- Are you selecting a SaaS supplier? Learn the 3 essential considerations you need to make to ensure you pick the best one for your business.
Businesses now have as many as 110 applications making up their software portfolios, with digital tools responsible for everything from streamlining the sales pipeline to sorting the morning coffee order. According to Forbes, digitization efforts have accelerated since the pandemic, after many offices were forced to support remote workforces with new SaaS (Software as a Service) solutions.
But with so many vendors offering similar products, how do you choose which to go with? If you’re struggling to decide between the likes of Salesforce, Salesloft and Seamless, look no further. To help you pick the right one, here are our top three things to take into account when selecting a SaaS provider.
1. Is there a free trial?
As with any subscription, you’ll want to trial the features of a SaaS product before committing — not just to save on your first fee, but to see whether it’s the right fit for your business. Whether you’re comparing sales intelligence databases or piloting a new HR system, a free trial is the first thing that any good vendor will offer you to show off their platform.
If there isn’t one you’re best off looking elsewhere rather than committing to a product that might not work for your team. Otherwise, you could find yourself locked into a year’s contract, or even longer, that none of your employees particularly want to use. This is a surefire way to drain budgets and morale.
So, you’ll want to make sure that all the relevant users on your team get the chance to explore any new system you’re piloting. However, with such a breadth of tools offered by the standard SaaS product, you might not get around to trying out all its features. In this case, it’s usually worth requesting to extend your free trial. Software purchasing platform Vertice explains that “sales reps can be open to this as it reduces the possibility of you terminating the contract altogether and increases the chances of you signing up on a paid plan in the near future.”
2. How are maintenance and support handled?
Vendor reliability is a challenging metric to assess, but it’s essential to opt for a reliable vendor so that you receive good service and the support you need. You could have a subscription to the most helpful platform on the market, but it will be of virtually no use if it has 95% downtime.
Every popular service needs some time offline in order to update its systems and perform maintenance, but as Security Boulevard explains:“planned, scheduled maintenance periods are announced ahead of time and are usually on the weekends, early in the morning”. This minimizes the outage time for users and usually goes unnoticed. However, they continue, “the ones you do notice are the problem”. Before you commit, ask questions about maintenance and uptime rates.
Similarly, you’ll want to go with a service that provides as near to round-the-clock support as you can get. You never know when you’re going to run into access issues, data corruption or other problems at a critical time, so ideally, your provider should have the capacity to offer 24/7 support. Otherwise, your business productivity could suffer and you could find yourself stuck in a contract that provides a poor return on investment.
3. What’s their reputation like?
Another way to temperature-check the reliability of your vendor’s service is to consult ratings and reviews. Naturally, we’re all drawn to the bright, shiny landing pages that boast of five-star ratings and glowing customer testimonials, but you’ll gain the most insight into how people really perceive a vendor on third-party review sites.
Transparent commerce platforms like Trustpilot and software review site TrustRadius can provide a deeper look into the features, value, and pros and cons of popular SaaS tools. And providers know how important a good reputation is across sites like these, as Kalungi writes — “the better (and more) reviews you have, the better your business will be, and good business leads to brand trust and brand loyalty — which inevitably leads to referrals”.
However, for how instrumental ratings and reviews are to sales success, companies cannot manipulate or have comments from review platforms removed without a genuine reason — so they’re harder to bias and skew than first-party testimonials. This shows the value of checking a vendor’s online reputation.
Ultimately, you’ll want to do a fair bit of research before shortlisting a software solution for procurement — let alone entering the vendor’s sales pipeline. But above are the top considerations to make along the way to ensure you enter into a trustworthy vendor relationship and sign up for a product that works for your business.