You really need to look hard at what your prospective software vendor actually is selling. Most of the time – it is not what you are looking to buy.
You require results. You value those results so much you are willing to invest your time and your company’s capital to achieve the results. You want to maximize profits, capture information, increase productivity, reduce costs, decrease turnover and improve communication. This is what you want to buy.
You begin to look at software systems and the companies that install and support them. We’ll call those companies software resellers. You analyze the features and functions of the packages. You compare the solutions to the results you require. You narrow the choices to a few software resellers and ask them to quote you a price.
What comes back really defines what the software reseller is selling. And you need to be very careful or else you will open your company up to risks that you do not need to take. What is listed on that quote is what is being offered by the software reseller, nothing more. And if what is offered is not what you want to buy, then you will purchase a result you do not want.
Most software resellers and consultants are in the business of selling time. That is why they quote hourly rates. That is why they quote time estimates. That is why they invoice hours & expenses. The longer they spend on your project, the more they invoice. They try to convince you that the longer they spend on your project the more valuable it must be to you. The basic assumption is time plus physical presence equals value.
Is that what you truly value? No. You value the original desired results. That is what you wanted to purchase. But if that is not what was quoted or invoiced, then that is not what you purchased. If you purchased the software from a reseller who bills for their time then you bought time plus physical presence. Don’t take on the risk of purchasing something that adds no direct value.
So ask to see example invoices before you ask for a quote. Like your company’s quotes and invoices, listed out is what the software reseller is selling. Is it a software package plus time & expenses? If so, ask yourself, is that what you really want to buy? A software package is simply a box with disks and a manual. Time & expenses? How does that add value to your company?
Require the software reseller to sell you the products and results that add value to your company. If they don’t sell results and they don’t stand behind what they sell with a volunteered 100% money-back guarantee then break off the engagement in the sales cycle. After all, they are not selling what you want to buy.