The market for customer relationship management (CRM) software and tools is burgeoning. According to recent reports, the global CRM market is expected to reach USD 128.97 billion in value by 2028, up from USD 58.04 billion in 2021, while exhibiting a CAGR of 12.1% between 2021 and 2028.
The wisdom of investing in CRM is widely accepted, yet many businesses struggle to identify which systems are best for their needs and how to ensure they extract maximum return from these investments. Too often, this impacts employee productivity, sales effectiveness, and customer satisfaction.
That’s where CRM consulting services come in.
CRM consultants can help you select the best solutions for your needs, take care of CRM implementation and customization, and ensure your tools are continually optimized to deliver maximum business value.
In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at CRM consulting services, understand why it matters, and explore some areas to focus on when evaluating prospective CRM consulting partners.
What Are CRM Consulting Services?
CRM consulting service providers help organizations select (or upgrade) and deploy their CRM systems. Some also provide post-implementation support and ongoing management. The scope of services offered may include conducting an initial review or assessment, drawing up an implementation roadmap, and conducting end-user training.
The ultimate goal of engaging a CRM consulting service provider is to ensure that your sales, marketing, and customer service teams have the tools they need to build, manage, and retain relationships with your customers and drive greater sales volumes. Your CRM consultant will ensure that your platform allows your employees to respond to customer queries quickly, resolve issues, and provide detailed reports on their activities.
Your CRM consultant will also ensure that your CRM software is configured in such a way that advanced automation and data analytics eliminate much of the manual effort involved in CRM activities and that granular patterns, trends, and actionable insights are continually surfaced.
Who Should Use CRM Consulting Services?
Unless you have deep in-house technical skills, deploying and optimizing a new CRM tool will likely feel like a daunting task. And if you already have a CRM system in place, you might be unsure if it’s serving you as well or if you’re fully capitalizing on the rich suite of features and functionality it offers.
A CRM consulting partner will step you through this process and avoid a scenario where an ill-conceived CRM implementation turns into a frustrating and costly nightmare.
CRM consultants regularly work with organizations in the B2C and B2B sectors. Their efforts center on ensuring the CRM system is geared to support marketing, sales, HR, customer service teams, and if needed, external partners.
Startups and small businesses sometimes engage CRM consultants to gain access to affordable yet extensible features that they can use to compete against larger market competitors. Specifically, they’ll be concerned about ensuring that their CRM solution is geared to scale as their business grows.
Large enterprises are typically looking for CRM consultants to support them in areas such as advanced workflow management, marketing automation, and sales territory management, among others.
Benefits of Using CRM Consulting Services
Every organization will reap its own rewards by drawing on the expertise of an expert CRM consulting partner. However, here a some of the benefits that are common to all:
Not every CRM system is suitable for every business. Seasoned CRM consultants will be well-versed in all the options available on the market and will help you select one that aligns with your unique business needs.
If you choose the incorrect platform, not only will you find that it fails to deliver the outcomes you expect, but you could also find yourself paying for features that you don’t need and never use. Worse still, you could end up paying the price in terms of a costly and embarrassing data security breach. A CRM consulting partner helps you side-step such issues.
Integration and Interoperability
A CRM consultant takes care of testing, deploying, and optimizing your new system. They’ll also connect your CRM to all your other enterprise systems and ensure that they interoperate effectively.
End-User Training and Support
If your people don’t feel confident or comfortable about using your CRM tools, your investment will go to waste. Your CRM consultant can schedule and conduct in-person or virtual training sessions with your teams to ensure that everyone is onboarded and quickly using and loving their new tools. They can also help with ad hoc support in the event of any issues.
Customization and Custom Software Development
The best CRM consulting firms will consider your specific circumstances, employees, operations, industry, and many other factors to create a customized CRM platform to serve your needs. This holds true whether you’re creating an entirely new platform or augmenting an existing one. Ideally, they'll also be well-versed in custom software development relevant to your industry.
Every organization changes over time, and many experience periods of rapid growth, contraction, or diversification. When this happens, you need your CRM platform to flex and adjust accordingly. A good CRM consulting partner will work with you to modify your software as your business evolves. Required actions could include adding new employees, interrogating new data sets, or extending the platform's capabilities.
Top 3 Tips on Selecting the Right CRM Consulting Service Provider
Naturally, demonstrable technical proficiency and a solid track record in CRM engagements are among the qualities you’ll be looking for when selecting your CRM consulting services provider. Here are our top 3 additional attributes to consider:
1. A User-First Mindset
Usability is the single factor that can make or break a CRM deployment. The introduction of a new platform is often met with skepticism or rejection. That means you can’t compromise on exceptional user experience. The price of failing to prioritize usability can be grave and include stubborn resistance, with people simply reverting to their tried-and-trusted (yet inefficient) spreadsheets and manual data entry habits. Look for CMS consulting firms that put a premium on balancing data quality and user-friendliness.
2. Ability to Capitalize on Out-of-the-Box Features
While there’s certainly a place for customization and bespoke functionality, most modern CRM platforms’ out-of-the-box functionality is robust and relevant to most businesses. Seek out partners that are conversant with your selected platform and its inherent capabilities. Beware of providers who propose expensive add-ons that deliver little value or present usability challenges.
3. Industry and Domain Expertise
The nuances and intricacies of effective CRM will vary from industry to industry. That’s why it’s best to engage a CRM consulting partner with a solid track record in planning, deploying, and managing CRM rollouts in your vertical and for companies similar in size to yours. It’s also a good idea to ask them to share details of any particular challenges they faced in executing such projects and how they overcame them. Here, ask specific questions about custom software development requirements and solutions.
Successful CRM deployments require detailed upfront planning, due consideration of all interdependencies and possible roadblocks, and precise execution.
With the right partner at your side, you’ll be in a position to elevate your customer experience to new heights while ensuring that your users are invested in their tools and making use of them to the full extent of their capacity.
WayPath is proud to be a trusted CRM consulting partner for ambitious, progressive, and visionary organizations of all sizes and across a range of industries.
If you’d like to learn more about how our team of CRM consulting experts can help, get in touch.