This post is a part of Produced @ HubSpot, an internal believed leadership series through which we extract lessons from experiments conducted by our very own HubSpotters.
As someone who handles HubSpot’s learning technology, We’ve gone about buying software the wrong way at times. I’ve pushed ahead without the right technical partners, I’ve missed an agreement auto-renewal deadline, and We have rolled out changes to a team without empathy just for how it might affect their own day-to-day.
From these experiences, plus from working with others on HubSpot who procure plus implement software, I’ve learned a lot . Today, I feel great about how I manage the technology and buying decisions.
We have come to realize a successful buying decision is less about vendor management and research (though those are important factors) and more about project management , change management , and getting buy-in for new ideas .
Here are some of my greatest lessons for those who are considering buying new software or are simply curious to learn more.
Training #1: Establish a business cause before seeking buy-in.
During the past, I didn’t take the time to step back and assess what value my proposal would bring to the entire organization. Even when your new software’s user base will only be a small portion of employees, think about and communicate how this ties back to the company’s bottom line .
Here are some examples:
- A procedure is currently quite manual, and you also want to automate it. The business reason for this software would be to save time and money.
- Your team is trying to accomplish something, and you also don’t have the skills, time, or functionality. The business reason for this particular software would be to extend the team’s capabilities.
- Recently, our own L& D team from HubSpot wanted to be able to monitor how new hires performed in their training courses. The business reason behind this software was so that we could provide managers with more insight into how best to invest their time coaching their new hires as they ramped into their roles.
Once you establish your business reason, you’re more likely to get support from stakeholders.
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Another important business factor to think about when getting buy-in could be the cost-to-value ratio . Adding more software means another vendor to manage, another contract to consider, and another system for your coworkers and teammates to adopt.
Make sure an individual has thought this through plus feel confident that this brand new software will bring enough worth to outweigh these factors. This will help you handle any kind of initial objections.
Getting buy-in should happen far in advance of when you plan to buy the software program. This process takes time. You should talk to people outside of your own department and often outside your organization to ensure you understand the landscape associated with what’s already happening, what’s possible, and what it’s going to take to execute a new software.
Lesson #2: Understand you’re going to need help.
You might be the most skilled software buyer in the world, but you can’t do everything alone. In my experience, the best help you could get for buying and implementing application is the team whose quite expertise is software: your IT team .
Loop them in early in your process, see exactly what they’re already doing to solve the challenge you’ve identified, and inquire at least one champion for opinions. Depending on your company, you may also have to loop in Security, Legal, and Finance so they can include their expertise and emphasize any blind spots you might have.
You’ll also need two key people: someone to serve as a project supervisor, and someone who has expertise within the type of software you’re contemplating buying (which could be a person with enough research).
It’s important to remember that you can’t make lone decisions about software program and expect everyone to enjoy and use it. You might think you know exactly what is best for the team, but you truly need feedback, and also you need to get it before you dive in too deep.
A person take everyone’s opinion on as a requirement, but you need to take into account anything mentioned simply by multiple people and capture this feedback. The more a person document and share how you’re making your decisions along the way, the less pushback you will still face when you’re ready to start finalizing the deal.
It might take some extra period up-front to write everything upward and share it, but this method will save you a lot of time in the end.
Training #3 Be vulnerable and empathetic.
Change is hard for everyone. Even those who are most excited about using new software might get overwhelmed by the prospect of changing up what they’re used to. It’s important to be transparent plus empathetic with your project team, coworkers, and the broader company.
For example , if your team members generally love process and firm, acknowledge that a project will be hard because there will be a great deal of things that will start out disorganized or unknown. A tried and true method for working through this together is to share your emotions freely and then collectively decide to press forward.
Encouraging your teammates to share their concerns will help further define your project’s direction and build a feeling of camaraderie that will be useful when things get hard.
Regardless of what team you’re upon, who your user base will be, or how many supplier demos you’ve watched before, these tips should get you started on the right track. Buying software is not easy but if done properly, it can bring a lot of value, connect you with your co-workers, and help you discover the art of change management.