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How To Start A CRM Business Analyst Career

One of the biggest hurdles facing business analysts in the current job market is the challenge of demonstrating the hands-on experience required in business analyst job descriptions

This article explains "how to improve your marketability as a business analyst by targeting business analyst job descriptions."

Let me start by saying that there are two types of hands-on experience required for business analyst jobs:

  1. General Business Analysis Experience: This type of experience is gained by practicing or using general business analysis skills including Use Cases, Requirements Gathering, Requirements Modeling, Requirements Elicitation, UML etc.

  2. Domain Specific Experience: This is gained by working or supporting a specific business function, operation or process including sales, marketing, order fulfillment, payroll

The general business analysis skills and experience is transferable from one industry or job to another.

For example, it is easy to transfer or apply Use Cases skills gained from one job to another job. We provide training for these in the Business Analysts Boot Camp

Domain specific business analysis experience may not be transferable or easy to get.

For example, a business analyst job description listing domain knowledge in the Telecommunications Industry excludes domain knowledge gained from the Healthcare Industry or the Printing Industry.

We help business analysts gain domain specific business analyst experience in the "Become a Leader" Coaching program

The lack of industry experience or domain knowledge is one of the biggest reasons why business analysts job applications are rejected.

In the rest of this article, I am going to post an actual business analyst job description (open as of the day of this posting) and discuss the business analyst domain knowledge required for the job.

  1. You can improve your chances of landing a business analyst job, by learning how to segment the business analyst job market into specific domains or business processes and then gain the hands-on experience required for target business domains.

  2. This strategy is highly effective for getting a business analyst job because it realistic, actionable and specific.

  3. The reality is that you cannot get the business analyst domain experience that matches ALL business analyst job descriptions.

  4. However it is realistic to plan on getting the required domain experience for a handful of business analyst job descriptions.

Let me summarize what I have said so far:

  1. Segment the business analysis job market into specific domains, operations or functional areas (e.g. payroll, order processing, sales, customer relationship management)

  2. Do not try to get hands-on domain experience that matches every business analyst job description

  3. Do try to get hands-on domain experience that matches a select number of business analyst job descriptions

In addition to these, learn how to substitute hands-on experience properly: some business analyst job descriptions may seem out of reach because they require hands-on experience in specialized software products.

What you may not realize is that you can also substitute compelling hands-on experience in competing or similar software products even when the job description does not say so!

I am going to apply the principles I have been discussing to a real business analyst job description posted below. Note that these principles are covered in-depth within the "Become A Leader Coaching program" which is designed to connect business analysts or software developers with employers looking for qualified and talented IT professionals.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Business Analyst Job Description

Minimum Required Skills:

Business Analyst, Netsuite Analyst, ERP, CRM, ODBC, Crystal Reports, Javascript, case management, Issue management, knowledgebase

If you are a Jr. Business Analyst with knowledge of Netsuite's Advanced Marketing functionality, and knowledge of Support and Customer Service features within Netsuite, or 1-2 years of relevant ERP / CRM experience, please read on!

*We will also consider 1-2 years of ERP / CRM experience with another platform other than Netsuite.

One of the Industry's best resellers of Networking and Software technology has an immediate opening in there headquarters, located just outside of Boston. The Netsuite Analyst occupies a vital role within the company, and we're looking for a talented person to fill the it.

Here's what's in it for you:

  1. Great Base Salary and Bonus potential.

  2. Tremendous work environment with talented colleagues.

  3. An opportunity to work with an industry leader, award winning company.

Here's what you'll need to do this job:

  1. 1 to 2 years experience as a Business Analyst supporting ERP / CRM platforms, ideally Netsuite but will consider others

  2. Experience with ERP / CRM System Administration and Customization features

  3. Experience with cash flow statements, payroll statements and the sales process lifecycle

  4. Ability to create reports using internal reporting tools, and/or creating custom Enterprise Reports using ODBC and Crystal Reports

  5. Experience creating enhancements with SuiteScripts, SuiteBundler, Etc.

  6. Implementation of new modules and features within ERP / CRM

  7. Strong communication skills.

Here's what you'll be doing:

  1. Provide support for the Netsuite system including Troubleshooting of the entire Netsuite application suite. Including but not limited to Case Management, Issue Management, Knowledgebase, etc.

  2. Creating and running reports within Netsuite using SuiteScripts, SuiteBundler, etc.

  3. Assisting in month end close with Chart of Accounts and General Ledger.

  4. Create documentation and user guides.

  5. Perform basic DBA tasks and Manage List data.

So, if you are a Jr. Business Analyst with knowledge of Netsuite's Advanced Marketing functionality, and knowledge of Support and Customer Service features within Netsuite, or 12 years of relevant ERP / CRM experience, please apply today!

