Get the Most Value Out of Your Software Search by Talking to Our Advisors

By: Collin Couey on April 24, 2023
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Are you a small to midsize business owner looking to either purchase software for the first time or upgrade existing software? Researching and finding the right software can be both time consuming and complicated. One of the best ways to cut down on the time you spend looking for software while still feeling confident that you’ve made the right choice for your business is by talking to Software Advice’s software advisors. 

I spent some time talking with Michael Ziemba, one of our advisor managers, to find out what makes our advisor service so great, as well as learn about some of the more common misconceptions that our callers might have about the service they provide. That way, you feel more comfortable and confident about reaching out to us as early on in their software buying process as possible.

But before we dive into that chat, it’s important that you understand what our advisor service consists of.

What is our advisor service?

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, you 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.

After your call with the advisor, you’ll have the names of up to five top vendors that will fit you and your needs, and they’ll even connect you with those vendors for a demo. It’s important to note that the advisors are not providing you with the actual tools or pieces of software, but instead are putting you in direct contact to set up a live demo with those vendors.

Collin Couey:

First, thank you for doing this. Let’s start by talking about when someone should call. What stage of the software search should you be talking to our advisors?

Michael Ziemba:

I’d say the best time to call us is in the early stages of your software research, because one of the major benefits of speaking to a software advisor is that we can save you the most time at the start of the research. While we can still always provide value later in your research, you will have already spun your wheels during the initial hours, weeks, or months of research. If you’ve already narrowed down your list of potential software solutions, you might be more hesitant to explore new suggestions that we provide.

In fact, we have people who call all the time who have done their research before calling us and realized during their call that they hadn’t done as thorough a job as they expected. That’s why, no matter the stage, talking to an advisor is helpful. The advantage we have is that we’re not salespeople. We’re not just going to listen to your needs and cherry pick what we think a solution can solve, and then pitch that solution.

“We’re going to listen to your needs and provide you with a list of software solutions that can help you address those needs without any bias toward one system over the other.”

CC: That sounds like a common misconception you hear. What are some other misconceptions you hear about the software advisors?

MZ: One thing I don’t think people understand is the amount of value they’re getting packed into that short five to 15 minute conversation. A ton of work has gone into having the most information available to us to provide business owners with the list of recommendations they get at the end. We’ve honed the questions we ask to be able to get down to the core of what they need the software to solve.

I also get questions about where we’re getting this information from. We interview the vendor services we recommend so that we know what services they provide as well as what features they do and don’t have. We ask what types of markets they’re most successful in, and we find out budget information.

“When you’re talking to an advisor, you’re really talking to 100+ vendors in any given space during that conversation.”

CC: That’s great. Would you say that’s one of the main things that makes you qualified?

MZ: Oh, absolutely. Our vendor knowledge is top notch, but we also have an intense focus on training and continued development of our advisors. They get trained in their market for months, and we have a quality assurance team that is dedicated to improving the experience for our callers by helping our advisors continue to grow and develop.

CC: I want to take a step back and talk about the list of suggestions you offer. How are you able to personalize that list for the person calling?

MZ: Because we interview the vendors and know what industries their platforms perform best in, what features they’re most proud of, and what features they might not have, we can personalize that shortlist of software providers for the person calling for advice.

We can also personalize the list we provide based on budget if that’s one of the primary concerns that our caller has. While we recommend taking a look at every option available regardless of budget, we can always help narrow down vendors based on your budget. 

We’ll also ask things like what industry you’re in, what’s the size of your company, or what your pain points are in order to really understand what software solutions will be the best fit for your business in order to help you succeed. 

And lastly, we understand how busy our callers are. We know that connecting with these software vendors can often be challenging, so we can provide them with explicit information about what you’re looking for, what the best time to reach out is, and, in some cases, we can even set up the demos with these vendors for you. Sometimes, we will have access to a vendor’s calendar to set up a demo to make the entire process as seamless as possible.

CC: You mentioned the list of questions. Do you hear similar answers whenever you ask what problems businesses are trying to solve?

MZ: We serve a ton of industries, so it can really vary from industry to industry, but some pretty common pain points pop up regardless of market. We’ll often hear that business owners are doing everything with spreadsheets, which is time consuming and manual, so they’re looking for some sort of automation and streamlining of their processes to help free up some administrative time. We usually hear this from smaller businesses who are just starting out and are looking to get their first piece of software in place.

The next pain point we hear a lot is that a business owner might already have a system that’s doing X and Y, which was fine when they purchased it, but they really need it to do X, Y, and Z, so they need to upgrade their software to accommodate this. They’ve outgrown their current software and either need another solution entirely, or need to purchase something to integrate into their already-existing system.

A third pretty common problem is that sometimes business owners just want to see what other options are out there. They might not be satisfied with the software they selected originally because they made the decision too quickly and without doing enough research, so they’re going back to the drawing board.

And last, we’ll have larger businesses come to us who have more employees and budget and are looking for the best-of-the-best solutions because they want to make sure their software is the most efficient and user-friendly for their employees. 

It can vary from caller to caller, and that’s not even remotely close to a comprehensive list, but I’d say those are some of the more common pain points our advisors hear.

CC: It sounds like you pack a lot of information into that call! What would you say to someone who might feel hesitant about giving the advisors a call?

MZ: You really shouldn’t feel hesitant or skeptical about talking to an advisor. There’s two reasons:

Reason number one: We’re not attached to the sale of these products, so we’re free to give you open and honest information about what’s out there in the market without being concerned about trying to upsell you or push one specific product. We don’t get any bonuses or incentives for upselling or any of those other common sales tactics.

“Our only goal is to give you an idea about which services are the best options available for your specific needs.”

Reason number two: We have experts in over 42 different software markets, and most, if not all, of our advisors are experienced in multiple markets at once—some have even been here 10+ years at this point. You can feel confident that the advisor you’re talking to knows what they’re doing and can help answer any questions you might have. And, if they aren’t sure, there will be someone else they can bring in to provide the answer.

CC: And lastly, what do you wish business owners understood about the advisor process?

MZ: I already mentioned it, but I just want to reiterate that we’re not attached to the sale. We’re not invested in selling any system we recommend and get no incentive to do so, so you can trust that the recommendations we give are going to be best for your business. 

We also understand that small-business owners are being hunted all day long by people trying to get them to buy something. We know your time is precious and that you might only have five to 10 minutes. That’s why from the moment we start talking, we’re working to find you the best list of recommendations possible. And that list really doesn’t have any strings attached.

The more information you give us, the better your recommendations are going to be. The most successful calls are the ones where the caller is on board with the process from the get go and doesn’t put up any walls. Ultimately, our team of advisors are problem solvers who are on your team trying to help your business thrive.

If you’re ready to talk, we’re always here to help

Connecting with our team of advisors, especially at the very beginning of your software search, should be a no-brainer. As we said earlier, we’ve helped hundreds of thousands of business leaders find the right match for their business, and there’s no downside.

A five to 15-minute chat can be the difference between spending too much on software because you don’t have a handle on the different pricing structures or jargon that vendors use to make selling their products easier. Schedule a call or click here to chat with a software advisor now.