CRM Consulting – 4 : Location of the Provider

CRM GlobalIt’s now more possible than ever before to work remotely, so you can often use a consultant on the other side of the world. That doesn’t always mean it’s going to be the best idea. In the age of superfast broadband and telecommuting, why care about geographic location at all?

Time Zones

When you need support, your issue might be urgent. So if your CRM provider location is on the other side of the world, in a different time zone, waiting seven hours for them to hit the office and pick up your messages isn’t the best-case scenario. Even a small difference in time zones can matter.

Language

The international language if business is English, but even if you speak it well that’s no guarantee your CRM consultant will. There are plenty of truly great CRM consultants practicing their craft in Danish, German, Gujarati or Tagalog, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to be great for you. And communication problems can arise when you’re trying to put across a complex idea that matters a lot to your company. A consultancy that’s based nearby will bypass these problems.

Regulatory environment

Your CRM consultancy needs to be operating in the same regulatory environment as you. That’s the best way to ensure that they understand what you’re up against! If they’re used to operating in and focussing on the same regulatory environment as you they’re more likely to help you achieve compliance and they’ll know how to get the best results from your CRM in that environment.

Ease of access

Sometimes a face to face meeting or a direct office visit is what you need. That’s hard to arrange if your consultant is on the other coast, let alone if they’re in another country. It’s easier to talk to someone who’s geographically closer.

If you’re looking for CRM consultants in your area, you can try searching VendorFit using keywords like: ‘CRM Consultant Chicago’ or CRM Consultant West Coast,’ to narrow down your search and help you find what you’re looking for!

Engagement Model

You need to know how your chosen consultancy engages with its clients. You know your own support needs best, and you know what kind of engagement model you’re likely to need.

While some CRM consultancies offer limited engagement, leaving you to handle the majority of the implementation and day-to-day yourself after initial consultation in many cases, others provide a much greater degree of involvement.

We can categorize the typical engagement models into three groups:

Do-It-Yourself or Hands-Off

This is best suited to businesses that are implementing CRMs they’re already fairly comfortable with, or that are tech-savvy from the off. If you enjoy learning for yourself and you wish to reduce the associated cost of CRM migration and implementation,this might be your preferred model of engagement. A consultant might offer initial consultation,one-off guidance sessions or support via a library of white papers, video tutorials and blog posts intended to help you do as much of the job as possible yourself.

On-Demand Assistance

This is the model that suits most companies. Your consultant isn’t always in contact, but when you need to pick up the phone, they’re there. In fact this is the model that most people expect consultancies will follow. It’s also an opportunity to discuss exactly how much input you want from your consultancy. For instance, data migration and integration might not be your strong point, so you might want them to do it for you or talk you through it. But software integration might well be what you actually do; no need for support there.

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