Customer Success Leadership Community

How do you evaluate software for your organization?

  • 1.  How do you evaluate software for your organization?

    Posted 18 days ago
    I was recently working to assist with the evaluation of a SaaS Management Tool with a San Diego startup.

    The overall process felt like it could have been better streamlined...

    We ended up:
    • Going to G2/Capterra/Quora to see suggestions
    • Schedule Demos with each of the top tools mentioned
    • The features seemed all the same...so the differentiation came to Customer Experience throughout the process

    Feature differentiation doesn't seem to be the one-and-done differentiator anymore.

    Do you have a process/metrics that you follow to quickly identify and evaluate potential options? 

    Thank you in advance!
    #Metrics
    #Technology

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    Nicholas Ayala
    Strategy Operations Consultant
    San Jose, CA
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  • 2.  RE: How do you evaluate software for your organization?

    Posted 18 days ago

    Hi Nicholas, 

    I took the above steps you mentioned and also reached out to my fellow CS leaders and asked them about what their preferred tools are (customer referrals). This is how I learned about ChurnZero! 



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    Yanira "Janita" Sesniak
    Vice President of Customer Success
    IngeniousIO
    ysesniak@gmail.com
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  • 3.  RE: How do you evaluate software for your organization?

    Moderator
    Posted 17 days ago
    Hey @Nicholas Ayala just went through this with a DAP tool.

    • G2/Capterra/etc - while this is a good source, I also know how much companies incentivize their customers for positive reviews.  So I take with a grain of salt.
    • Sometimes you can ask your vendor to provide references to those customers who just churned (i.e. former customer of the tool you are trying to buy)
    • At the end of the day though, similar to you, I was most swayed by the sales process and partnership as most tools were similar in terms of features 


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    Brian Hartley
    Senior Director, Customer Success
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  • 4.  RE: How do you evaluate software for your organization?

    Posted 12 days ago
    @Brian Hartley Didn't think a vendor would provide a churned customer as a reference. That is certainly a way to get some deep insight! ​

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    Nicholas Ayala
    Strategy Operations Consultant
    San Jose CA
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  • 5.  RE: How do you evaluate software for your organization?

    Posted 14 days ago
    @Yanira "Janita" Sesniak and @Brian Hartley both make good points.

    I would add in two additional items of consideration.
    1) Demo's are nice, but you need to get your hands on the solution. 
    There is a sea change with some of the CS tooling companies where they are starting to allow for access to demo environments so that you can get your hand on.  Many solutions look good in the demo.
    When you actually start to use them that is when you find where the gaps are.

    2) Make sure that your evaluation is not just looking at where the solution is today an how it maps to your needs, but also what your future needs will look like.​​
    If you are a fast-moving company, you might also want to find out how quickly your customers can scale to meet your growth and changing requirements.  While we evaluated a CS tool, we were impressed to see multiple new feature releases during the 3 month cycle which all came in on the delivery dates.

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    Markus S
    Manager - Customer Success
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  • 6.  RE: How do you evaluate software for your organization?

    Posted 13 days ago
    Great call out @Markus Siebeneick to ensure: "Make sure that your evaluation is not just looking at where the solution is today an how it maps to your needs, but also what your future needs will look like"!

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    Yanira "Janita" Sesniak
    Vice President of Customer Success
    IngeniousIO
    ysesniak@gmail.com
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  • 7.  RE: How do you evaluate software for your organization?

    Posted 14 days ago
    @Nicholas Ayala I agree with the previous comments and also recommend: 
    1. Creating a checklist of "must-haves" and "wishlist" before you Demo Product/Sales Call
    2. Requesting a trial period (2-4 weeks) to demo product with a active profile

    When my previous company was vetting digital tools, we asked for a trial period (2-4 weeks) to demo the software on our own and provided the email address for the vendor to create a temporary profile for our company.

    Most vendors complied with our request, if we guaranteed a follow up conversation after the trial to share what we did/didn't like about it. They of course used that convo to share more about the product and why it would be able to do x, y, and z, or that it was "in process" to be developed in the near future. 

    We found great value in doing a hands-on platform trial period and felt it outweighed the con of the follow up sales call. With this approach, we were able to get a clear understanding of how it would specifically meet our checklist of needs and also provided opportunity to get cross-department buy in before the purchase.

    Sounds like exciting times!

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    Jenna-Leigh Couch
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  • 8.  RE: How do you evaluate software for your organization?

    Posted 12 days ago
    That is an excellent idea to get a hands-on demo of the product. It reduces the risk of making a decision on how something looks vs. getting your hands on it to try it out.
    • Did you end up fully committing on the product afterward or changing to something else?
    • Did you hands-on test multiple vendors at the same time? 


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    Nicholas Ayala
    Strategy Operations Consultant
    San Jose CA
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  • 9.  RE: How do you evaluate software for your organization?

    Moderator
    Posted 12 days ago
    We just went through this exercise with a DAP tool.  We trialed all three, and had each vendor give us a. workshop to answer questions and get into the weeds.  All were amenable to the ask and encourage the activity.  

    Admittedly, running three vendors side by side became a little overwhelming at times but it did help us feel comfortable with each tool.

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    Brian Hartley
    Senior Director, Customer Success
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  • 10.  RE: How do you evaluate software for your organization?

    Posted 12 days ago
    @Nicholas Ayala - yes, the hands on demo reduced a lot of risk.  One of our operations people took point and had a 1 on 1 with each dept. head to see what each departments concerns/questions were, and then took the master list back to the rep. After a week or so, we had a virtual demo with reps and department heads to ensure everyone could do the basics they needed for their role. 

    1) Yes, we ended up purchasing a license package (1 license/employee) for the "winner" vendor
    2) Yes, we had 2 people hands on with 2 other vendors, 3 total, but the other team members only did hands-on with the final vendor as it is a big ask to have multiple departments learning hypothetical tools.

    It's nice to have SOME buy in, but not too many cooks in the kitchen :)

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    Jenna-Leigh Couch
    Account Manager / CSM / Digital Project Manager
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