So, it’s settled – you need a custom CRM to power your business and improve its efficiency.
Unfortunately, it’s easier said than done. That’s not because the development process amounts to quantum mechanics in terms of difficulty, no. It’s because finding the right company to become your development partner is trickier than ever.
If you just google anything related to CRM development services, you’ll have thousands of search results to stare at. How do you choose the right one? And how do you get the best ROI out of this partnership?
Here are 9 time-tested ways to make the right choice.
Figure Out Your Selection Criteria
Before you even start window-shopping or asking for recommendations, you need to know what exactly you’re looking for. Here are some questions to help you make sure you’ve thought of everything:
- Do you want to outsource the CRM development to a nearshore, offshore, or onshore (local) enterprise?
- What’s your budget? (Make sure it’s realistic, though.)
- What are the must-have features that your CRM should have?
- What are the optional features that you’d like the CRM software to include?
- What are your preferences for the technological stack, if you have any?
- How would you like data security to be ensured within the software?
Ask Around for Referrals
This is the best way to find a development partner. Ask your friends, acquaintances, and colleagues. Use the power of Facebook and other social media platforms, finally.
Maybe, you know someone who’s already signed a contract for CRM development with a certain company. They might recommend you to reach out to this company – or steer away from it if the cooperation didn’t go swimmingly.
But what if you don’t know anyone who ordered CRM development services in the past? It’s not the end of the world – you can still find a diligent development partner. It’s just likely to take a bit more time and research on your part.
Check Out Clutch
Reviews are everything (provided they’re from real clients). In case you don’t know anyone with real first-hand experience of working with this or that company, Clutch is the next best thing.
In case you haven’t heard of this website, Clutch is a review platform designed specifically for B2B services. It’s got more than 150,000+ agencies that provide services in 500+ categories.
And, as for the trustworthiness of the reviews there, they get vetted by Clutch’s analysts. So, you can browse them with peace of mind.
Consider Companies’ Portfolios
Why doesn’t this tip precede the “check their Clutch page” one? That’s because portfolios are compiled by the companies themselves. So, they’re very unlikely to contain information about mistakes made or not-so-great final products.
Still, if the company has no projects similar to yours on their portfolio, they’re very unlikely to be the right match. And, needless to say, if the website has no CRM projects on the portfolio whatsoever, close the tab and move on to doing your research on the next candidate.
When you compare your project to the ones included in the portfolio, take into account the following:
- how much of the functionality is similar to your product;
- how big the client company was;
- what industry the client company belonged to.
Make Sure They Don’t Use Outdated Technologies
You can’t make do without some technical expertise here. And that goes not only for making sure the technological stack is the right and up-to-date one. Having someone on board to give you a second technical opinion throughout the development process is invaluable.
Once again, opt for the companies that are open about their development process and describe it – including the technologies they work with – on their website. If there’s no such information, only “why choose us” sections, that company is unlikely to be a good fit for you.
Reach Out to Shortlisted Candidates & Ask Questions
Once you have a shortlist of potential development partners, contact them and describe your project. It’s fine to start a conversation online (via email, for example) – but make sure to have an in-person or video call meeting, too. Otherwise, it’ll be harder to grasp what kind of people work at this company.
During this pre-signing-the-contract conversation, ask as many questions as you can. Your aim should be to understand:
- how proficient and experienced they are in the CRM development technologies;
- how they would execute your particular project;
- what their estimated quote would be in your particular case.
Take Note of Their Communication Style
While you talk to the company’s representative, whether online or offline, you need to figure out what kind of people you’ll be dealing with if you become their client. After all, misunderstandings or lack of proper communication between the developer and the client are the two main causes of negative reviews.
Here’s what you should pay attention to:
- Are the people you talk to typical “yes-men”? If so, run – they’ll never tell it to you as it is, which will lead to wasted money and time.
- How well do they understand your needs? Do they ask for clarification if something isn’t that clear?
- Are they capable of admitting their mistakes? How do they react to feedback?
- How precise are they in their plans, offers, and promises?
Understand How Well They Manage Their Projects
No one wants to have missed deadlines and empty promises to “have everything ready by next Monday”. But how do you make sure this isn’t going to be your reality if you sign a contract with this or that development company?
Most often, there are two reasons this happens. Either the project manager gives you an unrealistic timeline or they can’t make sure their employees do their portion of work on time.
So, when you talk to a company representative, ask them straightforwardly:
- Have you ever missed a deadline? Why?
- If so, how did you deal with that? What have you learned from that experience?
- How do you ensure everything will be ready on time?
- How do you manage tasks and communicate with your developers?
Don’t Settle for the Cheapest Option Because It’s Cheap
If you do this, you’re likely to end up paying twice. While staying within your budget is important, the cheapest is almost guaranteed not to be the best (there are rare exceptions, of course).
Let’s say you have two development companies located in the same area, but one of them asks for half the money the other one does. Should you opt for the cheaper one?
Look at the other selection criteria first. Compare their communication styles, tech expertise, experience, and so on. Make those criteria the decisive ones instead of the costs.
If you don’t, you might get an underwhelming product with bugs, missing features, and low performance. Then, you’d have to go to another company to fix all of that – which will cost you extra.