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Dodging ‘Vendorlock’: 5 Steps to Purchasing New Software for Your Business
The software industry is booming. In 2017, the industry generated more than $206 billion in revenue. As is tradition, entrepreneurs went where the money was. Now there are more than 8,000 software companies with products on the market, according to Scott Brinker at ChiefMartec.
That’s a lot of possibilities to sort through. And while some companies are more than happy to offer you their services and products, it can be difficult for business owners to figure out which product will work best for them.
When buying software for your business, it’s essential to make sure that you get it right the first time. Buying the wrong software can lead to what’s known as “vendorlock.” It can happen when too many similar solution options slow down purchase decisions to a crawl, like being stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic on the way home from work. It can also mean you’re locked into using a particular software vendor and can’t switch to a different one without high costs and hassle.
To prevent making a misguided purchase due to too many solutions with similar features, functionality, and pricing, here are five things you should do before purchasing any software.
The Benefits of Getting it Right the First Time
When a business grows, it’s vital to ensure that its systems are scalable. This includes the software that they’re using. Unfortunately, many companies make the mistake of buying software that isn’t scalable and then later have to switch to a new system. This can be a hassle for several reasons:
- It will take time to implement the new system.
- It can be expensive to switch to a new system.
- The switch will disrupt business operations.
- You may not vet your options thoroughly if a quick purchase is required.
Therefore, it’s essential to make sure that you buy the right software from the beginning.
How to Buy the Right Software
When buying software, it’s important to remember that not all software is created equal. There are many different options on the market, and it can be challenging to figure out which product is right for your business.
We believe that the most effective buying process looks like this:
- Determine Your Needs: The first step in buying the right software is determining your needs. What are you trying to accomplish with your software? What features do you need to meet your goals?
- Do Your Research: Once you know what you need, it’s time to do your research. Read reviews, compare products, and ask for recommendations from your peers. Folks like BrainSell already did the comparing for some great software. Resources like that are invaluable!
- Narrow Down the Options: Once you’ve done your research, it’s time to narrow down which software you want to purchase.
- Get a Demo: If the product has a demo, get in touch with their sales team and request one. This way, you can see how well they understand your needs and if their product is right for you before buying anything.
- Ask for a Quote: Finally, once you’ve narrowed it down to one or two products, ask for a quote. That will give you an idea of the cost and help you make a final decision.
5 Tips & Tricks on Buying New Software
In an age where buying software has become easier than ever, there are still a few things to consider before cashing out your credit card. Here are five buying tips that will keep you from buying a product that isn’t right for your company.
1. Put the Software Through a Trial Period
Trials allow you to understand how your team will learn the software. If onboarding and change management for the trial turns into a headache, you’ll gain a good understanding of what working with your new solution partner would be like.
2. Find Out What Peers in the Industry Are Buying
Peer and even competitive analysis can go a long way to thin out a long list of potential solution vendors for your specific needs. Assessing how others in your industry are approaching your particular business pain points can identify possible solutions that might have been off your radar.
3. Look for Referrals
Along with assessing how peers approached solving similar problems to yours, you can take it one step further and ask vendors to share referrals. Vendors will completely understand and will be happy to connect you with a happy client that can answer any specific questions you may have around a solution option.
4. Ask for An Implementation Timeline
Having an overview of the implementation process will help you better understand the overall time to gain a return on your investment. Compare this to how long you can realistically afford to work in your current form should the software not work out as expected. If you don’t like the timeframe or the presented expectations, it makes it easier to cross that vendor option off the list.
5. If You’re Still Unsure, Ask for Help!
Getting it right the first time is essential to streamlining your company’s growth. Third-party consultants like BrainSell have helped hundreds of companies when purchasing a new software. An outside perspective can also expedite research time, simplify the selection process, and provide additional support with the onboarding process!
Purchasing something as crucial as software can be difficult, but by following these tips, you’ll be on your way to buying the right product for your company.
And remember, if you feel overwhelmed or have questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us to discuss your specific concerns and needs.
Brian Anderson joined BrainSell as the content marketing manager but unknowingly became our in-house troubadour as well. Brian’s ability to generate high-quality content and continue to develop the BrainSell voice is unmatched.View Posts
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