ERP isn’t another legacy strategy.
In fact, enterprise resource planning systems (ERPs) have embarked on the software battlefield fighting for businesses facing a “pivot or perish” situation.
Leveraging cloud technology and tapping into the SaaS model of post-modern ERP has allowed companies to maintain intelligent and strategic continuity even in the face of adversity.
And as ERPs become the linchpin to success, they expand beyond end-to-end business operations, encapsulating various touchpoints and stakeholders. These powerful and capable tools act as a bridge between businesses, customers, suppliers, partners, and more. Such data centralization benefits companies across industries and digital maturity.
Given this growing importance and resulting mission-critical role, it’s no surprise that the ERP software market is slated to touch USD 93.34 billion by 2028 while registering a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.2%.
And with nearly 33% of CIOs keen on investing in an ERP platform, one of the key contributors to the purchase decision automatically becomes software reviews.
Using software reviews for ERP selection is indispensable. Let’s look at how companies can use this “customer feedback” to keep ERP selections on track.
Role of software reviews in the buyer’s journey
It’s easy to presume that buyers write reviews primarily during their journey’s “decision phase”. Such an assumption is further from the truth. If anything, buyers can write reviews even during the awareness and consideration stages.
Search and discovery
As a business committed to embracing an ERP solution, you don’t want to waste your time learning the under-the-hood mechanism of ERP.
Of course, you need to go through the features and functionalities to know what’s best for your business. However, once this preliminary research is over, you should delve deeper into the various ERP solutions on the market.
This search will lead you to review-driven platforms (like G2) that host a comprehensive list of options. And to make your task easy, you can find these solutions sorted by customer ratings.
You can even hover over the G2 Grid, which ranks ERP solutions based on market presence and user satisfaction. Different grids give you granular control to use them broadly or filter out the options based on your industry.
Searching and exploring different ERP tools via a software review platform gives you a top-level view of the various possible solutions. They also help visualize how a specific tool can align with your business.
Long list options
After the search and discovery stage, you may be left with an unending list of options. Here’s where software reviews chime in again to cut out the noise and shine a light on options that matter.
You can use filters based on customer ratings and reviews to prepare your long list of options. Say you only want the best of the lot, and nothing less than a five-star rating would suffice. This could limit your choices, leaving you with only a handful of options.
However, if you’re a little more flexible (and forgiving) and consider lower-rated ERP solutions, you give other competitive tools a fair shot. Either way, you use software reviews to separate the wheat from the chaff and only proceed with practical and viable options.
Shortlist ERP solutions
After weeding out the irrelevant ERP solutions, you’re left with a few suitable contenders. Software reviews help you compare and contrast the remaining ERP platforms and make an informed decision.
Online reviews provide a general overview of different ERP platforms and their key features. They also allow you to compare various solutions with your expectations. You get an overview of the glamorous and not-so-glamorous parts of the ERP platforms – where they deliver and don’t so that you can justify those expectations.
Before requesting quotes and signing up for product demos, it’s best to do a quick background check on software reviews. You can start by delving into the details provided by the reviewer to understand how their insights fit into the context of your pain points. Most reviews often include snippets of why the customer chose a particular service over its competitors.
Review the responses and submissions and analyze them from your industry perspective to see how reviewers’ issues relate to yours.
Do their problems match those plaguing your business? What are your key considerations, and how do they align with those of the reviewers? Would you enjoy the same results as the reviewer?
You can also use contact request forms to get in touch with the reviewers. When contacting them, ask them to explain their experience with a specific ERP solution.
Informed product demonstrations
Product demonstrations uncover an ERP solution’s capabilities. However, it may be daunting to test its usability and applicability within a tight time frame in your business environment.
Customer reviews facilitate maximizing insights from product demonstrations, even with limited time. They put your focus on two key segments: a feature or functionality that seems too good to be true and the one that may act as your major pain point. This helps you assess how well an ERP platform is performing and what the resulting compromise (if any) would be.
Pricing and negotiation
If you’re running out of ERP solutions with expected features and performance, it’s time to compare prices. After all, it all comes down to budget.
As frustrating as it may be, most ERP solutions don’t transparently display pricing and plans on their websites. You need to request individual quotes from these vendors. Pricing-related reviews spare you even this effort. A well-crafted comparison and value for pricing a solution will help you weigh solutions and decide your budget.
Besides comparing whether you’re overpaying or saving on your investments, you can also check customer reviews for discounts. Thorough due diligence saves you additional expenses.
Justify and illustrate the value
Customer reviews also come in handy when integrating an ERP solution or moving to a new ERP platform. These reviews can highlight the benefits of integrating your business software and systems using an ERP platform.
Some reviewers effectively list the pros and cons of each solution available on the market. Other reviewers even go as far as conducting a detailed cost-benefit analysis to show more tangible costs and benefits. Customer reviews emphasize ERP solutions’ value and how they improve an existing system.
How can ERP reviews help validate selection?
Eighty-six percent of B2B consumers look to peer-review websites to make an informed purchasing decision, whether hiring a mobile app developer or purchasing a software solution. Of course, customers are more likely to trust other customers who have used a product or service than the seller trying to meet their quota.
