I’m often surprised at how rarely a company requests to interview their primary point of contact when they are considering sales tax outsourcing. It seems like a natural thing to do but why does it not happen? I believe a lot of companies are easily impressed with the name of the outsourcing vendor, with the sales rep, and with the senior management that are active during the evaluation process. Companies also see the technology that the outsourcing vendor has in place and maybe they are impressed with the management reports and dashboards that are available. The company then assumes that their primary point of contact will be equally impressive. This is a dangerous assumption to make.
The primary point of contact is one of the critical variables that will dictate success or failure of the engagement. It is similar to a patient that is about to undergo major surgery. A wise patient would never undergo major surgery without speaking with the surgeon that’s going to perform the procedure. The reputation of the hospital and the technology that’s available to the surgeon will influence the decision but ultimately, it’s the surgeon that dictates success or failure of the procedure. Likewise, it’s the primary point of contact that you will interact with on a daily basis that will have the most influence over the success or failure of the engagement.
How can you avoid this issue? I always encourage people to ask for resumes and to interview the primary point of contact as if they were making a hiring decision for their staff.