You work in the government sector and are in desperate need of a new technology to get your marketing and communications to your audience effectively. Your current method is outdated, unreliable and inflexible. You have no idea where to even begin your search. You have been given a budget and a rough draft outline of what rules and stipulations you must stay within, but other than that, it is up to you to find this miracle technology. There are a lot of important factors to consider when choosing the right technology for you and your brand, but that doesn’t mean you have to be completely overwhelmed by the search. To keep this search under control, here are six key factors to consider before signing that technology contract with your new vendor.
1. Select a Technology Company that Shares Your Strategy
Do you need new technology for a specific task? Are you looking to grow an audience base or maybe redesign a website? Seek out a technology company that has case studies on how they helped other customers do just that! You will want to find a company that has a passion for what they do and records of past customer experiences are a great starting point during your search. You want to find a vendor that has experience in the marketplace and that you can rely on. Having the same mission, goals, and values is also important since this technology will be a product you and your team will be using throughout your operations. Ultimately, you want a strategic partner in your technology vendor. You will want to bounce ideas around and collaborate to find the right technology package for you and your brand. It is also extremely important to consider what the strategy will be after your product has been implemented. You will want to make sure you have a dedicated customer success manager and strategic resources to ensure your product continues to grow as your needs evolve.
2. Invest in Training
Training is very important when considering a new technology product. Select a vendor that can provide you with an intuitive content management system (CMS) that is user friendly and easy enough for your colleagues to operate even if they don’t have much tech experience. Make sure to choose a partner that has extensive training available for you and your team. Some training might be in person at the beginning of the product kick off and then others might be virtual/WebEx, but make sure you ask about training before the contract is signed. After implementation, you will want to ensure you and your team have access to training guides and reference materials for continuing education and refresher training. A lot of technology companies offer an on-demand training course/university to keep their customers up to date on the ever-changing technology available.
3. Seek out Stellar Consumer Support
It doesn’t matter the size of your administrative team or the size of your contract spend – you should always expect excellent customer support from your technology vendor. During your research, ask your sales reps what their average support request turnaround time would be. Ask if they have a separate system for entering support requests and if there are phone, chat, or email form submission options. If you have a simple question for the vendor, sometimes having that chat capability will save you and your vendor a ton of time! You don’t want to have to spend a lot of time working with the support team trying to fix a problem when you could be doing other tasks within the solution.
4. Find a Company that is an Expert in Your Area of Government
Depending on the type of task you are wanting to accomplish, you will want to have a technology expert with experience in the field you are within. This might sound simple but it is very important to remember during your search. This vendor can make your life a lot easier and can become a true value-add to your day-to-day operations. Make sure you find a technology partner with an extensive background in your area of government and maybe even ask around within your industry contacts about their experience with the vendor and their services. Your vendor could even be a source of knowledge for you with upcoming legislative updates within your area of business or stipulations that you must follow.
5. Ensure Effective Communication
An important area to consider when selecting your technology vendor is what would the strategic relationship look like after implementation. You want to build a strong working relationship with your technology contact and have them provide different ideas and solutions to help you use their product more effectively throughout the life of your contract. A plan of communication should be set up once the product is launched for regular check-ins with your vendor to make sure all is working properly, no issues are occurring, and every team member is up to date and comfortable with the solution.
6. Take Note of Customer Performance
Once the product has been launched, outline a few specific goals related to your performance on the product and share those goals with your vendor. Make sure you and your vendor spend time going through each goal and seeing if you met your expectations or exceeded them. Your vendor should want you to exceed these goals and also have a few additional areas to grow while using the product. This could be an excellent time to strengthen your working relationship with your vendor and meet your goals together.
Keeping these six factors in mind during your search will definitely help you find the perfect technology vendor to go with.