When interviewing potential ERP consultants, good questions are your best assets. Instead of selling a product, they are selling themselves and their expertise. In many ways, they are rewarded for telling you what you want to hear because their mission is to get hired. And if you don’t know too much about ERP software, it can be hard to distinguish the true experts from the guys who are just blowing smoke.

Asking the right questions is key in this situation. At the end of the day, you want to trust your ERP consultant because they’re an important part of driving a successful implementation. Here are five questions you should ask when interviewing potential ERP consultants.

Who will be on my transformation team?

When it comes to hiring ERP consultants, it’s important to know who will be on managing your project before you sign. Will you be interacting with the organization’s leadership or will they assign a group of interns to oversee your account? These days, it’s all too easy to buy into the marketing tactics that many firms use to acquire new business. If industry knowledge is what you value most in a prospective consultant, a certain level of due diligence will ensure that your expectations are met. By asking these questions, you can avoid being “sold” by sales professionals that won’t be involved in executing your business transformation.

How does your track record compare to your references?

This question is a two-parter. The first question you should ask concerns the consultant’s success rate. Consultants love to boast about their success rates, and it’s your job to verify those claims. Luckily, this is easy to do if you ask them a simple follow-up — just ask them to share a few references. By checking in with some of their previous clients, you can verify that the consultant you’re hiring can walk the walk. If they claim to have a 100% success rate but their previous clients aren’t satisfied with their work, you’ll know that there’s nothing there but marketing fluff.

What does your relationship with software influencers look like?

The importance of hiring an objective ERP consultant cannot be overstated. Given the fast pace of technological change and the fragmented ERP vendor landscape, finding an objective, technology-agnostic voice is critical to get the best fitting system during the software evaluation process and finding the best path forward for your digital strategy in general. Unfortunately, finding an unbiased partner is easier said than done. These days, consultants are more incentivized than ever to offer biased advice to their customers. It’s part of ERP vendors’ business models to leverage consultants’ influence to sell more software. By asking tough questions about consultant biases, it’s possible to weed out the true experts from those peddling whatever software for the vendor that gives the best kickbacks.

Are you an innovator in the industry?

This question is a good litmus test for ERP consultants. Innovators in the industry are always talking about what’s going on and the latest digital trends. If you’re looking for a true thought leader in the space, it’s a good idea to look at what a firm is publishing — whether it’s content on their website, blog, YouTube channel, or somewhere else. Take note of the content. Is the subject matter relevant? Are they conveying information in a way you can understand? These posts can give you a sense of a firm’s personality and professionalism. If you don’t like the way they present themselves, it may not be a good match.

Another way firms can showcase their expertise is by acting as expert witnesses in legal cases. Lawyers will hire ERP consultants as an objective third party to weigh in on the true cause of a disputed ERP failure. This litigation work experience keeps firms on top of the latest laws surrounding digital transformation practices and showcases a certain standing within the industry.

How do you ensure customer satisfaction?

At the end of the day, customer satisfaction is all that matters. This question will reveal how they plan to guarantee their performance as a consultant. If they don’t have a plan now for how they will ensure a good experience, they may never have one. Do they have a plan for organizational change management? Can they help with process mapping? Will they provide value from inception to completion of the project? Customer satisfaction starts from the first interaction to the time your team has fully adapted new technology, and it’s important to understand how the prospective consultant can deliver on each phase of the project.

At Third Stage, we pride ourselves on providing objective ERP help to our clients. But that doesn’t mean you should let us off easy during the interview process. After reading this article, I hope you have a few questions to keep up your sleeve for your next interview, whether that’s with our organization or someone else’s. If you want to talk digital transformation, we’re always ready to chat. We are happy to hop on an introductory call and learn more about your needs as you continue your journey. Contact us: info@thirdstage-consulting.com

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