Do we buy a home without looking inside of it first? Do we buy a car without taking it for a test drive? Do we hire new staff without doing an interview? If the answer is no then why do so many public companies hire their web firms by just talking to the sales people?
1. DO NOT MAKE A DECISION WITHOUT VIEWING THE CMS
Some may argue that they will not be updating the site themselves so this would not apply to them. This would be flawed mentality in many ways. Reason being that if company A has a platform that can do more than company B then company A can turn around that many more tasks for you that much quicker. If requests being made of company B are not in the CMS then will you be charged for those requests with company B? If requests are time sensitive then it's natural Company A can turn it around much faster due to their more robust platform. This is why a demo is so important as seeing really is believing.
2. DON'T ASK IF THEY ARE COMPLIANT BUT ASK HOW THEY ARE COMPLIANT
Its not about just asking the questions but asking the right questions. With a lot of verbal discussions this leaves little recourse to the issuer if/when things go wrong. As an IRO you will be up to date with various requirements so if you do not like their answer then the writing is on the wall. Therefore, doing your homework initially can help you filter before it's too late and you have already spent funds
3. DO NOT IGNORE INTERNAL PROCESSES
Company A may have a ticket system while Company B may not so you may find time savings with Company B because you don't have to create tickets each time. In some cases you may find one company outsources to different time zones while the other does not so you may take comfort in the one not outsourcing. To not even ask about the internal processes and move blindly with a firm based on the sales people can be a costly mistake.