Wherever there’s a new area of business thought soon – as surely as Monday follows Sunday – there will be consultants offering to provide you with all the answers. But are CRM (customer relationship management) consultants worth considering for your business and what can they bring to the table?

There are probably as many definitions of what CRM consultancy is as there are CRM consultants, some will help you implement CRM software, others offer a more holistic approach. There are many ways you can start looking for the ideal partner, in the Microsoft Dynamics CRM world your safest bet would be Microsoft Pinpoint.

CRM systems can be complex and if you’ve seen our previous blogs on the subject you’ll have read that it’s possible to pay for more power than you need and that the way the software is used is key – take up and buy in from your staff can make all the difference between success and expensive failure, and plenty of CRM systems (more than 30% according to Gartner) end up gathering dust rather than gathering leads. With this in mind, you may wish to engage CRM consultants to guide you through the whole process, from choosing the system that is right for you to ensuring that you get the very best out of your system.

However, some CRM consultants – the best, many would say – will see CRM as more than just technology. It can be a whole-business philosophy and a way of thinking that permeates the whole organisation, simply putting the customer first.

Taking this approach may well involve installing a CRM system, but it may not, particularly if you are a small business and the cost will be prohibitive. Looking at the organisation first is also more likely to result in choosing a system that is designed around your needs and practices rather than squeezing your behaviour into what the computer says you should do.

There is a great deal of research you can do yourself, but sometimes the experts are needed to make sense of what can be a complicated and daunting area to approach. It needn’t be, CRM is at heart a very simple set of processes and a good CRM consultant will make that clear to you.

CRM consultants may seem expensive, but if they do their job correctly they will save you money in the long run, whether it’s by making sure you don’t waste money on the wrong system or by ensuring that the system you do choose is properly used to make a difference to your bottom line.