The topic CRM (Customer Relationship Management) success is riddled with anecdotes and do-it-yourself tips for ensuring that success.  My simple advice is “get a trusted adviser.”  It’s like I always say, “even the king has advisers.”  

What is a trusted CRM adviser?

CRM SuccessA CRM adviser goes by many terms:  CRM consultant, CRM adviser, and CRM Facilitator just to name a few.  Whatever the term, a trusted adviser is:

  • Someone you trust that knows the subject matter (in this case, CRM)
  • Someone who is not afraid to challenge your CRM paradigm
  • Someone who is straightforward about your current failures
  • Someone who understands (or will learn) your CRM related processes
  • Someone who can provide action plans for moving forward
  • Someone who is not afraid to stick their neck out
  • Finding a trusted adviser

Now that we know who a trusted adviser is, where do you find one?

Most of the time companies look internally for a trusted adviser.  They figure the internal person already understands their customers and processes.  However, there is an issue with seeking your trusted adviser from an internal pool.  First, the internal person most likely holds to the same paradigms that you do.  Second, that adviser will most likely not be an expert on the subject of CRM.  Finally, most likely your internal adviser’s job (or relationship with your company) is not on the line based on the advice given.

Therefore, you are far more likely to find a trusted CRM adviser from outside your organization.  This will be someone whose main focus for the last several years has been implementing CRM and integrating CRM into the culture and process of organizations.

What it will cost?

Just like with the king’s trusted adviser, advice is not free.  You should expect to pay between 15% and 35% of your total CRM implementation to the CRM consultant/CRM adviser.  I know you believe that it should be part of your CRM implementation bill, and sometimes it may be.  However, a CRM implementation’s focus on giving you, the “customer” of the CRM vendor, what you are looking for.  It is not usually about challenging your closely held beliefs and expectations about CRM, and it most likely does not include a plan for integrating CRM into the culture of your organization.

That sounds expensive, why should you do it?

Typically CRM implementations drag on for years, with minimal success at being a core part of the business process.  CRM utilization rates at most companies are well below 50% and after 2 years, most companies term their CRM implementation as their “customer address book.”

A CRM adviser (or CRM facilitator as I like to call them) will help you to navigate the pitfalls, and help you to ensure that the investment you made in CRM will be worthwhile.

But I’ve already implemented CRM, is it too late?

The best time for a CRM fascinator is now.  So you’ve implemented CRM.  If it is not meeting your initial expectations of utilization and usefulness, a facilitator can help you get your CRM strategy on track.  But, don’t call a facilitator, unless you are willing to be challenged on your strategy and are willing to work to have CRM be a core part of your organization’s customer focus.

The good news

This is what I do.  It’s all I’ve done for 15 years. Send me an email with your CRM struggle, and I’ll reach out to you.


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