It wasn’t from someone who I know – though that’s not all that unusual. We’re in the age of “self serve” where a Google search and an email solves
nearly all problems – for free.
I’ll have to admit I’ve fallen for this trick once or twice in the past.
Here’s how the situation typically evolves.
A user of MAS90 software emails out of the blue stating that all they need is MAS90 software. No service. No advance discussions. They’ll manage everything themselves.
Customers don’t know it.
Some VARS don’t either. But there are several huge problems with this request – which is why I refuse to sell a box of software with no services.
There are many VARS under increasing pressure to meet software publisher sales goals or win an award who make the sale. And for a very short while they think that they “got lucky” to make such an “easy” sale.
In my experience these sales to strangers who have self–diagnosed their needs are the most dangerous. Though the stranger states that they need no assistance with installing, converting or configuring their software — the actual experience is quite different.
Here’s how it rolled last night — and my thoughts.
If you’re a Sage ERP consultant reading this – there’s an excellent chance you also received a copy of this. Most of these inquiries are email blasts sent to the first 10 or 20 consultants that the customer can find on the Internet. Never fool yourself into thinking that an inquiry such as this has singled only your company out for assistance (Tip: The last line of the request virtually guarantees that I’m not the first to have received this — the sender knew enough from prior quotes to ask that we not submit a price including any services).
I have been using Mas90 for at least 20 years. I have a very old copy – I think it is version 3.2 maybe which was on a bunch of 3 1/4 floppy drives. I am considering getting up to date. Is the latest version going to be easier or harder to use? Our version looks like it is a DOS program but they do call it Mas90 for Windows.
I currently have the following modules:
Can you quote me on the updated versions of these modules?
My IT person can install everything.
And Here’s My Response
No sorry. There are many other VARS on Google who likely will.
To Which The Reply Was
Sorry I thought you sold the products. Can you recommend a good vendor?
The guy who I did business with years ago is long gone.
It’s been a while since I’ve received this type of “sell me and I’ll have my IT guy install it”. Often people coming in from the Internet (defined as someone you have no prior relationship with other than they found you in a Google search) have a similar theory on upgrading.
The theory? If my IT person can install MS Office — they can install Sage ERP MAS 90.
What happens if you actually sell them a box of ERP software for their IT person to install:
- The IT person usually has no idea how to install and configure it (“Can you write down a detailed step by step set of install instructions?”)
- There will be extreme confusion on why it installs differently than MS Office (“MS Office runs just fine on a peer to peer Lantastic network – you mean MAS90 doesn’t”)
- Nobody will know how to transfer and convert the data (“You mean you sold me software and now I have to pay to convert data, upgrade forms or update my third party applications that I forgot to tell you about?”)
When theIT person becomes frustrated “MAS 90 is the most arcane system – it sucks – why won’t it run on Linux super build 2010 like Microsoft Office does?”
- Finally, the email will arrive “We want our money back – what you sold us and promised would work didn’t.“
- Then you’ll get the call from the software publisher (“Hey Wayne, it’s Billy Bob here at Sage the Customer Account Manager – did you sell…”)
- Are you starting to see why the last VAR this person used went out of business or is nowhere to be found?
My Response To All Customers Seeking ERP Software Sales Without Service or The Use of a VAR
Sorry I don’t have anyone that I recommend for these types of sales. I’d take another look in Google (assuming you haven’t already found someone).
The reason that we don’t make these types of sales is based on prior experiences.
Years ago we did sell just a box of software with no service.
What we found is that in many cases there were issues with the people putting the software in (compatible hardware, OS, etc) and we were then requested to supply free support — or in many cases install and configure it for free.
We find the vast majority of IT resources overestimate their capabilities and if a software package doesn’t install in the exact manner that Microsoft Office does — there’s no end to the trash talk about the ERP system.
And, yes, in nearly all cases the people swore that they wouldn’t need support and we wouldn’t be required to supply any and their IT staff would install it in 10 minutes. Most offered to put that statement in writing.
All they wanted was the software. No service. No advance discussion if what they were buying was still appropriate. No concerns about whether the older computers they were using would still operate the latest version of Sage ERP MAS 90.
Rather than argue the merits of whether MAS90 should or shouldn’t be self-installed we find it easier to stay out of the game. Long term it’s an unprofitable sale because:
- The sale is usually discounted (after the price is sent 98% of the time the next question is “how much can you discount this”)
- When the software can’t be self-installed the consultant who sold it is expected to step up and do it (for free)
- IT resources overstate their capabilities and walk away if the install is more than 5 minutes
- If the software cannot be correctly configured/used then the consultant (that’s us in this case) is expected to refund the money which can often be a few thousand dollars (The software publisher lists all sales as final so they won’t refund the VAR).
- About 99% of inquiries are nothing more than requests for third bids that can be taken to an existing consultant to undercut a price by a few dollars.
I hope this provides some background about why we don’t sell software outright without some services and knowledge of the company that we’re assisting.
These reasons may also have played a part in why the prior VAR you’d used is now out of business.
Best of luck in your search
And so it continues…