The questions you're not asking your tech vendor

Protect your brokerage before you make a purchase

Let’s face it, change is hard, and we humans are change resistant. Making any technology change has consequences we often never consider — disruption, resistance, and cost — to our day-to-day responsibilities. You better hope you pick the right horse to ride in on, for all of the upheaval you will face. That’s true even if the solution(s) you pick are the greatest things since sliced bread!

Here are some key questions brokerage leadership needs to start asking vendors:

What impact will this have on our profitability?
It is easy to get into “shiny object syndrome.” So many tech solutions are built on features, not results. Don’t be fooled by long feature lists that don’t drive any business improvements. Vendor “x” may have a longer list of features and vendor “y” might have fewer; does vendor “y” actually drive a higher result? What is your goal (and by the way, it shouldn’t be “have a CRM” – it always needs an actual proven business result).

Does the vendor layer on extra fees after the fact?
Many vendors get the deal by agreeing to ultra-low prices. (Sounds great, right?) Post sale, it turns out everything you thought you were getting is an up-charge. Know what’s included, and how they handle requests. Are they like a lawyer, who starts the fee clock every time you pick up the phone?

Are they giving you the latest version?
Imagine if Apple didn’t give you the next update to their operating system. If your vendor is advancing their technology, do you get all of the advantages? Make sure you don’t have to stay on version 1, when new customers are on version 10.

Do you have access to make changes?
Do you have to pay the vendor, and wait for them, every time you need to add content or make a change? These fees and delays add up fast!

How frequently do they raise their rates?
A vendor might price low to get the deal, then charge you for everything after the fact, or up the rates exponentially at renewal (or both).

Who are they funded by and what’s their goal?
Who are the vendor’s investors? Many a vendor took a big investment and then stopped innovating, because profit was their investors’ priority. Don’t commit to a vendor for the long haul if they’re not committed to you.

Do they have quality support? An account management team?
What happens after you launch? Do they provide support? Is someone getting up every day, for the life of your contract, worrying about whether you are getting the value? Do they launch and leave you on your own? These are vitally important to the success and adoption of the technology you’re investing in for your brokerage.

What does their integration look like in practice?
Chances are, you have to have multiple vendors working with each other. When vendors say they’re integrated, what does that mean? Many vendors claim “integration” using Zapier. Zapier does not support Enterprise level integrations. Know the difference.

The conversation needs to pivot. Features for feature’s sake won’t get you where you want to go. What is the goal? What is the adoption level, and who helps when no one uses 50% of the shiny features you thought looked so great? Is it proven? Have the goal in mind and ensure the provider and product will help you get there!

Need some more tips? Chat with us. We’re always happy to help.