When working with a Software Advice advisor, you’ll get between two and five recommendations of products that best suit your needs. And while our advisors do their best to prepare you for what to expect next, we’ve heard from you that vendors sometimes bombard you with calls and emails. Software vendor management isn’t always easy.
Here are a few tips from our expert advisors on how to take back control of your software buying journey after you’ve had your one-on-one consultation with us.
First, why are vendors blowing up your phone?
The sales person’s job is to get you to sign up for an account before another vendor does. Plus, you’ve already spoken with an advisor, so they’re ready to start building your confidence that they’re responsive and eager to meet your needs right away—but their eagerness can feel overwhelming. We’ll give you tips on how to use their ambition to your advantage below.
Another reason why vendors call you is they often won’t give quotes via email. While we can’t make anyone adjust their policy on this, we’ll suggest ways to manage the calls in the sections below.
And now for the tips and advice on software vendor management from our advisors to you!
Schedule vendor calls based on your convenience
Hands down the top tip our advisors have for software buyers is to schedule time for a phone call at a time that’s good for you. Check out their advice on exactly how to do this and why it works.
Software Advice advisor team manager, Brittany Walther, suggests to “answer the call, say a quick hello, and then schedule time at your convenience for a more in-depth call later. Things will die down considerably after that.”
Brittany shares that most of the time when software vendor management feels unwieldy and vendors excessively call it’s because they can’t get in contact with someone to at least start the conversation. They know you’re looking for a product like theirs and want to be responsive to your inquiry.
Michael Hestand, a fellow advisor team manager says “the best advice I can give is to engage with vendors as soon as possible and let them know your expectations and what’s most beneficial to you. That way the vendor has super clear expectations, and they know what they can do to best help you”
It can be easiest to manage and engage with software vendors via email. This way, you can let them know where you’re at in the research and when they can contact you, and both you and the vendor have a record of what was shared to reference for follow-up discussions.
Director of qualification, Chase Sheeran, recommends that you “get strategic with your research by scheduling out demos and pricing conversations when it’s convenient for you.” The first time you answer their call doesn’t need to be a long conversation. Chase says, “Pick it up and let them know when you will have time to talk. Otherwise, they’ll keep calling!”
He also shared a helpful reminder: “Vendors want to sell their product and they can be persistent! Take these steps to ensure you’re in control of the pace at which your research proceeds and you’re making clear what your needs are.”
Okay, so now you’ve scheduled time for a more in-depth call with a vendor. What other unexpected software vendor management challenges might come up next?
A vendor might call first, read our call notes later
Typically a Software Advice advisor will write detailed notes on how and when to most effectively contact you based on the info they gathered during your call. But sometimes, these notes can be overlooked by the software vendor and the result is a disconnect between how you expect the meeting to go versus what the sales rep is prepared to discuss. We know this can be frustrating.
You can absolutely ask the vendor if they received the notes from your call with our advisor and politely ask that they review them before your next meeting.
Brittany shares another reason why there could be confusion or disconnect in your call with a vendor. “The details of functionality needed by the buyer is not always communicated or understood. For instance, integration with other systems is a challenging criterion for our advisors to know exactly which products integrate with other ones.”
It takes years to be an expert in all the functionality, offerings, and integrations every vendor in a specific market has and they’re constantly changing and updating.
Be clear about your make it or break it requirements in your email to vendors right away. This way you can catch if they’re not the best fit before spending too much time with the sales rep.
The unchosen vendor may want to know why
After you’ve selected the best product for you, you may have the other vendor whom you spoke/emailed with ask why you didn’t go with them. Our director of qualification, Kacey Nash, advises that you don’t have to go into specifics if you don’t want to.
In fact, Kacey recommends not to if you want the work of managing your software vendor interaction to end smoothly.
“Many times if you start to get into specifics (and don’t want to) it can create an opening for a sales rep to try and win back a sale. So oftentimes less is more.”
Here are two example responses you could use:
- “We just felt more comfortable about the overall value of another vendor and have chosen to use them going forward.”
- “While you have a competitive product, there was not a singular factor that caused us to choose the other company over yours. We had to look at the entire offering and they just won out this time.”
Bonus tip! Make the sales rep a resource, not a combatant
The software you choose needs to not only have the functionality your business requires, but it also needs to come with a commitment to customer service to you. This relationship starts right away as you’re working with the sales rep for demos and pricing of their product.
The vendor should be a responsive, supportive resource at each step of the process. Kacey suggests to “use them as a resource, not as a combatant. It will provide a more rewarding experience in the short and long-term.”
You can help set up the relationship for success by setting specific meeting times, being responsive, and expecting them to do the same for you. Let them know that you expect proactive, detailed, and clear information about their product and customer service offerings. This will keep you in control and able to get what you need when you need it.
Next steps: Manage software vendors with confidence
Each of us at Software Advice is committed to helping you find the best software that meets the needs of your business. We hope this article helps you understand what to expect after a consultation with an advisor and how you can keep the control in your purchasing process.
Our advisors have an incredible depth of knowledge in the specific software type they work with buyers on. They’re constantly researching to stay up with the changes, trends, and capabilities in each market, but can make mistakes. So please always reach out to let us know how we can be of better help to you or share a compliment with us. We’re here for you!