Looking for CRM Success? Hire a Consultant

By Heather Baldwin

Here’s a sobering figure: 75 percent of CRM program implementations at large organizations (Global 3000 companies or companies with more than 100 sales reps) wind up being enough of a disappointment that a consultant is called in, midproject, to fix things, says Kamran Hasanain, founder and CEO of KSciences Corporation in Chicago. The reasons for the failures are varied – companies choose the wrong solution for their environment, they underestimate user resistance, their management isn’t fully behind the project, program features and performance are inadequate or complicated, etc. – but the solution to avoiding those failures up front is the same: hire the right consulting firm and hire it when you first begin to think you might implement a CRM system.

There’s no such thing as bringing in help too early. During the last two years, KSciences has worked on eight or nine CRM program implementations at large corporations. In all but one case the company was brought in midproject, yet by far the most successful implementation was the one where KSciences was involved from the germination stage. “Most [corporations] tend to bring in the consultant too late and bring in one with the wrong skill set,” says Hasanain, who advises companies not to even wander tradeshow floors without a consultant to decipher vendors’ pitches.

So how do you find the “right” consultant? Hasanain says look for a multidisciplinary consulting firm that can provide the following:

  1. Strategy and thought leadership from the very early stages of a project.
  2. Advisory consulting, laying out the roadmap of how to get from where you are today to a successful CRM implementation.
  3. Deep technical skills, not only to evaluate which application is best for your company, but to integrate different solutions, if that’s what will work best for the different departments in your company.
  4. A complementary culture so personalities and philosophies don’t clash.