Apart from having knowledge about the functionalities and details you should be examining in a sales automation software, it’s also crucial to realize how to find the best sales software vendor. The functionalities of a software may be great, but what about vendor customer service? Subscribing to an online sales automation plan should be a relatively smooth process, but a lot of it will depend on the vendor itself. Technical problems are something you can expect, so a solid vendor must be effective in dealing with such issues in order to let you keep your focus on propping up revenues, not fixing software bugs. Here’s a quick review on how to find the best sales software vendor.
How long has the vendor been in the sales software business, particularly in a cloud model? The longer its business experience the more likelihood it’s doing a good job running sales software. But a caveat, it’s not always the case. Some startups can have better offerings especially if it involves a new technology that older companies are slower to adopt. Assessing what is the track record should only be one factor on how to find the best sales software vendor.
More important than the number of years in the business, a vendor with top helpdesk support is worth your subscription. The more robust the sales software is, the more chances you’ll encounter technical glitches. Look for helpdesk tools like ticketing, live chat, and hotline number, where you can talk to a customer representative in times when the glitch is complex. Vendor support is especially critical to small business, which is often without an in-house technical team. At the least, the vendor should respond within 24-48 hours. One way to find if the vendor responds fast is to post a query that you’re interested to subscribe but for a concern. If the vendor doesn’t get back to you soon, don’t expect it will entertain your future questions when it has your money in the bag.
Another way on how to find the best sales software is to check the vendor’s product line. This can be subjective, so use your intuition to assess the vendor’s capabilities. A vendor that offers software products outside of sales (for instance, it also sells accounting or project management solutions) is said to have a deep horizontal product line. On the other hand, a vendor that sells numerous sales software versions specific to industries has a deep vertical product line. Each one has its pros and cons.
A horizontal-oriented vendor means you have more flexibility integrating your sales software with other business process solutions. Think of integrating your sales with a project management software to, for example, pre-sell condominium units that are under construction. On the other hand, a vertical-oriented vendor can offer more specialized sales software. For instance, using a sales software with a project management tool for your construction business, which involves pre-selling properties. The horizontal product pipeline works for businesses with a general set of products or services, while the vertical product pipeline fits businesses with specialized offerings, so a customized tool is expected to be regularly used.
It’s one of the signs that the vendor is legitimate and confident of its service. A free trial or demo version lets you check the sales software without having to shell out money. Aside from assessing the features and its adaptability to your situation, also gauge the vendor’s communication with you during this period. Does it respond quickly to your questions? Does it answer your issues squarely? Although it’s expected that vendors would treat you with extra service during this time to nail the sale, more often than not, the relationship is established even after sales.
If your business sells in multiple countries it’s a good idea (but not always) to go for a vendor with a global reach, that is, it has local offices where you are. Your local office can communicate faster with the vendor’s local office, than coursing the communication to a North America-based headquarters through you. The local connection cuts significantly the troubleshooting process. This scenario had been highlighted during an earthquake in New Zealand a few years back that cut many online businesses’ communication with their US counterparts for a few costly days. Companies with locally based vendors were able to get back to business faster than those that needed to wait for feedback from their US vendors.
Finally, look for vendors that offer easy and flexible payment terms. For web based software sales, that means you can scale up or down your payment every month depending on the features you’re using. Even if you subscribe for an annual plan, you should be able to adjust the price to match the package you’re using at the moment. Businesses with seasonal or erratic sales ecosystem–example, tours, concerts, trend-setting trinkets–can benefit immensely from flexible terms.
Using this comparison of factors on how to find the best sales software vendors will make it easier for you to choose the right solution. Again, these tips are meant to guide you and not as a fool-proof way that you’ll get the best software.
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