I am an SAP Business One Sales Consultant. In my role of identifying and mapping out prospective customers requirements I have made some key observations regarding reasons for change.
This blog looks at the two main reasons and some advice on how to handle them based on my own experiences in the field. There are usually two main drivers for implementing a new ERP system:
1) The existing system is outdated, not supported anymore or simply not fit for purpose if a business has grown. It is lacking in functionality and users do not like interacting with it.
2) The business is looking at expanding and wants a platform for growth including introducing new technology like Mobility and Real Time Analytics. The system works well from a functional aspect and users have no problem with its operation.
Option 1 is for Operational reasons and Option 2 is for Strategic reasons. In the sales process it is important to ascertain the main driver for change early on as the key decision makers and influencers are different in each scenario.
In the first option the key influencers are likely to be the business users, they are the people interacting with the front end, raising Sales and Purchase Orders etc. If you can demonstrate to them a system that reduces their admin time and the need to re key data between disparate systems then you are going to get buy in from them. The business owners and ultimate decision makers will be massively influenced by the workforce and if a ROI can be demonstrated in terms of saved time you should have buy from them as well.
With an ERP Project initiated for Strategic reasons the influencers are the Senior Managers and Board Members. The sales pitch is more aspirational, demonstrating where they can get to over time by taking on the new technologies. In this type of sale is it important to define the key features in the product and explain ROI if these feature are adopted. Even though the key decision makers and influencers are going to buy in to the solution it is important to not forget the business user. From a business point of view the Change Management needs to start during the sales cycle, run separate functional demonstrations for the business users and explain how you will train them and make sure the transition is smooth. From an administrative users point of view they may be happy with their current system and see a new system as a threat to their roles or be under the impression their daily tasks are going to get harder. These objections need to be addressed early on.
In both scenario’s it is vital to understand the reasons for change, identify the key influencers & decision makers and demonstrate back to them the elements of the software that meet their current requirements.
Never underestimate the importance of getting the administrative business users on side whatever the business reasons for change, they can be more influential than you think!