Note that this business analyst job description is for a real client in the Boston Area and is still available for interested and qualified business analysts

In the rest of this article and in the next series of articles, I will be discussing how to make your business analyst job search more relevant to target business analyst job descriptions.

#1: Hands-On Domain Specific Business Analyst Experience

You stand a better chance of getting hired as a business analysts if you couple strong expertise in specific business operations, processes or functions or domains to the more general business analysis skills that tend apply to most business analysis jobs (communications skills, requirements gathering or elicitation skills, UML skills, Use Cases skills, etc.)

The CRM business analyst job description posted above calls for hands-on experience in specific business processes including customer relationship management and sales process life cycle.

So, only business analysts who already have a background in customer relationship management (CRM) software applications or processes are qualified to apply for this job

The "Become a Leader Coaching" program provides the required hands-on business process specific experience for job descriptions like that posted above (CRM business analyst job description).

In addition, the "Become a Leader Coaching" program is currently open to subscribers of the business analyst boot camp or any of our IT Boot Camps

#2: Hands-On Experience in Common Business Processes or Functions

Sales, Marketing and Customer Relationship management business processes or functions are common to most businesses. So, business analysts who gain hands-on operational experience in these areas will find that there skills are applicable to most industries or businesses.

In a recent survey published by one of the leading outsourcing job banks, more companies are asking for help with their marketing and sales processes because of the need to generate additional income or revenue.

The "Become a Leader Coaching" program considers the importance of a domain or business process in preparing Business Analysts for that domain. The aim is to provide business analysts with compelling hands-on experience in target or select business processes or functions

#3: Match or Substitute Software Skills

The CRM business analyst job description posted above requires hands-on experience in the Netsuite CRM family of products.

However, you may not realize that in business analyst job descriptions like this, employers will accept hands-on experience in competing software products.

Also, you may not know what software application skills to substitute for the specialized or restricted skills required on the job description.

For example, you may not know that the hands-on Netsuite CRM experience mentioned above may be substituted with hands-on CRM experience in SAS, Chordiant, Salesforce, PeopleSoft (Oracle), Siebel (Oracle), SAP, Epiphany, Amdocs, SugarCRM, ZohoCRM, SplendidCRM or Microsoft Dynamics.

Remember that it is not practical to have a compelling hands-on experience in every business process or supporting software product.

That is why during the "Become a Leader Coaching" program, we provide business analysts with hands-on experience in specific business processes and supporting software applications.

In this article, I discussed "how to improve your marketability as a business analyst by learning how to target business analyst job descriptions" using a live business analyst job description.

In another article, I will discuss in more detail the business analyst - customer relationship management (CRM) job market. Note that this article is the first in a series of articles dicussing business analyst job descriptions.


