Whether consciously or sub-consciously we all follow a similar process to making a purchase decision whether it be buying a new motorbike or buying a new software solution.
Firstly, we establish the need for something and then we search for information to understand what options there are and what alternatives are available.
Then we move into the evaluation and decision stage. This is typically where things can start to go wrong and lead us down the path off making a poor decision. Perceptions, emotions, and bias all get in the way of making the right decision.
In fact, 55% of organizations that have implemented Trade Promotion Management/Optimization (TPM/TPO) solutions have not realized the business benefits and user adoption that was expected. So how do we avoid this and make the right decision?
The first key lies in the initial stages of the process – understanding the core problem or need to be solved, and consistently questioning how this solves your problem throughout the entire process.
“Hypothetically if I was looking to buy a new motorbike, I first need to have a good understanding of what my need is. I must have a new motorbike to support my mid-life crisis, I need something that is fun, comfortable to ride, performs well and is reliable, that is not going to kill me.” – Darren
Similar for selecting a TPx solution you need to understand what the primary problems are to be solved:
Whilst these are all desired outcomes, few solutions deliver all. So it is important to be clear on what the priorities are to be solved for now, and consistently challenging these throughout the rest of the process.
The evaluation stage and resulting decision is where things can quickly go wrong. As humans we all come with our own perceptions, emotions and bias that can cloud our judgement and decisions.
When choosing a TPx solution there are several rules to consider, that will help in removing the influences of perception, emotion, and bias.
First, involve representatives from different business functions (Sales, Finance, IT and Demand). They will all have their own requirements, needs, experiences and expectations. Too often TPx decisions have been made by one business function to suit their reporting or audit needs rather than what its true purpose is for which is to plan and manage trade spend. The more people involved, the less influence bias has.
Shift the focus from traditional feature or requirement comparisons to actual business usage and problem solutions. Let’s face it, when comparing TPx solutions many provide the same features and functions like – can I create a promotion. The focus should be on:
Users and beneficiaries of the system need to connect clearly with how the solution will solve their problems and make their lives easier.
Always question the end state – whilst it is easy to have a positive perception towards a great looking solution with a very modern and simple user experience, always challenge how it delivers on the problem. How does the solution improve your revenue, margin and ROI?
Lastly – when considering a TPx solution also look past the solution itself. Software solutions continue to change and develop rapidly – what may not be available today may be tomorrow. What is most important is:
If you can follow these rules when evaluating TPx solutions, you will certainly make the right decisions that will ultimately deliver the expected business benefits and optimal user adoption.
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