20 Questions for Your CRM Provider

Hold vendors accountable for the promises they make.

May 18, 2011
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The path to customer relationship management (CRM) implementations has been “littered with failure and dubious outcomes,” according to “CRM Strategies,” a white paper from the CUNA Operations, Sales, and Service Council.

That’s why it’s essential to hold vendors accountable for the promises they make and determine how they’ll deliver on them.

Ask the vendor specifically how it will improve work flow and how the company’s strategy fits with the credit union’s. “The strategy has to come first before you buy any technology,” the report states.

And if a vendor makes promises about business results, such as new business or member retention, get them in writing—with actions to take if the vendor fails to reach the goal.

If a vendor makes a claim but won’t guarantee it, that speaks volumes.

What to ask potential CRM vendors

After narrowing down the list of potential CRM vendors, ask these questions:

  1. How long have you been in the CRM business? The CRM industry is about 26 years old.
  2. What’s the company’s history?
  3. Do you work exclusively with the financial services industry?
  4. What percentage of your business is in the credit union and small bank market?
  5. How many credit union clients do you have?
  6. What’s your CRM philosophy?
  7. What’s your CRM technology strategy?
  8. What’s your Web strategy? Wireless?
  9. What’s the company’s financial position?
  10. What’s the background of your management team?
  11. How do you support your system?
  12. What training do you provide for end users and system administrators?
  13. What channels do you offer for ongoing support (i.e., website, help desk)?
  14. How long will it take to get the system up and running?
  15. How many and what type of sites does the system support?
  16. Do you handle all support and installation in-house or use third-party vendors?
  17. What’s your response time for system problem resolution?
  18. Do you employ open architecture in your system?
  19. Do you provide the source code for your system?
  20. How much will you charge to customize the system?

“CRM Strategies” and other white papers are free to CUNA Council members and $50 for nonmembers.

VP-Business Continuity

Ken Schroeder, CBCP
May 18, 2011 9:02 am
This list applies to ALL VENDORS, not just those selling CRM. The bottom line is every CU needs a vendor management program (as in process, not software). This should be in place for all contracts, even informal ones.

The basic keys to the program should cover:

Know the criticality: Is this product or service critical to you (price, alternate source, sole vendor, work stoppage if delivery fails)?

Know the vendor: References, financials, business continuity, info security, etc.

Define the deliverables: What will the vendor provide you(that means actually put in your hand), such that you can validate and accept the product or service?

Define the remedies: What recourse do you have if the vendor doesn't deliver?

Define the progress review process: How do you know the vendor is making progress toward your deliverable?

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