CRM consultant helps you set up the CRM system that will be optimal for your business. Customer Relationships Management (CRM) is often an integral part of a business person’s daily schedule. It’s a tool that allows businesses to organize customer data and easily access it whenever necessary. Today, managing relations with customers is a very complicated process for any business and if you want to compete in your industry, you need a reliable CRM software system.
CRM software connects marketing, sales, and customer service departments of a given company and organizes information about their activities and metrics into one cohesive system. The goal of any CRM system is to improve business relations and customer experience. The companies that invest in CRM typically see a significant increase in leads, customer retention, conversion, and sales revenue. Businesses that use CRM also benefit from more accurate sales reporting, improved sales forecasting, and maximized ROI of their marketing campaigns.
Wondering what types of businesses can use CRM?
- Both B2C and B2B businesses can benefit from using CRM systems in marketing, sales, HR, customer service as well as supply chain and partner management.
- There are easy-to-use intuitive solutions for startups and small businesses that provide extensible features at affordable prices and let them compete against the bigger players in their industries.
- Complex enterprise solutions have advanced CRM features such as workflow management, sales and marketing automation, territory management, advanced analytics and help them cover every aspect in the business cycle and unify their operations.
CRM systems can be easily customized to meet the growing needs of any business and are sure to remain an essential factor in business success for years to come. However, before you start to reap the benefits of advanced CRM software solutions, you need to understand capabilities, features, and functions that make CRM systems valuable. Then you’ll be able to better determine which CRM software is the correct fit for your business. You can also hire a qualified CRM consultant to help you make the right choice.
Thinking about implementing CRM and need advice? Keep reading to learn how to manage a successful CRM project. You’ll also find useful information about the key features and benefits of popular CRM systems. Besides, we’ll explain how custom CRM software can help you grow a successful business.
CRM Consultant – Your Helping Hands and Brains in CRM Implementation
Implementing a CRM system is an important decision and is one of the hardest tasks for any business. You can’t just buy a new CRM platform with a variety of great features, install it, and expect that your business relationships become better at once and you win more deals. In reality, CRM implementation is a rather complicated process with lots of challenges so you’ll need a lot of planning before you can start.
If you fail to develop an effective strategy, your CRM implementation can be a complete disaster and will cost you money and productivity. But the good news is that there are tried and tested principles and successful practices. If you follow them, you’ll avoid catastrophic problems and your CRM implementation will be a success. Read on to learn how you can implement a CRM system in 7 simple steps and avoid common errors.
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1. Get a CRM implementation team together
Create a CRM team within your company. Your team should be small enough to manage but large enough to cope with the task and get all the requirements covered. Basically, you should include:
- A project manager that will lead the implementation
- An application developer responsible for the customization of the system
- An application analyst responsible for data migration
- Representatives of sales, marketing, and customer service departments
- Consultants who are experts in the particular CRM that you are going to implement
Your team should consist of 3 groups of people: end users, management, and people who can make decisions. You should determine the strategic role of every member of the CRM implementation team from the very beginning.
2. Create a change management plan
This step can be different for every company but there are some procedures you should follow to ensure a smooth transition.
Before you develop your change management strategy, you should conduct surveys to identify people who might be resistant to change. Inform your employees about the new CRM system and tell them about its benefits. You can do it through newsletters, announcements, general meetings, and email campaigns. Give your employees an opportunity to provide feedback.
Break down the CRM project into manageable steps and create milestones such as
- Data migration
- User training
- QA testing
- Go live
3. Create a budget
Obvious CRM costs can be split into 3 areas: software, services, and support. But you should account for everything, including the decrease in productivity during the go-live period. While preparing your budget, you should add up the cost of the following:
- Consultancy fees
- Staff training
- Implementation services provided by vendor e.g. data migration and customization
- Data backup and storage
- Reduced productivity
- Phone costs
- Staff overtime
You should also consider the return on investment to get an idea of how the new system will pay off. Perform a risk assessment to understand what can go wrong and develop a realistic budget.
4. CRM data migration
First, create a migration brief that will explain what customer data you need to migrate and how you are going to use that data in the new CRM. Then, cleanse your data of outdated information. The common tactics for data migration are downloading and uploading datasets as Excel or CSV files.
5. Train employees
Training can be delivered in a number of ways. But the most successful training is a mix of different tactics such as face-to-face individual and group training, online classes, and practice. Besides, you should have qualified managers who can support their teams.
6. Test the new CRM system
You should take time to test your new system and make sure that everything works well and your data is secure. This task should be performed by the IT staff. You need to schedule time for testing different system areas such as functionality, performance, usability, data quality and conversion, integration, reporting, and user acceptance. If you find any issues, you should fix them and run tests again.
