Deciding on the right software platform for your business can be tricky. There are so many options to choose from. Of course, you need to speak with vendors and do your own research but there are also a host of other considerations that are less intuitive.
Whether you are looking at a new CRM or sales and marketing platform such as HubSpot or a video sharing platform such as Vidyard, it is important to look at project management, change management, and securing team buy-in for new ideas. Implementing new software not only presents changes to the network, but also poses as a challenge to staff that need to adopt it.
THREE BEST PRACTICES WHEN BUYING BUSINESS SOFTWARE
When making the decision to buy and implement new software for your business, here are three tips to ensure the process is both well-received and successful.
1. How does the new software fit into the bottom line?
Before making a new software purchase, it is important to establish the reasoning behind the buy. First, consider exactly why the software is needed for your company and how it will impact your team. Determine how the new software impacts the company's bottom line by highlighting:
- Functionality reasons including boosting your operation efficiency, and increasing team productivity and capability
- Financial reasons including lower operational costs from a more broadly functioning software
- Time management reasons including faster functioning and easier to use software
In addition to how a new buy-in impacts the team, the cost-to-value ratio should also be examined. With new software comes new training, new vendors to deal with, and new contacts to manage.
2. Encourage Feedback from Your Team
Including your team in the early stages of any business software purchase can provide you with critical feedback, especially when it comes from your IT specialists. After all, they will be on the frontlines of any new software implementation.
3. Show Empathy and Boost Communication
Bring in those with expertise, as well as those who will be most affected by the addition of new software. Asking for their input helps in gaining support for the buy-in, achieving broader insight on its potential impact, and ultimately, makes the roll-out process much smoother.
Once you have selected new software, it is recommended to choose some key team members to assist with the software adoption. Designating people to help will minimize any risk, both in the beginning stages and in implementation.
Once it has been determined that the new software will have a positive impact on the overall functionality and efficiency of your business operations, it is time to help your team jump on board. It might feel as though you have the support of your team, but it is important not to overlook the challenges the new software could pose for certain employees.
During the implementation stage, it is especially important to keep lines of communication open. Show empathy towards employees who might be struggling with the transition. Encouraging your staff to be open with how the process is affecting them will ultimately make for a more successful transition period. One person could voice a concern that has been largely overlooked by others—and that concern might end up becoming a bigger problem for the whole team down the road. A cohesive team is a winning team, and encouraging open communication builds a stronger and more successful business overall.
Pragmatic reasoning is just one aspect of software buy-in. Looking at the numbers, and listening to user feedback helps in making a well-rounded and knowledgeable decision. By looking at how the new software will impact all areas of your business—particularly in an interpersonal sense—is crucial to ensuring that your financial commitment reaps rewards.