Purchasing software for your business – do’s and don’ts
Every business owner wants to ensure that his/her company uses top-quality resources to secure growth and productivity. Today, one of those resources refers to having the best software solutions for your business. However, those that lack personal experience or a team of professional web developers need to understand the many challenges of purchasing software. With so many online solutions and tech companies out there, you want to be prepared for making that buying decision. Why not equip yourself with the knowledge required for purchasing software for your business by going through this article? Make your buying decision an educated and well-founded one to ensure the best results with minimal risks of business disruption.
How long does it take for companies to purchase software?
With the introduction of 5G tech and constant growth of IT companies, businesses are planning on investing more in software solutions in the following two years. However, the selection process when it comes to finding and buying software has become more challenging with all the choices out there.
Older studies from 2013 showed that the more people are involved in the buying process, the longer it’s bound to last. When you had a single person behind the decision, it usually took a couple of months, whereas having a team of decision-makers led to a 4-12 month buying process.
Since the tech industry has evolved so much in the past several years, there are more products on the market than before. That leads to more research and reviews before making the call to purchase software for your business. As a result of that, the software-buying process for average-sized businesses was known to last 12-27 months back in 2018.
How has purchasing software for business changed in recent years?
- The introduction of the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model has brought about a new perspective on getting software solutions on demand. With the implementation of demos and free trials, the entire buyer experience has been improved when it comes to software purchases. And this change has presented businesses with the option of testing software before deciding on whether or not to purchase. However, there are still plenty of companies that ignore this opportunity or rely on advice from in-house specialists instead of professional agencies.
- Software vendors have lost their influence in comparison to software buyers. By combining IT products with digital marketing solutions, there is more data available for software buyers to explore directly online. Companies are no longer dependant on vendors to get relevant data on specific software tools. Reviews and pricing are now available for everyone to see, giving more power to buyers.
- Modern consumerism has raised the UX bar when it comes to purchasing software. Expectations are higher, conditioning software companies to use social media advertising tactics to advertise their products to potential buyers. After all, those are the types of experiences that software buyers expect, even in a B2B scenario.
These changes and others are changing the game when it comes to purchasing software, not only for sellers and buyers, but also for digital marketing agencies looking to contribute to this process. By following current trends and changes in demand, marketers are better equipped to make a presentable offer, helping tech companies sell software and businesses to make the buying decision based on relevant data.
The 12 Do’s and Don’ts when purchasing software for your business
#1: DO understand your expectations and needs
Purchasing software doesn’t come down to getting the latest and most modern product on the market. A business should always prioritize defining their needs and reasoning behind buying a specific type of software. It’s much like walking into a pawn shop – there are plenty of interesting things out there, but you won’t be able to profit from most of them. So, you need to choose the one that can actually help your business perform better and grow as a brand.
Start by creating a list of demands that you need from specific software. Make sure that you understand why you need to buy it and what your expectations are – performance-wise, budget-wise, and results-wise. If you are looking to structure this process, you can use the following step-by-step approach:
- Define the issue your company is experiencing. This is your initial reason for deciding that something needs to change.
- Consider the timing of purchasing software. Here, you want to focus on the short-term and long-term risks of not buying the software you need.
- Write down your expectations. Put together a list of things that you would like that perfect piece of software to resolve.
- Establish a realistic goal. Align your expectations with your budget and the options available software-wise.
Make sure to get feedback from all departments
It’s important to align the objectives of all the departments in your company with the reasoning behind buying software. The best course of action would be to meet with the heads of all departments to have a discussion on the topic of your current software tools and platforms. Get their input on what might improve their performance software-wise and consider whether or not it can fit inside the specifications you are looking into.
#2: DO involve other colleagues in the decision-making process
As a business owner, CEO, or manager – you need to understand that your decisions regarding the company impact others as well. That is why it is so vital to get feedback from other colleagues before making any bigger decisions. Although you might be able to grasp the overall operational structure of one or more departments, you still need to understand the day-to-day tasks and obstacles that each team experiences.
#3: DO consult with others
A lot of companies miss the in-house expertise required to make the best decision when it comes to the purchase of software. Some have an “IT guy” or a team of developers, but it just isn’t enough to get the entire picture. So, why not turn to opinions from third parties? You can start by reviewing the comments regarding a particular software you are interested in and reaching out to the companies that use it. Gaining insight from someone that already uses a tool can simplify the entire process for you.
Another option you have is to seek out a consultation from professional web developers. An objective opinion from someone well-versed in a specific type of software can make your decision to buy much simpler and easier.
