Through their expert work in soliciting and analyzing feedback from four critical constituents – existing customers, prospective customers, former customers, and employees, Satrix Solutions has gained unique insights into the key differentiating factors that lead customers to select one B2B software or services provider over another.
There are a myriad of considerations that go into the software selection process, which is why our team at Baton was thrilled to expand our partnership as we continue to help software companies improve their customer implementation processes.
The Importance of Implementation
B2B buyers often apply a formal evaluation process with a scoring system to rank potential partners across established requirements and criteria. In recent years, one decision driver that has taken on more importance in selecting a vendor is the confidence (or lack thereof) the buying committee had about the onboarding/implementation process. With companies running lean and continuously focusing on increasing efficiency, CFOs, COO, and other business leaders often demand a clear business case before licensing software.
With increased pressure to cut costs and trim tech stacks to just the necessities, implementation can be a pivotal turning point in this selection process. A successful implementation can make or break such return-on-investment (ROI) models because they rely heavily on the time to launch and maximize adoption. So, it is unsurprising that prospective buyers are increasing their focus on the time it’ll take for them to implement a new solution and begin experiencing the value of their investment.
When conducting Win-Loss interviews with buyers on what implementation success looks like, a few key elements stand out:
First, it is essential to understand that when buyers evaluate software, much of the research is done before they even connect with vendors to start the evaluation or RFP process. That often entails getting feedback and recommendations from internal and external colleagues, visiting vendor websites, and reading software reviews on sites like G2 and Trustpilot. If any of those resources indicate that your company has a haphazard or otherwise unsatisfactory implementation process, it is less likely that you will ever hear about the opportunity in the first place.
Ease of Use
If your company gets invited to participate in the evaluation process, buyers must perceive your platform as easy to use. Numerous factors, including the user interface, the available features, and the availability of training resources, can influence this perception. A tool seen as challenging to use or requiring a steep learning curve can result in a cumbersome implementation process and lengthen time-to-value (TTV). The longer it takes to implement a tool, the longer it takes to realize the benefits, which can impact revenue, productivity, and customer satisfaction. Therefore, buyers often pay a premium for tools that can be implemented quickly and seamlessly.
Buyers also heavily weigh the end-user perspective when evaluating software tools. In fact, selection decisions are not just made by the budget holder / economic buyer but often by a group of influencers that also include Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) and power users. If, after experiencing the demo or proof-of-concept, the buying committee feels end-user adoption could be hindered, they are more likely to consider alternatives. To maximize adoption, it is crucial to have a clear plan for successful onboarding and user training. Having an implementation plan that clearly outlines and invites all key stakeholders into the process from the start can help you avoid project breakdowns and bottlenecks that can pose blockers to success.
Accelerate time to value with Baton.
Resources and Time Needed
Sales Win-Loss interviews also reveal prospective buyers want a clear understanding of the resources they must allocate to the implementation process. This is especially true when IT support will be required, as IT resources are often stretched thin. In addition, implementation complexity can vary depending on the software tool, with some requiring more configuration and customization than others.
Finally, the time needed for implementation can also vary from a few days to several months, depending on the project’s scope. That is why the buyer must clearly understand your implementation timeline, resource requirements, and the tasks their team is responsible for upholding. If implementation takes longer than expected or requires a lot of additional resources that weren’t initially disclosed, it will undoubtedly hurt your company’s chances of winning the deal. Even if a deal is already sealed, a challenging and complicated implementation that never reaches completion can result in failure and churn, transforming a closed/won deal into a closed/lost.
Listen To Feedback
Companies committed to successfully implementing their software will often have experienced implementation teams, strong and standardized processes, and a robust and ongoing customer feedback loop. Inviting feedback after each new customer has been onboarded will help identify improvement opportunities. Establishing this voice-of-customer listening post early on will enable you to quickly identify and address trouble spots so the implementation experience will continue to improve as more customers come aboard. This, in turn, will help boost your company’s ratings and reviews, as well as the number of customers willing to serve as enthusiastic references on your behalf.
Don’t Do All This Work Manually – Utilize Tools
Checking off all these points during implementation can seem overwhelming – especially if you have a lean team operating off of spreadsheets or trying to make do with whichever project management another department has been utilizing. Fear not. Leveraging purpose-built implementation software like Baton helps organizations streamline implementation by providing a centralized platform for project management, collaboration, and customer communication – including regular feedback on how the implementation process is going throughout the course of the project.
Using tools like Baton, your organization can reduce the risk of implementation challenges and ensure a seamless rollout, maximizing the ROI of your customer’s experience. That, in turn, will strengthen your company’s reputation and increase your chances of winning competitive deals in the future.
About the Author:
Evan Klein is an experienced customer experience and employee engagement expert. With over two decades of experience, he is an inspiring speaker and facilitator, sharing his knowledge and expertise with audiences around the world. In addition, he provides actionable insights to help companies accelerate revenue growth and create meaningful change through customer-driven initiatives. Evan advocates for the power of feedback, and his enthusiasm for customer experience is contagious.