No one takes up the introduction of a new customer relationship management system (CRM), suggesting failure, however, studies show, that this happens in more than 70% of cases. The main reason for failures is errors at the development stage: compatibility problems, poor design and usability, bad data and unclear goals. The best way to avoid this is to choose the right CRM software company.
In the article we will tell you how to organize the search and screening of potential candidates. This process can be divided into three stages:
- Fundamental market research. Search for suitable development companies by common features. It may take up to a week.
- Technical analysis of candidates. Checking the technology stack, device fleet and development methodology. It takes a few days.
- Personal communication. What to look for during the first call and personal communication. What questions to ask. If there are many applicants, communication can take several months.
Stage One: Basic Research
The initial search for potential candidates
is carried out on the Internet and through referral links: recommendations of partners, colleagues, friends, acquaintances. The main task at this stage is to compile a list of candidates who are suitable for the general parameters. A thorough analysis will be carried out in the next steps.
Company Portfolio. You can search for potential candidates on Google using the search query “CRM software development company”, as well as on LinkedIn Recruiter or outsourcing sites Clutch.co Goodfirms.co and Codementor.io. Choosing a suitable candidate, the first thing you need to check his portfolio:
- Is there any experience in creating CRM solutions, which one.
- General experience and direction of development, market position.
- Are there any projects that can be tested (demo versions and ready-made applications, sites, programs available on the market). It is best to independently verify their quality (design, usability, validation).
- CRM development cost issue.
It’s best to drop out the cheapest options right away, as most likely you will get a low quality product. There may be exceptions, but it’s better not to risk it. The most expensive options, most likely, you do not need, unless you are McDonald's, Walmart, eBay
or another major player who needs maximum quality and efficiency, even if it costs an order of magnitude more.
Customer reviews and comments. Next, you need to check what their clients say about the candidates. Usually reviews can be found on LinkedIn, Goodfirms.co, Clutch.co and on social networks. The company’s website may also have several reviews. They can be trusted if the name, company and position of the person who wrote the post are indicated. This data should be verified through social networks and Google.
What does this review about the developer company look like
Find the phone number or social network account
of several people who collaborated with a potential candidate, and contact them. So you can in the first person learn about whether people are satisfied with the product, how the development went, how much the developer is professional and responsive
. Usually people are willing to make contact if they have time, and even more willingly if they do not like something.
If in the future you will be contacted to inquire about the company you have chosen, tell us how it is. So you help the market increase the average quality of market services and drop out bad, unreliable and dishonest developers.
Company public activity. Many good developers take part in the development of the IT community, which is another sign of a worthy company. Here are signs that you are dealing with a serious player:
- The company organizes seminars, webinars, meetings. Creates training courses for Coursera, Udacity, Udemy, Alison and other e-learning sites.
- The company or its employees write books, create information content.
- The company or its employees speak at industry conferences, forums, meetings of market leaders and other events. This is mentioned on the websites of such events, in social networks and in the specialized press.
- Developer has industry awards and certificates.
If the company does not conduct public activities,
this does not mean that it creates a bad product, so the lack of industry awards, certificates and the status of a conference
participant cannot be a disadvantage. This is an additional advantage that must be taken into account, all other things being equal.
Another plus in the piggy bank of a developer company can be participation in the development of open source software. It is posted on Github and, as a rule, it is the development of security systems, various socially important programs or public systems, such as the Bitcoin blockchain.
Blog and social networks. Social media posts and a blog updates show that companies have something to share, a story to tell. Blogs usually describe case studies, analyze industry trends and technologies, and create educational content. This is a good way for you to test how deep their knowledge is. You don’t have to look at each post; read several articles and check how regular publications are.
CRM software provider must have a blog that is updated frequently
As for social networks, we are talking about LinkedIn and Facebook.
An account on these sites is mandatory for any IT service provider. The profile should be well designed and contain a maximum of information: description of the company, address, services provided, number of employees.
It is important that the company does not hide the management and key employees, since only non-professionals and scammers do this.
Development methodology. Today, the standard is Agile software development. This is a generic term for Agile Manifesto, compliant methodologies, which contains 12 principles for creating software:
How exactly goes the process of customer interaction with the technical partner
in outsourcing and the process of creating software is described in the working cases of the company. They are usually located on the main web page, in a special section or blog. Examine them and make sure that you are in no doubt. If you do not understand this, ask for help or advice from a friend programmer or a person who was in your place.
If there are no cases or they are not informative, you need to contact the representatives of the IT provider by phone, email or using the feedback form. This can be done immediately or after you conduct a technical check.
Stage Two: Technical Research
Further we will check how deep the technical skills of candidates for CRM providers are. If you are good at IT development or you have a reliable consultant (or a developer that you can use), then this will not take much time. Here is a short list of things to check.
Technological stack. The first thing you should pay attention to the technology with which the company works. And this is not only about programming languages, frameworks and databases, but also about technologies such as blockchain, neural networks (artificial intelligence), virtual and additional reality. These technologies are increasingly used in modern CRM systems, especially the blockchain, to guarantee the authenticity of data and AI to automate communication with customers, eliminate problems in the code and database, and optimize all processes.
The technology stack can say a lot about the company
When you contact company representatives,
among other things, it is also worth asking about the company's fleet of devices. If there are several macbooks and smartphones, then these are most likely intermediaries who redirect orders to freelancers, but if they have modern expensive equipment, this will be a big plus.
Project management tools. A good provider of IT solutions involves the customer in the development process. For this, various tools can be used that help the customer monitor the current state of affairs, contact in real time with the project manager, programmers and designers, as well as participate in planning meetings and make changes to the terms of reference.
There is no gold standard. The following solutions are most popular:
- Corporate messenger for exchanging internal messages and tracking process changes, code updates, system alerts, etc. Key features: task list management, audio and video calls, integration with other tools (Jira, Trello, Google Drive and others).
- A continuous integration and delivery platform that helps development teams quickly and confidently release code, automating the build, testing, and deployment process. Key features: monitoring, API, troubleshooting, workflows, resource class.
- An open environment for collaborative work on content, the main goal of the project is the most effective exchange of knowledge. Key functions: text editor, feedback cycle, organized workspaces, versioning of pages and files, templates.
- Tools for collaborative software development. Key features: code review, documentation, integration, retrieval requests, problem tracking.
- Error tracking system designed for user interaction or customer interaction with the developer. Also sometimes used to manage development. Key features: problem types and attributes, workflows, screens, fields.
Stage Three: Personal Communication
After a technical analysis, you will most likely have 5-20 potential candidates who are more likely to be able to create a good CRM system
for you. It remains to verify the reliability of the company and understand who has the best combination of price / quality. And here you cannot do without calls and a personal meeting.
Homework. Before organizing a meeting, think over and collect as much information as possible about your CRM project: the idea in detail, the main tasks and problems that the product solves, concepts, frameworks, templates, general vision and more. In addition, you need to collect information about your company in advance so that the technical partner can evaluate your business, its needs.
What to ask questions about:
Channels of connection. When you work with an outsourced software company, communication is everything! And to make it as productive as possible, pay attention to the following points:
- Everyday communication. Find out how the workflow and communication are organized: language, working hours, call and meeting schedules, communication tools, who is the project manager.
- Problem solving. Ask how companies solve problems, for example, if the program does not work on the correct operating system.
- Work ethic. Make sure that the people you plan to work with share your values and work ethic. This applies not only to communication with customers (you), but also to the internal atmosphere of the partner company (their problems will be your problems).