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Breaking into CRM consulting without a CRM applications background

Learn Jon Reed's advice for breaking into CRM consulting without mySAP CRM experience.

I am extremely interested in breaking into CRM consulting, but I do not have any CRM applications background. I have served as a sales manager in the retail field for the past four years, and I am currently pursuing my masters degree in MIS. My plan is to take the SAP CRM consultant certification training program offered by SAP and become certified, then reconstruct my resume using a resume writing service to enhance my background and skills.

I really would like to secure a consulting position with a tier one or two consulting firm, but I have found that...

most postings for consultants require full implementation and lifecycle experience, with at least two years of consulting experience. My drawback is that it's very hard for me to secure a position to gain the necessary experience. I would like to know if my plan to take the training at my own expense is a waste of time, or will it indeed enhance the opportunity for interviews. I really need some unbiased advice from professionals in the field, I would appreciate any information or direction you could provide for me.

You may be able to get a consulting position with a tier one or two firm, but I seriously doubt that consulting position will be related to SAP in any way. SAP consulting firms are expected to provide very experienced SAP consultants to projects. There's no longer a chance to get placed on a project as a junior consultant - companies just won't pay for it. If they want a junior person on a project, they'll pull someone from the internal team or hire them as a "perm" employee. Honestly, I think you'd have an easier time breaking into SAP by trying to land a sales (or even better, a pre-sales) position with a third party software vendor that works closely with SAP. There are a lot of very successful SAP software partners, and many of them are looking for sales talent. A good pre-sales position will really help to acquaint you with SAP technology. Who knows, you might even be able to find such a position with SAP itself.

As you can see, I often advise people to take a "gradual" route to breaking into SAP. It takes longer, but the advantage of this approach is that instead of coming off as junior level "SAP wannabe," you can move into SAP-related jobs from a position of strength, leveraging your overall skills and background. I do like your end goal of getting into SAP CRM, and I hope you get there.

This was last published in December 2005

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