Friday, July 13, 2018

The Most Important Piece of Software Acquisition Advice I can Give


Because of the Wayfair decision, a lot of you are going to be considering buying sales tax software.  I have a bit of advice for you.

In a previous career, I was in accounting software sales.  And in a subsequent career, I was a software acquisition consultant.  From that experience, I wrote a short whitepaper, which has been lost to the sands of time (and a failure to do proper backups).

That document contained a lot of good advice about believing sales people (don't), trusting demos (again, don't), implementation planning (ha!), etc.

But the best advice I can give, and the easiest, is VISIT the references that you get from the vendor.  Don't just call them....VISIT them.  And if it means you'll have to spend a couple of nights in Vegas on the company's tab, well, that's just the price that has to be paid.

Try to get three references that are in your same line of business, or at least close enough to make the conversations meaningful.  Ditto for company size and multi-state exposure. 

Visiting the references means:

1.  You can look them in the eye when they tell you the software works well.  This is much better than the response of "fine" you'll get in a phone conversation.
2.  You'll be able to spend more time with them than just a phone call, so you'll get more details and hear more about the dirty laundry.
3.  You'll learn more in general just by visiting another business in your line.
4.  You'll have another user you can talk to when things go wrong.
5.  Don't be a piker - buy lunch or dinner.
6.  Paying for a round of golf is even better, if you like that sort of thing.

Your vendor may be leery of you doing this.  But if that's the case, ask yourself why.  I always hated it when they asked for references.

The Sales Tax Guy

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