"During the sales process [with potential email service providers] you will meet rainmakers, executives, subject-matter experts, high-level technical support, and creative directors and so on," says Bryan Stapp in a post at the Loud Amplifier Marketing blog. "The real question is: Who is going to be there after the contract is signed?"

Indeed. And to make sure you get the right answers about each level of your future relationship with an ESP candidate, Stapp recommends asking questions like these:

Who will manage my day-to-day relationship? Ideally, an account manager—not a salesperson—will serve as your direct contact within the organization. She should have an incentive to advocate for your needs, the power to get things done, and a clear process in line to address problems that arise.

Who will act as my executive-level contact? "There needs to be a relationship with an executive who will be assigned to you as an ultimate escalation point," Stapp notes. "If they are too busy being executives to deal with customers like you, then you need to keep looking" for an ESP, he advises.

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