According to research expert Joseph Johnson and a recent Statista report, Google accounts for 86.6% of the global search market with over 3.5 billion searches per day. So, it’s no surprise that most people looking for information navigate to Google as their first source of data. Plus, millions of marketing teams around the world spend their days creating content and designing websites to make it even easier for Google to find and share the information that customers want. When searching for new ERP software for your business, Google is frequently the first source of information. However, there are several other places you can look for information about the right system and tricks and tips for making the most of your Google searches (whether you’re looking for ERP software or buying a new couch). Continue reading for more information on how to research an ERP system and Google search tips to help make the most of your online search efforts.
6 Tips for Researching ERP Software Vendors
- Ask People in your Network
- Perform a Google Search
- Determine What Keywords Are Important to Your Business
- Do Your Homework and Read ALL the Information
- Don’t Forget About Review Sites
- Consider Using 3rd Party Consulting Sites for Complex Business Needs
Ask People in Your Network
When searching for an ERP system to manage your business, the best place to start is to ask for a referral to software that has been tried and tested by someone you trust. Are you friendly with your competitors? Do you have friends in the industry or are you part of any trade organizations? If so, speaking with these people is a great way to get the inside scoop on which systems are best (and which ones to avoid).
Perform a Google Search
Even after you’ve asked people in your network for specific recommendations, you will still want to search those results online and use Google to find other options. When you do search on Google, the more specific you can be, the better the results. Searching for ERP software will yield millions of results and is too generic of a search term, meaning it doesn’t provide enough context around what information you want. Instead, choose your search keywords carefully and try to search based on your industry or specific requirements – for example, ERP software for wholesale business. You can also use Search Operators to help refine your Google search even further. Google has put together a great resource of all their search operators, such as the ability to search a specific site by using the following format:
- Add the word “site:” in front of an existing website URL and then enter your search term to search for information on a specific website – for example, site:www.BlueLinkERP.com “customers”
Determine What Keywords Are Important To Your Business
When searching using Google, or when speaking with potential software vendors, consider if some of the keywords you’re using have multiple meanings. A great example is searching for and talking about inventory management as it can mean many different things in different contexts. For example, when it comes to inventory management…
- Do you need inventory management as a company that buys and sells different product?
- Do you need inventory management as part of your production processes? Do you need to manage raw materials and finished goods?
- Do you need inventory management to manage internal assets and equipment? Inventory that is used internally by you and your colleagues?
- Do you need inventory management for rental items?
Each of the different scenarios above imply very different business processes and requirements, so once again, make your search as specific as possible when using Google and read all the information on a software vendor’s website to ensure you’re in the right place.
Do Your Homework and Read ALL the Information
Expanding on the last point from above, while it can be very time-consuming to sift through multiple websites looking for information, spending extra time in the beginning doing research can save you time down the road. Many software vendors (Blue Link ERP included) provide advanced features that are more industry-specific and can be added to the company’s base software package. When you do find a website/company promoting a specific feature, double-check if it’s available as a standalone product or included with the full set of ERP tools. For example, if you’re searching for inventory management software and find a website page promoting the functionality, make sure to read the information closely to check if the inventory management is a standalone system or included as part of a full ERP with accounting, warehouse management, order entry and processing and more. This will save you time speaking with vendors who only offer a subset of the functionality you need (or who offer more than what you’re looking for).
Don’t Forget About Review Sites
Review sites are another great way to get information about a company and its products before you start speaking with vendors. Many review sites categorize products which can help you create a list of potential vendors to do further research on. When reading reviews, look at the dates of the information and read both positive AND negative reviews. This will help you determine if the reviews are legitimate, what specific areas of the software are good/bad and whether a review is from a disgruntled customer or is cause for legitimate concern.
Consider Using 3rd Party Consulting Sites for Complex Business Needs
3rd party consulting sites such as SoftwareAdvice.com and SoftwareConnect.com are a great resource for creating a list of potential vendors and finding a software solution, especially if your business has very unique requirements. These sites provide free services and will recommend solutions based on your requirements, processes and budget. However, be mindful that these types of sites only recommend vendors that have a paid membership. So while they are great if you have unique business processes and need help getting started, you’re better off performing an initial Google search if your business operates following standard processes.
The next time you're using Google or researching systems for your business, keep in mind the above 6 tips for researching the different options to make the most of your search efforts!