Why Non-Scripted Vendor Demos are a Waste of Your time during Software Selection

August 9, 2016

How to Work Smarter, Not Harder During Your Software Selection Process

Written by: Samantha Colby

You’re new to a position/company, and in your assessment of your organization’s HR landscape, you realize that you have some outdated technology.  Maybe it’s an on-premise system, or an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) that doesn’t present the best possible candidate experience, or a scheduling system that isn’t optimized for your HR team to use efficiently.  Whatever the issue may be, you know that this technology is effectively working against your “work harder, not smarter” philosophy, and is not providing strategic value to your organization.

You need to make your technology work better.  You’ve done your homework and know that a simple optimization/process redesign of your current technology won’t support your organization’s current or future state.  Business requirements are defined, so the next logical step, of course, is selecting a new system.

Being new to the company or position, you’re probably experiencing a significant influx of sales related e-mails from people with whom you’ve never interacted, all asking “When are you available for a quick call?” or “Are you free for an hour today to discuss?” regarding whatever solution they’d like to sell you.  You’ll find the volume of inquiries you receive increase exponentially if word gets out that your organization is looking for a new solution, and you’re easily identifiable as a key decision maker.

While it’s important to have a general understanding of the technology capabilities that exists in today’s HR technology marketplace, once you’re well underway in your technology evaluation process, any time you spend entertaining non-scripted demos is a waste of your time and quite frankly a disservice to your organization.

A non-scripted demo typically:

  • Is designed to showcase the features and functions the vendor wants to promote, regardless of your specific needs.
  • The agenda, if it exists, is the Sales Representative’s agenda – not yours.
  • Is frustrating, because you spent quite a bit of time to meet and are no closer to a solution than before the meeting.
  • Leaves you feeling like there was no real value derived from the interaction, and that you’ve wasted your time.

A scripted demo process during HR technology selection typically:

  • Follows a strict agenda, respectfully using each minute of your time.
  • Allows the vendor to demonstrate how their solution addresses specific problems/questions that you have requested a closer look at ahead of time.
  • May show you additional modules, or bells and whistles if you wish to see them.
  • Leaves you feeling like you have a firmer grasp of the vendor’s solution, understanding how the technology will or will not work for your organization, and that the time dedicated to the demo was a valuable use of everyone’s time.
  • Accomplishes specific goals and objectives, and legitimately assists you in narrowing down solution providers to find the best fit for your organization.

Working smarter, not harder, during your HR technology evaluation and selection process is key to success and opting for scripted solution demos helps you work smarter.   HRchitect, as a vendor neutral consulting firm, can assist with facilitating your evaluation and selection process, or even your formal RFP process. Enlisting a third party to participate in this process and serve as a gatekeeper throughout, not only ensures that the time you spend entertaining vendor demos provides you with valuable insight, but also ensures that you are able to participate in a secure selection process and diminish the risk that you’ll be left with buyer’s remorse.

Samantha Colby

About Samantha Colby

Samantha Colby is the Marketing Manager at HRchitect, the leader in HCM systems strategic consulting. Samantha has several years of experience in the payroll and benefits administration space. Samantha has B2B and consumer marketing experience in several industries including consulting, higher education, and sports and entertainment. When not preparing for upcoming trade shows or executing marketing campaigns, Samantha can be found following Boston-based sports teams or reading a  book from the local library.