In the past, when organizations would consider making large infrastructural or software investments, the process involved an extensive research process followed by continuous back and forth between the parties who were proposing the investment and the decision-makers. In fact, the buying process could take anywhere from months to years.
But those were different times.
With the pace of business today and the various business models in market, decisions can be made in a fraction of the time.
The Evolution of the Software Procurement Process in the B2B Space
Due to the material advancements in software in the past decade or so, there have been key changes to the “software buying experience” in the corporate world. They can be summarized as follows:
- The introduction of the SaaS (software-as-a-service) model now allows potential buyers to experience free trials, which lessens the guesswork and risk of the final decision.
- The accelerated growth of the Internet has resulted in a transfer of power from the vendor to the prospect, as potential buyers can often have a preview to pricing and can look at competitive pricing without having to interact with the vendor directly.
- Prospects can now evaluate the buying experience and incorporate it into the final decision-making process.
With the SaaS model’s monthly costs often falling into the operational costs bucket, and the fact that there is a lot less upfront work, the decision-making process is much faster.
Let’s take a look at the best practices in the software selection process to see how fast and seamless they are.
Building a Business Case: The Focus on Value and Key Considerations
As with most business cases for software solutions, the main point you want to drive home is the business value of the proposed solution. Once you’ve presented both the direct and indirect benefits, the next step should be review key considerations, including budget and funds, purchase price, procurement guidelines, the IT department’s endorsement and the buy-in from key user groups.
Preparing a Strong, Data-Driven Pitch: The Essentials
When doing the business pitch, the fastest route to results is to position the solution with the decision-maker’s current business needs and long-term objectives in mind. For most leaders, this generally consists of driving revenue, reducing costs and achieving operational excellence.
The following recommendations are proven to be impactful:
- To reinforce the importance of ROI — of all the metrics to highlight, ROI should be number one as it is the strongest indicator of long-term business value.
- To showcase both the “hard dollars” (the standard financial benefits) and “soft dollars” (the indirect financial benefits)— by doing this, you paint the full picture.
- To highlight the costs and savings in both the short-term (e.g. one-year) and long-term (e.g. three-year) periods—the rewards gained during a longer time period are generally stronger.
Transforming Actionable Recommendations into Results
By accessing our Getting Approval for Your Software Selection eGuide, you will learn:
- How best to position key metrics and translate ROI into value in your business case.
- The impact of providing scenario analyses and one- and three-year forecasts into your business proposal.
- How to prepare for objection-handling during the pitch presentation and which stakeholders to get buy-in from in advance.
Click here to access your eGuide!