Congratulations, your company decided to either implement a CRM or switch CRMs! An important step in the process is interviewing potential CRM consulting firms to determine which one will bring the most value to your company. Here are some questions to guide your search for the best CRM consultant.
1. How long have they been in business?
A company that's been in business longer has an established clientele, knows their CRMs, and has proven results. The number of years in business isn't the "be-all, end-all" of a CRM consulting relationship, but generally speaking, if they are more experienced, they'll have the time-tested strategies and troubleshooting foresight to avoid major implementation roadblocks.
2. What is their experience with the CRM product? Are they certified?
Find out if the consultant is certified for the CRM product you are interested in. If so, the consultant is likely to be highly educated on the product and can make better recommendations based off his product knowledge.
3. What is their experience in my industry?
Without experience in your industry, a consultant may recommend the wrong CRM. Different industries have different requirements, and they need to be reflected in your CRMs features. Otherwise, you may end up with a CRM that is unable to perform a key function for your business. Consultants familiar to your industry also can recommend customizations to your CRM that you may not have realized were possible.
4. Have they worked with companies my size? What is their experience with companies my size?
Having prior experience with companies of a similar size indicates that the consultant knows what to expect. He can give you a better estimate of the project timeline and how your data fits into the mix.
5. Have they deployed to an organization that is structured like mine?
No two CRM projects are the same, but they are often similar for similar businesses. If your consultant has experience with companies like yours, he can tailor his recommendations towards tools and strategies that were successful in the past.
6. Have they performed any specialized CRM implementations?
It’s very rare to find a CRM out-of-the-box that won’t need at least a little personalization for your business processes. The best CRM consultant offers services above and beyond standard implementation and is better prepared to take on your specialized requirements. Look for “the whole package” – a consultant who has the skills to guide you through selection, implementation, customization, training, and ongoing support.
7. How do they make sure users adopt the software? Do they have an onboarding process?
Ensuring users can successfully operate the new software is key. How can someone make the most of something he has no idea how to use? Ask your consultant what his onboarding procedures are. A good consultant will have a pre-defined process that is flexible to varying project sizes, timelines, and budgets.
8. Do they offer training?
Again, ask the question, “Is this consultant the whole package?” Many TAI customers have turned to us with desperate eyes after purchasing a CRM from a consultant who did not offer proper training or support. A CRM investment without a training plan turns into a cost instead of becoming a valuable asset. Your consulting partner should offer training courses to help onboard your team and acclimate them to the system.
9. Do they offer support for upgrades & technical issues?
Implementing a new CRM is a big deal. It involves a significant amount of data which means there are plenty of opportunities for something to go wrong. Your consultant should be your support system and main point of contact for any technical issues or upgrades. Faster problem resolution can mean the difference between a successful implementation and falling flat.
10. How many implementations have they done?
If you’re trying to implement a CRM with a consultant who has never implemented before, you could be headed for trouble. Having experience in the deliverables you need is essential for proper implementation.
11. How many active customers do they have?
Active clients are an indication that people trust your consultant and are usually a good indicator that you can too. If the company is listed, check review sites like G2 Crowd and CrowdReviews to get a snapshot of their customers and their experiences.
12. Is the team local, in my country, & speaks my language as a first language?
Hiring someone overseas may be less expensive in the short term, but in the long term, the money you save is lost on productivity. When your consultant is local, you can expect they’ll be available at reasonable hours. You’ll get to know their team and build a relationship so that when you need help or have an urgent matter to discuss, you know you can reach them. In the same sense, having a consultancy team who speaks your native language fluently is vital for communication.
13. What are my responsibilities versus the consultant’s?
Many companies go into CRM implementations without understanding what is necessary to promote a healthy, working relationship. Your consultant may need you to clean data, organize information for them, offer login credentials or administrative passwords to your systems, or collect data from your team members. Ask your consultant what will be expected of you and your team so you can prepare the proper materials in advance. You’ll save time and unnecessary work for both you and your consulting partner.
14. What do they charge for services?
This is a very influential factor when selecting a CRM consultant, especially if you’re on a budget. Make sure you understand any underlying costs or additional fees before signing off on the contract. Depending on the complexity of your project, your implementation may incur additional costs down the road; if your consultant is on the ball, they’ll warn you of these added costs in advance and take the time to make sure you understand what you’re being charged for and why.
Use these questions to help you select the best CRM consultant for your project. Not sure where to start? Technology Advisors has helped businesses select CRM systems for more than 25 years. We deliver “the whole package” experience of consulting, onboarding, training, and support. And if you’re wondering, yes, we’ve worked with companies in your industry and yes, we’ve worked with companies of your size. We offer customized CRM solutions built and tested by our skilled developers with a personalized experience you won’t find anywhere else. If you’d like to learn more about TAI (call and ask us these questions!), contact us today at email@example.com or 847.655.3400.