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Why Your Business Needs a Tech Advocate for Software Implementations

J. Glerum J. Glerum
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New software can feel like a lifeline in today's hyper-competitive landscape. Just buy the software and all your pain will fade away. At least that's how most software sales teams want you to think. It's not entirely their fault either. Making their software your solution is their job, and fully understanding your specific business needs from their outside position is a challenge.

It's important to remember that software is a tool. And, like any tool, its effectiveness ultimately depends on the hands that wield it. Merely acquiring new software is not a magical solution that automatically eliminates all business problems. The best hammer in the world won't build a house on its own; it needs a skilled hand to guide it. In the same way, the right software, guided by the right strategy and use, can create impressive efficiencies and competitive advantages.

Unfortunately, oftentimes software purchases can result in unrealized expectations and waste. The expectation during the honeymoon phase of a software purchase is that it will be the answer to all your problems, but when reality sets in you can be faced with a lot of unexpected hurdles, delays, integration costs, and wasted time/effort/money. Even worse, the new software can sit and collect digital dust because the team never earnestly adopted it because it didn't address the root causes of the issues it was bought to fix.

Watching a prominent academic institution cycle through three different CRM systems (each in the low six-digit price range) in a handful of years was a profound illustration of this problem. The software vendors happily allowed decision-makers to believe the previous tools were the problem when the real reason they continually missed expectations was more about not having adequate training and change management processes.

Seeing a medium-sized business purchase a review software in the $30,000/year range only to realize it didn't actually have the features they thought it included (a belief led primarily by the reliance on the sales peoples' promises during the assessment phase) is another example of how this process can lead to a variety of waste and missed opportunities.

These are just a couple of examples we have seen over the years as a digital marketing agency working with business clients. These types of issues are painful for us to watch from the sidelines when we know we could help these clients navigate the process better if we were asked to be involved. So, we have created a process for how we help our clients implement new software.

How Valitics Helps Clients with Software Purchases

Involving a technology advocate like Valitics early on in conversations can drastically increase the odds of getting the software implementation process right the first time. We are well prepared to play the role of a technology advocate for small and medium-sized businesses looking to find and implement a new software that impacts their marketing efforts. Our broad experience with a diverse set of companies, technical expertise, and the ability to understand your business on a deeper level positions digital agencies like us as valuable partners when considering new software purchases.

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Considering new software? We're here to help.

Please contact us with any questions you have about your next software implementation. We're ready to assist however we can.

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Valitics has a multi-step process when acting as a technology advocate for our clients:

I. Assess Your Business Needs

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When exploring a potential software purchase, it is essential to consider the value that a digital marketing agency can add from the very beginning of the process. With a comprehensive understanding of both your business's unique needs and the broader digital marketing landscape, we are in a unique position to offer additional perspectives, insights, investigations, and experiences on your business needs and how software can help address them.

We take the time to thoroughly understand your organization's goals, the challenges you're facing, and the systems currently in place. This ensures that we're not just recommending a high-tech solution for its own sake, but we're making suggestions based on a clear understanding of what your business requires to move forward, and how the features of a given software may address those needs and enrich the overall marketing mix of your organization.

II. Research and Evaluate Software Options

Exploring a dark cave

As mentioned above, the best approach to implementing new software begins with clearly understanding your business goals and the challenges you aim to overcome. Starting with a high-level view of these objectives (rather than fixating on a specific software tool) enables us to consider the best possible solutions, tailored to your unique needs.

A crucial part of this process is collaborating on researching and evaluating software options before any buying decisions have been made. An agency's perspective, given the familiarity and experience with a variety of software tools used internally and with other clients, enriches and clarifies how well a specific tool may address your business needs. These insights can help you assess whether a given software is suitable for your marketing initiatives, saving you valuable time and internal resources. With our in-depth understanding of your digital marketing needs, we are in a good position to know what works, what doesn't, and what other options might exist for your business, enabling us to guide you toward the best-fit solution rather than buying the first software that gets your attention with flashy promises or big-name familiarity.

By including your digital agency in your research and evaluation phase, you'll benefit from our wide-ranging experience and our ability to bring a fresh, informed perspective to your software selection process, including more technical aspects your internal team may not have knowledge of. This approach ensures that the software chosen will enhance your operations and contribute meaningfully towards achieving your business goals.

III. Plan for Implementation

Pile of multi-colored LEGO bricks

At Valitics our team is not made up of just technical experts; we are strategists at heart. Our experience with different organizations, marketing strategies and tactics, and software implementations enables us to plan out an approach that is customized to your unique needs.

