I get a lot of inquiries asking me to name the best CRM professional services providers (PSPs). Business and IT managers worry about the cost and risk of failure when engaging consultants and systems integrators to improve the performance of their mission-critical customer-facing business processes.
Organizations entrust PSPs with important tasks – not just "screwing in software.” In a survey of 119 companies I did a few years ago: nearly 28% used PSPs to help develop their strategic vision for CRM, 42% used PSPs for defining business objectives for CRM, 44% for aligning business processes with the CRM strategy, and 56% to define the conceptual design for CRM technology solutions. PSPs were used by 60% of enterprises to establish detailed design requirements and by 64% to implement CRM solutions.
However, there are huge risks to working productively with CRM consulting or systems integration providers. In the same study, I found that four out of 10 would not recommend their CRM PSP to others after the work was completed.
I recommend that you use 12 evaluation criteria to increase your odds of success. How well does your CRM PSP stack up against these standards?
Demonstrable knowledge of the technical characteristics of CRM applications. This is the most important of the 12 criteria. Business and IT executives expect their PSP to bring an expert understanding of the specific CRM applications and related technologies to the projects they are engaged to support.
Demonstrable knowledge of the requirements of the industry. Organizations expect their CRM PSP to have a deep knowledge of the business challenges in their industry and insight into unique sector characteristics and to be familiar with industry jargon and culture.