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Great information!
Hi Kingsley,
I have been quite interested ever since I read this article.Can you share the link on the article about BA CRM job market? I am eager to know how I can get into CRM field as a Business Analyst with no CRM domain or tools exposure.Any advice or suggestion on how to prepare for a career path to a BA-CRM role would be appreciated.Please help.
Srikanth:\n\nThanks for your interest in the BA CRM Job Market. \n\nBefore I write on how to break into the Business Analyst (BA) Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Job Market ... can you tell me why you are interested in this domain or what you've found out about it that makes you want to pursue a career in it?\n\nThanks
If you like this post, signup for more posts like this ...
How To Become a CRM Business Analyst will go live soon ... Srikanth.
I also got your e-mail asking for help on:
1. Technical/Data/Business Analyst
2. Business Analyst-Presale & Lead Generation
3. Business Analyst (SQL Server)
It is a really good question that you're asking and the format of your questions shows that you've given serious analytical thought to the challenge facing you.
So, I will answer it for you.
Hi Kingsley,
I am eagerly waiting for your next article in the 5 part series and your suggestions to my yesterday's mail.
Thanks and Regards,
Srikanth P
Is An MBA in Marketing Better Than a CRM Business Analyst Career?
Can you do both?
Sometimes choosing only one option is not the best answer except when one alternative is much better than the other.
An MBA in marketing can offer you more flexibility as you can work in more industries.
However an MBA in marketing may not give you the pay or instant hiring benefits that a CRM Business Analyst Training would.
In the end, you have to decide which option is better or perhaps go for both if you can afford it or you have the money.
What is the Career Progression for CRM Business Analysts?
Question: I am currently working with six sigma training outfit. They are using as their CRM
I'm a computer science engineer with MBA(marketing).
I am taking care of CRM implementation and marketing using CRM.
Can you please tell me the career opportunities that i can look forward to?
Also, what is the typical career progession for a CRM manager
Thanks in advance.
Answer: First, you need to look at where the entire industry is going.
Your CRM skills will be in demand because in the Information Technology Industry, as a CRM Consultant (if you have sufficient experience) and as a CRM Business Analyst and as a CRM Manager.
These are broad careers that you can transition into without much trouble because they draw upon your basic understanding of CRM Processes.
If you have vendor specific training like in, you will also be sought after in the SalesForce CRM Market.
Finally, within your current company, opportunities will be dictated by how well your company adopts CRM and how well you are able to use it to boost your company's Sales and Marketing activities!
By Vinay: Business Analysis & Requirements Expert
I have been working in presales for more than five years now and want to move towards business analysis. However, as this article rightly points out, there seems to be a sharp divide between domain business analysts and IT business analysts. Unfortunately, industry seems to associate business analysts strictly with a domain (healthcare, finance...) or solution (IBM, Oracle...). The lack of recognition for IT Business Analysts, and passing them on as Generalists, is hopefully a trend that will change.
As a presales guy I have been a generalist and as a business analyst I want to still remain generalist! It exposes you to so many aspects of business, it always feels new :) But I do agree industry values domain BAs much more than IT BAs as they do not find value in generalism. My answer is as a IT Business Analyst, one needs to be a \"versatilist\", not a \"generalist\". Which means, you should have demonstrated expertise in areas more than one - for example I can say I have a solid technical background and estimation experience over and above my ability to grasp and document business requirements.
Mature industries like healthcare, finance etc have many experts with domain knowledge and many solutions offered by leading industry leaders. Emerging industries or the ones that are not big like healthcare or finance suffer as they do not get due attention from a business analysis point of view. It is time software companies catering to such smaller and emerging industries grow up the the idea of business analysis and versatile IT Business Analysts is what they should look out for!
By Vinay: Business Analysis & Requirements Expert
In my humble opinion if you have domain knowledge in a particular industry it is better you delve deeper into domain and become a Domain Business Analyst, as they are more valued in industry. However, if you have not worked exclusively in a particular domain but with diverse set of industries, you still are very much needed and useful as an IT Business Analyst! Leverage your existing strengths, knowledge and work experience and try to be a versatilist.
By Vinay: Business Analysis & Requirements Expert
Unfortunately most BA openings out there are for Domain BAs, but I am positive IT BAs would gain importance in coming years.
There is also a possibility for people having strong skills in particular business solutions like CRM, ERP, BI to develop themselves as Solutions BAs not focusing on any domain in particular. After Domain BAs, I observe there is lot of opportunities for Solutions BAs as well. IT BAs really need to work hard to catch up and create
By Solution BAs you mean BAs who because of having work on Enterprise (ERP) Systems are exposed and experienced in multiple business processes (finance, accounting, crm, inventory management), etc.
Vinay: Business Analysis & Requirements Expert
Right. exposed to multiple business processes and able to apply standard solutions (Like Dynamics CRM, SAP, Siebel, Business Objects etc) to fulfil requirements for any industry.
For example, if you have worked a lot with CRM solutions, you should be able to guide requirements of CRM function for any industry, and see through fulfilment of those requirements using custom development or standard CRM packages (Dynamics CRM, SugarCRM). You need to know business processes very well so that you don't just capture requirements but also advise clients on process optimization. It is always an added advantage to know at least one standard package very well.
I just answered your question on how to start a CRM business analyst career here:
I also sent you an e-mail with an e-book on how to plan your career transition.
Let me know if you have any other questions!
Hi Kingsley,
What I liked about the article was that it is very well written and easy to follow.
The article gave me the precise information I am looking for to allow me to size up what to expect and what I need to do to make the transition into this speciality.
The article gave me hope that it is possible for me to pursue something I am passion about...that being solving business problems through information technology.
This is something I've studied all my career although recently.
I feel I've been pushed out of the field, yet this information will equip me to come back armed with new skills on top of a very strong back ground in information systems.
Finally, the flow of the article defined the two types of skills necessary; domain experience and knowledge of certain technical skills.
The article put an emphisis on domain skills which I have lots of...this was encouraging.
The sample resume with a followon commentary was also execellent preparation for going to market.
I am looking forward to the next article.
thanks kindly!

I finished BA training, but do not have hands on experience I didn't get any after many phone calls interview, how I can improve the situation? \n\nP.S My degrees are MBA and HR, but I only had 4 years working experience minor HR and IT support.