Investing in new ERP software and the plethora of make-it or break-it decisions that come with the search process is a huge undertaking for any wholesale distribution business, regardless of size or budget. With so much time and resources dedicated to the project, you want to ensure that the ERP software vendor you choose will be with your business for the long haul and not just a temporary fix that you'll just have to replace in a couple of years. So, how can you tell if a vendor can handle the hurdles that come with time such as company growth, organizational structure/employee changes and any changes in your industry?
Think of it this way. When you invest in a new software solution, you're not just investing in the software itself...you're investing in the people behind the software as well. The type of people they are and the synergy between them and your business will determine how long the software will last and how fast your company is able to grow. Are they innovative individuals motivated to continuously improve their product or do they want a quick sale? Are they willing to learn about your unique software needs or more interested in meeting a quota? While the software functionality itself should take top priority in the search, it's also important to make note of the people you speak with at the company and how they interact with you and your team to determine a true fit.
Do they understand your growth?
During your ERP software search, many vendors will tell you that their systems are "scalable." Most of the time, what they mean by this is that they provide upgrades every once in a while and are constantly improving their software, which is great. However, the best vendors will not only offer scalable software they will also take the time to really learn about your business and your pace of growth to offer guidance for how you can get the most out of the system for years to come.
Dedicated consultants in the organization will work with you long after the implementation of the system to determine if you and your team are utilizing all the available functionality to its full potential and doing so to facilitate and accommodate the growth of your business. Frequently these individuals will provide insight and advice on implementing advanced features such as eCommerce integration or integration with popular marketplaces like Amazon or eBay that will keep you ahead of the competition.
The ongoing, bi-directional relationship you have with the consultants of your software vendor is extremely important and you should work together to set growth goals for your business and how the software can help achieve them. The consultant's attitude and willingness to help will make all the difference in creating a beneficial long-lasting partnership.
What are customers saying?
It may seem obvious but during the later stages of ERP software vendor's sales process, ask to speak with other customers that are in your industry or similar to your organizational structure. Speaking with a vendor's clients and reading company reviews can be very telling. It gives you an idea of not only what to expect from the implementation process and the type of results that are achieved with the software, it also provides great insight into what the people behind the software are like - if they are easy to work with, do they provide valuable advice, are they accessible, do they genuinely care about your business and your success etc.
Customer Service and Tech Support
Providing good customer service long after the sale is made is one of the most important things a software vendor can do to set themselves apart from the competition. Are there any follow-up check-ins after the sale? How long does it take for someone to get back to you on an issue? How efficiently are issues resolved and are you provided with enough information? Are the people you speak with pleasant or do they rush to get rid of you?
“I love working with the clients – that’s my favorite part. When I call the customers, I have not only a business relationship, but we take the time to ask each other how our weekends were, how we are, what’s new. So that’s important, not only on a business level but even just building that relationship with the customer and knowing that you’re not just an employee at Blue Link, you’re also someone that they can turn to for anything that they might need.”
– Joanne Fazari, Customer Service Manager
At Blue Link, we're dedicated to improve business processes for our valued clients and pride ourselves in our comprehensive list of ERP Software Services that ensure our clients, and those of our channel partners, maximize the benefits delivered by the solutions we offer. We're fortunate enough to have a tightly-knit team who all share in this vision and are passionate about helping our customers get the most value out of our software.