As the Sales and Marketing Coordinator at Groove Commerce, much of my job revolves around walking potential clients through the initial stages of the sales process. I have experienced clients from each end of the spectrum. Some clients have been deep in research for months – they know what they need and when they need it. For others, all they know is that they would like to switch platforms. No matter the stage you may be in, finding and selecting the Magento Partner that is right for you is a challenging and often time-consuming process. In order to help improve this process, I have developed a guide that outlines keys to success and things to avoid through each stage.

Finding Potential Partners
The first step in choosing the best Magento Partner is to accumulate potential agencies, here are some great places to start:

Tradeshows
One of the best ways to find an expert Magento design and development agency is to attend conferences and tradeshows. This is a great opportunity to meet potential agencies and to gage their fit with your project and company. Depending on the event, it also provides peace of mind knowing that freelancers and inexperienced developers probably won’t be investing in booths or be asked to speak at sessions.

Referrals
Recommendations and referrals are a large part of inbound business for Groove, most coming from our past clients and partners we have worked with. Try asking the point of contact at your hosting provider, inventory management system, or another third party who they would recommend. They work with all types of agencies to implement their solution on ecommerce websites. You can even ask a Magento sales representative to set you up with a few different agencies who are most likely to fit your needs.

Magento Solution Partner Directory
Check out their profile on the Magento website. You can see some of the clients they have worked with right from this profile and get a good feel for their size. You’ll also be able to click through directly to their website.

Receiving Good Magento Proposals

Once you have narrowed potential partners down to a few choices, you should begin requesting proposals. There are a few common mistakes that can be made during this stage, the first is being unprepared. Make sure you know what you must have in phase one. Next, be available. Never begin this process during your busiest season or before you will be out of the office for a period of time. Partners will want to have multiple conversations before submitting proposals, make sure you are there to answer their questions. Also, keep your process consistent across partners. Make sure you provide the same information to each potential Magento Enterprise partner. Lastly, be open. If you have signed a non-disclosure agreement, you should consider sharing information like revenue, traffic, conversion rate AND your budget. The most successful partnerships are those that are open and honest. When a potential partner knows where you stand, they are able to develop a proposal that will work with your budget.

Once you receive proposals, keep in mind that it is this point at which a deeper conversation should take place. The agency should set up a time to walk you through their proposed project, answer all your questions, and perhaps tailor the proposal again to address anything you may have come out of stepping through the document together.

Choosing the Magento Partner That is Right for You

Remember to ask questions about the agency itself while comparing potential Magento developers. While it might be tempting to base your selection solely on the investment & pricing section of a proposal, make sure you are considering other important factors. Here are some often over-looked questions to ask a Magento Partner during the selection process:

  • Where are you located and is your team able to travel for on site meetings?
  • Is your entire team in-house and do you offshore any work?
  • How long have you focused on the Magento Enterprise platform?
  • What is a typical timeline for Magento Enterprise website design and development?
  • What situations may take a project off timeline or budget?
  • Do you provide any ongoing support?
  • What types of quality assurance and testing do you perform before and after launch?

It is vital to do your due diligence when picking a Magento expert to work with. The last place you want to be is losing money each day due to overdue milestones and delayed launches. Perhaps such projects stalled due to unforeseen obstacles that should have been uncovered in the proposal preparation or etailers simply had not spent enough time researching and qualifying the partner they chose.

Groove Commerce takes pride in our ability to launch high performing Magento Enterprise websites. If you are considering Magento Partners for your project, we’d love to have a conversation!

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