7. Go live
To ensure that your go-live goes smoothly, you have to develop a plan and include the following activities:
- Data backup processes
- Metrics for evaluation of the project
- Staff scheduling
- Network reliability and speed checks
- Building a communication strategy for system downtime
- Monitoring the system post go-live
Many companies prefer to go live in a day. To reduce possible risks, you’d better phase the process over a number of stages.
As you see, CRM implementation is a hard work and you may meet a lot of organizational and technical challenges on the way. But relationships with customers determine the success of any business and that means you need CRM. In most cases, it’s quite reasonable to consider hiring an experienced external CRM consultant who can give you good advice on choosing the best option for your specific needs and provide guidance on CRM implementation. Consultants typically actively participate in the implementation process and can help you at different stages, including business process mapping, choosing a suitable configuration, developing system integration strategies. Your consultant can give recommendations on how you should optimize the application and take care of security. Besides, they will help you select the right methods to capture, extract, transfer your business data and analyze it.
Popular Systems Where CRM Consultant Brings the Most Value
Now let’s briefly overview some popular CRM systems and discuss how a CRM consultant can help you in selecting the best option.
Dynamics CRM Consultant
Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a cloud-based enterprise suite that offers ERP and CRM features in one place and gives businesses a comprehensive view of their customers and operations. There are business applications to automate sales, marketing, customer service, finance, and operations. They can be integrated with existing systems and with such tools like Outlook and Excel. The biggest advantage of Dynamics 365 is that you can use it as a subscription, purchase subscriptions by role and scale it up as your business grows. Businesses can get actionable insights that are based on Predictive Analytics, Machine Learning, and Power BI.
SAP CRM Consultant
SAP has recently announced major developments in CRM space so choosing the right option for your business can be challenging and you may need help of a good SAP CRM consultant.
SAP CRM is a part of the SAP Business suite that supports such areas as marketing, sales, and customer service. SAP CRM enables companies to provide smooth and personalized customer experience across multiple channels by anticipating and proactively responding to their customers’ needs. SAP CRM cloud-based solutions offer advanced capabilities in addition to core CRM functionality and provide technologies based on machine learning and big data insights to power real-time customer experience.
Zoho CRM Consultant
Zoho CRM is cloud-based software for managing sales, marketing, and customer support in a single system. It offers a set of robust features such as intuitive user interface, sales pipeline management, AI sales assistant, workflow automation, comprehensive reporting, email marketing tools, analytics, social media tools etc. It also comes with a nice price tag that is very friendly to SMBs.
The best way to ensure that you Zoho CRM project is managed and implemented professionally is to hire a qualified and experienced Zoho CRM consultant.
QuickBase CRM Consultant
QuickBase is fully-customizable cloud-based CRM software that requires minimal technical training from end users. It allows you to take advantage of native drag-and-drop interface and form builders and quickly and efficiently develop custom CRM solutions based on the needs of your company without coding. You can build apps by choosing a template and adding modules or starting from scratch. The QuickBase platform is scalable and accessible on any mobile device. You can contact a CRM consultant that has an experience in the development and maintenance of QuickBase applications to help you with planning and developing your CRM solution and extending its functionality.
The Role of CRM Consultant in Custom CRM System Implementation
Wondering whether you should start with buying a canned solution because it is fast and cheap or invest in building custom software? Consider the following.
- Off-the-shelf software is less expensive but as your business grows, the lack of customization may lead to inefficient manual processes and you’ll eventually need to invest a lot of money in the proprietary software so you could scale effectively.
- Despite initial costs, building custom software is a smart decision if you want to scale effectively and the return on investment can be well worth it.
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Building your own software that is tailored to your company’s specific needs can help make your business more scalable.
- It can give you a competitive advantage and help you outperform your competitors who rely on the off-the-shelf software.
- You can build an integrated platform specifically designed for your needs and keep all your data in one place. Your team will be able to work faster and smarter as compared to using different programs.
- If you hire a great development team, they can build a variety of custom products and tools. As your business evolves and needs change to stay competitive, you will be able to shift technology strategies fast and succeed in the market.
When you make a decision to build custom software, it makes sense to hire an experienced CRM consultant that will guide you through the entire process. The custom development team at Quandary can create a perfect CRM system for your specific business needs and according to your requirements.
You will get a powerful application with advanced analytics tools that allow configuring reports for specific business units and roles. With automated reports, you’ll get actionable insights for data analysis and will never have to use spreadsheets ever again. Having years of experience in different industries and customers, we will suggest an effective CRM software solution to help you manage every instance of your company’s customer interaction and focus on improving customer satisfaction.
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