3 Ways Connecting With An Advisor Will Help You Make The Right Choice
It takes the average business three months to purchase software, and even then, according to Software Advice’s Great Software Match Survey[*], only 27% of those businesses end up with a deal that meets or exceeds their expectations without compromises. That means three out of four businesses end up compromising or getting software that might not fit their needs perfectly.
It makes sense, because selecting software comes with a lot of roadblocks. That’s why we’ve written extensively about the different tips and tricks that you can use to make the best software purchase possible.
If you’re a small-business leader who has just begun the research into finding the right software for your business, and you are seeking to improve your efficiency or increase your team’s capacity to accomplish more through software, we’re here for you. If you’re someone who might know the names of the best-in-field software products, but don’t know much about the vendor landscape to know about better suited options for your business needs, we also help with that.
Business owners who don’t talk to our advisors risk spending too much time searching through the confusing vendor landscape before selecting the wrong vendor for their needs. This inevitably will lose them money when they have to switch to another vendor down the road.
Don’t worry though, by connecting with one of our advisors, you’re setting yourself up for success for several reasons:
What are advisors, and what do they do?
Our team of advisors is based out of Austin, Texas and has helped over 900,000 people find software. They specialize in specific industries, including construction, maintenance, retail, legal, medical, manufacturing, and much more, which means you’ll always be paired up with someone who knows your market. The advisor’s only goal is to help your business thrive by helping you make the best software selection possible.
The process to talk to an advisor is simple. First, you fill out a form or schedule a specific time that you wish to be contacted. Next, tell us about your needs. The advisors will spend a few minutes talking with you about your specific goals through software. What business problems are you hoping the software will solve? What features and functionality are you looking for? What’s your budget? Once we have all of that, we’ll email you a list of personalized software recommendations to get you started.
It’s okay if you don’t know exactly what kind of software you need—instead, simply tell our advisors about the business problem you are experiencing. Our advisors can tell you what software solutions are available to meet your needs. They will be able to point you in the right direction to ensure the system is purpose built for a specific task or encompasses a wider range of applications based on your needs.
It’s important to know that our advisors are not sales people and are not attached to the sale of the product. They don’t get anything from you purchasing software, so it’s in their best interest to help you find the best piece of software for your business. Our advisors aren’t there to tell you one system is better than the other, but rather strive to provide you with up to five viable options so you can narrow it down yourself based on a variety of factors. It makes it much easier to evaluate and parse products right off the bat.
After your call with the advisor, you’ll have the names of up to five top vendors, and they’ll even connect you with those vendors for a demo. The advisors are not getting you the actual tools or pieces of software, but instead are putting you in direct contact to set up a live demo with those vendors.
To get the most out of your call, it’s a good idea to ask yourself a few important questions:
Who is the primary end user of this software?
What are the pain points with our current methods that we’re trying to fix?
How are we measuring success with this software purchase?
That way, our advisors are in a better position to connect you with the right vendors.
Way #1: Connecting with advisors saves you time
As a business leader, manager, or administrator, your time to pursue alternate projects is extremely limited, so every day you go without making a final decision on your software purchase is another day that you aren’t focused on growing your business.
Time savings comes from getting a personalized list of products that are right for you and your business. You don’t have to do the hard work of starting with 10 or 15 products and narrowing it down. Our advisors do that work for you.
If it’s your first time, the thing you’ll quickly realize is that researching software is difficult and takes a lot more time than you might initially think. One of the ways you can lose a lot of time without finding the information you need is to start your search by going to vendor websites to get information.
Vendor websites aren’t often misleading on purpose, or anything so nefarious, but if you have specific features you’re looking for in a piece of software, you might find that each vendor calls that feature something different. For instance, you might be looking for a CRM with customer retention features, so you go to a few sites and realize that even finding a list of features can be complicated. Additionally, one CRM provider might call retention features customer success while another calls it customer support. This means that you have to spend extra time trying to parse out if the vendor is even providing the functionality that you need.
