reflect your business requirements.
Review and Evolution Champion
A final word on using consultants. We have a long term interest and stake in the successful adoption of your system and will invest time and effort in ensuring the system is successfully implemented as well as in supporting your deployment over many years. We are there to support your evolvement of the system and advise on any add-ons that can be utilised based on recommending what works with your system.
The first step towards looking at migrating to a new or your first CRM deployment is to use our Cloud CRM Scorecard. This will help you to judge yourselves the importance and need for using an external partner like CRMC.
Download 'CRM Cloud Migration ScoreCard'
by Gary Perkins
28th October 2015