Takes One to Know One – SMBs Should Look for SMB Business Management Software Vendors

Ilmie Sham Ku

Has your wholesale distribution business ever had to deal with a large company's sub-par customer service? Did you have to wait for hours on end on the phone for support only to be bounced from one rep to another? Did you have to repeat information? Were they able to understand your issue and resolve it in a timely manner? Whether it's your supplier, third-party logistics partner or your software vendor, poor customer service can certainly test the patience of the most understanding of individuals not to mention cost a business unnecessary time and money.

When searching for new business management software for your small-medium wholesale distribution business, you will certainly learn about how the functionality of software itself improves the customer experience (CX) for your own customers with fewer manual entry errors such as shipping information errors, but it is also just as important to learn about the type of customer service the vendor will provide YOUR business. Have they worked with a business similar in size and structure to yours? How accessible is their tech support? What type of expertise do their team members have? These types of questions are important to have answered during the initial sales conversations to avoid headaches down the line.

If you're a SMB wholesale distributor, consider working with a  business management software vendor that is also a SMB as they are most likely to have a very similar company culture which makes for a better relationship. Consider the following when evaluating options.

Understanding Company Growth 

If you’re a small to medium size business that is growing and looking to implement new business management software to manage an increase in inventory, sales and customers, it is important that you find a software vendor that is also growing.  This means that the software itself is continuously in development and not stagnant, and that the vendor is always working to improve the system and update the software in response to changes in the marketplace or industry-specific compliance/regulatory changes. Be sure to ask the vendor directly about recent releases or updates to the system in the past year and future plans for improving the software.

Any growing small-medium size business management software vendor will have experienced the related pains and hurdles that come with adding employees, products and customers so will have a good understanding of what your business is going through with growth. Be sure to ask for references of companies similar to yours as you go through the sales process to see how they have managed projected growth for other companies your size (1-150 employees). A business management software vendor similar in size to your business will also be able to understand your budget much better than larger software companies who mainly deal with larger businesses where budget is not an issue. They understand that purchasing and implementing new business management software is a huge undertaking and will have insight into how to get the most out of the software to see a worthy ROI.

Similar Company Processes 

While the products you sell may be different, the organizational structure and processes of a business management software vendor your size will be fairly similar to your own. As a result, the vendor will be able to provide valuable insight into any changes you need to make to your internal processes to take full advantage of the various features of the software. SMB tend to have fewer resources available per department and therefore know how important it is that a system is able to automate processes as much as possible to avoid tying up those valuable resources on numerous manual tasks.

This understanding is especially important when it comes to the implementation of business management software. As a SMB ourselves, here at Blue Link we recognize how important it is that the individuals working on the implementation of our business management software fully understand our customer's unique business needs to make the implementation process as efficient as possible. We are aware that our customers have limited resources available to dedicate to the implementation and we work with them to make joint decisions about the best way to manage each step of the implementation process. The Blue Link consultant assigned to your implementation will focus on only your business during the implementation and will not be distracted by juggling multiple installs at the same time. We will work with you to go over your current processes such as inventory management, accounting, order entry and processing, invoicing, purchase orders etc. to identify any unique business requirements and feature requirements you may need as well as provide suggestions on process changes to get the most out of the system. Our team will also review your existing data to jointly determine which information needs to be migrated over to the new system and which format is best for the migration - saving you from tying up your valuable resources for hours on end with manual data migration work.

Accessible Tech Support

An in-house, personalized tech support team means that you will be speaking with the same representatives each time. The benefit of this is that they will get to know you and your business on a personal level. You can feel comforted knowing that someone with the right expertise and knowledge of your specific business requirements is there to help.  Our Blue Link tech support staff know our customers on a first name basis and develop a clear understanding and history of the types of hurdles, issues and expectations you have so you spend less time repeating information.

Blue Link Customer Testimonial - Furniture Classics“When we did our due diligence in searching for a new accounting system, we narrowed our search down to three different providers. Each offered, for the most part, the same type of software and features that my company needed. What set Blue Link apart from the other two was the level of engagement we received from our initial phone call. We immediately felt at home and had not just the right software, but the right partner to grow our business. That partnership remains even stronger today."

– Michael Ricks, President, Furniture Classics Limited


1- on 1 Employee Training

When speaking with  business management software vendors, pay attention to the different personalities. Are they someone you and your employees will be able to work well with? This is especially important when it comes to training employees on how to use the new software. The success of any software implementation is employee adoption and you want to make sure that you work with a qualified individual who can adjust their teaching speed and methodology to your employees' needs. Blue Link provides comprehensive on-site, face-to-face training to ensure that employees are comfortable using the system and address any questions or concerns they have on the spot.

Download the below resource to learn more about how to evaluate software vendors and take a look at our Software Services page to see what you can expect when you sign up with Blue Link!