Monday, November 11, 2013

The Three Stonemasons of CRM Consulting

You will often hear the wisdom that if you are implementing a CRM system you should get a partner or CRM consultant involved to maximise the chance of success. This is true but not all partners and consultants are created equal. So what kind of partner/consultant is right for the job at hand?

The Three Stonemasons

There is a story, usually told in MBA courses, used to discuss the concept of vision and its importance in motivation and passion in the workplace.

Three stonemasons are building a cathedral when a stranger walks by. The stranger approaches the first stonemason and asks ‘What are you doing?’. To which the stonemason replies ‘I am chiselling this block, of course’.

The stranger approaches the second stonemason and asks the same question to which the stonemason replies ‘I am building a wall’.

Finally the stranger asks the third stonemason what he is doing and the stonemason replies ‘I am building a cathedral to last the ages. Many generations will come here to celebrate birth, marriage and death. Once completed I can die content in the knowledge I made a difference in this world’.

The idea being that if an employee is provided the vision of where a company is heading, they will be inspired to move mountains to make it happen (assuming it is a good vision).

The idea of small, medium and big picture thinking equally applies to CRM consultants.

The Block Cutter

Sometimes you need someone to come in do a very specific job and then get out. This is the specialist surgeon of the CRM world. Often they are developers and the problem is a specific plugin that needs changing or written. They do not care so much about what the business context is but more about getting a difficult job done and done well.

The Block Cutter is often an independent consultant and, if you need one, ask a CRM MVP. We either are one or know of one we can recommend.

The Wall Builder

In this case you recognise that CRM could be used to manage another process in the business. Perhaps it is complaint management or the office safety audits. Whatever it is, a new module needs to be written for CRM. This is where the Wall Builder comes in. Rather than being a specialist, these consultants are more general, having some development skills but also some business consulting skills. They will sit with you, determine the requirements for the module and then design the solution. They do not necessarily need to know the full system vision, relying on you to ensure the module fits in with the bigger picture.

The Wall Builder can be an independent consultant but is often a small team of three or four consultants working together in a small practice. Again, the CRM MVPs who are not working for themselves often work for practices like this as it gives them a level of autonomy not always available at larger organisations. Again, ask an MVP what you are after and we can guide you in the right direction.

The Cathedral Maker

Often this is the pilot implementation of a CRM system; it needs to service the requirements of multiple departments, all with diverse processes. You may be daunted at the prospect of putting in such an all-encompassing system and know that you need help. The various stakeholders may have different requirements and all of these need to be corralled into a seamless, functional system.

This is where the big guns come out. The larger consulting companies have CRM consultants which can provide all manner of service and some even specialise in specific industries meaning they not only know the pitfalls of CRM, they know the pitfalls for your specific field. They will hold your hand from the beginning through to implementation and beyond. When you need someone to take care of the entire project, the Cathedral Maker is the best choice.

In the case of the Cathedral Makers, if you are tired of asking your friendly neighbourhood MVP for advice, Microsoft can also put you in touch with a CRM implementation partner who specialises in your industry. It is in Microsoft’s interest that you use their software for years to come so you can be sure they will do their best to find the right match for you.


Just as there are many tools in a toolkit, there are many different CRM consultants for different kinds of jobs. Finding the right consultant in terms of skill set and cost can be difficult but, with the help of a CRM MVP or Microsoft, you can save yourself a lot of money and heartache finding the right stonemason for you.

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