How to Select a CRM Implementation Consultant to Deliver Success

How to Select a CRM Implementation Consultant to Deliver Success by OMI

CRM (Customer Relationship Management) consultants are individual professionals or agencies that play a pivotal role in optimizing and implementing CRM systems. With an abundance of such specialists on the market, you must choose the right fit specifically for your business.


At OMI, we’ve implemented CRMs for hundreds of companies over the past two decades, and we’ve spoken a lot about how important a well-setup CRM is for sales. What’s more, we have received enough feedback from our partners and clients alike to perfectly understand all the ins and outs of a CRM consultant selection process.


So in this article, we’re sharing all this knowledge with you – we’ll delve into the multifaceted responsibilities of a CRM implementation consultant, examine the four main roles of a CRM software consultant, and provide invaluable tips on hiring the right one for your business needs. Additionally, we’ll uncover the five keys to successful CRM implementation, so that by the end of our guide, you’ll have a comprehensive understanding of how to navigate the process of hiring the right CRM consultant.

What Do CRM Consultants Do for Your Business?

A customer relationship management consultant is a versatile professional who plays a pivotal role in optimizing and implementing CRM systems. 


The consultant manages data migration, ensures integration with other systems, and acts as a strategic partner, contributing to the development of a CRM strategy that supports broader organizational goals. Additionally, they oversee change management, provide training, and define key performance indicators for ongoing performance measurement. Continuous improvement and technical expertise are integral aspects of their role, making them essential contributors to effective customer relationship management and overall business success.


The responsibilities of a CRM consultant can be broadly categorized into four main roles: functional consultant, implementation consultant, strategy consultant, and technical consultant. Bear in mind that it’s very common for one consultant to combine multiple roles if not all, – meaning that you don’t require 4 separate consultants to cover all your needs.

Functional Consultant


The functional consultant focuses on understanding the business processes and aligning them with the CRM system’s functionalities. They act as a bridge between the technical capabilities of the CRM software and the specific needs and workflows of the organization.


  • Requirement Analysis: Conducts in-depth discussions with stakeholders to identify business requirements, challenges, and goals.
  • System Customization: Tailors the CRM system to meet specific business needs through configuration and customization.
  • User Training: Develops and conducts training programs to ensure users can effectively navigate and utilize the CRM system.
  • Process Improvement: Continuously evaluates business processes and recommends improvements to enhance efficiency and effectiveness.

Implementation Consultant


The implementation consultant is responsible for the technical deployment of the CRM system. They ensure a smooth transition from the planning phase to the live operation of the CRM platform.


  • System Configuration: Translates the functional requirements into technical configurations within the CRM software.
  • Data Migration: Oversees the transfer of data from existing systems to the new CRM platform, ensuring accuracy and integrity.
  • Integration: Collaborates with other systems, such as ERP or marketing tools, to ensure seamless data flow.
  • Testing: Conducts thorough testing of the system to identify and address any issues before it goes live.

Strategy Consultant


The strategy consultant focuses on the broader organizational objectives and how CRM fits into the overall business strategy. They provide insights into how CRM can be leveraged to drive growth, improve customer satisfaction, and achieve strategic goals.


  • Needs Assessment: Evaluates the organization’s overall business strategy and identifies areas where CRM can add value.
  • Roadmap Planning: Develops a strategic roadmap for CRM implementation, considering short-term and long-term goals.
  • Performance Metrics: Defines key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the success of CRM initiatives.
  • Change Management: Guides the organization through cultural shifts and process changes required for successful CRM adoption.

Technical Consultant


The technical consultant specializes in the intricacies of the CRM system’s architecture and ensures that it aligns with the organization’s IT infrastructure and security requirements.


  • System Architecture: Designs the technical architecture of the CRM system, considering scalability and future needs.
  • Security: Implements robust security measures to protect sensitive customer data and ensure compliance with regulations.
  • Troubleshooting: Provides technical support to address issues, bugs, or system malfunctions.
  • Custom Development: Undertakes custom software development to meet unique business requirements.


10 Tips on Hiring a CRM Consultant

1. Clearly Define Your Goals

When initiating the search for your CRM implementation service provider, the importance of sharing not just functional requirements but also your strategic objectives cannot be overstated. As you categorize needs into ‘must-haves’ and ‘nice-to-haves,’ go beyond immediate concerns and envision the future. 


Once you’ve done that, opt for a consultant who not only fully understands the business goals you’ve set, but has a proven history of navigating similar challenges. 

2. Choose Your Preferred Engagement Model

Each model – in-house, outsourcing, or freelancing – brings its benefits. Beyond immediate project needs, consider the long-term dynamics. An in-house consultant might offer deeper integration but could lack external perspectives, while outsourcing could provide a fresh outlook but may require robust project management. 


Create a detailed list of your project’s unique requirements and consider how each engagement model aligns with these needs. This evaluation will serve as a valuable guide in choosing the most fitting model for your specific context.

3. Evaluate the Costs

Different consultants may present varied cost structures – hourly rates, fixed project fees, or retainers. Aligning the cost structure with your project’s scope and duration ensures financial transparency. Beyond the monetary aspect, consider what’s bundled in the fee – post-implementation support, training, and additional services. 


Develop a detailed breakdown of your project requirements and align them with the proposed cost structures. This granular understanding aids in negotiating a fair deal and ensures you get the most value for your investment.

4. Follow a Comprehensive Search Strategy

Beyond official websites, explore social media and review platforms. LinkedIn, with its professional insights, provides a window into the consultancy’s personality; independent review sites like Clutch also offer unfiltered perspectives. This approach ensures you’re not just selecting a consultant but initiating a relationship built on trust and reliability.


Seek recommendations from peers or industry forums to gather real-world feedback about potential consultants. Personal referrals often provide insights that go beyond what’s visible on official platforms.

