Buying enterprise tech is like an escape room. Coworkers are all convinced they know the right way to escape the room (purchase and implement a new product). There’s a ticking timer constantly reminding you how far behind you are. You’re never sure if you’re on the right track, or if you’re chasing some dumb idea that will just set you further back. As your group stalls, people start yelling. Even though everyone’s working for the same goal, people start doing their own thing and then get surprised when they don’t reach the goal.
At least escape rooms usually come with drinks and snacks afterward.
A Purchasing Project is Just a Corporate Escape Room
When you’re looking to add a new tech product to your company, everyone is working toward the same goal. Instead of escaping a room, you’re trying to buy new technology. But despite this common objective, the process is confusing: Gartner explains that “B2B buying is far less about progressing through a funnel and far more about completing a diverse set of tasks.” This series of tasks (market research! RFPs!) lead to more tasks (Cost modeling! Vendor demos!). And there’s the ever-present timer, slowly ticking down.
Just like an escape room, people on the buying committee all have different ideas of what to prioritize and what to do. Finance might be saying We need to save cut costs! while security keeps chiming in This new solution is not compliant! Customer-facing technology might lead CX leaders to join in the fray We need to cut down on handle times! We need to implement a customer chatbot! and any IT leaders might push to keep certain vendors or avoid others. When people feel their voices aren’t heard, they start to yell.
IT projects can be stressful, and after a few disorganized meetings, you might find yourself trying to escape the conference room. But we have three tricks to help you cut through the chaos and escape the room, uh, buy the right tool for you:
- Build your timeline backwards
Start by documenting when you want to have your new technology up and running. Sometimes this is a goal; sometimes it’s a directive from leadership. Regardless, start with your desired go-live date.
That gives you the number of months/weeks/days between you and your go-live. Suddenly, the project starts to fall into place: how much time will you spend on implementation and training? When do you need to have a decision made on your purchase? How much time does that give you to compare vendors?
Start with your go-live and work backwards from the answer.
- State the purpose of the meeting the day before you meet
Yes, this is the most basic project management 101 tip ever. But we mean it. The day before the meeting, share the purpose of the meeting with all the intended participants. This helps for a few reasons. First, you make sure people are prepared to make decisions and take action on your meetings. If someone important is missing, you still have time to invite them. And if someone has something else they really want to talk about – tough. Don’t derail the meeting.
- Align on your business case and goals
It’s important to get aligned on business drivers before you start the project. Yes, the goal is to purchase and implement new technology – but make sure everyone agrees on the “elevator pitch.” We are buying this to save money/improve agent performance/add security/etc./etc./etc. Have a few meetings with key stakeholders beforehand to document their goals, and create a business case before you buy. That way, if there’s confusion or disagreement during the project, you can point back to your guiding principles.
We’ve solved the escape room before. We’ll show you how it’s done.
Buying enterprise tech takes a lot more than just comparing prices online during Cyber Monday. It’s a full-scale project, full of meetings, documentation, timelines, and competing interests.
So why not get the help of a project manager? A skilled third-party advisor acts as a guide to the escape room. We know all the tricks, all the secret codes, all the hidden keys. You still solve the puzzle, but we help you figure out where to look and how to interpret the clues.
Are you stuck in the buying process? Reach out to learn more about how CXponent helps companies cut through the chaos.