#4: DO use business software reviews to start your search
Going back to the previous point of using the opinion of others – consulting business software reviews is a great way to start your selection process. Don’t stop at Googling the reviews for answers. Instead, carry on with software directories and review websites. And you can then go through all those reviews and make educated estimates based on the following four steps:
- Find user reviews relevant to your niche and needs
- Identify re-occurring topics in the reviews
- You can define and enrich your feature needs with reviews
- Use the research that others made in the reviews to contribute to your own buying process
#5: DO think long-term
It’s important for any company to realize that buying software is not like buying office supplies or hiring a secretary. It’s a long-term decision much like renting office space or hiring a digital marketing agency – you need to think of the bigger picture. That is why businesses take as long as two years when choosing software they wish to purchase.
When a business does make that decision, it’s something that it will invest a lot into, and it won’t be able to simply replace it in six months or a year. Changing software is similar to changing digital marketing services providers – it presents a lot of obstacles, change, and expenses. And it takes time for your business to recover from such a change. So, you need to explore all opportunities carefully before making the decision.
#6: DO master the software you are interested in
Since you are looking to invest in software that will be beneficial for your business in the long run, why not take the opportunity to learn more about it? A lot of decision-makers in companies consider that their job ends the moment a decision is made. However, bigger decisions involve research and the chance to improve one’s own knowledge in a specific area, be it development, production, supply, management, marketing, or software. And choosing between different software solutions presents an opportunity to become an advanced user, learning about the many aspects for a particular type of software, making your decision all the simpler and more tailored to the specific needs of the business.
- When you’re buying a car, knowing about the different kinds of engines, horsepower, transition, etc. can put you in a better spot than choosing it based on color and leather seats. After all, you will be driving it, so you should know its performance and potential before making the decision to buy it.
#7: DON’T get distracted by sparkling features
Modern IT companies understand that their industry is no different than any other. You have a product that you need to sell, and you need to invest the effort into doing that. Although a specific software tool or platform is perfectly developed and highly functional – it still needs to look presentable. At the end of the day, it is an expensive product that you need individuals or companies to purchase. So, you have a lot of software development companies investing in creating user-friendly dashboards, simplistic & elegant design features, additional plugins, and add-ons – all to give their product that selling feature.
Companies that are looking to purchase software need to be aware of this and be willing to look past the external flashy features. Getting distracted by external features can easily mislead businesses into thinking that a software tool or platform is perfect for them without really testing it and exploring its performance. So, don’t allow yourself to get distracted by the exterior – always look under the hood.
#8: DON’T rush your decision
Going back to the fact that this is a long-term process, the last thing a company wants is to rush into a decision such as this one. Purchasing software for your business is a very complex and demanding decision, and it should be regarded as such. The worst scenario a company can jump into is one where they rush into a decision, thinking that it will make an overnight change or that it is n
#9: DON’T think with your budget
Every business has concerns when it comes to how it coordinates its annual budget. Lowering overall operational costs while maximizing productivity and revenue – this is one of the core objectives of doing business. However, there are certain resources that shouldn’t be limited to budget restrictions, and software falls under that category. With so many competitiveness in industries today, saving money on resources such as search engine optimization (SEO) strategies, analytics, software, web design, and development, etc. – it’s all worth the investments, especially when you take the time to choose the best product for your business.
This doesn’t mean that you should go ahead and spend your entire annual budget on the most expensive software you come across. But don’t limit the potential of your business through the use of a high-performance system due to budget concerns either. Find that ideal balance in your overall calculations and predictions based on the changes that the introduction of a new software platform or tool can have.
#10: DON’T design your own software
Expanding your knowledge on a specific type of software is a good step. Reaching a conclusion that you can create your own software instead of buying one is something completely different. Certainly, there are ideas that a company can reproduce on their own, with the right assistance from professional software development companies or freelancers. However, such an endeavor can often end up costing you even more than simply purchasing software for your business. With the manpower, time, research, and potential complications it requires – such a path is usually one not worth taking.
#11: DON’T neglect the integration process
Buying software comes down to more than just its own features, costs, and potential. A company needs to consider how or whether they will be able to integrate it with their other tools and systems. If you are simply looking for a tool, you don’t want to have to change your entire operating system to install it. That would be cost-effective, time-consuming, and ludicrous, really. Before making the decision to purchase, make sure that the software in question is compatible with your other systems and processes. Otherwise, you risk losing data or causing additional operational costs during the integration process.
#12: DON’T copy your competitors
Buying a toy simply because everyone else has it is not something that will help you get ahead but rather stay in the race. So, instead of copying your competitors in your selection of software solutions for your business, why not find something that will offer your company a competitive edge. It might cost more or require more time to find, but it might also prove to be worth the hassle.
Make your decision count
Purchasing software for your business truly is a daunting and challenging process, with plenty of do’s and don’ts to consider. And so long as you put in the time and effort in the selection process, you will have a high chance of getting your money’s worth in the long run. With the IT industry constantly developing and evolving, new tools and software solutions are being created every single day. They are there for the purchase – all you need to do is discover them and find the perfect fit for your business. And if you need some professional assistance along the way, know that companies such as Digital Dot are always here for you.
- Give us a call to consult with any of our company representatives about your digital dilemmas, or explore some of our other articles!