Software reviews play a key role throughout the buyer’s journey and act as a North Star to keep ERP selection on track. Here are some ways software reviews can help validate your ERP product’s choice.
Paying customers primarily write most of a product’s reviews. Because 88% of buyers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, you can base your decision on their research, selection process, and experience rather than working from scratch.
Recent findings emphasize how reviews build trust and directly correlate to conversion rates and sales. Having 50 or more reviews per product increases conversion rates by 4.6% and sales by 18% on average.
Simply put, online reviews are proof of a product’s credibility. Online reviewers give you more confidence while choosing a solution, simply saying, “We tried it, and you should too!”
Pros and cons
Unlike business case studies or customer testimonials that primarily serve the vendor, most reviews are written objectively by customers who may be appreciative or critical of their choice. Software reviews cut down the grunt work of using the product first to analyze its advantages and limitations.
You can turn to these reviews for pros and cons to help you decide whether to try an ERP service. By eliminating the guesswork and trial and error, you can reduce time-to-decision, set realistic expectations, and derive more value from your ERP tool on day one.
Evaluate for relevance
While software review sites may give you equal and unbiased access to a large number of providers; they can be overwhelming. In such a case, you can use the sites’ reporting and analysis functionality to sort the solutions based on their relevance to your industry.
Buyers no longer need to read lines and lines of text and can refer to digestible insights with data visualization in the form of charts and visual reports that bring greater meaning to the unstructured data. You can use these parameters to assess how an ERP solution performs in your industry.
Taxonomy and categorization
Software reviews help companies understand how an ERP solution translates to real-world performance. As you analyze the reviews, you’ll notice recurring patterns that usually fall into the following categories:
What they convey
Learning curve, user interface, installation, deployment
How easy it is to set up and work with the software
Ease of use
Glitches, lags, bugs, delays, trouble navigating
The problems that you may encounter while using the software
Feature names, API, integrations
How the ERP software will meet your niche business needs, and whether its usability can be extended with third-party integrations
Expensive, cheap, cost-effective, monthly/annual fee, one-time licensing, per-user pricing
The solution’s cost or pricing model and whether it’s justified
Customer support, knowledge base, phone support, live chat, FAQs, tutorial, onboarding, online ticketing
The kind of resources and support you can expect from an ERP solution provider
Use these cues to gain essential information from customer reviews.
Signs of being heard
Not only reviews but the vendors’ responses to these reviews can tell a lot about their attitude and what you can expect from the ERP solution. A proactive vendor responds to even the most critical reviews and treats them with grace and empathy.
If they find that the reviewer makes a compelling argument, they use their feedback to improve the product in future releases. Their answers offer a preview of what customer support would be like if you chose them.
Unlock new features
While online reviews don’t “unlock new features” per se, they certainly list some features that you might otherwise have overlooked or not considered. This allows you to see an ERP product in a whole new light, especially if relevant to your industry.
Here’s how you can use software reviews to dive deeper into ERP offerings and see how they fit your organizational needs.
Tips for verifying the authenticity of software reviews when making ERP selection
Businesses now understand the power and value of reviews. They turn to online reputation management (ORM) service providers to improve public perception. While most ORMs would insist on responding to reviews and escalating recurring customer issues, some may resort to posting fake reviews to boost the software’s rating.
The following tips can help verify reviews when selecting an ERP software:
- Negative and positive emotions: While it’s not a litmus test, extreme negative or positive emotions can raise questions about a review’s authenticity. An insightful review balances the negative and positive and illustrates why the reviewer thinks that way.
- Recency: A review’s recency also shows whether it’s genuine.
- Emotional weighting: Reviews that use emotional weighting to influence decisions may indicate insincerity. They can be analytical and negatively focus on the product rather than on the actual problem or solution.
- Vague context: Again, reviews that go into tantalizing detail without raising the value or showing how the effects came about can also be fake reviews. Most fake reviewers feel the need to falsify the details and present the solution as the be-all and end-all to all their problems.
- Unreliable reviews: Genuine reviews read as if an average user wrote them. Therefore, reviews that “try too hard” by relying solely on impeccable grammar, relatable humor, or even outright sarcasm could mean they’re not reliable.
- Auditing reviews: Most review websites offer transparency by showing whether the reviewer bought the product and, if so, from where. You can use this feature for auditing only those reviewers who have purchased and used the ERP solution.
- Rating analysis: When it comes down to it, you can even use a feedback analytics tool that can algorithmically evaluate the ratings based on various parameters and share informative metrics. Some tools can even filter out the seemingly suspicious reviews and average the authentic reviews to get an accurate picture.
Believe, but not too much
Software reviews can influence your ERP selection process. Reviews shouldn’t be your only source of information. Gather as much detail as possible from different sources to create a holistic picture of what each ERP solution has to offer.
Practice due diligence as you weigh your options, and use software reviews as a medium to validate your decisions and the rationale behind them. A well-thought-out methodology ensures that your choices always hit the mark.
ERP implementation can be tough, and proper implementation prevents you from making the same old mistakes. Find out more about ERP implementation and how to get it right.