How to choose SugarCRM Implementation Partner?
By Sarah Meyers
Development does not equal Implementation. A CRM vendor develops a CRM system and focuses on perfecting the functioning of the software, its capabilities and of course its marketing. In most cases it is not the best choice for its implementation. While they know a great deal about their software they lack in knowledge of implementing it for your business in a way which returns most value to you. Same is the case with SugarCRM implementation.
(Deciding on a CRM system can get a little bit tricky: More on choosing the ‘Right’ CRM here).
If you have made the decision to try Sugar out, you have done the right thing. After all companies of all sizes and industries are succeeding with SugarCRM. This is mainly due to the fact that they have implemented SugarCRM successfully by taking into account their exact needs, processes and functions.
Why Choose SugarCRM Implementation Partner?
Implementing SugarCRM, or any CRM for that matter, is a complex task. Here’s an excellent piece on SugarCRM implementation and what you need to know about it. Here’s where the Partner Ecosystem of SugarCRM steps in. Where the CRM vendor exists to sell its software, the CRM partners are there to help adopters by providing the most value for the business from the CRM.
You might have several reservations about why should you go to a partner for SugarCRM Implementation. They might charge you more? Why spend this extra money? How to evaluate them?
Firstly, I’ll try to answer some of the queries/confusions you might have about the Sugar Implementation partners and then I’ll move on to the best practices in evaluating the SugarCRM Implementation Partners.
1) Is choosing a partner more expensive?
Although a valid concern, choosing a partner for your SugarCRM Implementation is actually not expensive at all. Why? SugarCRM alone has more than 650 partners globally to choose from. This competition compels them to bring their implementation fee so low that it hardly costs more than doing it yourself.
For example if you want to get implementation of Sugar Professional Edition on your server, the implementation cost will hardly cost you more than $100. Surprised? Yes you might have seen the packages that many partners put up on their websites asking for $2400 for basic installation.
This is the exact reason I’ve decided to write this post so you can spend only where you should and not be duped by people out there taking advantage of your little knowledge about SugarCRM platform.
2) Am I safe with my Implementation Partner?
Again, it is a valid concern that the partner that you have outsourced your implementation may not deliver. Well, this is not the case as they cannot afford to do so. Why? Explains Barton Goldenberg, a chief CRM expert, that the competition compels them to deliver outclass service
“They can’t afford failures anymore, so they will work double-hard to make sure you have success,” says Goldenberg .
3) Why spend this extra money if I can do it myself?
Simple Answer! Let the experts do the job. SugarCRM knows how to create the best possible software; you know how your business is run in the best possible way. Integrating these two values is where the Implementation expertise comes in; how to make the best possible CRM work for your business in order to get you the best possible ROI.
Implementation alone does not get you the ROI. You need to make the CRM Implementation work for your business. Many companies fail at their CRM implementation because they don’t take into account the factors that lead to its success.
So now that you know having a CRM partner lead your SugarCRM Implementation is not only much more economical than you thought but also gives you opportunity to have higher ROI of your SugarCRM Implementation. Let’s take a look at the strategies you can utilize in evaluating the implementation Partner for your Sugar. Keep in mind that you cannot afford to have a partner who is anything less than perfect because CRM is a onetime investment and you want it to be done in the best possible manner.
1. Check their Response Time (Seriously)
You might think that the first thing to evaluate should probably be about their Implementation methodology or about their capabilities. But let me explain! Nothing gets more frustrating than a CRM vendor who cheats with your time. Just imagine you’ve chosen a partner and they are not responding to your requests on something that you need to be done at the earliest. Gets Frustrating right?
What’s the best way to check their response time? Most often when they detect a potential business they’ll respond you quickly and often most passionately to get the business but vanish after closing the deal. Just ask them a question via their Social Media Presence; may be their company page on LinkedIn or Twitter. Just ask them about the product or implementation methodology. If they respond right away, it gives you a signal that they are responsive and the team promptly responds. If they don’t respond within a working day; let me tell you it’s a BIG NO!
2. Ask for their Implementation Methodology
Secondly, it is outright necessary to ask the CRM partners what their implementation methodology would be like. Most will try to satisfy you with flowcharts and rhetoric. This of course is a trap. Ask them for a consultative session in which you describe your exact processes and expectations from the Sugar deployment.
Then ask them to explain how they will take up the project and how the implementation would reflect your existing systems. If they hesitate to provide you with the details; again it’s a NO!
3. Evaluate their Exclusive Expertise
Most CRM partners work with several CRM platforms and hold the expertise in each and every one of them. A cursory look on their website profile doesn’t give you all the answers you need.
What should you do? Specifically ask them how much experience they exclusive hold in SugarCRM platform. This is a must to ask and evaluate because each CRM has its own architecture and is deployed in a way which returns most value to you. Exclusive long term expertise in SugarCRM is must, which brings us to the next point
4.Have they worked in your industry before?
Another experience which counts is your industry specific experience that the partner holds. When finalizing your selection ask the partner to provide you with an example of your industry specific deployment that they carried out. A SugarCRM deployment in education sector will be quite different from the one in Automobile industry. Where it is not necessary for the partner to hold experience in exactly your industry you can instead see if they hold experience in various industry verticals. That just shows their capability to customize SugarCRM deployment for your exact business as well.
5. Talk to their Clients-But how?
If the partner is really good at what it does, it must have a list of happy clients. But how can you talk to them. There are two ways. First: Simply ask to talk to their client and most importantly the person who dealt with them on the deployment directly. Second: You can simply search for the case studies on their website and contact the company similar to your own. This way you get to know how satisfied their previous clients have been and whether you should go with them or not. Sometimes, you don’t even have to talk to the clients. Simply asking the Sugar Partner for client contact does the deal. If they provide it without hesitation, you should know they mean business.
6. Ask If Certified Experts will work on your project
This is really important. Most of the time who you interact with is a project manager at the partner firm but don’t know who is going to be working with your Sugar on the programming level. This is especially relevant when you’re getting your SugarCRM Customized.
SugarCRM has a certification in which the developers have to undergo some training on the Sugar platform and then take a test after which they’re considered certified to work on SugarCRM. Ask beforehand who will be working on your project and whether the dedicated team is Sugar Certified or not.
7. How ready will your SugarCRM be after Implementation?
You should know the shape of your Sugar after implementation. Ask the Implementation Partner all the activities that your team will be able to do on Sugar. Usually a SugarCRM is ready when it has the following
- Users Created
- Email Integrations
- Additional Reports
- Additional Modules Built
If you’re implementing Sugar from scratch there are a few integrations which are a must to make it fully functional for your Sales or Marketing teams. These include Email integration, Marketing Automation Integration and integration for your accounting software like QuickBooks. Apart from these integrations users must have their reporting and process workflows defined to start getting the best potential right away.
CRM implementation is complex and becomes daunting if not done right. Do not rush at this stage or make a hasty decision as choosing a partner is an important variable deciding CRM success. These seven factors must be considered when choosing your SugarCRM Implementation Partner as it is the first step in your journey to get the best potential from your SugarCRM deployment.
Rolustech is an award-winning team of certified SugarCRM partners taking pride in successfully implementing Sugar for more than 500 firms worldwide.