Looking for a MRM partner? Ask these questions first.

Jun 29, 2015

Liz Schaefer
LinkedIn


Vya_062515_QsforMRMVendors-1If you’re evaluating marketing resource management (MRM) solutions, you’ll find there are many aspects to consider beyond just features and functionality.

You’ll want to determine how your company will use the solution to meet your business goals, now and in the future. You don’t want to have to grow your staff to support the technology, for example, or spend more than expected in incremental support costs.

Whether you’re searching for a MRM solution for the first time or you’re looking to replace an existing solution, here is a handy checklist of considerations to help guide your process in finding the right partner.

1) Marketing fulfillment

MRM systems need to link to fulfillment providers to execute the production of your marketing pieces. Think about these questions:

  • Do your prospective vendors provide marketing fulfillment services? This could include campaign design, printing and fulfillment, execution and/or end-to-end production management?
  • What services are provided to coordinate a final pre-press review before your brand materials go to print, to ensure the integrity of the printed colors?
  • How will print campaigns be managed end-to-end?
  • If there needs to be a hand-off to a third party, will it be seamless?

2) Software administration

It’s important to estimate the amount of internal time required to administer and manage your MRM software after rollout. This might include setting up and managing user permissions, uploading content and data, or running reports.

The time spent will depend on the complexity of the solution and the service provided by your prospective vendors. Consider:

  • What software administration/management services do your prospective vendors provide?
  • Will you need to dedicate someone as a full-time administration resource? Or distribute administration responsibilities to a team of employees?
  • If your administrator or administrators need to be certified, what is the cost?
  • If you can’t dedicate a full-time resource to administration, will you need to grow your staff?

3) Number of users

The number of users on your platform likely won’t be static. Think about how scalable the solutions you’re evaluating will be over time, both from a licensing standpoint and also from the perspective of training and supporting users.

Consult with cross-functional leaders at your company in the beginning of your evaluation process and try to plan for future needs. Determine:

  • What kinds of user licenses will be needed? What are the costs? Your users may each require different license permissions (for example, administrators versus users) and different annual fees could apply.
  • What kinds of licenses may be needed in the future?

4) Implementation timeframe

t is important to understand whether an out-of-the box software solution will work for your purposes, or if your solution requires development work, either in-house or in coordination with your vendor’s staff. Be sure to clarify time to rollout and internal resource requirements. Try to estimate:

  • How many hours will be required of IT?
  • How much time will marketing staff spend mapping out processes?
  • Does the vendor provide resources that share implementation best practices and configure the MRM platform for you?

5) Asset and campaign management

MRM systems are a great solution to help streamline and manage marketing messaging and processes. However, the extent to which users can take advantage of the full benefits of the system depends on whether time was invested before rollout, uploading templates and prospect lists into the system. Make sure to determine:

  • What support do your prospective vendors provide during this process?

6) User interface and training

A good MRM system will be easy to use. You might find it helpful to create a set of criteria to measure the user-friendliness of the technology solutions you are considering.

Additionally, clarify with your prospective vendors what training is included with the cost of technology implementation, and the costs and timing of any incremental and/or specialized training. Depending on how intuitive the solution is, more training could be needed in certain situations—for instance, if there is a long lapse in time between user logins. Ask prospective vendors:

  • What complementary training and support for software updates is available?
  • If ongoing training is not complementary, what is the cost?

7) Support options

Support options beyond initial training and basic support will inevitably be required in the future. Evaluate your potential vendors against the cost of support options, channels available for support (which include website, self-help, tutorials, email, phone and/or chat) and your needs.

Other considerations could include the location of your vendor’s support team (U.S. versus abroad) and how intimately your vendor will know and interact with your account. Find out:

  • Will you have a dedicated account manager or team for support?

There are many considerations when evaluating potential MRM solutions, but we hope these questions help guide you to find the right partner for your company.

FREE BRIEF: How to calculate the value of MRM for your business

 

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Tags: marketing resource management, Hiring an MRM partner, getting started

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