It’s also easy to see a flashy vendor website and get wowed by all the fancy features, when in reality your business might need something much smaller. More features doesn’t always necessarily mean better for your business because often, the more features and functionality a software suite has, the more expensive the license is.
That’s why talking to our advisors is a major advantage; you’ll be connected to an advisor who specializes in your field, so they’ll know the vendor landscape like the back of their hand and can give you information about several different products once they know what features and functionality you’re looking for.
Way #2: Connecting with our advisors gives you a 1:1 personalized experience
Most people who call in to talk to our advisors are concerned with knowing how they should evaluate software, finding solutions that would integrate with their existing solutions, or the amount of time it takes to find that software.
The vendor landscape is constantly changing month-to-month or even day-to-day in some cases as vendors go out of business, stop updating their software, or when larger vendors buy out smaller vendors.
These changes can sometimes mean that business owners are left in the dark with software that is no longer being updated frequently, or they might find the price of their license goes up once a new owner comes in.
The point is, the vendor landscape has a lot of uncertainties, and if you don’t have any guidance or any good place to start, you can end up just treading water in that ocean of uncertainty without any direction of where to go.
We keep up to date with all of the most current and relevant information about vendors so that you can rest assured that we’re providing you with the most pertinent information possible.
How to identify the perfect software vendor without getting overwhelmed
Download this worksheet to organize information presented in demos, or share with vendors to complete so you can identify the best software vendor for your business.
We might also help you consider options you haven’t thought about before. For instance, just because a software system does a lot of things doesn’t mean it does them all well. Instead of settling for one system that’s “good enough” for all of your needs, you might want to consider purchasing and integrating two or three solutions with their own unique strengths.
Way #3: Connecting with our advisors helps save you money
You come across an ad for a software system that’s sleek, feature-rich, and, frankly, really cool. Less impressed by other offerings, you make the decision to purchase it only to discover six months down the line that your company is paying a premium price to only use half of the system’s features. Ultimately, the decision is made to cancel the subscription and go with something more affordable.
Not only have you been paying to license that software, but now you have to start the search over again which means you are now spending more of your time looking for a system instead of building your business. Not to mention paying software startup costs all over again. It also means having to retrain your staff on another new piece of software which takes time out of their days as well. Lastly, all of this leads to frustration because switching systems is often a huge undertaking.
One of the most common mistakes made when choosing software is settling for a solution based on the lowest initial price quoted to you by vendors. That’s not to say you shouldn’t set a budget and stick to it—just that it’s important to calculate the total cost of ownership (TCO) over the intended lifecycle of your software.
TCO can include any hardware necessary for the software to run (or Software-as-a-Service subscription fees), as well as implementation, maintenance, integration, and training costs. Integration expenses in particular can add up over the lifetime of your solution depending on how frequently upgrades or additional applications are needed.
Ready to evaluate the TCO of your final options? Use our Total Cost of Ownership Calculator.
The overarching point here is that you don’t want to make the wrong software decision or spend more than you have to, and speaking to our advisors early on in the process can help prevent this from happening.
We’re here for you whenever you’re ready to connect
Connecting with our team of advisors, especially at the very beginning of your software search, should be a no-brainer. We’ve helped hundreds of thousands of business leaders find the right match for their business, and there’s no downside.
A 15-minute chat can be the difference between spending a couple weeks selecting software instead of a couple years, and it can save you money and headaches down the road by matching you with the correct vendor right off the bat.
We’re even here to help after you’ve scheduled product demos with some more resources:
[*] The Software Advice Great Software Match Survey 2020 was conducted in October 2020. We surveyed 1,000 workers at U.S. businesses with two to 500 employees and $1 to $250 million in annual revenue who: 1) have a significant influence on technology purchases for their organization, and 2) have made a software purchase for their organization costing at least $500/year in the past 24 months. We worded the questions to ensure that each respondent fully understood the meaning and the topic at hand.