This week we will take a “mid-point” check and do a brief review of the sales tactics and scams used by some ERP or SAP system integrator sales people. After this short overview we will address some additional ways to ensure you get the most from your SAP RFP efforts.
After this short review of the sales tactics and some additional techniques for dealing with them we will continue this series. The next posts will cover the following topics so you will definitely want to “stay tuned” for more information around:
- qualifying vendors,
- final considerations,
- negotiation tactics,
- licensing considerations, and
- contract signing.
Below is a brief review of the sales tactics we’ve covered so far, they can be seen in more detail in the following posts:
- Overcome SAP-ERP System Integrator Sales Tactics 1
- Overcome SAP-ERP System Integrator Sales Tactics 2
- Overcome SAP-ERP System Integrator Sales Tactics 3
ERP Vendor Sales Tactics (Review)
In the previous posts we covered the following tactics ERP and SAP system integrators routinely use to convince you to part with your money:
- Relationship building… “lets be friends”
- End runs… “get to the key decision-maker”
- Beware of the stranger bringing in food, offering dinner at fancy restaurants, or any other “gifts” that inhibit objective decision making
- Subtle (or not so subtle) introduction of doubt about competitors or other products
- Alligator mouth sales who won’t shut up and listen
- The “Survey Demo” – “What do you want to see?” while failing to address the specifics of the RFP. Always trying to sell you SOMETHING whether you asked for it or not. This often goes with the “gee whiz” don’t we have a great product “X.”
- My manager must meet your manager – attempting to gain back door decision-maker face time
- Things are not always what they appear to be – beware vaporware, custom screens, and third-party products that are not disclosed as part of the overall demonstrated “solution”
- Lets change the subject – attempting to distract from the questions or key issues that are being raised
- The unload the bus approach – bringing in an “army” of influencers to “work” the decision-making crowd
Additional Methods to Manage Your SAP – ERP System Integrator RFP Processes
As you enter the proposal process for your ERP vendors there are a number of things you can do to manage the process. The better YOU manage the process, rather than the ERP vendors who are presenting the more likely you are to make a good decision. The entire goal here is to set the stage that you are in control rather than allowing the ERP system integrator to control the process.
1. Get rid of the fluff and set a slide presentation limitation of no more than 50 slides for the l presentation and no more than another 50 slides for an Appendix of supporting information. If a vendor is unable to capture the important items to your company and its results (rather than touting how great they are) in 50 slides they may not be the best fit. This limitation forces them to narrow the focus of their presentation to what is really important.
2. In your RFP it should be spelled out explicitly that customer qualifications and customer references can ONLY come from the specific resumes of the consultants who will be ON the project. Ignore all the “gee whiz aren’t we special” because we have so many great customers our company has worked with. If the customer list doesn’t represent the skills and talent they are proposing for your project, why do you care who else they have done business with? For more background and understanding please see FIXING Stupid SAP Vendor – Partner Selection RFI – RFP Processes. Ensure that the vendor knows any deviation here will be scored harshly or may disqualify them.
3. Include a provision in the RFP that unverifiable claims of business benefit will be scored harshly. If a statistic or a reference to benefit is noted anywhere in the vendor’s presentation, whether on paper or during oral presentation, it must be supported by a verifiable source. If it is not then score it against them. It is a routine practice for vendors to “promote” questionable or unverifiable “results” and throw numbers around to try to persuade you.
If a vendor claims they helped company “X” gain “Y” benefit then ask for a verifiable source for the benefit, how the baseline for the benefit was established, and how the change was measured. Do NOT accept any double-talk here. The inability to do this should be considered as 100% unverifiable, or in the worst case a blatant lie.
4. Ensure your RFP asks the vendor to describe their process for handling less than optimal consulting resources. Ask them to note in writing what their approach and policies are on credits for less than optimal resources. In this provision of the RFP make it explicit that this section will be scored heavily or even disqualify them if their policy is not adequate.
Consulting fraud, and the number of “fake” consultants with great looking resumes is so rampant that it is frightening. And worse still, many of the system integrators are well aware of this and do not take strong measures to address and correct it. If they provide “junior” resources or even contractors who are fakes then they should pay the price.
Conclusion on the ERP Vendor Sales Tactics During Their Proposal
The ERP vendor RFI and RFP processes, including their presentation are like the foundation of a new building. If you get the foundation right, and if it is solid, you have a good base to start your construction project. However, if you take too many shortcuts, or do not exercise enough diligence to ensure a good footing, good materials, and the right measurements, the building you end up with will not be what you expected when you start.
Take the time and effort on the due diligence in the early stages of your ERP or SAP vendor selection and it will pay dividends later on. Ignore it and you may have a disaster in the making.