Searching for the right CRM solution can be a complex task. Amongst other things, you need to evaulate if the CRM software of your choosing will solve:
- Contact management
- Lead tracking
- Sales automation
- Customer data analysis
- Pattern recognition
…and more. These are all very real concerns, but they are features which most CRMs offer. Are you sure your business needs them?
Choosing the right CRM software isn’t as important as choosing the right person who will understand your business and then recommend and implement a CRM system that will integrate IT with your business.
The advantages of hiring a CRM consultancy
A CRM consultant:
- Wants to understand your business goals
- Has both technical and business skills (has experience as an IT specialist as well as a project manager)
- Will walk you through all the necessary steps so you can understand what will work and why and how technology can improve your business
But, most importantly, a CRM consultant can have an objective, impartial look at your business.
It is normal for business owners to lose sight of the forest because of the trees.
Being intimately involved with your business and its day-to-day processes and tasks may prevent you from seeing if software can improve it.
The most important thing to keep in mind is:
Technology can’t turn a bad business model into a good one.
Yes, a good software solution can cut costs, speed up processes and show you patterns, but ultimately, if your business model doesn’t work, technology will not change that.
Years of experience with clients from a range of different industries have taught us that:
- There is no one-size-fits-all CRM.
- The planning phase, where we lay out a strategy with you, is the most important one. Skip this at your own peril. In the long term, a solid strategy will save you both time and money.
- Sometimes, the timing isn’t right for the implementation of a CRM.
- In some cases, the analysis showed that a business model wasn’t viable at all.
We wish to point out that if the latter happens—seeing that a business idea can’t deliver—we won’t try to sell you our services.
The majority of software development companies do not think about your business issues. A typical developer will just deliver a software solution according to the specifications.
And that’s it. Product delivered, job done. They have been paid and that’s where your business relationship ends.
This is not how it should be!
Selecting a CRM solution is a very important business decision. It may impact your business in a huge way, for months to come! That’s why it’s crucial to develop an ongoing business relationship with a CRM consultancy.
How to choose a good CRM consultancy
When choosing a CRM consultancy, look for the following characteristics – note that technical skills are not the first order of priority:
Standard software development company quote: “OK, we will develop a CRM system for you. This will take us 500 working hours. Here is the price.”
That’s not how a CRM consultancy works. Thoroughness should always be valued over speed. “ASAP” is not found in a good consultant’s vocabulary.
Doing things properly from the start may seem slow at first. But in the long run:
- It pays off – there is less time spent on development because the planning phase (strategy) was done properly.
- Possible problems and issues are addressed right at the beginning. The nasty surprise factor is reduced to a minimum.
- Focusing on details at the beginning avoids falling into traps in the late phases of the project.
- Cost reduction – during the planning phase, don’t be surprised to discover that some features you have considered indispensable are completely useless and can be discarded right away.
2. Fairness and honesty
You may have heard a software development provider say: “We will solve everything. We will create anything you want.”
Everyone wants to hear that, but reality is different:
- Everything can’t be done.
- A specialist will deliver a solution that will boost your business.
- One-stop-shop companies are usually mediocre at many things and do not excel at any particular area.
A good CRM consultant will always tell you if something doesn’t work or that your business may need a completely different solution.
That’s the difference between a CRM consultancy and an average software company.
Those who can only produce software will take the money and go. They will say whatever you want to hear just to earn their monthly wage. A consultant will want to support you during every step of your business journey, even if it means not earning more – by telling you that some things just don’t fit into your business model.
No, really. What does this mean?
Understanding what the developers are building for you.
A good software consultant will:
— Explain the technology choices.
For example, why an open-source technology may be a far better choice than a licensed, enterprise solution, or vice-versa. The factors that are taken into account are: capabilities, modularity, security, price and speed of development, amongst others.
— Make you understand how the CRM actually works – in layman’s terms.
IT isn’t voodoo. Far too often, the language and vocabulary developers use when communicating with their clients is too technical and unclear. There is a big knowledge gap. But software functionality can be explained to non-technical persons. A good IT consultant fills this gap – he or she is the bridge between the client and the developer.
4. Business management experience
This is the key component that differentiates a CRM consultancy from a standard software company.
First-hand knowledge of managing a business (and spectacular failures, too!) is crucial for:
- Understanding how an established business can make the switch to digital in order to improve its bottom line.
- Thinking in terms of budget and cutting all the unnecessary costs.
- Developing a long-term digital strategy that ties in with the overall business strategy.
- Being able to understand your relationship with your clients.
Having real-world experience in managing a business is as important as having worked with clients from different industries.
5. Software development experience
Finally, the skills that are needed to actually produce a CRM software solution.
Well, every company that develops CRM software has these skills, right? This are the indispensable and essential ingredients.
That’s why they are listed at the end. What really matters are all the other skills and characteristics that come on top of technical knowledge.
But a consultant who worked as a software developer has deeper insight into the subject matter than a typical project manager.
Combined with all the characteristics listed above, this makes possible for a true software consultant to deliver the best and most cost-effective software solution for your company.
Get your free CRM consulting session
As CRM and software development consultants, our mission is to contribute to your success.
Because your success is our success.
The introductory consultation is free. No strings attached. You get to decide whether you want to pursue this business avenue with us or not.