For every partnership to work, there has to be some fair amount of trust to begin the working relationship. Here are some checkpoints to help you qualify a good working partner.
1. Industry Knowledge
Does your partner in mind display an in-depth knowledge of your industry?
A qualified partnership means your partner has experience working with firms in your industry and can demonstrate specific knowledge and understanding of software functions, challenges, business processes and regulations that are unique to your industry and how you operate.
Ask specifically about your sub-industry - for example, not financial services but wealth management. Find out as much as you can about the team’s experience in your field. Always ask for a list of client references.
Since different industries have different processes, don’t be awed by a tech partner’s impressive list of clients. Instead, make sure they have extensive working experience with businesses in your field (not just with the software). While they may have a diversified client portfolio, make sure they have a team that actually specialises in your unique needs.
2. Bigger Doesn’t Mean Better
Does size matter? The assumption that bigger companies are more experienced and thus, more reliable isn’t always true.
The larger the organisation, the longer the decision making process. And the waiting time for approving a simple request can slow down your business operations. What you need is a partner that is big enough to support all your needs or has sufficient backup through a network. Yet small enough to be efficient.
While bigger companies often offer standardised solutions, you want a partner that can think outside the box for you. Instead of being pressurised to accept a set way of doing or get charged for a bespoke solution, find a partner that is willing to consult you on your needs and budget. With creative solutions that fit your company’s needs.
Look for a partner that is willing to work within your budget and make it a priority to help you succeed. A good working partner should treat you like their biggest client. Even when your budget isn’t. So find a partner that focuses on tailoring solutions for firms of your size. Then you’ll know you are definitely in the right ballpark.
3. Look Before You Leap
Be an informed buyer. Shortlist 2 to 3 potential partners by seeking help from independent sources (not just the vendor). You can depend on your network for recommendations. Ideally from a company of a similar size. Or you could talk to us. We are experts at identifying partners and have wide experience in walking our clients through this process. And it’s free.
Do have a budget so you can quickly rule out partners that are out of your ballpark. Keep in mind that data migration and integrations can be a very expensive and complicated process. So do factor that into your budget.
You could also phase your engagements with your consultant to build trust. For instance, you could consider paying for your discovery separately from your implementation. So you can have more confidence in their recommendations before signing the bigger cheque.
One more thing. Find someone you are planning to trust. Try to meet all the players who will be working on your project if possible. If your business spans across regions, get a team of partners to support you. Consulting is a people business and you deserve the best your money can buy.
If you have any questions, do contact us to find out more.
Mathias is an IT and marketing professional having founded a social media startup, worked in the CRM software industry for SAP as a senior manager, he is now running a CRM partner network and a marketing agency, which are part of the KVP-Solution group.
Mathias has a marketing degree and is certified in a wide range of CRM solutions.