The process of selecting a new ERP system is like any buying experience. You have a buyer that has needs, expectations, and money to spend, and you have a company with a sales organization that is motivated to sell a product and maximize revenue, and are often measured on customer satisfaction.
How do the parties go through a process that insures the customer makes a decision based on real expectations and ultimately is satisfied with the outcome of their ERP selection project?
A major cost for an ERP vendor is cost of sales. For twenty-five years, the vendors have been refining their sales methodology. We find that many vendors work hard to qualify an opportunity. If the sales rep believes he cannot win an opportunity, his or her management may decide you the buyer may not be a good investment of time. And when they do engage, they want to manage the sales process and get to the order as soon as possible.
On the other side, the execution of an ERP selection and implementation project is major capital expenditures for any firm. With that in mind the buying company wants to make sure it is buying the right product and has the right expectations. With this perspective, the buyer wants to spend as much time as possible with the product to verify expectations.
So What’s the Correct Process?
More and more we are finding companies wanting to get to a detail “proof of concept” with their preferred vendor. What does “proof of concept” mean? We find this varies by company ERP literacy. If ERP is a new concept to the buyer, the process can take a long time. On the other side if the literacy rate is high, the process can go more quickly.
No matter how long the proof of concept takes, a successful ERP implementation is dependent on you getting your vendor on board as early as possible so they understand your needs.
Ultimately it is the buyer’s responsibility to verify expectations and keep the saying “buyer beware” in mind.