How to Find Your Compass in the Software Market

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Today, software buyers have become bombarded by choices, and within those choices, further options on features. This can be dauting, but it is also empowering. If you want a different result, make a different choice. Choice is the most powerful tool we have.

To add to the complexity, software providers are evolving their solutions by iterating quickly, and so much can change within months. How can software buyers know they are making the right decision that aligns with their goals?

Just as challenging, how can software providers remain laser-focused on producing the best solution while staying in lockstep with shifts in the market and buying behaviors?

Navigating the ever-evolving software landscape can be complex without the appropriate compass. Interestingly, many of the questions software buyers are asking (or should be asking) are similar to the ones software marketers are pondering, too (Table A). The answers to these questions can be found in unbiased peer reviews, which are both detailed and scrubbed of false data. This compass is the new standard of buyer insights needed for buyers to choose the right solution and for providers to plot product roadmaps and win new business.

Data from over 16,000 reviews on SoftwareReviews.com shows that software buyers who used a formal evaluation framework and had multiple providers competing during negotiations were 10% more likely to get a discount. In other words, by having multiple software providers at the negotiation table, those buyers were able to put pressure on the providers’ pricing.

However, the competition between providers is more profound than just price. Ease of administration, vendor support, ease of implementation and business value created are just a few data points that could arguably be more important than price when considering the cost of poor service. Buyers can benefit from these insights as they would be better equipped to choose the right software. Providers can benefit from knowing where they stand amongst their competitors and get an accurate reflection of their strengths and challenges. Clear, detailed, and honest feedback can lead to actionable market intelligence.

Consider the highly competitive category such as the CRM space, where features are very specific with few discernible differences between competitors. How can providers prove to be best in class? Understanding how each competitor interacts with their clients can be the differentiating factor. Analyzing not just performance but emotion can shine a light on the unsung heroes. These providers deliver a great solution and prioritize trustworthiness, friendly negotiations, appreciate being the incumbent, and many other attributes that buyers want in a partner. Our businesses are only as good as the people we have within them. How much would software buyers’ and providers’ behaviors change if the new standard of peer reviews looked like Santa’s Naughty or Nice list?

Do unbiased peer reviews alone, which are both detailed and scrubbed of false data, get buyers and providers to the promised land of actionable market intelligence? Not quite. Reviews age like bread, not like wine. Your trusted partner needs to make sure that the compass they’re using to guide you is always pointing in the right direction. This focused management of reviews, including retiring outdated ones, continually sourcing new feedback and tailoring surveys to suit business objectives, will provide a lens that evolves with the business and market.

Choices and decisions made using the highest standard of peer review insights are still not enough to truly get both buyers and providers of software to the optimal position at the negotiating table. Pairing this intelligence with an analyst, whose sole purpose is to brief with business leaders, conduct research, and provide thought leadership on different software categories, further helps keep the compass pointing in the right direction.

When both software buyers and providers become armed with current, actionable market intelligence paired with expert opinion, there will be an acceleration of growth for both parties. Buyers will see increased satisfaction with their purchased software, which can increase productivity and efficiency. Software providers can show that they’re a trusted partner, who’s there for their customers when needed, which will cement their position as a category leader and grow their brand and business.

Seeking expert advice with clear, actionable next steps is the norm when getting financial, medical, or legal advice. What makes software purchases, or how to accelerate a growing software business, any different? Often, these are just as critical of decisions as any other. Should we not seek actionable advice with clear next steps, with confidence that the data used to make those decisions is at the highest standard? Find a trusted partner, a guiding compass, and focus all efforts on being No. 1 for your clients.

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