Maximizer Consulting Goes a la Carte

With an eye toward helping small and midsize businesses (SMBs) implement CRM quickly and efficiently, Maximizer Software has introduced a new set of packaged professional services offerings called CRM Express Services. Blending on-site and remote consulting, the services can be purchased on an a la carte basis when needed for troubleshooting, rather than requiring an open-ended commitment. While Vancouver-based Maximizer has offered professional services for close to a decade, the offerings were primarily on-site in the past. According to Peter Callaghan, the company's chief sales officer, the wider adoption of software-as-a-service (SaaS) prompted the development of Express Service as a faster, less expensive alternative to entirely on-site consulting. "We're really parsing up the services into bite-size chunks for companies to devour," Callaghan says. "We're trying to offer a flexible menu, where companies don't have to clench their teeth and worry that this is going to be a 400-day engagement." Callaghan says he has heard complaints and read stories about SMBs being overwhelmed by the implementation and consulting costs with CRM. To limit costs, Express Services will offer services as needed and partly on-demand. Companies that don't want to have a full-time consultant on-site will be able to get help online, including on-demand training course that can be taken at any time, and still occasionally call in a consultant when needed. Also, Express Services will specialize in helping companies with the planning process before implementing CRM, which Callaghan says SMBs don't spend enough time on, and end up purchasing the purchasing system and paying more than necessary as a result. According to Callaghan, Express Services can complete a full implementation in five days, including training, administration and deploying the application to end users. He also touts the accuracy of the new offerings upfront price quotes, which since the services are offered in small pieces are easier to pinpoint than expansive on-site consulting. Express Services are offered in three categories, which Callaghan says are the ones SMBs struggle with the most when implementing CRM:
  • Planning: on-site and remote consulting that analyzes current business practices
  • Activation: includes two types of services. Express Implementation provides rapid on-site or remote installation and configuration and Express Education is training available on-site and online aimed at increased user adoption
  • Optimization: including on-site consulting to improve performance and remote administrative services to improve efficiency.
Express Services are offered for existing and new Maximizer CRM clients, and was designed to complement the latest version of the company's CRM software, Maximizer CRM 10, released in November. No analysts were available for commentary as of press time. However, the trend of applying services to product offerings is one that appears to be emerging in 2008. Both Maximizer and Microsoft are just two of the vendors touting "software and services" as an answer to the message of SaaS. Other vendors, including Sage Software, have succeeded on the value of the services added by the company's integrators or by partners. Related articles:
Maximizer Tries to Score a Perfect 10 with SMBs With Maximizer CRM 10, the vendor hopes to provide SMBs with the tools to compete. Are CRM Systems Too Complex for the SMB? "Getting staff to use the software" remains the biggest challenge for the small and midsize CRM user. Maximizer and CanDoGo Can Do Mentoring The CRM vendor teams with the business coach to deliver Web-based professional advice through the CRM interface. Playground Gets Maximized Ease of use allows sales teams to focus on customers and build relationships.
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