It’s a big step for any business, but it’s also only one step (admittedly, a crucial one) in the many steps required to get a new CRM system implemented and running smoothly.
After the purchase agreements have been signed, the next step for many companies is to find a reliable CRM implementation partner to help get the system set up to their specifications and working as desired.
While many CRM vendors will offer suggestions and make recommendations about which implementation partner to choose, ultimately, it’s up to management to interview each prospective partner and find one that they feel will meet their needs.
For businesses that are going through this implementation partner selection process, here are four questions that might be helpful to ask and which will hopefully make the decision a little easier.
1) Are There Different Billing Rates For Different Resources?
Not all CRM consulting companies bill their resources at the same rate, and it’s important to know how much you’ll be paying for each resource that will be working on your implementation.
Some consulting companies will bill out senior engineers at higher rates than engineers with either less experience or skill. For some things either engineer will be perfectly capable of completing the task, but if that’s the case you’ll want to make sure that the less expensive of the two is doing it.
2) What Is The Estimated Elapsed Project Completion Time?
In the world of CRM implementation, the total billable hours and the elapsed time to complete an implementation are rarely, if ever, the same. A job that requires 40 billable hours may take a couple weeks, a month, or more to actually complete.
By and large, this has more to do with the business that has purchased the CRM system rather than the consulting company. It can take time for decisions to be made, feedback to be gathered, tests to be run, etc. In some cases, if the consulting company a business is working with is in high demand, there may be a limited amount of time they can commit to a project each day or week as well.
3) Will The Entire Project Be Done Remotely?
For some businesses, having an implementation partner on the other side of the country (or in an entirely different one altogether) is not an issue. For others, they like the comfort of having a local partner that will come on-site and perform some or all of the implementation in their offices.
Each CRM consulting company has it’s own preferences about how they like to work as well. For some, they may have resources scattered in several different locations, some or all of which may be nowhere near their client, making on-site work unfeasible.
With that said, many consulting firms prefer, if possible, to at least have an initial on-site meeting with new clients to discuss project goals and get a feel for their client’s needs.
4) What Is The Expected Ratio Of Staff Time to Consultant Time?
Many businesses new to the CRM buying and implementation process might be surprised to find that they will likely be asked to dedicate some resources on their end during the CRM implementation process.
It’s important for the consulting company to have access to those people at the company who can make decisions and answer questions about business processes, requirements, other platforms that are being integrated with the CRM, training, and whatever else may crop up during the project.
A good CRM implementation partner should be able to give a reasonable estimate of how much staff time they’re expecting. This could be something like one hour of staff time per two or three of consulting time, just as an example.
If your business has just bought a new CRM solution, you obviously want the implementation to be a success. To ensure that, it’s important to choose the right partner to help make that a reality. It can be easy to fall into the trap of calling a dozen different CRM consultants, asking how much they charge, and then just picking the lowest bidder and hoping for the best.
Those businesses that take a bit more time during the interview process and make an effort to understand each potential partner’s strengths have a much better chance of finding a partner that can help them achieve success. Knowing which questions to ask is just another step in the process.