How to buy SaaS technology for your organization that will actually get used

Estimated read time: 4 minutes


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The Software as a Service (SaaS) market is exploding. So many tools – that often do the same thing. I can see why it’s exploding though:

  • The right tools can make the lives of digital marketers a lot easier.
  • There’s a lot of money to grab for SaaS companies with useful technology.

What is SaaS?
SaaS of course means that the companies own their products and you get a license to use them.Examples:

  • Basecamp
  • Salesforce
  • Slack
  • Expensify
  • Etc.

Using SaaS has advantages:

  • The company maintains and updates their product (in theory)
  • There can be large user groups that you can participate in and learn from

And disadvantages:

    You are highly dependent on the SaaS company. They update their product and you have to adjust.
    Pricing. They increase pricing and you might be stuck.
    Long-term contracts. I’m a big fan of the Netflix model as a consumer. I can come and go on a month by month basis. SaaS companies with business services try to lock you in.

Picking the right tool:

Want me to speak to your company or event? Here’s an overview of my talk on this topic.

The biggest waste of money for companies is to do one of these:

    • Hand SaaS tech down into an organization without advocates who will implement it. There is a hard cost here for software that might go unused.
    • Too many committees ahead of time that slow down the process and a company spends all their money debating products they aren’t buying.
    • Of course, those are the blacks and whites and we are living in a world of grays.

So here’s my process of how I would recommend companies to move forward:

1. Identity a problem
What isn’t working or costing too much? What process is outdated? What process is inefficient?
2. Identity the champions
These are the leaders, budget managers but also people doing the work and that will help you implement the software and actually use it. Five people max!

Check out my marketer to marketer video podcast on content marketing software.

3. Set the expectations

Here are everyone’s roles. Are you bought in? Just like exit row passengers on airplanes must give a verbal yes that they will help so must team members. Silence is not agreement.

Outline the problem that we are solving. In writing. Agree on it.

Determine a budget range.

Determine things to look for in a software.

Read next: Why do we think technology will be perfect?

4. Review SaaS candidates for review

You’ll end up with some of the obvious ones. Ones you’ve heard of and ones that are being recommended. Keep in mind that a software tool might not live up to the marketing hype. The marketing team and product teams might not be playing at the same level!

Reminder: This is the quickest career killer for marketers

5. Demos

Determine which handful to review and what to judge them on.

Keep in mind that you are in the driver buyer seat. Don’t let them bamboozle you into a lengthy PowerPoint or waste 30 minutes to learn about you. You are there to learn about them.

The first deal breaker should be sales people that don’t adjust to you but are sticking to the script no matter what you say.

“Our office is on fire.”

“Okay, let me show you this next step.”

That’s snarky but you know what I’m talking about. The market is too saturated to deal with that!

Hang up and call somebody else! As nicely as possible, of course.

6. Document

Document what you find in a spreadsheet. No novels in cells! Get to the point.

7. Review as a team

Discuss as a team and everyone votes.

8. Decision maker

Whomever has the final vote, feel free to take some time and then make a decision and report back to the team. And discuss an initial rollout plan.

9. Sign the deal and don’t forget to negotiate

That’s of course just the start. Software that isn’t being used and that doesn’t solve a problem or inefficiency is a waste of money.

Make sure the implementation gets started quickly and the team stays on board. Monthly meetings with the team that was involved in the decision might be worthwhile – especially if it was a size able purchase.

One final note: The best software is as intuitive as possible. It might not be as easy as the iPhone, but if it’s too difficult to use how will that help?

About the writer:

Christoph Trappe is an avid user of SaaS and all new technology. He’s a change agent that has worked in SaaS, publishing, digital marketing and journalism.

Text or WhatsApp him at 1-319-389-9853 with questions.