We have elsewhere referred to the CRM issue as a journey. Different kinds of consulting support may be appropriate at each of the phases. JI Group consultants are available for each. We would be pleased to hear what your organisation is intending and offer advice and guidance. Detailed information is available on our Management Consultancy site www.JI-MC.co.uk.
When an organisation learns a little about the CRM technologies and 30 year history, hears some case studies, and possibly looks at a few branded systems, the journey has started. The initial piece of consulting input is to ask what the organisation is seeking to achieve by making an investment in relationship support. It is also important to consider describing the cultural parameters of the enterprise. Purpose-driven relationships come from a very wide spectrum of types. At one end there are call-centre staff working to narrowly defined processes as for example sorting out utility payments. Somewhere in the middle are some hundreds of different types of selling relationships. Perhaps at the other end professional self-managing staff address the needs of students with mental health and wellbeing issues. Many job processes are part of professional training and not sensible to capture on a screen. A CRM type/design that suits one will probably not suite the other.
In all problem solving approaches there is a recommendation to describe the problem area in some detail. With over 600 CRM products to choose from it is understandable that action oriented staff may prefer to dismiss the problem definition phase and choose from what is available. Shopping for CRM when your team understands neither their need or the design differences in CRM construction will leave them weak negotiators later in the journey. In very simple terms, some CRM designs are rejected by some incompatible cultures. There are many examples. In a corporate culture that is very empowered with highly trained relationship managers, as for example corporate relations, local ownership of processes would take an enabling style. With a centralised, top-down way of working, CRM customisation might be located in a software development team defining how every part of the organisation will work. This option forces process compliance but for some cultures the remoteness of the development team may cause the processes to be rejected. This should make it clear that there is no CRM system that does everything. For larger organisations more than one CRM type may be needed in order to give relationship teams what they each need.
Consulting support coming from outside the enterprise can help senior management to set the context for success. centralisation for control and decentralisation for agility, empowerment and user-owned processes.