There are a lot of steps in the process when you’re
call to a salesperson? Some things are fairly obvious and some are not. Here are six ways to prepare so you can get the most information out of one phone
- Do Your Research. Do an internet search for reviews on the software you are considering. I’m sure you already do that for those flat screen TVs, laptops, cars, etc. There is a tremendous amount of information out there on the products available to businesses. It is a disservice to yourself to not take advantage of it.
- Visit the Company’s Web Site. Read the white papers and visit the links on the site. If an organization is noted in a white paper or if the company lists their clients on their website, make a call. I can’t guarantee the clients will be receptive to talk to you about the company, but it’s worth a shot. Of course, always be respectful of people’s time.
- Ask Your Suppliers What Software Applications They Use. That type of feedback is invaluable. You already have a relationship with them - ask what system they use for financials, distribution, etc.
- Limit the Number of ERP Systems Considered.
I’ve run into organizations that will evaluate up to 10 different packages! That’s a hard process to manage and to keep track of the nuanced differences between each one. I recommend you limit your search to no more than 4.
- Don’t Just Focus On Features And Functionality.
Let’s face it; if you are looking for an ERP package all of the competing products handle GL, receivables, and payables in an efficient manner.
The same can be said for order processing and other customer-related activities. I’m not suggesting that you ignore functionality, but also focus on
the software company. How stable are they? Will they be around for the long term? How much do they invest in R&D? How often are there new releases?
- Create A Needs Document. I find that a number of organizations either do not have a written document of requirements or it was slapped together
without any input from key people. I’m not saying that you should create a formal RFP, but having a requirements check list will help you keep on track with your discussions with the salesperson. Sharing that document with the salesperson is also very valuable since it helps with understanding your needs and opens the door to greater discovery.
The vendor understands that selecting a new software package is a bet-your-business decision. The vendor’s goal is to implement a system that exceeds your requirements and expected business outcomes. Therefore, these goals must be crystal clear in the minds of both the customer and the vendor.
By Sherwood Systems –