The Biggest Pitfall of Price Shopping (and How To Avoid It)

September 15, 2021
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When it comes to a new software implementation, many organizational leaders find themselves experiencing sticker shock after they receive a price quote. After many discussions with several different partners, oftentimes organizations will accept an offer from the implementation provider that has the cheapest hourly rate coupled with the least amount of hours. This is problematic for many reasons, but the biggest pitfall of price shopping in your technology implementations is this: if you buy based on price alone, you’re going to end up paying more in the long run.

“We’ve learned through this process that we could’ve saved ourselves a lot of time and money, had we engaged a partner like Eide Bailly earlier in the process.”

-Ryan Newman, VP of Traeger Grills

Why should you buy based on value rather than price? Many of our clients come to us after a failed implementation.

Here are some unfortunate examples we've seen firsthand:

  • We were engaged by a client to support them with ongoing Salesforce managed services and optimizations. A different vendor approached the client and offered them a cheaper price bundled with managed IT services. After a few months of working with the new vendor, the client noticed a stark difference in the quality of work being performed. When the client came back to us, 80% of the work was unusable.
  • We worked with a client on multiple technology and advisory projects. We quoted them on an additional functionality project, and one of their team members said, “We already pay Eide Bailly an awful lot of money, I know we can get this cheaper.” They ended up going with a cheaper vendor. After a few months, they came back and asked us to take over the project, which resulted in them paying more than they would have if they had chosen a partner based on value rather than price.
  • A dramatic difference in estimating is a giant red flag. Nefarious vendors will sometimes quote a 400-hour project at 200 hours, get halfway through, and then say, “If you want to finish the project, it will be another 200 hours.” Clients will feel like that have no choice but to finish the project because half of the work has already been done. Abandoning the project to go with a different vendor ends up costing them, on average, 1.5x more than it would have had they chosen a partner in the beginning based on value rather than price.

On the other end of the spectrum are that will quote a 300-hour project at 600 hours. If you receive dramatically different estimates from multiple implementation partners, there is a key misunderstanding or misinterpretation of your needs.

So, how do you start to shop based on value instead of on price? It all comes down to shopping for a partner rather than a vendor.

Here are questions to ask potential partners before you look at the price tag:

About the Organization:

  • What is your team structure and how does your organization operate?
  • How would you describe your company’s culture?
  • Do you advise and provide guidance during our project, or does your team rely on us to tell you what to do?
  • What time and resource commitment will you expect from our team?

About their Style:

  • What is your approach to an engagement?
  • What delivery methodology do you use?
  • How do you effectively prevent scope creep on projects?
  • How will you help us gain adoption of and ROI from our system?
  • Is enablement a part of your process? Can you train our team?

About their Qualifications:

  • What technical and business skill set, including certifications, does your team offer for our project?
  • Will certified resources be assigned for the duration of the project?
  • Does your team have experience and knowledge beyond system configuration?

How To Know That You’re Buying Based on Value Instead of Price

Your Partner Speaks the Language

Understanding the terminology and semantics of the tech is absolutely essential. Knowing the nuances and ins-and-outs of the technology is what will make it work for your business.

For example, an experienced Salesforce implementation partner will know the difference between a Prospect, Lead, and Opportunity in Salesforce; the hierarchy of an Account, Contact, Activity and Campaign (and what it means for your processes); how your internal approach (whether you’re more agile or traditional waterfall) will affect if you adapt Cases or Projects in your CRM, and so on.

Your Partner Understands Your Processes

Along with talking the tool’s talk, the right partner will work to the core of your business. Experience in your industry or knowledge of best practices is an important qualifier when you’re choosing an implementation partner. They’ll be able to dive into your processes and tie your technology to your business goals.

The tool is only one piece of the implementation. You need to align your people, process and technology to get the most out of your investment.

“When Eide Bailly came in and explained the way they work and their processes of gathering the information before they ever began, we knew that Eide Bailly was a good resource and a great third-party to implement Salesforce for us.”