When it comes to implementing software, oftentimes less is more. Adding unnecessary complexity through unused features, functions, and code can hinder adoption and overwhelm your organization and the ecosystem the new software is entering. Our understanding of your business and your marketing strategies allows us to tailor the implementation to your needs, setting up only what is required and avoiding unnecessary complexity.

A well-planned software implementation can boost your team's productivity and make your marketing initiatives more efficient. But getting to that point requires more than just adding a few scripts to your website; it requires a deep understanding of your business's workflows, challenges, and goals.

In other words, we don't just implement software - we tailor it to your business, ensuring it becomes a new, seamless, beneficial aspect of your greater marketing strategy.

IV. Pilot and Test

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Involving your digital marketing agency in the piloting and testing phase sets the stage for a successful software implementation. This phase allows us to see how the software performs under realistic conditions and helps identify any adjustments or questions that might be necessary to answer before the full-scale rollout. This phase helps ensure that the software not only meets your needs but is also optimized to deliver the best possible outcomes for your marketing initiatives with no unintended negative consequences. Remember, the goal is not just to implement software, but to implement it in a way that drives your business forward.

V. Deployment and Integration

Space shuttle lauching

Deployment and integration mark a significant milestone in the software implementation process. However, this phase is not without it complexities. It is at this point that your digital marketing agency's expertise becomes particularly vital to ensure a smooth transition.

We provide guidance on important aspects such as data integrity and campaign tracking. As we deploy the software and integrate it with your systems, we ensure that data flows smoothly between platforms, maintaining its accuracy and reliability. Furthermore, we configure the software to enable effective tracking of your marketing campaigns, providing valuable insights to inform future efforts.

One of our key goals during this phase is to optimize your workflows with the new software. We ensure that the software isn't just added to your systems, but that it actively enhances your operations, making them more efficient and effective.

An essential aspect of the integration process that we always keep in mind is the impact on user experience and website performance. We carefully implement connections between the new software and your website, ensuring they do not sacrifice the speed, reliability, or overall user experience of your site.

VI. Train and Onboard

Training session in conference room

One of the critical factors in successful software implementations is ensuring your team is comfortable and confident in using the new tool. That's where the training and onboarding phase comes into play, and it's another area where your digital marketing agency can add considerable value.

Our in-depth understanding of the software and how it was implemented (combined with our knowledge of your business, marketing strategies, and how the software works generally) allows us to tailor training sessions that are both practical and relevant to your business and employees. We focus not just on the features of the software, but also on how these features can be utilized to optimize your marketing efforts.

But our involvement doesn't end when the training sessions are over. We provide ongoing support throughout the onboarding process, addressing any marketing-specific concerns or other issues that may arise. Our goal is to ensure a seamless transition to the new software, minimizing disruption and maximizing adoption.

VII. Monitor and Optimize

Hand-drawn line chart shoring upward trend

Even after the successful deployment and integration of your new software, there remains an ongoing process to ensure its effectiveness: monitoring and optimization. Your digital marketing agency plays a crucial role during this phase, leveraging its expertise to fine-tune the software and optimize its impact on your marketing efforts.

Our team is skilled in making strategic adjustments based on these insights. If certain features of the software aren't contributing to your marketing objectives as expected, we can identify this and make necessary changes or removals. On the flip side, if a specific function is producing excellent results, we can explore ways to leverage it further.

Optimization is not a one-time process but a continuous cycle of monitoring, analyzing, and improving. We continually track the software's performance and make strategic adjustments as needed, always with the goal of maximizing the software's positive impact on your marketing efforts.

VIII. Scale and Expand

Closeup of tree rings

As your business grows and evolves, so do your marketing needs and strategies. Your digital marketing agency plays a crucial role in this evolution, particularly in terms of scaling up your software usage and identifying opportunities for expansion.

Our extensive experience working with diverse businesses gives us a unique perspective on how different companies have successfully scaled their marketing efforts using similar software tools. We use these insights to guide you on your growth journey, helping you to avoid common pitfalls and take full advantage of proven strategies.

Moreover, as software is frequently updated with new features and capabilities, we ensure you stay ahead of the curve. Instead of relying solely on sales pitches from the software vendor, we proactively keep up with the updates and assess how these new features can benefit your specific business.

Involve a Technology Advocate for Optimal Software Implementation

This process has produced lots of successful software implementations for our clients. Involving your digital marketing agency throughout the process of assessing the needs of software all the way through its ongoing use can save your organization a considerable amount of time, money, and headaches. If you have marketing needs that you think a new software tool could help address, we'd be more than happy to talk more about how we can help you through that process. Just reach out to start that conversation.