As you consider different construction software options, you’ll probably talk to vendor sales reps or resellers, depending on how each product is sold. Bear in mind that the goal of these individuals is to make a sale! Although you’d like to assume these people would only sell you software if it’s a good fit for your company, I know from experience that this isn’t always the case.
Based on feedback I’ve received from real people searching for construction software, I’ve compiled a list of the top four red flags to raise when talking with sales reps or resellers. (Seriously, I’m not making this stuff up!)
1. The Software Can Do Anything You Need it to Do
Beware of broad, categorical statements about the software being capable of doing anything and everything you might ever want. This can be a cover for a salesman who doesn’t really know his product. Raise the red flag by asking specific questions about vital functionality. In addition, ask to see a demonstration of how each capability is handled within the software!
2. The Software Can Create Any Custom Report You Need
All construction software programs generate reports of one fashion or another. When you hear that, if a standard report is not available for what you need, a custom report can always be written, raise the red flag because this is not always the case. The data you need in your report, your level of technical report writing skills and your willingness to pay a hefty fee for custom report writing services are all factors that will determine whether the report you need is writable.
You’re better off working with a salesman who admits some of your “must have reports” may not be available out of the box, than a salesman who refuses to admit to software shortcomings or – even worse – offers a “simple” workaround solution without demonstrating it.
3. Negative Selling Practices
Always raise the red flag when a sales rep or reseller bad-mouths the competition. Do you really want to work with someone like that — or with a vendor that allows negative selling practices? No construction software solution is perfect, so taking potshots at a competitor’s known issues can be a temptation. But reputable sales professionals will emphasize their own product’s capabilities, rather than pointing out the deficiencies of competing systems.
4. Providing Old References Only
Some construction software vendors and resellers use the same references over and over again. When a vendor claims to have hundreds or even thousands of customers and gives you two or three references that have been using the system for many years, raise the red flag. While long-term customers can provide useful information, to get a reasonable perspective on user satisfaction, you should also talk to references in your industry who have installed the software within the past year or two.
Be Cautious: Ask Questions
When it comes to buying construction software, it pays to be cautious and not cut corners. Sales reps and resellers will give you the answers you need as long as you raise the red flag by asking the right questions.