CRM is widely regarded as being fundamental to building relationships, driven by business development and marketing goals. While that is of course the key driver for the adoption of CRM, another, and perhaps unrecognised advantage of the discipline, is the ability to foster relationships for career development.
This became abundantly clear at a recent InterAction User Group forum. Cases in point were the participants at the forum – a Business Development Director, who was previously a CRM Client Advisor; an Application Advisor in a Professional Services team who made the move into a technology vendor from a CRM Manager in a law firm; a Data Analytics specialist who prior to the current role was a CRM Manager; to name a few.
Working in CRM provides exposure to a whole ecosystem of organisations – consultancy, law firms, technology vendors, marketing and much more. At the same time, it also provides opportunities to work with senior executives and partners, all the while learning about areas of the business and developing news skills for career development. One of my ex colleagues who specialised in event management in a law firm decided to pursue a career in law, eventually becoming a Barrister – a move that was supported by fee earner and partner colleagues in the firm.
There’s opportunity to move into other industries too. For example, with accountancy firms moving into the legal sector, CRM professionals who are so inclined, could consider this area of business too.
Looking specially at the InterAction ecosystem, often integrated with the solution are HR, practice management, reporting, emarketing and automation and much more. Involvement with CRM can therefore allow individuals to acquaint themselves with related but new areas that they might not otherwise ordinarily be associated with. For instance, in a business landscape where a data-driven approach is the need of the hour, for CRM professionals with an interest in data – in addition to data analysis and architecture – a whole new space of AI and machine learning is fast unveiling. Similarly, there’s a natural move from CRM and marketing to business operations.
The days when CRM managers quickly hit the glass ceiling are long gone. CRM helps spot opportunities and open doors in organisations and indeed new areas of business. With the legal market changing and business development moving up the food chain in importance, CRM professionals have before them great opportunities to go from being ‘doers’ to actually driving initiatives. This discipline offers them the prospect to genuinely becomes advisors and consultants due to the holistic visibility and exposure they have to an interconnected business landscape. Today, there are a plethora of roles – from Senior Business Development Managers, CRM/Data/Business Intelligence Managers and New Business Managers through to Client Listening Research Managers and Pursuit Executives. The opportunity is for the taking!