It is fun ... and frustrating when a more knowledgeable person reveals "how you don't know what you don't know". Do you get excited (in the good way) when you use your software? If so, great! If not (the more likely case), why not? Do you sense that there "has to be" an evolution of software out there that is radically more user friendly and as capable. How would you know?
Odds are software / IT is not your business, it supports your business and therein you would not know. That said, don't loose that gumption or gut feel. Your intuitive knowledge might be right. TAKE AWAY 1: Vendors who enthusiastically embrace and want to resolve your intuitive concerns are the ones you can trust. Does your vendor sweep your concerns under the rug? Use complex language to confuse you and create doubt in your concern? Danger Will Robinson.
There are vendors, probably like yourself, that would love to hear your feedback or present you precisely the solution you are looking for at the value you expect. I bet you agree with the philosophy here but execution is what matters and is the difficult part.
1) Before you throw out the old, be sure that the capabilities you desire are not in your current software.
2) Even then, if you find it painful and too difficult to extract those capabilities you are looking for from your software, you might give your vendor a call. You must be certain though that your difficulty is attributed to the design of the software and not your organization's lack of process discipline. Replacement software with poor organizational discipline will fundamentally not improve anything.
3) Be careful in hiring a consultant. A consultant 9 times out of 10, can fool us worse than the software vendor. They are notorious for selling an overly simplistic solution that falls short, and too often make the situation worse not having lived, breathed, or sweat in the trenches of your business. They have no real skin in the game.
4) Look and think within. TAKE AWAY 2: Talk to your most vocal critic of the software (positive types only - not the destructive types) for help OR listen to new hires that you have brought in from other industries, especially if they have been given P&L responsibility that relies on the use of that software. Obviously they need some time in the trenches with the systems you have in place, but you also don't want too much time to pass so that they start to "drink the kool-aid". Our first reaction is to talk to the kool-aid distributors: the vendor rep or your principal software admin. They likely have a work around and worked hard to get there, but is it best? Has that work around been resolved more efficiently elsewhere.
Example 1: To attach an e-mail to a contact record for the e-mail recipient in a CRM should be nothing more than a yes / no option. In one CRM I have recently used, I have to select, yes, I then have to open the contacts, find the contact, and then select it. Probably one minute process. Most modern CRMs automatically latches the e-mail address in your e-mail to the contact record with that same e-mail, unless you tell it not to. The negative choice takes less than 1 second.
Example 2: If your website, software is not mobile optimized (easily readable and usable on a mobile or tablet) your software vendor is staying stuck in the past and you are paying for their negligence. This is a critical element of evolution that all businesses must grow into or be left behind in tomorrows market.
In the past week, I ran out of cash (my allowance from my dear wife) twice! I do keep my debit card handy though. At the Farmer's market, not Best Buy or any other big fancy retailer, the local cheese curd family business (very small biz) ... processed my payment on their iPad through a little one inch by one inch square reader. Later in the week, a friend was frustrated by the distance their customer had to walk to come in and make payment off a transaction that occurred on the ramp of a general aviation airport. In the old days to offer a mobile payment system would have been in the many thousand$. Per the picture attached, this past week a small private bicycle shop http://hillsborobikecompany.com/ which was undergoing renovation, had no checkout counter to speak of, seamless took care of my purchase while we stood there talking about our mountain bike heroics (mainly his...). The owner of the bike shop used the same gizmo as the cheese curd maker. Squareup.com as he coached me charges NOTHING for the little one inch terminal. He vetted them with the local big banks and they did not have all the cumbersome fees and confusing payment structures. Like most newer orgs and start-ups they haven't lost sight of this simple phrase called customer SERVICE.... or more fundamentally ... treat people the way you want to be treated as a customer.
Could a small business pick up a bunch of second hand iPhones / iTouches, only set-up the wifi receiver in each, (no need for a bunch of cell phone plans), and turn every salesperson into a check-out counter?
Ever had buyer's remorse before check-out? How about your customers? Mobile Payments might help you close a deal faster. Time kills deals - mobile payments shorten that.
Obviously mobile payments are convenient, but is it really for everyone? We think probably more so than not. Think of all the checkout lines or walks you make that could be made obsolete? How can mobile help your business? We suggest visiting your local farmer's market. It's healthy and enlightening.
Giancarlo Newsome is the founder of G-Force Accelerated Marketing.