Many companies are reducing the number of IT suppliers to simplify purchasing and trim costs. So software sales reps face tougher times and longer sales cycles.
But when you’re in the hunt for a new enterprise software provider, what really matters? It’s all about vendor viability and richness of features.
Forrester Research surveyed 102 decision makers at worldwide companies to find out how they bought their software. The good news? CIOs and technology chiefs are in charge of the software selection and most of the time actually authorise the purchase. CEOs rarely get involved in the choice of wares but insist on adding their signature 11% of the time.
Most companies (68%) have buying cycles for large software purchases of six months or longer; 14% take more than a year. As the chart shows, features and functionality top the list, followed by vendor viability. Cost, not surprisingly, rises in importance the closer a company gets to decision time.
Forrester suggests sales reps should brace for another tough year, with C-level control of purchases making for rigorous sales processes. They should understand what you’re focused on — being consolidation, risk management and integration, if the researchers heard it right — and discuss how their products can help you accordingly. You’re also concerned about integrating new products with existing investments, such as Java or .Net and products from vendors such as Microsoft and IBM. Often you demand product “bake-offs” inhouse. It’s hot in the kitchen these days.