What now? 4 Things to do after receiving an estimate

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By: Brent Shively | 6.25.15

Today, we are going to continue our series on how to best engage with your consultant and how to set yourself up for success with your CRM deployment (we started with the 5 Things to Bring to Your First Meeting with a CRM Consultant) At this point in the process, you have already had a discovery call with your consulting firm, and they have sent you an estimate detailing their recommended approach for your project based on your initial conversations.

Wondering where to go from here? Here are our tips on how to understand your estimate and pave the way for your next steps.


1. Compare your requirements to the estimate

It’s time to return to the prioritized requirements you developed before the call (and recall our advice to know what you want AND the order of importance) and compare those requirements to the estimate you are now looking at. Read the estimate closely, go over it with your team, and write down any initial questions or concerns.

Takeaway: don’t be afraid to ask about any unknown terms

The language in the estimate will generally be more technical than how you described your requirements; however, it’s important to ensure that everything you are looking for is included in the scope. If you need help deciphering any technical lingo, make a note to go over the terms with your Solutions Analyst. You don’t want to move forward with an estimate simply because of cost and discover halfway through the project that your requirements were not included in the finalized scope of work.


2. Schedule a follow-up meeting

The first conversation you have with your consulting firm generally is no longer than an hour. This provides a limited amount of time to discuss your requirements and for the firm to understand what your processes look like on the ground. This is why the estimate may not contain all of your intended requirements or may be beyond your budget range.

Takeaway: Be proactive

To help align both your requirements and budget, ask for a follow-up meeting soon with your consultant to have a discussion about the estimate.  This will provide an opportunity for you to have a guided conversation about what is ultimately achievable through your CRM and what the total cost of ownership (TCO) will be. You can also address any questions surrounding vocabulary or definitions that you didn’t understand in the estimate. Following this discussion, you may receive a revised estimate including changes that were covered during your follow-up meeting.


3. Develop and expand your case

Some appropriate and attainable goals we suggested in the previous post include increasing donation revenue by X%, reducing administration data entry time by X hours per week, increasing check processing time by X hours for each campaign cycle, and increasing event RSVPs by X%.

What goals did you set prior to your conversation with your consulting partner? Your goals shouldn’t be limited to those we suggested, but you want to make sure that your goals are measurable and attainable.

Takeaway: create a narrative of how this project will help your organization

Return to your goals and begin developing a case to present to the decision makers at your organization. During this process, you should draw a direct connection between your goals (and anticipated ROI) and the estimate in order to provide a clear understanding of the gains your organization will receive because of this project.  


4. Engage your stakeholders

By now, the estimate you have in hand should reflect your project priorities, budget, and anticipated timeline. With this information, you should engage with your pre-identified stakeholders who will be working alongside you while making the case to the key decision makers.

Takeaway: keep stakeholders updated along the way

Remember, stakeholders are anyone from your organization who influence the decision makers or the decision making process. They need to be kept up to date with project status updates and changes, and could include board members, Salesforce admins, or senior management.


Once you have these steps in place, you’ll be ready to launch a successful project. Do you have questions about how to get started with a consulting partner? Check out our whitepaper on how to get ready for a CRM project:


Download the whitepaper



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