Choose the Right Software at the Right Time: 4 Tips

“It’s all about timing.” How many times have you heard that? How many times have you said it? A lot…I bet. No one can doubt the truth behind that simple statement. Choosing the right software at the right time is no exception. Knowing when to buy that key piece of software for your organization and more importantly why you’re buying it is important. Let me give you an example of how our organization recently messed up on this very thing.

One of the most crucial aspects to any business is keeping up with it’s customers and prospects. Some type of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is vital to keeping a history of all communications and relationship details with your customers. By they way, churches and nonprofits you need one too. Either a ChMS or some Membership Management Software….look into it. Anyway, we set out to get a CRM. But we didn’t do our homework, we just signed up for Salesforce. We don’t use 2/3 of the system. Sure that happens a lot when you get a feature-rich (ready “bloated”) software but the worst part is that we spent too much money. We should have selected a much cheaper, simpler solution for the first year (perhaps 37Signal’s Highrise). Salesforce was the wrong software at the wrong time.

At the same time, we totally missed the boat on the software that we should have been running since DAY 1. It’s called KissMetrics. From their website: “KissMetrics is the simplest and easiest way to visualize your conversion funnel in order to increase your ROI”. Basically it helps businesses increase sales and conversion rates. We should have adopted this type of software even before we had customers! Live and learn.

Here are a few points to keep in mind when thinking about software for your organization

1. Most software has been created because there is a tangible benefit. Seriously…like saving time and/or money. This is especially important to keep in mind for young organizations that assume they cannot afford software or worse that they should not have to pay for it. In the middle of any organization process that’s taking place you should always be asking yourself if there is software that makes this easier. Sometimes that means spending some money on software. If you’re a small organization (like a church plant) can you really not afford to pay $12/mo to enhance communication and centralize all all logistics? Yes that was self-serving :).

2. Learn the tangible benefits the software offers. Does the software pay for itself? Can the return on investment be measured. If so, make sure you know what the ROI is. If the software offers a free trial then try it out. And really give it a go. You may crash and burn but you’re better off trying something then just thinking about it. If you can’t tell by the trial or just looking at the website, then pick up the phone!

3. Call software providers. Yes, pick up the phone and call them. If they don’t list a phone number then that’s a bit questionable in my opinion, but the point is…reach out to them. You’ll usually find that honest and fair people are behind most of the reputable software that’s available on the internet these days. Even more…

4. Ask for a discount. If you really can’t afford the software at the time, but you know you need it, then simply ask for discount. Talk is cheap (sometimes). We use coupons at MemberHub and there a handful of them floating around the internets. Just like us, many vendors will be happy to help you out for a little while. Just ask.

So, what’s that piece of software that you’ve been thinking about for a while now? What can it do for your organization? What are you waiting for?