Is Your CRM Consultant Platform-Agnostic?   

Is Your CRM Consultant Platform-Agnostic?   

Roger Van Nuis No Comment

For a variety of reasons, most service providers (VARs and integrators) are closely affiliated with a major CRM company. Often, it’s for the installed base access. In this relationship, the company hands over a list of customers (installed base), usually in a geographic territory, so the provider can service the accounts, push modifications, and new add-on capabilities. However, CRM systems are not all the same, and they don’t carry the same feature functionality. Users must be careful to use platform-agnostic providers to get the best form, fit, and functions in their CRM solution. This approach is critical to preventing trips and costly false starts.  

Several different types of software

Description automatically generated with medium confidence

It’s been widely reported that just 20% of users are satisfied with the return from their CRM investment. This limited contractual methodology usually results in underperformance. Chuck Hakala, VP Sales at Caltrol, stressed the importance of finding and implementing a solution that fits. If you don’t, people won’t be motivated to use it. “We had to train people to use a system when 80% of it was functionally irrelevant,” Hakala said. “They weren’t getting anything out of the system that helped them with their job.”   

It’s become clear that to implement a high-performance CRM, you need solution providers that can offer significant design and application depth along with tools for a sustainable program.  

Mike Lewis, Executive Consultant at SP360, explained their unique approach. “We focus on three core competencies driving stakeholder value,” Lewis said. “They include Project Design and Execution, along with sustainable Onboarding to set the cultural expectation. From this view point we can fabricate a system that maximizes ROI and overall value driving wide user adoption.”   

This approach begins with a comprehensive Audit that identifies gaps and features required by key stakeholders. Business Processes are identified and baselined. The result is a comprehensive phase in plan and roadmap.  

During the Project Design phase, all the plumbing needs are accounted for, capturing the important KPI supporting critical data. During Project Execution phase, the Dashboard design is finalized, and taxonomy is accommodated. All object level and field mapping are accommodated to achieve current and future goals of the enterprise along with bolt-on to the ERP.   

Finally, to sustain the new culture you must achieve maximum user adoption through effective Onboarding. Effective Onboarding means using high-fidelity digital playbooks for each role, including “day-in-the-life” scenarios, sales process training, and management- and user-level coaching.   

Some independent consultants are carving out a niche for themselves by choosing not to tie their expertise to any one CRM company. They are focusing on deep expertise in a vertical market. Here are 5 important considerations when choosing a CRM consultant who is platform-agnostic:  

1. Best-in-Class Solutions: 

Being unaffiliated helps consultants consider solutions that precisely fit their clients’ requirements. They are not bound by the limitations of a single CRM philosophy or compelled to promote specific features due to contract allegiance.  

2. Unbiased, Client-Centric Approach: 

Independent CRM consultants have the freedom to choose from a wide range of CRM solutions without pressure from a contracted affiliation. They are free to discuss the solution that best aligns with the client’s needs.  

3. Cost Effectiveness vs. Costly Mistakes: 

CRM investments are expensive mistakes if they don’t deliver the expected ROI. According to Brian Gardner, CEO of SP360: “Many companies try to DIY the project and fall way short of expectation. Consider the audit process where our client tried to DIY the audit: They created a document identifying 10 gaps. Using our methodology, we found over 100 gaps and prioritized them in the implementation road map.”   

 4. Latest Tech:  

In the dynamic realm of CRM, technology evolves rapidly, and new solutions emerge frequently. Independent consultants, free from contractual ties, can swiftly adapt and offer up new tech. This agility allows them to stay ahead of the curve, integrating the latest advancements and ensuring their clients are equipped with leading-edge CRM methodologies and solutions. 

5. “Ear to the Ground” Eco-Networking: 

“Ear to the ground” networking allows the freedom to collaborate and build relationships across various CRM platforms, industry experts, and other available ecosystems. This networking can lead to valuable collaborations, further expanding the consultant’s ability to provide quality holistic solutions. 

The benefits of an agnostic consultant, unaffiliated with any particular CRM company, extends far beyond provider choice. This approach brings forth a range of services that directly impacts the quality of solution being offered. From deep vertical expertise to eco-networking, the agnostic consultant provides a bespoke approach for maximum ROI and stakeholder engagement.  

SalesProcess360 Videos featuring Brian Gardner

Get insights based on decades of experience in industrial markets, including why you should think beyond outside sales, how to take a proactive approach to sales opportunities and how to let sales process drive your CRM wish list.