Leaving your contact information by entering free drawings at the HR technology conference that you recently attended has translated into much more interest in you among vendors, and now they all want you to buy their software. After several phone calls and follow-up emails from one local HCM software vendor, you’ve agreed to have its representatives come in and provide you with a presentation.
Any type of business software demonstration including essential HR solutions and payroll systems requires an investment of time from you, the customer, as well as from the software vendor. Proactive and well-organized sales representatives will make inquiries regarding your business well ahead of their presentation to understand your current systems and the processes you have in place, what your pain points or challenges are, where the key opportunities may be to optimize efficiencies, and how to cut your costs using the software solution that they will be presenting.
Are software demonstrations a good use of your time? Certainly, provided that you also do your own preparation ahead of the vendor’s demo to enable the best use of everyone’s time – both your team’s time and the vendor’s.
Know Your Requirements - Before you invite any vendors in for a demonstration, know what your requirements are. This includes identifying, prioritizing and documenting all of your needs from an HR business, functional, technical, and solution budget perspective.
Who to Invite - As you assemble your list of invited attendees for the demo, include those team members who your current systems and processes impact. This should include a representative from your I.T. department who can speak to your company’s I.T. strategy and existing systems in place, as well as new systems being considered. Include representatives who are end users and administrators, i.e., the people who will be using the system hands-on if you decide to purchase it. Send a list of names and roles of attending team members to the vendor ahead of time so that they know who their audience will be.
Prepare a Script for the Vendor - Always have a script prepared for the vendor to follow and build into their presentation agenda, particularly if you will be evaluating and comparing several vendors. Organize and prioritize your business and functional requirements into the script and provide it to the vendor two weeks ahead of their demo to allow them to prepare and secure their own resources to deliver the presentation to you and your team. Provide your team members with the demonstration script and prepare an internal version that provides a means for recording comments and scoring the vendor during the demo for each of the categories presented.
Provide the vendor with some time and latitude to present and demonstrate other features and benefits within their system that you may not be aware of, and be prepared for their Power Point presentation at the outset of the demo to cover the details of their own company, descriptions of their product suite, and the names of other customers that use their systems. While this is important, indicate to the vendor in advance (and within your script) that this introduction should be brief, especially since they will also likely provided you with a package of handouts, business cards, and their website address for your additional reference.
Arrange the Logistics, Meeting Room and Schedule - To avoid delays in setup prior to the demo, ask the vendor (well before they arrive) what they will need in terms of logistics to deliver their presentation, such as external internet access, projection equipment, speaker phone, white board, etc. Arrange for them to have access to the meeting room a half hour before the demonstration to allow them to get set up and organized.
And don’t schedule the presentation on a Friday afternoon just before a long weekend. Book the demo during the week when everyone will be focused and will make the best use of the company’s time and resources to support an informed decision about the proposed solution. Make time at the end of the vendor’s presentation for questions from your attending team member, and schedule a follow-up “road test” if the software piques your team’s interest. As a customer, you’ll get as much out of the vendor’s demo as you put into it, so make the best use of your time.
StarGarden would love to schedule a free demo of our newest integrated HR system, StarGarden 5.0. StarGarden’s HCM suite is customizable, including essential & extended HR modules. It’s also mobile-friendly, easy to use, and complimentary to your existing HR & payroll management solutions. See more at www.stargarden.com or contact us today to schedule your demo.