What is Effective CRM Consulting? Customer Relationship Management
Your CRM Project Is Finally Over
…and your effective CRM consulting partner started it all off by listening carefully as you told him how badly you needed CRM software. He impressed you with his knowledge as he rattled off the various different software packages that you would need to be a CRM machine.
He then put together a quote that outlined each component of the software (most of which was meaningless to you – so he must be really smart) along with the implementation, integration and customization services necessary. You haggled on the software price and the hourly rate and once you were happy that you were getting the best price and not being ripped off…you signed the contract.
And now that you have that shiny box of software sitting on your shelf you’re wondering how you will know if it was all worth it.
Why Hasn’t CRM Grown Up?
CRM Childs PlayValue-added resellers are notorious for pushing software on your that may not fit. Most of them only work with one or two products, so to them, your problem always looks the same…”You need our software!”‘
Many of these companies have excellent programming resources on hand, which can lead you to a warm and comfortable feeling that everything will be all right. In fact, the biggest no no in the CRM world is letting software features drive your business processes. This is simply backwards. Front office workers are empowered decision-makers. There are no best practices that fit the front office environment of all companies. The way your company works is a requirement that the software needs to meet.
Beware of the slick software salesman who tells you “yes our software will do that” and then after the sale shows you how to work with their software.
A Very Different Approach
Effective CRM consulting is about putting the customer at the center of your business. Many companies build silos around products or departments. This creates inefficiencies, workplace friction and many faces to your customer.
Stop and take a look from your customers perspective. You’d prefer to keep them, right? That’s becoming more difficult to do these days as they demand more and more control. Does your business understand what they want and deliver it? Or are you still busy delivering what you want? If it’s the latter, your not customer-centric and CRM will probably have little value to you. The first two words of CRM are key here. Think about it a minute.
Contrary to popular belief, CRM is not software. In fact, Effective CRM is all about knowing your customer, developing a strategy to keep them and locating new customers that look just like your best customer. Does your software do that? It’s not a trick question…
It’s a common scenario for your VAR to have a requirements gathering session once they’ve made the software sale. This is the most profitable part of the relationship for them. They listen to what you tell them and then they’re programmers go out and build what they can, within the limitations of the software you bought. They’ll often come back and tell you that you need to purchase some additional software. It can become a slippery slope.
When you begin your project under the effective CRM consulting umbrella, you will not even allow a software salesman in your office until you’re ready to tell them exactly what you require. At this point, they need to prove that they can deliver.
Here’s how you get to that point:
- Develop a strategy for putting your customers at the center of your business
- Re-align your information and workflow to this customer-focused strategy
- Add or change work processes to support the information flow
- Develop software requirements that support your information flow and work processes
- Invite software resellers to show you how their software can support your process.
Let’s face it; this process typically starts at Step 5.
And steps 1-4 become unworkable at that point. This site, and effective CRM consulting is about getting you on the right path to CRM success. Until you do, you won’t realize the real potential that CRM can bring to your business.