You’ve decided to hire a site selection consultant to help with market analysis and important location-based decisions. But how do you go about finding the right consultancy for your company? To help, we decided to put together a checklist for choosing your analytics partner.
The key to hiring a location analysis firm is finding someone who can bring value to your customer data with innovative tools and a knowledgeable team that provides relevant, actionable insights. Here’s how to find the best match for your business:
Step 1: Review the consultancy’s client roster
Before engaging a new consultant, spend some time researching current clients. Are these companies growing? Posting gains? Going public? Be sure to ask for:
- Current testimonials
Past performance is a great indicator of future results!
Step 2: Ask about their process
You should always ask for a review of a market analysis or software systems so you can get a glimpse of the company’s process and tools. Before signing a contract, it’s important to get:
- A timeline for implementation
- Details on how solutions fit your needs
- Information on how competitive accounts will be handled
- The number of analysts who will be assigned to your account
- What will happen if and when your current needs change
Step 3: Assess the questions they’re asking you.
Do they want to know anything about your company’s:
- Current and past store performance?
- Your expansion goals?
- Your existing analytics process?
If they’re not asking these kinds of questions, it’s unlikely their solutions will be responsive to your needs. A good site selection consultant will seek to gain a deep understanding of your business goals so analysts can provide recommendations based on your specific needs.
Step 4: Watch for Danger Signs
Make sure any consultant you’re considering doesn’t raise any red flags—things you don’t want to hear in conversations and sales pitches. Danger signs include:
- Use of buzzwords and jargon: A good analytics consultant should be able to translate industry terminology into a language you can easily understand
- Lofty promises of quick turnaround: At a minimum, it takes several weeks to implement software, analyze your existing network and provide tailored recommendations
- Unexplained closings, especially among retail clients: Closings should always be a strategic part of optimizing existing store networks
- Sales estimates and models guaranteed within a certain percentage: It’s not possible to know specifics until the work has begun.
And, finally, consider how long the company’s been around. As big data becomes a big deal, more and more location analytics companies and “experts” are emerging on the scene. Be aware that a new firm may not have the knowledge base of a consultancy that’s been fine-tuning software and working with national brands for many years.