4 min read
By: Kristin McLane November 19, 2019 at 9:00 AM
Trust. It’s a firm belief in someone or something. The definition even goes so far as to say it’s acceptance without evidence or investigation. We take a lot of things on trust every day, even if you don’t realize it.
Did you sit at a traffic light this morning on your way to work? Did you drive on the proper side of the road, whether that’s left or right for you? You trusted that everyone else on the road was going to follow the same rules of the road that you were and you just went with it.
I would venture to say that you could not say the same about your software vendors. Do you trust them?
We hear almost weekly stories about software sales teams and vendors that have taken advantage of their customers. Vendors that left the job undone. Systems that just don’t do what was promised. Overages on system implementations.
Software is essential to compete today. In manufacturing, especially so. I’m not just talking about your industry. You do need technology to beat your competition no matter what business you’re in. But how about your staff? The new workforce doesn’t want to “step back in time” to spreadsheets and PowerPoint. They want to have the latest tools too.
So if it increases market share and drives employee retention, why is software so hard to evaluate and buy? Do you trust software suppliers?
It’s hard to debunk the “canned demo” that makes it look like the software does exactly what you need. When it’s delivered, does it do what you thought? We have a few tools to help you with the sales team that isn’t honest about functionality. We know some questions you can ask to get to the bottom of the real functionality of the system. We can give you suggestions for guarantees that you need to have in place.
In addition to software suppliers, you need to focus on the industry news. In the last week, I’ve received more than a dozen messages from “independent” agencies talking about our industry. What?
Let’s debunk the “independent” agency. There is no such thing. How do you suppose they stay in business? They need revenue, and they get it from the very companies that they are supposed to be reviewing. It’s paid marketing. And, when it’s paid, you can guess who is providing the content.
They start by calling themselves a “market-based research report.” There’s also the “industry analyst.” Who do you think is paying the bills? On “the Google” it’s all free to you, so you know that you aren’t. Even the high-end analysts take payments from both the companies they are “researching” and the companies that need the referral.
Here’s where I need to get specific about two words. The difference between the “industry” and the “market” is critical here. An industry is a vertical in which all the competitors that offer a specific product live. Our industry, for instance, would be software at the highest level. You need to break that down further into manufacturing software for build-to-order. There’s at least 200 companies that say they live in that vertical or industry.
The market is the space that you sell in. It is the distinct group of individuals that might be interested in what you have to sell. This is the group that you envision when you do your marketing and sales work. You are speaking directly to them in this context.
Go back to the analysts and people that write about manufacturing software. Their industry is other companies that do similar things. Their market is….what? Well, there’s the problem. They have made a business out of serving two distinct groups that are not well-served by the lack of independence.
They have a market of companies that pay them to review their software. (That would be one of our competitors.) These are software companies that want to be recognized. I can tell you from experience that the depth of review that the analysts and market-based research reports do is not equal to what you would do during the buying process. They simply do not do the level of review that's required for you to rely on the input as actual product truth.
These same analysts and agencies also have a market of companies that pay them or access free-of-charge these reviews. (That would be you.) These are companies that want an honest review of what a software can do for them. What it does today, not the promises of later-developed functionality. (I’m thinking of the mantra here that “with time and money, anything is possible.”) That’s not helpful to you the customer. You need to know that what the software does today meets your today needs.
We can tell you we’re different, that we don’t “pay to play.” That doesn’t help you trust us. Nor does it give you more faith in the system as a whole. We do have a whole series of pieces that we’ve developed to show you how to buy software in our industry. We distribute pieces like this because we believe in the exceptional customer experience.
Need help? Ask us how you can develop more trust in the messages you receive.
To learn more about protecting your shop and keeping production on track, visit www.CIMx.com.
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