The use of customer relationship management (CRM) software has exploded in recent years, with Gartner Research predicting that it will be the largest area of enterprise software spending by 2021. The reasons for this are obvious: it helps to manage your company’s relationship with customers, with the explicit intent of making these relationship more lasting, more efficient and more satisfying for you and your customers. If you don’t already have it, you’re likely looking into it – or should be. While the payoffs of using a CRM are obvious, a number of problems arise when it comes to choosing, setting up and managing a CRM. To help navigate this complex space, a CRM consultant can offer the full spectrum of support for CRMs, from purchase to implementation to training. While this may appear to be an extra cost upfront, the long term benefits of using CRM consultants outrun these short-run costs.

4 Major Benefits to Hiring a CRM Consulting Service

Facilitating the CRM Selection Process

You know your business and business needs better than anyone else. However, you might not be familiar with the CRM market. CRM consultants are well versed in the benefits of selecting one CRM over another, particularly when it comes to cost and meeting business needs. By hiring a CRM consultant, you can relay your business needs to them. They can help you pick the CRM that has the best available features to match your needs, while also considering integration with your existing assets.

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Certainly, you can independently check out the different CRM software, including industry leaders Salesforce and Zoho. Looking at their feature sets and subscription costs, you can assess which fits your budget and needs. But what this glosses over are the added costs, which can quickly increase with major business software. Beyond a basic subscription, additional costs might include premium features, technical support, additional user accounts, subscription fees for cloud services, implementation and maintenance. It’s important to know that the sales representatives you speak to are incentivized to sell the platform, not find the right fit. A CRM consultant is an independent third-party that is platform agnostic. There is no conflict of interest when they help you make a decision.

When choosing a CRM, you also need to assess the total cost of ownership, which includes all of these added costs. CRM consultants can help you assess the total cost of ownership. You can weigh your business requirements against the realities of your budget, including in the context of a longer-term business plan. In our experience, the cost of choosing the wrong CRM will far outweigh any consultant costs in helping you choose the right CRM.

Planning & Implementation

The migration and comfiguration process for a new CRM can be complicated. You need to create a detailed plan for both labor and cost efficiency. Essentially, you need to ask yourself: what is the cost of your team taking the time to learn the process and implement it versus hiring a CRM expert? How much work will be delayed if your team takes it on themselves? Even beyond the immediate cost of installation, you also need to be aware of the potential problems that come with improper implementation and integration. These can result in data loss or inaccuracies, which can have disastrous effects for your business.

Where we have seen teams attempt to save money is on data migration. Many believe migration from one system to another to be easy at the outset. Our experience is that inhouse teams ultimately take three to four times as long as a CRM consultant. This ends up costing clients more in inhouse labour than they would have to pay a consultant.

CRM consultants provide the benefit of an experienced team. They can help prioritize implementation actions based on your immediate needs and requirements. Their knowledge and experience with data migration from legacy software to your new system, including data cleanup before migration, can make for a smoother process. They also have experience integrating your existing software with your CRM, including common problems such as integrating Salesforce with Pardot or connecting CRM software with manufacturing or accounting software. Finally, they have experience with comprehensive testing to make sure that all of the implementation and integrations have been done correctly. In a nutshell, you’re putting your CRM in experts’ hands when you hire CRM consultants.

Customization

You want to maximize your CRM capabilities. Failing to do so can affect sales and customer satisfaction, amongst other things.  But CRMs don’t work for every business out of the box; they require customization. Consequently, it’s best to go into the process prepared for customization rather than it being an afterthought. Without extensive CRM experience you won’t necessarily know how to properly customize one to your needs. This is where the experience CRM consultants have is a major benefit. They’ll know when and where customization is necessary. As with decision-making on which CRM to purchase, CRM consultants will discuss your business needs with you and then come up with a plan for customizing your CRM. This includes third-party apps and integrations that can help you better meet your business needs. We always consider customization and optimization when planning CRM implementation or data migration.

Training

CRM consultants are experts hired to help your business. This includes hands-on, customized training for your specific CRM setup. You don’t have to rely on support documents with generalized answers. These can be confusing, especially in a growing software space, and mistakes can damage your business. With CRM consultants, you can get one-on-one or team training. We, for example, provide custom support documentation and how-to videos that use our client’s own system to better train employees. Beyond these basic forms of training, RFDM offers contracts for ongoing support to make sure you and your employees are fully versed in your CRM and its customizations.

RFDM’s CRM Consulting Services

At RFDM Solutions, we are experienced CRM consultants, having worked with both small businesses and enterprise level ones. We are a Zoho Consulting Partner, Salesforce Certified and have worked with a number of CRMs. For help with your CRM decision-making, implementation, integration or management needs, contact us for a free consultation.

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