3 Tips for Choosing a CRM Outsourcer

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Companies have high expectations for their customer relationship management platform, which makes perfect sense considering it’s the centerpiece of the sales funnel. What they may not have, however, are the resources to meet those expectations.

In response, companies are increasingly outsourcing their CRM development needs. The global outsourcing market topped $85 billion in 2018, and in one survey, 37 percent of organizations said they plan to increase the amount of application development they outsource. When enterprises need great CRM software but lack the time or talent to build it in-house, outsourcing is only logical.

That said, some outsourcing partners are better than others.

Companies need a partner that’s able to provide ongoing support first and foremost. Because the CRM will continue to play a central role for years to come, it’s important to find the right long-term partner from the start. The partner should also provide technical expertise that extends past programming. Mastery of cloud technologies and SaaS development is important, too. Vendors accustomed to working in the cloud know how to select a reliable and cost-saving cloud infrastructure suited to a client’s specific needs.

Additionally, companies should consider experience with CRM integration and cybersecurity. Vendors that can’t integrate the CRM with the rest of the IT ecosystem can’t deliver a product that meets all business needs. Similarly, cloud developers without extensive cybersecurity expertise can’t ensure the application or the data within it is safe. And when it comes to sensitive industries like finance and healthcare, experience with compliance is integral. Finally, quality vendors are flexible, meaning they can accommodate requests and concerns as they arise.

Finding a vendor that excels in all these areas isn’t easy, but doing so is crucial because so much depends on having a perfect CRM.

Why You Shouldn’t Develop Your Own CRM

Outsourcing CRM development comes with a price. Costs can’t be discounted—but neither can the challenges of trying to develop an effective CRM solution entirely in-house.

When companies choose to go it alone, they typically encounter two problems: lack of technical expertise and lack of experienced talent. Being deficient in either area delays CRM development, and in the worst cases, it can lead to total project and reputational failure. The simple fact is that CRMs are highly complex, sensitive systems that require careful construction, often beyond a company’s means.

In addition to lacking technical skills, companies may not have the attendant expertise to yield a successful CRM solution. For example, an experienced business analyst is necessary to ensure the CRM perfectly aligns with a company’s business needs and existing processes. Companies also need quality assurance specialists who can verify the system works perfectly in all situations. Most companies don’t have this kind of development expertise on their staff—making it risky, at best, to develop a CRM in-house.

The right partner for one company may not be right for another. Use these tips to help you make an informed decision.

1. Clearly define your goals. You want to develop a great CRM, but your goals are bigger than that. Ultimately, you want to save time and money, collect higher-quality data, and leverage that data to drive revenue. Determine your ultimate goals and explore how that affects CRM functionality.

For instance, some companies may prioritize speed, while others will choose accuracy. Make your goals explicit and define them using quantifiable benchmarks whenever possible. Then, outline exactly what you want with your outsourcing partner. The good ones will be eager to accommodate.

2. Establish your expectations. Before making any final commitment, establish service-level agreements so your outsourcing partner knows exactly what you expect as the project proceeds. You can help things go smoothly by creating best practices for your partnership. Make it known when you expect updates, how you want to be contacted, and what roles participants will play. Look for a partner who lets you define “success” and agrees to whatever that entails.

3. Look for diverse experience. In general, it’s better to partner with CRM developers who have wide-ranging experience rather than specialized expertise. Working with vendors that can handle the full cycle of software development—from the upfront analysis to the ongoing support—helps ensure the final product is as workable and scalable as you expect. Instead of taking a vendor’s word that it can “handle everything,” confirm it has the individual offerings you require in terms of security, testing, and technical talent.

Most outsourcing firms focus on meeting deadlines and reaching quotas. That’s important, but it’s not enough. The best partners have one goal above all: delivering a successful product. If you depend on a CRM system, don’t accept anything less.

Dennis Turpitka is founder and CEO of Apriorit, a software development company that provides engineering services globally to tech companies, including Fortune 500 tech giants. Turpitka’s team works and lives in Ukraine. Turpitka boasts more than 15 years of experience in the cybersecurity space, with insights on digital security solutions, business design and development, virtualization and cloud computing, and the management of software research direction.

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