Nowadays, when you search for “ERP software reviews” in Google, the top results will be 3rd party consulting and software review websites such as:
To the consumer, these sites are a place where you can find unbiased reviews, lists of top-rated software systems, pricing and feature information, side-by-side comparisons as well as expert advice from consultants. To software vendors, these sites contribute to the PPC (Pay-Per-Click) or PPL (Pay-Per-Lead) portion of their sales and marketing budgets. What do we mean by that? Let’s take a closer look below.
When searching for software to manage your business, it can seem overwhelming with where to start. Especially if you’re looking to make a vertical move to a more advanced software solution which requires a bit of a learning curve. Starting with a simple Google search can yield millions of results, so we recommend asking people in your network first, before resorting to other search methods. But, when the time comes to start using Google or some other search engine, you will often find that 3rd party software review sites dominate the top results, as opposed to reviews from individual software vendors. These types of review sites can provide great information but require a bit of understanding to get the best results.
Websites like Capterra and GetApp offer software vendors the opportunity to list on their websites through a PPC or PPL campaign. PPC campaigns work similarly to Google Ads, where software vendors pay each time a user/website visitor clicks on their listing. The cost-per-click is based on the specific category of software the vendor is in (for example, ERP software) and how many competitors are in that category. Then, when a visitor clicks on the listing, the software vendor is charged a fee. For software vendors, the goal of running a PPC campaign is to get the visitor to click through to the software vendor’s listing, and then request contact so that the software vendor has the visitor’s information to reach out and start discussions around their software search. In reality, the software vendor will end up paying for way more clicks than visitors who submit their information through their listing, and so this type of paid listing model can be expensive for smaller software vendors that don’t have huge budgets. These types of websites will frequently allow software vendors to have a free listing, however, these listings are often pushed to the bottom of the page and don’t get as many visitors as the paid listings.
PPL websites work a bit differently than PPC, but some software review sites offer both options to the vendors that are listed. SoftwareAdvice.com and SoftwareConnect.com are both good examples of websites offering PPL-type services. With PPL, software vendors pay to receive complete information about a lead after that lead has been qualified by the software review website. For example, if you visit SoftwareAdvice.com and request to speak with one of their consultants, they will walk through a hybrid sales call with you to learn more about your business and requirements. Then, based on the information you provide, they will match you with a list of vendors that meet your criteria. As a consumer, you get matched with up to about 5 software vendors that can meet your specific requirements. The software vendor in this situation then pays for the lead information and is left trying to contact the lead for further discussions. This is a great option for businesses with unique requirements or for those needing some help getting started with the software search. However, these types of websites once again cater to software vendors with deep pockets, so you may be missing out on getting matched with smaller vendors that serve a unique niche in the market or would otherwise be a great fit.
Pros and Cons of Using Software Review Sites
As a starting point, software review sites are a great option. They allow you to see and compare a high number of software vendors from one place, giving you basic information such as the type of software, markets served, basic features, and pricing. They also allow you to curate a list of software vendors to do further research and can help you make a short list of who to speak with.
Other pros include:
- Expert reviews and comparisons: The sites offer in-depth software reviews and side-by-side comparisons, which can help you make informed decisions when selecting a software solution.
- User feedback: Some sites also feature user reviews, which can provide valuable insights into the experiences of other users with the software.
- Free resource: Most review sites are free resources, allowing you to find and compare software solutions without any cost.
However, there are also some downsides to using websites such as SoftwareAdvice.com and GetApp.com as your only source of information and finding potential software vendors. Mainly, the commercial bias these types of sites typically have towards vendors with deep pockets, as they receive commissions for recommending certain products. Therefore, they are best used as only a starting point when doing research.
Other cons include:
- Limited information: While these types of sites provide a good starting point for finding software, they may not have all the information that you need to make a fully informed decision and so it’s always best to do your research as well.
- Outdated information: Software review sites are not constantly updated with the latest information on all software solutions, so some information may be outdated or inaccurate, especially when it comes to pricing.
- Lack of relationship building: Finding a software vendor means finding a business partner, and so when you go through software review sites, you aren’t able to develop those types of connections with vendors until later on in the sales process.
- Investment of time: When you reach out to a software review site and engage in a sales call, you agree to match and receive information from software vendors. If you’re just starting your research process, it can be overwhelming to be contacted by so many vendors. Therefore, make sure you’re ready to begin speaking with and building relationships with software vendors before engaging in any discussions with review sites.
Other Tips for Navigating Software Review Sites
If you do decide to make use of software review sites, here are some other tips:
- Get an accurate representation of all available vendors by scrolling to the bottom of the page (and not just focusing on the top, paid listings). Since the top vendors listed on the site are often the ones with the biggest budgets, by taking the time to review the full list, you’re helping to find the best solution for your business.
- Use software review sites as a starting point for making a short list of potential vendors and then make sure to go and visit their websites for more information.
- In addition to the user feedback and reviews you will find on software review sites, be sure to also look at Google reviews and other review sources.
- Be aware that consultants on software review sites are not the software vendor experts. While they will be knowledgeable about matching your business with potential systems, they are not the experts on those systems and may not fully understand your requirements. Therefore, it is important to have similar discussions with each software vendor to confirm details and get a deeper understanding of requirements and features.