As we quickly approach the end of the year, it’s a prime time to re-evaluate the software you use. While you should be doing this on a consistent basis to begin with, the end of the year presents an optimal period to address this task.
For one, a new year means a fresh start. Beginning with a clean slate when you try out a new software will give you the best basis for evaluating the new software’s performance in the future.
Another reason you should re-evaluate your software, and probably a more attractive one, is the fact that many companies start discounting their software at this point to sell more volume and meet their end-of-year goals. As a result, you can often purchase new software at an appealing rate.
Even if you don’t decide to switch platforms, sometimes you can use discounted prices as leverage to renegotiate your current contract. For example, if you are using one CRM but see another platform is offering a cheaper price. You could go to your current provider and say, “Look, this product is at a lower price than we’re paying you right now, and we’re going to switch unless you can change that for us.” If you present it in the right way, they might be willing to change your contract.
While re-evaluating your software can seem daunting, there’s no time like the present.
Why You Should Re-evaluate Your Software
You don’t want to evaluate your software just for the sake of evaluating it. That’s a waste of time. You want to evaluate it knowing there’s a chance you’ll find a better solution.
Ideally, software should make your life easier. When you work, you should only have to think about the task in front of you and your software should facilitate its completion. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. You probably find yourself brainstorming ways to work around the platforms you use, determining exactly how you will accomplish your projects.
You have plenty of other things to worry about besides your software actually doing its job. Let’s consider how your software might fall short:
Problems to Consider
Scalability: Many tools are built for companies of a certain size, so they’re not necessarily designed to handle every situation and task you want to complete. You need a tool that can grow with you, so if one platform you’re using has reached the end of its usefulness for your company, you should look for a better solution.
Ease of use: One of the most important things about software is that it’s easy to use. If I evaluate a platform and the backend is clunky and difficult to understand, I keep looking. You need a tool that will facilitate the completion of your tasks, not negate your productivity.
Price: There’s also a huge opportunity for wasted spend within your tech stack. If you’re using a tool to its fullest potential, you could be extracting a lot of value from it. On the other hand, some tools are barely used, are employed for small, specific tasks that don’t justify a massive spend or simply aren’t that beneficial.
Proactively identifying wasted spend in your tech stack and replacing that software with a better solution can help your bottom line dramatically.
Functionality: When you evaluate your software, there’s a decent chance you will find that you don’t have the full functionality you wish you did. Maybe you’re performing tasks inefficiently because you must work around different platforms or maybe your tools simply can’t do everything you want them to. Of course, no software is perfect, but if you aren’t satisfied with your current tech stack, don’t settle.
If you’ve been ignoring problems and pushing them off because of the time you’ve invested, it’s time to take action.
The Sunk Cost Fallacy
At the end of the day, switching software seems like a big deal. It can be time-consuming, and you’ve probably put a lot of work into setting up your tech stack. You might not want to make any changes for these very reasons, but in reality, you should only justify keeping software if is accomplishes what it is supposed to. Otherwise, you could be perpetuating the sunk cost fallacy.
Committing the sunk cost fallacy involves continuing a behavior as a result of previously invested resources, like continuing to use software that doesn’t work well because of the time, energy and money you’ve invested in setting it up. Ultimately, that’s a flawed way of making evaluations, though. Switching from a poor software to a good one will save you resources in the long run. Let’s walk through an example.
You might be using a marketing automation platform (tool X). Maybe that tool integrates well with a CRM (tool Y), which integrates with many other tools. So, through that integration with tool Y, you could connect tool X with different tools to try to build out your tech stack’s functionality. In order to properly integrate numerous tools, though, you need to account for data integrity and maintaining the accuracy of information across your platforms.
Say you wanted to connect a chatbot (tool Z) to your marketing automation platform to book meetings. If tool X doesn’t have the necessary functionality, you could only connect tool Z to X through Y. To do so, you would need to properly connect Z to Y and Y to X. From there information would be passed between the platforms. Then, you would need to build a trigger in tool X to ensure the information is properly received and translated. Overall, this process is not ideal.
It would be much simpler to integrate tool X directly with tool Z, but if tool X doesn’t have that functionality, there’s nothing you can do. Instead, you must rely on two layers of software to transfer data.
That process also creates a reporting nightmare and undermines the functionality of your marketing automation platform because you won’t be able to run automation based on all the transferred information you receive. Since the platform is limited, it won’t account for your prospects’ full journeys, so gaining useful information becomes very complicated.
Instead of utilizing the software itself to accomplish your job, you’ll need to find an external solution to make the software work as intended. For example, if you want to do reporting, that’ll likely come down to using spreadsheets. It’s going to take a lot of time to make sure you set up a spreadsheet so the process becomes repeatable and accurate. In fact, you’ll spend more time collecting data and less time analyzing and making decisions based off from it. On top of that, the information you’re analyzing might be inaccurate to begin with.
Basically, with all of the time and effort it takes to develop a workaround, it’s better to cut your losses and move to a stronger tool. One option is to connect all of those systems (your marketing automation platform, CRM and chatbot tool), so they’re integrated and the information can be transferred from one platform to another seamlessly. Or, it’s even better when that information can live on one platform because your software has enough functionality to do all the tasks you need.
Here, at New Breed, we’ve found a tool that can do just that. We use HubSpot, an extensible platform that’s robust enough to handle many of our software needs.
With HubSpot, your team will be able to work more efficiently. You won’t need as many tools and as many experts to use those tools. For example, when we have a new hire join our team, they don’t need to learn 10 different platforms; they need to learn HubSpot and a couple internal operational tools. Essentially, everything lives in one place.
At this point, while you may realize the importance of switching your software, it still probably seems like a chore. After all, if setting up your existing software was time-consuming, moving to another platform likely doesn’t seem like it will be any easier.
Luckily, there are ways around this task. If you plan on migrating to a new software, working with an experienced marketing agency can simplify your transition.
If you want help better understanding how your software is contributing to your goal attainment, sign up for our marketing software evaluation where we can analyze your current tools, identify ways you can streamline your operations and help you increase the ROI of your software.
Guido is Head of Product and Growth Strategy for New Breed. He specializes in running in-depth demand generation programs internally while assisting account managers in running them for our clients.