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The Types of CRM Consulting Roles: What You Need to Know

CRM consulting is often regarded as a monolithic service. However, it is more than one thing delivered by one person.

Implementing a customer relationship management system is a complex process that requires many levels of planning, focus, and execution.

It also involves a variety of internal and external skill sets to support the process.

CRM Consulting Roles & Skill Sets

Depending on the complexity of your project and how much you plan to outsource, third-party consulting expertise can come in many flavors, from a big-picture strategic thinker to a software developer with a practical approach.

Ideally, one services partner — or possibly two for more significant CRM initiatives — will encompass the outsourced consulting roles you need.

This article catalogs the skills and experience required at each segment of an end-to-end CRM planning and implementation process, helping you determine which parts you should manage internally versus using external resources.

We also divide the roles into pre-vendor-selection and post-vendor-selection.

Pre-Vendor-Selection

Some organizations hire an independent technology consultant before committing to a CRM vendor.

The mindset is that you don’t purchase airplane tickets for your family, fly to Europe, and then decide where you’ll stay and what you’ll do after you get there.

Vision

The CRM journey begins with establishing a clear vision. This foundational step involves understanding the business’s long-term goals and how a CRM system can help achieve them.

A consultant can work closely with stakeholders to define the desired outcomes, such as higher customer retention or increased new sales.

This vision sets the direction for the entire project, ensuring that all subsequent actions align with the business’s overarching objectives.

Strategy

With the vision in place, the next level involves crafting a strategy

This encompasses identifying the key processes the CRM will automate or enhance and determining the resources required for the project. 

The strategy phase also includes a roadmap for implementation, highlighting critical milestones and timelines, and allocating responsibilities among the project team.

Requirements Gathering, Validation, and Prioritization

A critical step in CRM consulting is requirements gathering.

This phase involves discussions with representatives of departments and divisions to understand their specific needs and challenges. 

The best people for conducting these interviews know a lot about business processes and technologies. They also know how to ask questions that surface user pains.

Consultants collect information on the types of data to be managed, the workflows to be automated, and the reports and analytics needed.

A workshop is usually the forum for requirements validation and prioritization.

Project Planning

Project planning is the process of combining vision, strategy, business goals, and assembled requirements into a detailed action plan. 

This includes setting a project timeline, budgeting, managing risk, and establishing a communication plan.

Effective project planning is crucial for managing expectations, ensuring resource availability, and implementing on time and budget.

Vendor Selection

Vendor selection is typically not an outsourced consulting services task. This is almost always an internal decision.

Post-Vendor-Selection

CRM Vendor Licenses Agreement

The following roles may come into play regardless of which CRM software vendor and add-on technologies are selected.

A single service provider can provide any outsourced roles.

Project Management

A CRM project manager plays a pivotal role in overseeing the implementation, configuration, customization, and integration of CRM software within an organization.

This individual acts as the bridge between the technical team responsible for the CRM implementation and the business stakeholders who will use the system.

The project manager ensures that the project meets the business’s specific needs, aligns with the company’s customer engagement strategies, and is delivered on time and within budget.

They are responsible for defining project scope, setting timelines, managing resources, and mitigating risks.

System Architecture

Designing the system architecture involves creating the technical blueprint of the CRM solution. 

A system architect designs the database structure and how the CRM will integrate with existing systems.

The person in this role ensures that the CRM system is scalable, secure, and capable of efficiently supporting the business’s processes.

Configuration

Generally speaking, configuration is the no-code setup of a CRM system. An internal business analyst or an external certified CRM consultant can do this. 

Configuration ensures the CRM system’s user experience aligns with the defined business needs.

This involves adjusting the default CRM tables, fields, screen layouts, and picklists to match the user roles identified during the requirements-gathering phase.

Other point-and-click setups include reports, dashboards, email client integration, and record access.

Custom Development

Coding may be needed when no-code configurations are insufficient for delivering functionality dictated by the requirements.

‘Developer’ is one of the most outsourced CRM consulting roles, as it can take time for an internal developer to step into this role.

Data Migration

Data migration is often a specialized CRM consulting role. It involves extracting data from legacy sources, transforming it, and loading it into the new CRM system.

Consultants must ensure data accuracy, integrity, and completeness during migration. This often requires cleaning up the data, mapping fields correctly, and running multiple test migrations before a final migration.

Systems Integration

Integrating the CRM system with other business applications, such as ERP, enhances efficiency and provides a unified view of customer interactions.

System integration ensures seamless data flow between systems, eliminates data silos, and supports automated workflows across different departments.

User Training

For a CRM implementation to be successful, end-users must be proficient in using the system.

‘Trainer’ is often a specialized role at a CRM consulting company.

Training is tailored to different user roles, ensuring that sales, marketing, customer service, and management teams can effectively utilize the CRM’s features.

Comprehensive training programs, including hands-on sessions, manuals, and support materials, are essential for user adoption.

Ongoing Administration & Support

After the CRM system is rolled out, post-go-live support is crucial to address issues promptly, make necessary adjustments, and provide ongoing user training.

Ongoing support ensures that the CRM meets the business’s evolving needs and that users feel supported throughout the transition.


CRM consulting can encompass various activities, from strategy formulation to system configuration to post-go-live support.

Each level of consulting plays a vital role in ensuring that a CRM implementation meets the business’s objectives, enhances customer relationships, and drives growth. 

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