With the rise of cloud-based marketing applications, senior marketing executives are increasingly becoming involved in complex enterprise software purchases. There are many factors that affect the decision – users, costs, your needs in the short- and long-term – and these realities guide you through the discovery and vetting process as you work toward the solution most likely to provide a sustainable competitive advantage. Many buyers tread cautiously, as they should, when making an enterprise software purchase decision since it is not the type of decision that they can simply scrap if it just doesn’t work out. With that in mind, I’ve made a list of three essential things to consider when making a purchase decision:
Is the company you are considering merely average or is it a clear standout? In some cases an average software system may suffice, but in the case of tools for reaching your customers and finding new ones you cannot afford to sacrifice. Taking a risk on a system that is not the best of the best is literally taking the risk that you may not have a profitable customer base down the line. Think about getting a list of innovations that the vendor made over the past two years and use this as a gauge as to whether the product really is as great as the marketing says it is.
You know what you require in terms of product characteristics, so chances are you will pick a solution that meets your needs from a product standpoint. However, do not overlook service. No matter how automated and state of the art a system is, you will have foreseen and unforeseen service needs. The way your vendor views its service organization can mean the difference between a phenomenal and an awful product experience. As a buyer, you should put a premium on good service and remember that if/when you run into issues with training, implementation, maintenance, etc., good service will help overcome those obstacles.
3) Don’t Just Buy – Invest
Everyone has their own philosophy on purchasing– some always choose the cheap option while others choose the expensive, lifetime guaranteed alternative. In purchasing enterprise software, the latter is really the only way to go. Installing an enterprise system in your business is a long-term solution that should meet today’s needs and solve tomorrow’s unforeseen problems. Going the cheap route won’t do this. I’ve seen companies go through this before, and a year later end up looking for another solution or vendor even though the current one was embedded in the business. Uprooting a system, revisiting the discovery process and implementing a new solution takes a lot of extra time and effort which should be considered before choosing the least expensive option. DataXu not only has a top-notch service team, but treats clients as partners, rather than just clients.
There are many different points to consider when buying enterprise software, whether it’s a CRM system or digital marketing management platform like DataXu. Thinking about the three key points above will help set your path of discovery and ultimately drive you towards the best solution.