How To Avoid Common Roadblocks When Buying Software

By: Andrew Conrad on December 13, 2022
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Purchasing software for your business can be a big, scary decision. It can be time-consuming, expensive, and confusing. And even after the search, how do you know that you still won’t end up with a confusing, expensive lemon of a solution?

If you’re anything like me, you rush into the process of a big purchase with a head full of optimistic steam, but the closer you get to making a purchase, indecision sets in. What if I invest in the wrong software product? What if my coworkers won’t use it? What if it doesn’t have all the features I need?

If you’re spearheading the software search for your business, and you’ve already started to narrow down your search, or you’ve worked with a Software Advice advisor to build your software product shortlist, you’re off to a great start. You might even feel ready to take the next steps toward a final purchasing decision. But there are still a few roadblocks on this last stretch you should be ready for. Here’s how to avoid them to ensure the last few steps of your software buying process are as smooth as possible.

1. Ask colleagues for input

Unless you’re a solopreneur selecting a new task management tool for your individual use, you shouldn’t make this decision on your own. Whether you think you’re saving other people the time and trouble of going through the software selection process, or you just think you know what’s best for your business, going it alone is a bad idea.

Including representatives of the teams that will be using the software isn’t just the right thing to do, it also makes your job easier by spreading the workload. It can also accelerate the adoption process, because the teams that will be using the new system will have had a say in its selection.

Include your colleagues as stakeholders in the purchasing decision by asking them to compile a list of features they absolutely need in the new software. These features could include accessing the software on their mobile devices or being able to integrate it with a collaboration tool.

Now you have a list of must-have features that you can use to quickly approve or eliminate products from your shortlist.

2. Focus on the functions your business needs

Software, and technology in general, has come a long way in the past several decades. You can find software with smart automation, chatbots to hold your hand through processes, deep analytics to reveal new insights into your business, and more. All of those things can be very useful.

But if you get distracted by the cutting-edge features and forget to make sure that your new restaurant management software works with your point-of-sale system or inventory management platform, you’ll be in a lot of trouble.

Gather your list of essential needs for your new software, as discussed above, and keep it handy during the selection process to avoid becoming distracted by the frills. Then, as you hone in on products, search our directory to see what verified users think about the features you need most. The right software is one that gives your business what it needs and integrates seamlessly with existing software your business already uses.

3. Be aware of costs

If your budget is $1,000 per year, you shouldn’t necessarily splurge on something that costs $5,000 per year just because it seems like a great fit.

At the same time, you don’t want to let an overly strict budget prevent you from getting the software that is going to save you hours of extra work every week. It doesn’t make sense to hold to a hard and fast budget of $100 per month when the software that could transform your business and increase sales tenfold costs $120 per month—especially if that $100 per month software is missing vital features that you need.

Have a budget in mind, and be aware of long-term and upfront costs, but also be prepared to make adjustments as necessary.

4. Choose a product that’s easy to use

When you were young and growing quickly, your parents probably bought clothing or shoes that were a couple sizes bigger than you needed so that you could grow into them.

You might be tempted to borrow this approach for your software search, but it’s not a great idea. Buying enterprise-level software for your team of 20 means that if you grow rapidly over the next several years, you won’t need to upgrade to a new system. But your small team might have significant difficulty using that complex, robust system. Additionally, you might never grow to the point that you’ll actually need that complexity.

Focus on what you need to succeed now, and you can worry about upgrading as you grow. Many Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) products are designed for scalability, meaning that you can expand the features and user base as needed.

It’s time to schedule some demos

Keeping these roadblocks in mind, you should be ready to move onto the demo stage of the buying process. 

In this stage, you’ll be able to see your favorite software product options in action. Just remember to be flexible with cost, focus on the features you need over those that just seem cool, and keep other trusted leaders on your team involved in the buying process.