How to Choose a Cloud Software Vendor
If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. If your cloud software vendor claims their solution will meet 100% of your requirements, you might be suspicious but ultimately decide to move forward with them. Then, that sinking feeling starts to creep in when you receive their invoice, and you realize that the cost is well outpacing your budget. You now have to come to terms with the fact that their “solution” actually required additional consulting and integrations, which they weren’t upfront about—and it now costs you and your team extra time and money.
Reducing the Trust Gap
The B2B consumer landscape has changed. Today, software buyers have resources at their fingertips to research products before even speaking with a software vendor. A rise in online reviews and communities is driving a focus on transparency from software vendors and their sales teams. TrustRadius talks about the need to reduce the trust gap. According to their research, 84% of vendors intend to be forthcoming about product limitations, but only 36% of buyers find those vendors to be transparent and forthcoming.[i] How do you know if you’re working with a software vendor that is being open and honest about their product? When shopping around for a cloud software vendor, here are a few strategies you can employ to ensure you’re going to get what you pay for. We cover three common software vendor types with some helpful things to keep in mind during this process—as well as some common vendor red flags.
1. The ‘Over-Promise and Under-Deliver’ Software Vendor
Be wary of the “over-promise and under-deliver” type of cloud software vendor. This sounds like common sense, but it can be easy to fall prey to software vendors who are willing to say anything to get your business. You know your requirements better than anyone else does. When a software vendor tries to be all things to all customers, this is usually a recipe for disaster. You want to select a software vendor who listens to your concerns and user needs. Do they come into the conversation, guns blazing and ready to steamroll over your concerns? If so, it probably means that they’re doing too much talking and not enough listening—and this can foreshadow problems down the road.
2. The ‘Yes’ Software Vendor
No cloud software solution does everything the exact way every customer wants. That’s OK. Be wary of overly accommodating vendors, as this can indicate that the vendor says “yes” to every potential lead and may try to hide problems later on. Suppose the vendor claims their solution can do everything. In that case, they are likely misleading or selling you a “science project” that will fail to deliver on their promises—and more likely exceed your budget goals. In the long run, this type of vendor will most likely require additional consulting and custom integrations, resulting in hidden costs and unforeseen problems. The vendor should be seeking to understand your requirements and rationale without simply responding with “yes.” It’s normal and healthy for vendors to question the reasons behind your requirements before answering whether they can meet them. This allows them to determine if their solution can provide the desired results even if it’s in a slightly different manner. Remember that no one software solution works for everyone. If the vendor claims that theirs does, they’re most likely not being fully transparent with you.
3. The Fully Transparent Software Vendor
The fully transparent software vendor is the type of vendor that you want to partner with. This type of vendor knows their strengths and weaknesses, so they don’t over-promise or nod along and agree with everything you say. They have a point of view and a strong perspective, and they aren’t afraid to say “no” to potential clients and requests that aren’t in their wheelhouse. Arena is this type of vendor. We designed our solution to help companies that design and develop sophisticated and innovative products rapidly. Our customers are some of the leading technology companies in the world and create products that require electronics and software to work together seamlessly. Staying focused gives us expertise in these industries to deliver solutions that meet their specific product development requirements.
In business relationships, trust is earned and built over time and consistency. A key factor in building trust in any business relationship is transparency. Setting consistently accurate expectations and meeting them is better than setting high expectations and occasionally exceeding them. In the long run, transparency is better than perfection. If you are currently thinking of purchasing or switching to a new software vendor, this is an important factor to keep in mind. Transparency is vital in any business relationship. It sets the partnership up for long-term success and reduces frustration, unforeseen costs, and painful upgrades. Here at Arena, we know who we are and what we can offer to our customers. We don’t try to be anything we’re not, and we don’t try to please everybody in every industry. [i] https://www.trustradius.com/vendor-blog/customer-voice-why-does-it-matter-marketers