We sat down with our Sales team and followed the journey of how a PIRO prospect reaches the implementation phase. There are different stages and when it comes to decision-making, clients choose different strategies. In this article, we will tell you about how our sales team assists clients at every stage of the project and what we are doing to help them make decisions.
The awareness stage of the funnel: where are the customers coming from?
Nowadays, it may not come as a surprise if we say that 80% of the new clients get in touch with us online. PIRO's marketing team has focused a lot on online marketing and online presence over the years. This explains why the PIRO team barely attended jewelry tradeshows recently. Before the pandemic, you could have met us at MJSA, JCK, Vicenzoro (Italy) or even at JMA Hong Kong.
These tradeshows are great for meeting potential clients and showing them in live how our solution could help them but the overall experience is that deals are rarely closed during a tradeshow. Why? The main reason is that choosing and implementing an ERP is always a complex decision-making process. The tradeshow presentation is always followed by a series of communication rounds in the online space.
The Covid pandemic proved that our online focus and online strategy were a good direction and we coulf continue our collaboration with our clients without any issue even when tradeshows were canceled.
Our online strategy includes ongoing changes and developments on our website. That is the number one gateway for our customers so all the information must be well-presented.
The first steps to take
We have thousand of website visitors every month. Many leave the site after a few minutes and never return: PIRO is not the alternative they are looking for. The rest of the visitors can take one of the three steps:
- They can educate themselves about PIRO by reading and watching as many written or video materials as possible;
- They can ask for a live demo or an Initial Needs Assessment call if they are still unsure
- They can subscribe to a PIRO Fuson trial
The order of the steps could be critical; for example, we don't recommend subscribing to a trial before having a demo with one of our sales reps. Why is that? There is critical information everyone should know regarding the functioning of PIRO Fusion before subscribing to a trial. A demo would open an entirely new dimension for the trial - you would understand what you actually see. PIRO Fusion is a complex ERP system and the trial comes with a blank database. Although PIRO Fusion can handle multiple business types from manufacturing to wholesale, the trial account lacks a precise configuration.
Our sales representative typically covers this information gap during the demo. You can not only ask questions but also receive information on what is and what is not possible in PIRO Fusion.
At this stage, a holistic understanding of the system should not be a goal as it is almost impossible but the main topics of the requirement list should be covered.
Decision-making. How do YOU make your decision?
The next step in the decision-making process is the proposal. Let's say you did the demo, maybe subscribed for a trial and received a quotation that includes all license and implementation costs.
By the way, don't look for a pdf or word attachment in the email because our sales team is preparing the proposals using an online, easy-to-edit proposal tool. Just click on the link in the email, and voila. You can download your pdf version if you wish to have your own hard copy.
The proposal is still one of the early phases of the sales cycle and the client has no obligations at all. This proposal includes all the information the customer needs to know:
- Foreseeable monthly fees (license fees for users, add-ons)
- Foreseeable fix fees (implementation fees, add-ons)
- Support and maintenance fees
- Procedures and hourly rates for unforeseen costs (custom development or integrations)
In this phase, a new round of discussion starts. Our sales people will discuss the remaining questions and conduct further meetings or demos involving also other decision-makers who didn't participate in the process until this point.
Before finalizing the proposal and turning it into an agreement, our sales reps always schedule a proposal review call. The purpose of this meeting is to clarify any remaining questions and highlight all aspects in the proposal that are essential and shouldn't be handled superficially.
According to our sales team, at this point it’s time to set back a bit. The decision-making process is crucial for every customer. Our sales team has identified four different approaches or outcomes:
- After getting all the information, the customers tries to explore and compare all the alternatives. Since this is a long and time-consuming process, sometimes it takes months till we hear back from these companies. Comparing different jewelry softwares is more challenging than you would think - they are comparable in terms of costs but difficult to compare in terms of features. In the end, if PIRO Fusion comes out as a winner, we will start the project.
- After reviewing the proposal, the customer decides the time is not quite right to start the implementation. There could be many different reasons behind this decision:
- The financial conditions are not favorable
- There is no appropriate in-house personnel that could coordinate such a significant project implementation
- There is not enough support from the team members or the management. We have to accept that not everyone is happy about the idea of getting a new software.
- The company is facing organizational or personnel changes so it is not the right moment to start the implementation
Sometimes, projects like these are put on hold for months or even years. No decision is made. In cases like this typically the customer comes back one or two years after the first contact and we need to start the sales process from the beginning.
- After the proposal, the customer subscribes to a trial period: for some people, it is crucial to "feel" the system even if the decision-making is mainly based on the information received during and after the demo. Continuous communication with PIRO's sales personnel is quite important before, during and after the trial period. Our colleagues will do everything to ease your decision.
- The "Awkward Silence" approach comes from customers who don’t choose PIRO and fail to give feedback. Clients in this category rarely answer follow-up emails or calls so our sales team is in the dark whether the customer had financial or functional arguments against our services. Did they decide to go with a competitor? We will probably never know.
Decision-making is an interesting topic. We make decisions every day but not decisions of this caliber – a new jewelry ERP system gets implemented every 5 or 10 years. It’s easy to make a decision about things like buying a smartphone or TV – we have done it many times in our lives and our previous experiences or preconceptions help us. Selecting an ERP is a process full of questions, risks and uncertainties.
We’ve asked our sales team what they can do to make the decision-making easier for the clients. Here are the answers:
- The importance of follow-ups: find out if the client is still lacking some information
- The relevant mass of information: it's a misbelief that customers need every single piece of information for to make a decision. Typically, certain information play a more significant role in the decision-making process than others. Generally, these are the "must-haves" on the requirement list. Our sales people must find out and address these "must-have" questions.
- Minimizing the uncertainty factor for the customers: one of the reasons why customers are hesitant is the uncertainty. No one likes to make mistakes especially if money is involved. Our sales team has an important role in finding ways to reduce any uncertainties: offering a product trial, offering more demos, proposal review meetings or documentation.
- Crumbs of information if the decision-making takes too long: we try to give relevant information about our system or about us in general via short newsletters even when the communication between Sales and customer is not active.
Knowing how important this decision is for companies, there is one thing we never do - our sales team doesn't put time pressure on clients. Rash decisions could have critical consequences both for our clients and us, therefore we always play as our customers, we let them make a decision at their own speed.
So, after all, how PIRO Fusion projects begin?
As we’ve mentioned earlier, in a typical sales cycle, the demo is followed by a trial, a proposal and/or a few other meetings that help clients clarify as many details as possible. These post-demo meetings are essential because they can help reduce uncertainty and make the right decision.
Once the decision is made, we sign an agreement and put together a project scope document. Both PIRO and the client nominate a project manager who will start communicating about the different milestones and the information that needs to be collected. This cooperation includes regular weekly meetings and continues until the system is ready to be used live. Not all projects are equal in terms of complexity so the implementation time also varies. Four to six months is the period you can expect.
Many thanks for our sales team for giving us all these behind-the-scenes information. We hope this blog post has been insightful and has helped you reduce the uncertainty. We encourage you to get in touch with one of our sales representatives as they will help you make a wise decision.
If at the end you end up crossing PIRO off your list, no problem. We are happy to know you and hope to work with you in the future.