5. Verify Their Expertise

Opt for a consultant with a robust history in CRM implementation services; they bring a wealth of insights and best practices honed through diverse challenges. Familiarity with multiple CRM platforms is a testament to their unbiased approach. 


Conduct in-depth interviews and request references specifically related to projects with similarities to your own. This hands-on approach provides a clearer understanding of how their past experiences align with the specific challenges your project might encounter.

6. Look for a Blend of Skills

CRM consulting firms with product development experience not only understand your needs but have already crafted solutions. These firms also possess a deeper understanding of user needs and quality control procedures – this expertise will set them apart from firms solely focused on consulting services, ensuring a higher standard in product deployment and support.


Inquire about specific products or solutions they have developed. Understanding their past contributions provides insights into their problem-solving approach and the quality of their deliverables.

7. Secure Post-Implementation Support

Ensure that the selected consultant offers comprehensive post-implementation support for user training, troubleshooting, and continuous improvement. This support is invaluable in adapting quickly to the new system and maximizing user adoption. Without adequate post-implementation support, operational hiccups and low user adoption rates may undermine the overall success and value of your CRM investment.


Request a detailed post-implementation support plan. Understanding how they plan to address issues and support ongoing improvements ensures a smooth transition and sustained success.

8. Check Delivery Capacity

While the size of a consulting firm may be tempting, focus on responsiveness and engagement levels in communication. Larger firms may risk inflated consulting hours and reduced quality control. Both freelance CRM consultants and smaller consultancies may be in high demand, so allocate sufficient time for your search and inquire about their availability to start on your project. 


Tailor your consultant selection to the project’s complexity, considering multi-skilled consultants for simpler projects and specialized roles for more intricate ones. Also, make sure to discuss their current workload and availability upfront. 

9. Assess Communication Skills

A skilled CRM implementation consultant should not only be technically proficient but also an excellent communicator. Their ability to actively listen, understand specific business challenges, and translate technical jargon into layman’s terms is crucial. Poor communication can lead to misunderstandings, scope creep, and project failure. 


Pay close attention during the selection process, looking for clear, concise explanations and open dialogue, as these qualities facilitate a smoother, more effective implementation process. A brief discussion or presentation allows you to gauge their communication style, ensuring compatibility with your team and stakeholders.

10. Make a Thorough Proposal and Contract Review

The proposal should outline the project’s scope, specific deliverables, estimated timelines, and a breakdown of costs. This not only provides clarity on what you’re signing up for but also sets expectations on both sides, minimizing misunderstandings and scope creep later on. 


Meticulously reviewing all contractual documents, especially clauses concerning confidentiality, data security, and contract termination conditions, means securing your investment. If you’re uncertain whether you can do this by yourselves, engage legal counsel in the contract review process. 

What are the 5 Keys to Successful CRM Implementation?

Detailed Needs Assessment and Customization

Conduct a thorough needs assessment by involving key stakeholders from different departments. Understand the intricacies of existing workflows, pain points, and specific business objectives. 


Based on those, collaborate closely with the consultant to customize the CRM solution. This may involve tailoring data fields, automating specific processes, and integrating the CRM with existing tools. 

Hands-On User Involvement and Training

Identify power users and representatives from various teams early in the process. Hold workshops or focus groups to gather insights into user preferences and expectations. Develop a training program that combines theoretical knowledge with hands-on exercises, ensuring users are comfortable navigating the CRM interface.


Also, consider creating user guides or tutorials for ongoing reference. Ensure a culture of continuous learning and provide avenues for users to seek help or share feedback.

Data Quality Management and Migration Strategy

Don’t overlook the importance of a comprehensive data audit to identify inconsistencies and redundancies. Implement data cleansing procedures to ensure that only accurate and relevant information is migrated. Also, work closely with the consultant to establish a migration plan that includes validation checks at key milestones. 


Before proceeding with the migration proper, conduct trial migrations to identify and address any unexpected challenges. Implement data governance policies to maintain data quality post-implementation, including regular audits and updates.

Agile Approach and Iterative Testing

Embrace an agile project management methodology to promote flexibility by breaking down the CRM implementation into manageable sprints or phases. Conduct regular testing sessions, involving end-users and key stakeholders to gather feedback. Then implement changes and adjustments iteratively based on this feedback. 


On top of that, prioritize testing not only for functionality but also for user experience. This iterative approach allows for continuous improvement, ensuring that the CRM system aligns with evolving business needs.

Scalability and Future-Proofing

Collaborate with your CRM consultant to assess the scalability features of the solution. Discuss potential future business scenarios, such as an increased customer base, expanded product lines, or new market entries. Ensure that the CRM architecture is designed to handle growth seamlessly, whether it’s through modular components, scalable infrastructure, or cloud-based solutions.


You may want to opt for a CRM solution with a modular and flexible architecture. This allows for easier integration of new features, modules, or third-party applications as your business requirements evolve. Also consider cloud-based CRM solutions, which often provide scalability benefits, allowing you to scale up or down based on demand and ensuring that the CRM system can adapt without major infrastructure overhauls.

OMI’s Top CRM Implementation and Consultancy Services 

The process of selecting a CRM implementation consultant involves careful consideration of your business goals and costs as well as conducting comprehensive searches and assessing their communication skills. 


Moreover, to ensure a successful CRM implementation, factor in the detailed needs assessment, hands-on user involvement, data quality management, agile methodology, and scalability considerations. By prioritizing these, you can count on a smooth and effective implementation process that maximizes the value of your CRM system.

What you can also count on is OMI’s 25 years worth of experience of successful CRM implementation. So if you are planning to enhance your CRM solution or to implement it from scratch, don’t hesitate to reach out to us – we’ll get it done.


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