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Top Tips When Evaluating Software Vendors – It’s More Than Features/Functions

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JoeCRM here from PowerObjects – After giving some more thought to my previous post Microsoft Dynamics CRM vs. SalesForce.com Or Whoever…The Proof Is In The Partner, I think I need to say a little more – ok, a lot more.  In the previous post I talked about a few areas that I think are important to look at when evaluating an implementation Partner, instead of focusing solely on the software publisher. I still maintain it is ultimately the Partner that will make or break your project, but with that said you will still need to compare different products.

This raises the question about what you should  look at when evaluating software, and again I will maintain it is not a feature and function shoot-out.  How many people think that CRM technology is akin to developing a missile defense system?  Of course it is nothing like that, they all have hundreds of thousands or millions of users and it is pretty simple for any one publisher to look at what the competition is doing.  So it stands to reason from a feature/function or technology standpoint, no one vendor is outpacing the other – in fact at the end of the day, I would say they are more alike than dissimilar. 

So Joe...what should we look at when we compare software??  Glad you asked!  In a recent sale, one of our clients put together a slide deck to present to the shareholders that drove home what I think is most important....the bullet point that jumped out said something like ‘We need to rely on a software company that is as reliable as we are – if they go out of business so do we…..’ So when you think about that statement, it comes down to business risk as it relates to the product you are going to implement.

Go back in history and look at the products that have been acquired and rolled up.  Typically the company being acquired stopped investing in the R&D which is critical to keep up with the competition.  I could go through a list of CRM products that have gone by the wayside in the last decade, but hey we know who they are and we get a ton of business as people move off these systems and say – we are doing that again!

So with the folks still in the market for software, here are a few key questions to ask yourself as you go through the evaluation phase:

  • What is the percentage of revenue spent on R&D (higher is better)?
  • What percent of revenue spent is on marketing (I think lower is better)?
  • Do they have multiple revenue streams and product lines (lowers your risk)?
  • What is the potential the organization will be taken over by a larger company (not usually good for the product line)?

This all plays into again why we chose to hang our hats on Microsoft and Microsoft Dynamics CRM – we know the product will be around for the long-haul and with Microsoft’s ability to continually invest in R&D, it just keeps getting better!

Happy CRM’ing

By Joe CRM at PowerObjects, a leading Minnesota-based Microsoft Gold Certified partner providing Microsoft Dynamics CRM and xRM solutions.

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