Master Data Management Solution Evaluation

I posted 3 suggested steps to a successful MDM solution evaluation. And I have been helping prospects with this process for several years now. Here are a few tips from a sales professional.

  • Be as honest as possible, share details on budget, timeframe, need and also the buying process plus the business sponsor. The vendor can best help you if he can see your vision. Don’t keep the salesguy on a string. Smart ones, by the way, will drop you like a hot potato if he senses you are blowing smoke.
  • Trust the sales guy. This is not a given, and if research indicates the sales guy is exagerating, lying or misrepresenting anything, throw him and the vendor out of the process.
  • The sales guy is there to help, NOT just get the deal. Sure winning business is universal goal, for your sales teams too.  Yet the sales guy, if he is smart and professional, seeks to convert you to a successful, happy referencable user of the MDM. Failed projects are death to a vendor and to a sales professional.
  • Respect the sales guy. Self serving this may sound, yet I have started too many evaluations with the tone from the prospect that the sales guy is evil and not to be trusted. This just messes up the mix. Sales guys for top MDM vendors, not the also rans though, are top guys. The MDM complexity and MDM business processes are just too important and detailed for also ran sales guys to last.
  • Throw a wide net over vendor references. Weak vendors will resist this. And  this is how: ” sure we have references yet we only use our valuable customers late in the process.” I heard this one from a Product manager at a recent MDM for products implementation disaster. The vendor was Enterworks. Sure enough recent Gartner MDM for Products Magic Quadrant describes Enterworks with weak and old references.
  • Another on references, beware the one or two which the weak vendor pays for good words. Payment, not in cash, but in services and high touch points. Throw a wide net.
  • Beware weak or non exististend Dunn and Bradstreet or financial vendor reports. A weak vendor can not support you, can not build the solution road map and can not stand up if implementation issues arise.
  • And this is best late in the process, after the above are solid, visit the vendor headquarters. Walk the halls, say hi to the support team, the service team, the tech team the exec team. Hang out a while and get a feel for the MDM vendor business. This may surprise you, yet not only a few MDM vendors on the Gartner Magic quadrant, have temp offices, with just a few people. Work is outsourced or just not done. Check it out your self.

About Sales Pro
Master Data Management and Product information management solutions.

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