If your organisation is currently investigating Customer Relationship Management Systems (CRM), you may well be wondering what a CRM partner actually does and do you need one.
Here are some of the many ways you’ll hear CRM partners described; vendors, resellers, one of the partner network,
Redspire is a Gold Microsoft Partner and over the many years that we have been working with Dynamics, we have noticed an ongoing expectation that you simply buy a CRM system, set it up and off you go.
Off the shelf CRM are mass-produced, one size fits all systems. They’re really generic and don’t allow for the way your business’ product, people and processes work. Many businesses try to ‘fit’ the CRM system instead of having the system aligned to them. You usually can’t add to off the shelf systems over the years and custom made CRM is essentially a system that is not off the shelf. You are buying into a platform that is then customised to work for your business, and more importantly for your business objectives. You are also buying into a relationship with a partner who will plan and implement it based on your business objectives, then continue to look after it with you including upgrades and further adaptations.
We take great pride in knowing Microsoft Dynamics CRM inside out and then getting to know our clients’ business inside out. Dynamics has a lot of tools and a lot of integration potential. The scalability is huge, as is the flexibility; even more so with Microsoft Dynamics 365 coming on board soon. It’s our job to know what tools to use based on our clients’ business objectives and sticking with them as they grow so that the CRM continues to accelerate the business rather than slow it down.
Here’s what else you should be looking for in a good CRM partner:
- Strategic – A good partner should be asking questions beyond the subject of IT.
- Collaborative – You’ll experience what level of collaboration you can expect during the system identification stage but it’s perfectly acceptable to ask your potential CRM partner for client references that will reveal their ability to stick with you.
- Knowledgeable – A good partner will not only know their preferred platform inside out, they’ll know all the compatible tools and have a depth of experience that you won’t find in a user manual.
- Processes – Your partner should provide you with a clear roadmap for planning, implementation, deployment and ongoing support. Without it, everyone is left feeling vague. Lost control means things will get missed.
- Project Management – Make sure you find out who the day-to-day contact will be, and ask about ongoing progress visibility.
- Industry experience – It’s often preferable to have a partner with experience in your particular industry. However, it’s sometimes good to have a partner with experience from other sectors come to the party. We often find that it ensures a ‘take nothing for granted’ ideology that ensures no stone is left unturned in the planning stage. With that comes fresh thinking and often, business-changing solutions that become a model for others.
- Service offering – how will your Partner support you after full deployment. It’s important that you discuss those expectations early on. We are often called in to assist companies who have parted company with the original implementation partner and tried to do customisation on their own then watched their user adoption suffer.
You’ll notice a theme emerging here. Ultimately, it’s about having a partner that is passionate enough about their platform, and your business, to get them working towards a common goal. Growth comes from care.
You can read more on the subject of selecting the right CRM system by downloading our GUIDE. If you’re in the UK and you’d like to know more about choosing the right partner, test us out!