Your company is switching to a new CRM system and you are interviewing CRM consulting companies as part of the process. While there are a lot of companies that provide consulting services, which one will provide the best, long term value to your business? Here are five questions to ask of a prospective CRM consulting company.
Selecting the Right CRM Consulting Company
1. Do they have both business process and technical expertise?
If a CRM consulting company only has development resources, will they be able to properly assess and deliver on the automation of your business processes? Conversely, if the CRM consulting company’s staff are all business level people who know how to do basic point and click customizations, will they be able to provide adequate technical delivery? Ideally, your CRM delivery team will be a minimum of two people, in order to cover project management, business analysis and technical implementation roles.
2. How long have their employees been in the business?
How long have the consultants that will be assigned to your implementation been in the CRM consulting business? Experience counts for a lot in CRM delivery, as past encounters with your company’s types of business issues mean that solutions have already been defined and don’t need to be invented. CRM customizations often have a “pay it forward component”. Non-proprietary methods and pieces of code that were developed in the past for other companies can speed up your CRM implementation and save your company money.
3. Who is your ongoing relationship with after the implementation is completed?
After the implementation, do you get handed off to an account management team or to a call center — or can you continue your relationship with the delivery consultants? The consultants with whom you will have worked will have learned your specific business processes and will know your customizations. They are the best ones to help you on an ongoing basis.
4. Does the CRM consulting company have experience with your company’s types of processes?
While exact industry expertise is a plus, your company may be in a niche market and it may be difficult to find a CRM consulting company whose staff has direct experience with other companies that do what your company does. However, is the consultant familiar with automating the general types of processes within your organization? For example, if you want to automate a new customer on-boarding process, has the consulting company performed this type of delivery in the past?
A related question to ask is, if your CRM system is going to handle sales, marketing and customer support needs, does the consulting company have expertise in all three areas?
5. Has the CRM consulting company’s staff performed analogous, past data migrations from your existing technology platform to your new CRM solution?
Some CRM consulting companies are able to both understand your key business processes and customize your CRM system to automate these processes. But, does the consulting company’s staff also know how to extract data from your existing system, properly transform it and map the data to your new CRM system? The CRM consulting company that you select should be able to handle the entire implementation process, end to end.
A Caveat on CRM Consulting Company Selection
The least expensive hourly rate will not necessarily produce the highest long term value for your business. Many other factors play into the business benefit that you’ll receive from the CRM consulting company that you select.