Software Buying Tips

3 Ways Software Vendors Surprise You During the Selection Process—and What to Do About Them

Jun 26, 2020

Software vendors might excessively call you, not read the details you send them, or ask why you didn’t pick them. Read tips for managing these events when you’re looking to buy new software.

Olivia MontgomeryAssociate Principal Analyst
3 Ways Software Vendors Surprise You During the Selection Process—and What to Do About Them

While looking for new software, it’s likely you’ve submitted your email address to the vendor in order to schedule a demo or schedule time to speak with a sales rep.

But there are 3 things that often happen once you hit “submit” that you might not be prepared for: 

  • Excessive phone calls from sales reps.

  • A disconnect between what you submitted as your needs and what the sales rep is prepared to discuss.

  • A vendor wanting to know why you didn’t pick them.

We’ll share tips on how to manage these unexpected events and keep yourself in the driver’s seat for your software purchasing journey. 

The vendor is going to call and email you A LOT

Most vendors will reach out to you almost immediately after you’ve submitted an inquiry on their site—and their first priority is to get you on the phone. They know you’re interested in their product and want to start building a relationship with you by being ultra  responsive to your inquiry. But their ambition can be overwhelming, so here are some tips on how to use their eagerness to your advantage.

  • Don’t assume they’ll stop calling if you don’t answer right away. They won’t. Just answer the call and then schedule time for a longer convo when it’s convenient for you. Typically vendors are calling excessively because they want to connect with someone to at least start the conversation.

  • Tell the vendor your expectations and what you need from them as soon as possible. You can do this in that first call if you’re prepared to and have the time, but you can also save all this for the second time you connect with them, either via email or a phone call. 

  • Email the vendor with preliminary info. This info should include things such as where you’re at in the research process, the best time and way to reach you, and what exactly you’re looking for. This way you both have a reference of what has been shared for follow-up discussions.

Note: Many vendors often won’t give price quotes via email, which is why they want to schedule a phone call. 

A vendor might call you before reading the notes in your inquiry

If you included some info on what features you’re looking for or specific questions you have in the initial inquiry, you’ll probably be expecting whoever reaches out to you to have answers ready for you. 

But case notes can be overlooked. This is frustrating but it doesn’t have to sour the relationship right away—vendors are excited for your business and sometimes jump ahead.

You can absolutely ask the vendor if they received the notes from your inquiry form/request and politely ask that they review them before your next meeting. This is also a good time to offer to send them more information on your needs and expectations, as discussed in the section above.

Tip: Be clear about your make-it-or-break-it requirements in your email to vendors right away. This way you can catch if they’re not the best fit before spending too much time with the sales rep.

An unchosen vendor may want to know why they didn’t make the cut

Whether you’ve formally told a vendor they didn’t make the cut or if you ghosted them, it’s possible they’ll want to know exactly why you didn’t pick them. They may email or call asking for specifics—but you are in no way required to give any info that you don’t want to. In fact, it’s usually best to be short and firm in your response.

If you start getting into specifics, such as the fact that their pricing or feature set wasn’t a match, it can create an opening for the sales rep to try winning back that sale. So typically less is more once you’ve made your choice.

You can respond to the unchosen vendor with something like, “You have a great product and we appreciate the time you took to help us evaluate our options. After our evaluation another product just won out this time.” Or maybe, “We just felt more comfortable about the fit of another vendor and have chosen to move forward with them.”

Sales reps can be either your resource or just a hassle. We hope this article helps you manage excessive vendor outreach, an unexpectedly uninformed sales rep, or the potentially sneaky way to win back your business and keep the control in your purchasing journey.

Recommended reading for the next steps in your software buying journey:

Get Stakeholder Buy-in For Your New Software Purchase With These 5 Steps

Software Pricing Models Are Confusing; We Clear Them Up

How Small Businesses Are Navigating the COVID-19 Crisis

5 Steps To Ace Software Contract Negotiations

About the author

Olivia Montgomery

Associate Principal Analyst
Hi! I’m Olivia Montgomery. I’m an Assoc. Principal Analyst at GetApp. I bring insights on project management, supply chain trends, and tech strategies. My work has been published in Forbes, TechRepublic, CIO Dive, and TrustRadius. Home base: Austin, TX but I’m a West Coast girl at heart. 1 thing about me: I’ve been a competitive horse jumper for most of my life. A tech trend/innovation I think you should follow: AI-informed workflow automation will help small businesses work faster and smarter.
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