This year was my first participation at Tekom Europe, we had lots of discussions with interested potential customers and one of them asked me to give him my sales pitch of why he should buy my product instead of a competitor's one. I'm not a salesman. I've always wanted to work for a product which is so good that it sells itself. And I do.
So here's my alternate sales pitch:
Ideally whenever you choose between any two software products which will be used daily by people in your company you should make a pilot test project with two user groups made of the people who will be actually using the product after it is bought. Ask them to use the product for a month performing tasks similar to what they will do after the purchase. Ask the two user groups at some point to switch products and see how that goes. And in the end let most of the decision to be made by these people who will actually be using the product in their work.
Working for an extended period of time with the product will also show how stable the product is, if it crashes often, if it has small annoying bugs and if it sometimes behaves unpredictable.
- shorten the amount of time users spend doing their daily tasks
- allow users to fulfill their tasks with the least amount of frustration, let them concentrate on what should be done and not on the tool which is used in that process, be intuitive and easy to use
Look what types of operating systems are used in your company, can the tool run on all of them?
Read the product's End User License Agreement, I know it's a boring task but you might find some gems in there. For example does the user based license allow the user to install the product on multiple computers as long as he/she is the only one using it?
- Are they responsive?
- Are they helpful?
- Do they know what they are talking about?
- Do they go that extra mile to help you?
- Is there a public forum available? Is it well kept, does it have a lot of activity?
- Is there an user's list available? Register on it, see how questions are answered.
Find out how long the company which makes the product has been in business. Google the product online, read blogs and look for opinions on it.
In the end it will come down to two things: quality and price. But you need to make sure you are listening to the people who will actually use the application.