CRM Consulting: Tailoring the Product to the User’s Needs
CRM consulting is often used by many businesses today that use CRM – Customer Relationship Management – software applications. Almost any business using such software is going to use some features, and not use others, that are available in the particular application chosen. But some business owners may not be aware of how certain features could assist their particular business, and may be overlooking features that they should actually be using. A consultant familiar with the products on the market may be essential to make sure that you, as a business owner, (a) identify the CRM needs your business has, (b) purchase the CRM application that best fits your business, and (c) make sure that your employees actually use all the features that your business truly needs to have used.
Some consultants go so far as to claim that CRM isn’t about technology at all, but rather about having an effective business strategy. Of course, having the correct technology to implement the business strategy is essential – but first, you have to determine what your business strategy is going to be. CRM consulting can help you to develop that business strategy, and to find, purchase, and implement the technology to put the strategy into place. Having a good CRM strategy, and the correct CRM application to properly implement it, can dramatically affect the ways in which your employees contact and communicate with your business’ vendors, clients, and potential customers – at every level – and, in the long run, help you to develop better, and more profitable, relationships.
A good CRM consulting expert will also help you to manage your expectations of what your CRM strategy and technology can and cannot deliver in the way of results for your business. If a consultant that you’re considering simply promises you the moon, and never tells you that something may not be possible, look elsewhere. You want to have a clear picture of what the return on your CRM investment is going to be, not pie-in-the-sky promises that can’t be met.
Also, a good CRM consulting expert will want you to consider the following three factors: (1) your employees, their skills and abilities, and the cost to train them to use CRM technology to implement the new business strategy; (2) whether or not your current business practices and processes are sound, need minor changes, or must be drastically re-engineered, in order to realize a benefit from CRM automation; and (3) the technological level of your business; do you, or your current employees, have the skills to maintain a new CRM application in-house, or will you need to find a local support vendor?
Moreover, a CRM consulting expert should also guide you, before you make any decisions about CRM technologies, in surveying your current customer base in how you can better serve them – what do your clients think you should change about the way you contact and deal with them? Have you contacted your vendors to ask them if there are changes you should perhaps make in the ways you handle them? Only once you’ve evaluated all of these factors should the CRM consultant start to present you with options for technology advancements and software packages to consider.
In addition to asking other local business owners, friends, and family members for referrals, the CRM Association maintains a list of CRM consultants who are qualified to assist in the decisions you need to make. You may also want to consult your local Better Business Bureau to make certain that any consultant you’re considering has not had complaints lodged against them.
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