Cheaper isn’t always better

November 19th, 2018IN live chat by

When Purchasing Software is “Too Easy”

With the holidays approaching, consumers often are looking for the best deal.

In this shopping season, over 2000 consumers told PwC they will spend an average of $1,250 each this holiday on gifts, travel, and entertainment, an increase of 5% over last year.

For many retailers, that is good news. Plenty of annual strategic planning will be realized as manufacturers tweak product, price and psychology to make this their best shopping performance yet.

A favorite read for any software sales rep is SoftWAR, by Matthew Symonds. In it, Matthew details the inner strategies and discussions around how Larry Ellison positioned Oracle to become one of the greatest software success stories of all times. “There is no better software than software people actually use” rang true then, as it does today. But often the best deal for the consumer is not a fair deal for the vendor. When asked, “how much is this going to cost me?” often Larry’s response is “you’re asking the wrong question – the question you should be asking is how much are you going to make?”

Let’s run through a few pricing pitfalls software consumers find frustrating or even fatal.

Software should be strategic

When making a software decision, be aware that in some cases, the company or department you are today is not the company you will be in a year or 5-years from now. You should aim at software that can adapt to 60-70% of your today’s core requirement(s), but be flexible enough to handle the 40-50% of tomorrow’s vision. Scalability should be a key feature in any software decision.

Make software a relationship

It is easy in today’s quick google search and free-trial world to lose sight of one of the key components when purchasing software: Relationship with the software team. Even if the application is a wordpress widget, gaining access to a project manager or team is or will become a core component in determining a positive experience. This is especially true when software is considered a growth vehicle – at some point you’re going to need to engage with the software team to assure your requirements are met or to assure proper alignment with and/or training your team.

Free Trials

Controversial as it may seem, don’t make a free trial about price. Free trials should be about opportunity. An opportunity for 1-person in your organization to commit to onboard the software to ID if it is the right fit. Depending on the depth of software this should take no more than 14-28 days. Ask questions to the developers of the software to get a feel for support, make this a priority.

Caution against “too easy”

Working with hundreds of companies over the years – we have found companies that stress ease-of-use over and over as their core requirement are in a constant state of purchasing software. They often do not take the time to invest into their software purchases and often lash out that the software had problems when the core issue generally stems from a lack of priority, setup and implementation from the start. Try to resist the urge to be so incredibly easy that you miss the scalable component. Software has to be easy to use, get that, but be aware that too easy generally means the software lacks capability. Growing companies should blend ease-of-use with long-term scalability, commitment, setup and training for best results.

Training

Going back to Larry Ellison: There is no better software than software people actually use.Users need to be groomed into optimizing the experience. It should not be forced all in 1-session. Best approach is a train-the-trainer over a week-to-week short sessions, depending on the software choice. Appoint a single person from your team to work with the software and assure it is optimized for your current requirement(s). Then roll-out to additional members of your team, either with the software vendor or not – but better with, if possible, to assure alignment occurs. Share feedback with the software team to make them aware of core usage points or even key objections. It is important to make the software project manager a part of your team to assure alignment – this approach provides optimal Return on Investment (ROI) and acclimation to your working environment,

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