This information is taken from our webinar 8 Steps You’re Missing Before Booking Your Next HR Software Demo. Check out our webinar recording for even more helpful advice.
You’re looking for a better HR solution. You’ve browsed online and you’re ready to learn more. To understand your options better, you’re thinking of booking a few demos with the top contenders. Before you click “Request a Demo”, STOP! We have some great advice that will transform an impersonal HR demo into a solution that is totally catered to your unique business needs.
In our recent webinar, Zack Cormier, Account Executive at VidCruiter, teamed up with Phil Strazulla, Founder of SelectSoftware Reviews to discuss the top 8 steps HR teams must complete before booking a demo. You may be surprised by what you’re missing…
Step 1: Know your recruitment process
Having an understanding of your current recruitment process and identifying process problems is key for a sales team to map out the right solutions.
Some of the most qualified buyers show up to a demo with a flowchart or a swim lane process map. You can easily create one of these diagrams – even a simple version can be helpful. With your process mapped out, you should be able to quickly detect the inefficiencies and how software can replace specific processes.
A diagram of your recruitment process isn’t just helpful for vendors – you’re more likely to get internal buy-in too. “Having a flow chart is a really great way to get internal credibility, especially if you need to pitch your software needs to the CFO,” Phil explains.
Step 2: Know your procurement process
Procurement can be a huge roadblock if you don’t understand how to get the budget approval.
Not sure how to get budget approval? Phil suggests having lunch or coffee with someone in your organization who has bought software in the last 12 months. Ask them to walk you through the procurement process internally – find out who they had to talk to, what leadership cared about and what the timeline was for it.
By understanding your procurement process, you’re able to give clear information so the vendor can work within your budget. “You have much more leverage with vendors to get a better deal when it’s already budgeted and allocated for,” Zack explains.
Step 3: Know the key features to look for
“A lot of people start doing product demonstrations hoping for an answer, but they don’t know what they’re looking for,” Zack mentions.
The most qualified buyers have a list of their ‘must-haves ’and their ‘nice-to-haves’, some may even have a feature scorecard. A scorecard doesn’t need to be complex, “A feature scorecard can simply be a spreadsheet,” Phil says.
In a feature scorecard, features are allocated points – the more points, the more important it is to have that feature. Phil adds, “It’s a helpful tool that can align the key features throughout your team and internal stakeholders.”
These tools help vendors to spend time on what’s relevant for your business and what you want to achieve – rather than just showing you the most popular features.
Step 4: Know your security requirements
Information security requirements can be the make-or-break of acquiring new software. Find out the basic security requirements you need to comply with – some vendors may be unable to serve you, and it could cross them off easily. If you have specific requirements that you’re unsure of, include IT in a demo that’s solely about info security.
Another important consideration is signing a mutual non-disclosure agreement before the demo. “Most, if not all vendors will have a mutual NDA that you can sign and review,” Zack explains. “This allows us to have a free and open conversation about things like security, in-depth features, and APIs.”
Step 5: Know your integration partners
Many people ask in demos “does it talk to my calendar/my payroll/my ATS…” and so on. The best way to understand how the solution can integrate with your current HR stack is to include integrations in your questionnaire. Questionnaires are commonly completed by the vendor prior to the demo.
Secondly, do a little background research on your integration needs. “A lot of people are under the impression that an integration is binary – it’s either yes or no. There are many shades of gray,” Phil says. Understanding the difference between the types of integrations is key – for example, is it an API, is it through a third party, is it bidirectional? You should know who would need to be looped in internally, and an estimated cost of integrating, based on the integration type.
Step 6: Develop your project plan
If you were to go ahead with the solution, do you have a plan on how to implement it? Here are a few questions you should try and answer before finding a vendor and sending the plan over to a vendor prior to your demo:
- What would be my change management plan?
- What would be my go-live date?
- Who would be the project manager?
- Who would be the super admin?
- Who would be the internal trainer?
- Do we have IT SSO approval and IT calendar approval?
A vendor can tailor the demo based on these additional details and based on the people they’re talking to. There are other perks too – if you’re organized with this level of detail, vendors are more likely to go above and beyond with what they can do for you.
Step 7: Build a statement of work
A statement of work really helps to show if you’re a qualified buyer on paper. If you’re looking for custom development work or a feature built, a strong SOW could help you to get a vendor to sign off on it.
Check out this helpful resource on how to build an SOW.
Step 8: Conduct vendor research
Take some time to check out what other people think of each vendor before you demo. “There are a lot of resources online, you can go to websites like SelectSoftware Reviews, G2, or Capterra. Once you’ve read a variety of reviews, you really want to focus on those two to three companies that are going to be the best fit for you,” Phil suggests.
Being prepared pays off
Taking these extra steps before signing up for a demo will take some time, but in the long run, it will pay off. Being prepared ensures you’re not wasting your time speaking to the wrong type of vendor. Plus, you’ll get a far better idea of what a vendor can do for you.
Beyond the demo, this level of organization helps to set you up for success. Planning how you’ll tackle new software implementation far in advance will help to streamline the process once you find the perfect vendor.