Posted by Trey Johnson on 10 July 2020
As we built out the ZAP Data Hub Partner Program, for example with opportunities for SAP resellers - we've decided to go in-depth with a new six-part series. So, Part 1 is here today! And Trey will be back every Thursday to tackle a different commercial angle driving revenues from data & analytics.
If you are selling software in the mid-market ERP arena, competition is part of the process. If you are wanting to win deals selling software in the mid-market ERP arena, data and analytics are part of the equation. I want to explore a few thoughts on how you make Data & Analytics key in your competitive sales processes.
Of course, you do! But are you really doing it any better than anyone else? If you are demonstrating a particular ERP and sharing how you have large amounts of industry expertise in the customer’s chosen line of business but cannot show intrinsically how you understand and measure business processes unique to their industry... do you really know what you are doing?
Key decision-makers at your prospective customer will think EXACTLY those thoughts. Conversely, if you show up with the perfect set of industry analytics and can speak elegantly to the business processes you uniquely understand and enable, you are competing on “Services & Innovation” in the words of Mr. Ma.
So, your ERP show-and-tell takes several hours. Do you have several hours of the CEO, CFO, or other senior stakeholders time? Most likely not. Well, “Play to Win” and put the data, analytics, and outcomes on display for those decision-makers in the first 30 minutes. They are not going to hang around all day and you can be absolutely certain that others will be showing data management and analytics EARLY and OFTEN throughout the day.
You might still save analytics for late in the implementation but the ONLY thing a key stakeholder cares about is the ability to get the outcomes from the ERP to make the decisions they need. In the case of a tie, it is going to be the analytics and availability of data that win.
If this were not the case, ERPs would not have integrated stories with their own Analytics or third-party BI products. Of course, we have data and analytics for MANY mid-market ERPs and we are grateful for the same ethos as Bela Karolyi’s words, “No competition, no progress.” Competition has catapulted Data and Analytics to the foreground of the ERP competition.
Competing on services and innovation means you need to evolve in how you address certain project requirements. The highest risk and lowest reward of an ERP deployment is data migration. Data Migration genuinely means taking many square pegs and trying to fit them into shiny round holes, oftentimes in an expensive, risky way. When asked, most people want to retain data for historical reporting, analysis or simply the ability to bring old business processes (which were likely antiquated) into the new ERP.
(You might also want to check out the blog series "Business data reporting against historical sales data and historical ERP data")
Some data HAS to migrate but much of the data can simply be preserved in a proper Data & Analytics solution where new and old data can be seamlessly blended. Need to re-do the chart of accounts in the new ERP? No problem. CFOs (and other debit/credit loving people) really enjoy being able to see the data from years gone by trending with the data from the new ERP in a shiny new Chart of Accounts. I know this because we have done this a lot using ZAP Data Hub!
Want to be exceptionally innovative? Take stock of the prospective customers' current IT landscape. Did they grow through M&A activities? Do they have multiple ERPs to consolidate? Maybe they have new M&A activities on the horizon? Be the INNOVATIVE competitor who is talking about using tools that work well with the NEW ERP (like ZAP Data Hub) and all of the other ERPs that either exist OR could arrive in the future.
“Too many rules will stifle innovation” – Sergey Brin
Sergey is on the money if you are thinking about how Data and Analytics augment your competition for offering the most innovative solution to your prospective customer. I mean, who made the rule you had to stay SOLELY within the scope of selling just an ERP?
A sound data management and analytics platform, like the one offered by ZAP for so many ERPs (as well as reporting from multiple data sources) means you genuinely provide a total view of the customer’s business, not just the ERP, and provide them with the means to have a perfectly tied together view of their entire operations.
Changing the rules, showing the broader opportunity for data from everywhere not only moves you into a very innovative position but it also positions very valuable services with the initial sale. Since most ERP re-sellers derive revenue from services, too, that means it is “Game Over” for the Competition!
(Want to continue reading? Check out the next post in this partner blog series here: "6 Reasons To Become a ZAP Sales Partner: #2 Grow Within your Customer")
Trey is Chief Evangelist and leader of ZAP’s Americas business with a background of 25 years working with SQL Server and Microsoft Data Platform technologies. His other roles include being an industry speaker, published author, Board Member of the PASS organization, member of Microsoft’s Advisory Councils and community enthusiast for the last two decades.
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