When you start evaluating SaaS products for Helpdesk or CRM, there is no dearth of available solutions and the task of selection becomes tedious. Instead of evaluating all the solutions that you come across, it is better to be selective. There are a few steps that will help you find the right product/service relevant to your business requirements.
Apply the requirement criteria
You have loads of information from across the internet after the internal discussion. With the list of must-haves and nice-to-haves, start to narrow down your choice of software or solution by striking out those that do not fulfil your overall goal or requirements
Sometimes referral may work wonders. Before you jump to pick the referred solution thus, you may want to check how the solution helped improve the efficiency or increase the ROI. The problem statement or business need should be aligned before you decide on the referral.
Do the research
By this time, you should have narrowed down on a handful of products / software. Look at those successful use cases that aligns with your business requirements. Take all comments into account before you jump into a conclusion. Also, explore those solutions that businesses similar to yours are using.
DoyenThoughts did a poll on the selection methodology via LinkedIn and blog posts. 53% of the users agreed that the tool needs to meet the required criteria while 36% rely on the research.
Once you have narrowed down your list of potential software/products, start evaluating each solution thoroughly. When conducting the evaluation, ensure to do the following.
Focus on long-term, not short-term
It is quite common to look at the short-term benefits and choose the most beneficial option, with little or no regard to the long-term potential of the requirement. When evaluating SaaS products, it is important to think big and look at the long-term benefits. For example, paying a little more upfront and getting a great ROI later down the line is better than buying at a lower price and regretting it.
Demo and POC
A product demo will help you to further narrow down the list. Go for a POC. All features such as workflow, automation etc, may look glossy during the technical discussion and demo, however, such features may struggle when put to practical use. Prepare use cases to be tested during POC. It is absolutely not a bad idea to go for a paid POC.
Ask the vendor to connect to similar customers
Do not be afraid to ask the vendors to connect to referral customers who have successfully implemented the product. It would be beneficial if such customers also belong to the same vertical as yours.
Do you agree with our above product evaluation technique? Help me by participating in the poll below. If you have anything else to add please share it in our comments section.
You know your goals and the service you expect. This will help you choose the right solution. Never settle for good enough products. Go for the best that matches your business requirements.
Take a couple of minutes to answer the questions below before you proceed to read through the blog.
Have you been through a buyer experience?
Have you ever made a ‘not-so-right’ choice of a product or a service?
Are you willing to enhance the buyer experience of your customers?
Is there a scope of improvement in your software/solution procurement process?
If your answer is YES to one or more questions above, then this blog is for you. I have tried to gather all my years of IT Sales experience as a blog to help businesses and entrepreneurs for enhancing their buying/selling experience. [Your thoughts and feedback are welcome to enhance this topic so that I can publish this as a guide.]
Everyone, in his/her lifetime, is a consumer of goods/services and I am no exception to it. I decided to purchase a new refrigerator, as the existing one has functioned more than its capacity and warranty. I did research on the existing brands and models and headed to purchase one that fits my needs.
When I stepped into the store, I was surrounded by a swarm of salesmen and the manager had to step in to assign a dedicated Salesman to help me out. The Salesman showed all the existing latest models with smart features like mobile app connectivity, auto-connect to inverter during a power outage, dual door and sensor bundled with huge storage capacity, and much more. I was swayed by the smart features in this model and had totally forgotten on the model that I zeroed in on. I had to shell out a handful of my savings, way more than the budget that I had allocated for this.
A year later, to my family’s surprise and mine, we found that we have not used any of the smart features. The storage seems to be more than adequate for our lifestyle and most of the space in the refrigerator had been vacant all these days. Added to this, I have been paying heavily for the operation and maintenance costs.
SaaS buyer’s Guide
I am sure everyone had been through such an experience, on one or more occasions, with any product or service. If you are an Entrepreneur or a business decision-maker, you can draw an analogy to this incident in business opportunities. When you are looking to procure Software for your business, you should not be carried away by those smart and exciting features which do not really fit your needs. It is going to cost you more in terms of money and time, having chosen a Software that provides more than what you need. The scenario is no different when you must choose the right SaaS solution for your business. So, how do you ensure you choose the right one, without succumbing to the temptation of smart features and over promises?
This blog is a 4-part series that describes how to go about buying a product or service for your business or personal needs.
Identify your need
Firstly, try to find out the answer to this question – Is there an immediate need for the product or service? If so, what is the need? What triggered this need?
Secondly, draft the need and the requirement.
While you draft your need, keep an eye on the budget. Many products or services are left unused and have been unsuccessfully implemented due to budgetary constraints. Financial aspects of your need will help you narrow down on the potential vendors who will fulfill the requirement.
Are you addressing a pain point or improvising the process?
Identify the current fundamental issues that triggered the need for a new product/service. For example, as a start-up, I tracked my leads through notepad, spreadsheet, and email. However, as the business scaled, this was not working anymore. That is when I thought I will need a CRM that will help manage prospects and customers efficiently. Having used one, I found that the CRM software lacked automation capability, without which the work looked tedious and was prone to manual errors. In this case, an improvement in the process is necessitated.
List down the critical features/use-cases that you expect out of the Software or Solution. Differentiate between must-haves, good-to-haves, and so on. Deal breaker features must have to be identified and marked accordingly.
Involve the Stakeholders
This is mandatory. Identify the stakeholders who ought to use the software or service and gather their point of view. For selecting a CRM software, it is necessary to involve the Sales Director, Regional Manager, and the Sales Executives. Involve them in demos, workshops, and commercial meetings. Make them a part of the selection process.
The next part is the selection process and product hunting
Let us see if we all are on the same page when it comes to Buyer Experience.