What makes you a valuable CRM talent?

Guest blogger and CRM MVP Julie Yack shares with us a very popular post from her blog. Do you know your value to a potential employer?

This keeps coming up in many places, so I decided to write up my thoughts in one place.  I read a lot of resumes, I hire people for our company, I know a lot of people in this industry.  Today, regardless of industry, you need to be more than a one-trick pony.

From what I’ve seen the economy is heading up and on a path to recovery.  Firms are ready to invest, but maybe still a little gun-shy.  So it’s important for them to make good decisions about technology choices, so what better than a fast to market Microsoft Dynamics CRM solution?

For any CRM solution/customization implementation you have a few primary roles needed.  Keep in mind not each implementation will have an individual associated with each of these, however the skills are needed in some form.  The key to employability is to be able to fill more than one of these roles with your own professional skill set.

  • Data analyst- this person needs to have a grasp of the needs of the client and the ability to translate that to CRM functionality.  The deeper the level of customizations the more involved of a business analyst you need on the project. It is important to be able to know the difference between what the client asks for and what they really need, all in the realm of CRM capabilities.
  • CRM customizer- this can be as simple at the label changes, but can also extend to custom entities, attributes, views, reports and workflows.  This person doesn’t have to know code, they have to know CRM.
  • CRM coder- you know where, when and how to place custom code in CRM.  You know WHAT code to place.
  • CRM architect- not only do you know the moving parts, you know how they move together, when and where you can and should interfere with the defaults to make your solution better.
  • CRM report writer- this person picks up where the built-in wizard ends.  I’ve had projects that this person is the busiest of all, and has the most extensive project knowledge, this person cannot be under-rated.
  • External webmaster- when your CRM grows and has the external component, your portals, etc.  Someone needs to manage this, implement this.
  • The CRM Infrastructure expert/guru. This person is often employed by the client and supported by the partner depending on size of firm. The CRM Infrastructure expert knows how to configure the e-mail router, knows how to teach the internal programmers about localhost. shares in the build and deploy best practices.
  • Standard project manager and QA resource should be included.

Each of these roles has a different level of technical skills required.  The more of these roles that YOU can do (and do well) the more employable you are AND the higher pay you can demand  (one biz analyst with customization skills at $125k is cheaper than 2 people at $75k, no?).  The one of these that I think is the most difficult is the business analyst, with the architect a close second.

I’m sure I don’t have all the roles needed, just the ones I see most often.  At some level for every CRM project we do, I play the role of each of these to some degree except for the coder.


Julie Yack

Comments (8)

  1. Gretchen Mann says:

    These are great!  Another common role is Trainer.  We find there is a unique set of skills and talents in being able to convey technical material to a variety of audiences and especially incorporating the unique business processes as well as CRM Best Practices.  Often this talent applies to writing and the ability to create instructional materials, as well.  

    Gretchen Mann

    Director of Solution Delivery at PowerObjects


  2. Anne Stanton says:

    Good Catch Gretchen – Which also reminded me of the HELP content writer which can overlap or be a dedicated person. Given all the XRM applications HELP can be very unique.

    Perhaps we also might want to mention the unique skills of the Build & Deploy team and the Q&A Quality Assurance and Testing teams in the ISV world.

    Anne Stanton

    aka The CRM Lady at http://www.crmlady.com

  3. Nathan Benelli says:

    Great post!

    Here in Brazil, we often have the functional analyst do all training and post go live support, but that also depends on the size of each company. I'm a MS CRM architect and have already had to conduct user trainings as well as process gathering sessions.

    Nathan Benelli

  4. Jake Horn says:

    It is most difficult to find a true architect.  Large scale CRM implementations are a complex mix of people, business process and automation technologies.  A true CRM architect knows how all of these work together.  An architect should have the skills to be all of other disciplines of business analysis, project management, developer, etc if needed.  There aren't many true architects out there.  Ultimately they should understand the customer facing business from stem to stern and be able to apply business processes and technology to those areas.  

  5. Wahaj Rashid says:

    Its a great article!

    And i feel good that i play more than one role as a CRM person.

    Wahaj Rashid

    CRM Consultant, Maison Consulting and Solutions


  6. Richard Boardman says:

    Great list! Perhaps the data migration and integration side should be added as well?

    Richard Boardman


  7. Robert Ezekiel says:

    Hey Julie,

    Nice article.  I'm more on the infrastructure side of things so I think you did a good job listing them.  With our xRM projects and custom dashboards, having someone who can optimize the queries has been invaluable.


    Engage, Incorporated

    Put IT in High Gear – Engage

    An SBA-Certified HUBZone Firm

  8. Robin Dally says:

    I agree whole heartedly, being a one stop shop CRM provider is incredibly useful to our clients.

    <a href="elinkuk.co.uk/">eLink UK</a>

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