When you have found a sales enablement software solution that offers all of the capabilities outlined in the above-mentioned article, you still need to thoroughly review the vendor providing the system – to make sure that they have all the credentials to be a longstanding partner for your business.
Choosing a technology partner is a long-term investment for your company, and you’re trusting the vendor with a vital part of your business process. Thus, they shouldn't question your need to verify their level of service.
Be sure to follow these steps during the decision-making process so that you can cross all your t's and dot all your i's.
Check Their Credentials
In determining the likelihood of long-term satisfaction with a vendor and their service, vendor reputation is the most important factor. The term "reputation" is not equivalent to "well-known". A company's reputation is directly linked to how satisfied its customers are. Typically, if other companies in your industry aren't happy with the vendor's solution, you won't be either. If other companies are enthusiastic about it, you will probably be as well.
Check how long the vendor has been in business. You want to choose a stable vendor that’s going to be around for the foreseeable future, so they can continue supporting you, deliver timely upgrades and help you scale. Companies that have been around for a long time are more likely to last.
Get Feedback From Customers
Which companies use their solution? Can they provide you with real-world business cases and/or pilot projects where their solution delivered concrete results?
Ask vendors for references in your industry. On G2, for instance, you can check the vendor’s profile and see what real clients and customers say about the company in question by reading through reviews. There you can find out what customers liked, disliked, what problems the solution solved, and any suggestions they have for the product team.
Whether you’re speaking directly with customers or sending them an email, find out how long they’ve been using the software and how the vendor met their specific needs during the time.
Assess the Level of Support They Provide
As a software user, you need to be able to rely on getting the necessary assistance when you need it. If something goes wrong, you just need it fixed, ASAP.
Support is no longer "just" support as more systems and applications are being offered "as a service"; it must be integrated into the entire service offering. Look for a company that invests in providing the best experience both in terms of functionality and in every interaction.
Software service providers should be able to anticipate any issues that may arise before you even need to pick up the phone. If you do need to contact them, they need to be able to offer solutions quickly.
In addition to predictable and reliable support, you'll probably need ongoing training as well. A great support team understands the importance of educating you as the customer so you can avoid repeat problems in the future.
Does the solution meet your organisation’s security standards? How do they protect your data from theft or misuse?
When you partner with a vendor, you put your data in the hands of a third party. The reality today is that many data breaches and security incidents are the fault of vendors with sloppy security policies. Moreover, file-based solutions can lead to data breaches, since it is easy to distribute files or share files incorrectly.
Because of this, it has become more important than ever to understand the potential risk a system poses to your company's business and operations, before allowing it access to your networks and data. Any enterprise sales enablement solution must offer enterprise-level security and compliance, so make sure the vendor is ISO/IEC 27001 compliant.
Plan For Vendor Divorce
Check the vendor's service level agreement (SLA) in detail before you sign the contract. It defines who gets custody of your data in case you need to back out of the deal. Ask the vendor what happens if you leave and how you would get your data back.
Ultimately, the relationship you have with your software vendor is crucial. Both sides of the contract must communicate clearly and trust each other. In the evaluation process, it is important to pick a suitable software solution that supports both your company's goals and values.
Kris Sæther is Chief Commercial Officer of Xait. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Graphic Media Studies, and has worked in financial communication in London and Frankfurt prior to joining Xait. He has 20+ years experience from the information management industry. Kris is an avid runner and skier, and a passionate fan of the world’s coolest soccer team, Tottenham. If he is not working or running you will find him cheering for his two daughters on the handball court.
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