Look for a partner that treats you like their biggest client. Even if you aren’t. That way, you will know that they’ll make your needs a priority and add more resources to support you. No matter where you are based.
Whether your partner is local or not, here are 9 questions to bear in mind in your shortlisting process:
- Will they be available to uphold your company with service, support and training during the implementation or first phase?
- Are they capable of supporting the different requirements from different regions that you have? Or can they partner with someone? For instance, Southeast Asia has different processes than Latin America or Europe.
- Are they flexible enough to react to your requirements and changes? Many large partners take time to react to your change.
- How many projects have they delivered?
- How knowledgeable are they in the area of building and executing the specific cloud type (eg. sales, service or marketing etc) that you need?
- Do their expertise go beyond Salesforce, SAP or Microsoft etc? Do they have the technical knowledge or access to experts in areas like Integration, Business Intelligence, Mobile, Social, Master Data Management, User Experience, Content Management?
- Do you need customisation or will an out-of-the-box solution be better? Bear in mind that customisation will add to your cost. We recommend a land and expand strategy in many cases.
- Do they come with a track record of building bespoke applications for a variety of clients and client situations?
- Are they innovative enough to offer new ideas that will support your time frame and budget?
The bottom line is that your partner has to view your success as their success. A partnership based on trust often values flexibility. Recommending different approaches to implement your solution based on your need to scale over time.
Picking a trustworthy partner is like picking an auto mechanic you can trust. Are you comfortable listening to your partner’s advice and is your partner willing to listen and follow? Your project may last a few months or years but you want a partner that sticks with you as your business grows.
A worthy partner will treat you as a long-term customer. By delivering long-term solutions that meet your business objectives that even your own team is happy to adopt. A trustworthy partner will also go out of their way to amend things if anything goes wrong. Be upfront with what you value in a partnership right from the start.
In every collaboration, good communication is key to minimising misunderstanding and building trust.
A Strategy for Head Hunting
Here’s something we recommend when sussing out a partner.
Post a Request for Proposal (RFP). An RFP is simply your best thoughts from your current point of view (this may be a little challenging if you are inexperienced in CRM). Use it to start a discussion and get a list of interested consultants. That way, you can hunt down the people whom you can talk to in person. Good consultants have a process. Learn what it is. Ask for demos and case studies so you can see if they are a good fit.
You want an expert. Not an order-taker.
Experts often ask probing questions that you might not like. They can quickly assume leadership in your project. Having seen multiple projects like yours before, they know what the conditions for success are like and have a developed process they can walk you through. A big misconception is that they need to be more expensive. But not if you find the right one.Order takers, on the other hand, are developers who do exactly what you tell them to do. Frankly, you want the former.
One more thing.
Find an expert at your type of organisational model if you can. Some partners are great at serving direct service organisations while others are better at serving grassroots environmental organisations. Note the difference.
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.