-Dan Dustin, Freemotion Fitness

Salesforce, for example, is a highly customizable, far-reaching solution. This is both a blessing and a curse. Knowing the tool is one thing. Knowing how to best apply it to your business is another.

What a Lead in Salesforce means for one organization could mean something completely different to another. One organization’s inventory management in NetSuite can be a vastly different process compared to . That is the beauty and the overwhelming power of today’s technology. It can be built to suit you. But if you don’t know how to accurately relate the solution’s features to your business processes, you’ll never realize a real return on your investment.

Your Partner Knows that One Size Does Not Fit All

Lead scoring, workflows and dashboards create a CRM that is uniquely your own. Maybe you know what data you want on your dashboard, or maybe you have no idea where to start. What about tying together your legacy systems, integrating third-party tools, or building custom automation triggers?

Tailored tech means there should be no one-size-fits-all approach to implementations.

Customization and integration experience is key to getting your best implementation. Without it, you’re simply using the shell of a tool with no real substance—but it’ll still come with a pretty licensing cost.

A good partner will make sure you get your money’s worth. Like a good tailor, they’ll take that off-the-rack product and expertly nip and tuck at the right places to give your organization the perfect fit. One size fits all never really works—in clothing or in technology.

Your Partner Does All of the Hard Work

You know that great feeling when you come home from a long day at work to find dinner already cooked and waiting for you? You should get that same feeling with your implementation, too. Your focus should always be on running your business, not coordinating and executing on an internal implementation. This is one of the biggest pitfalls to self-implementing a large technology project or sacrificing project hours with a partner to keep implementation costs lower.

From requirements gathering to system design, data migration, and change management, the right partner will do all the hard work “in the kitchen” to serve you up a timely, perfectly cooked technology meal.

A lot of organizations tend to focus so much on the hard costs that they overlook the opportunity costs at stake. If you want your tech stack to improve your business, it requires dedicated effort. Rather than designating internal time and resources that you likely don’t have to spare, working with an experienced implementation partner will help you capitalize on your technology investment.

Your Partner Has a Plan for Change Management

What good is a fancy tool if no one actually uses or understands it? Enter change management.

Getting your team to use and accept a new business tool can be a huge hurdle. But having a knowledgeable, go-to resource for questions and training is your best change management strategy.

Your partner should ramp up your team and train them on how to best use your new solution. Not only will your partner understand your business and processes, but they’ll be able to explain the system so your team not only “gets it” but also understands what it means to their role.

Your Partner is a Strategic Advisor

When you work with a skilled implementation partner, you gain a strategic advisor for your business. Not only do they know the tool like the back of their hand, but they can offer valuable guidance on how to best capitalize on opportunities you may not have considered.

Because your implementation isn’t—and shouldn’t be—done after the initial go-live.

“We felt that Eide Bailly really had a step above with how they went to implement Salesforce.”

-Scott Tomes, Bongards Creameries

Keeping your implementation stagnant through the years, despite organizational and operational change, is a toxic practice.

Leaders today need to view their business systems like one of their most valuable employees. And what do you do with your all-star staff? You grow and nurture them, so they continue to perform. Reviewing your tools on a regular cycle and continuing to develop them over time will keep them working along with your business objectives. This is where the right partner can help. They’ll help you frame up your goals and how they relate to your technology. You’ll be able to develop a roadmap for the future, so you see a return on your investment for years to come.

Finding the Right Partner

There’s no way to sugarcoat it: going through an implementation is stressful. It’s one of the biggest investments you’ll make, and mistakes can be costly. Technology alone can only take you so far.

It’s the implementation that will make or break your ROI. It’s a high risk, high reward situation. Which is why seeing a return on your investment is always top of mind. The right partner can help you streamline the implementation process and add value to your investment.

Don’t take our word for it. See what our clients have to say about our team.

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