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ERP Selection: Cultivating Vendor Engagement

The last thing anyone managing an ERP selection project needs is to have a vendor who is in strong contention pull out of the process. Generally this happens either because the vendor doesn’t believe they can win or because they haven’t been convinced that the project will get the green light.

The key to effective vendor engagement in an ERP selection project is to recognise that you are not just procuring a solution; you are selling an opportunity. Vendors can incur substantial costs by taking part in the selection process and need to see a reasonable chance of reward to balance that cost. To that end, the vendor is initially looking for:

  • a selection project where there is a reasonable probability that they will become the chosen vendor for the implementation;
  • confidence that the selection project is likely to proceed to implementation.

Although of lesser importance, the vendor will also be looking to establish that:

  • the implementation project is likely to be successful (e.g. that you have senior leadership buy-in, budget approved and internal resource availability);
  • the relationship between your company and the vendor would continue beyond the successful implementation, for example, through an ongoing support arrangement.

A well-structured ERP selection process, such as Lumenia’s, will support the vendors’ discovery process and generate vendor engagement as you progress from being a ‘lead’ to a ‘customer’.

It’s also worth noting that engaging consultants such as Lumenia to assist with your selection shows that this is a serious project within your business. Vendors who are brought into the process by Lumenia will also be confident that realistic expectations have been set about functional fit and potential cost.

Viewing the ERP selection process from the vendor’s perspective can help to bring clarity of thought within your organisation. It will be much easier to find and engage with the right vendors if you are clear about your expectations on ERP implementation, functional scope, project benefits, budget, approach to project management, resourcing, training, and change management.

It’s no coincidence that these are some of the potential questions that you might be asked by a vendor about your project:  Budget, Authority, Need, and Timeline (BANT) is a framework of qualifying leads that may be used by a vendor – it’s good to be prepared.

To find out more about ERP Selection: Cultivating Vendor Engagement, download our latest white paper from the Publications section, Vendor Engagement in your ERP Selection Project.

ERP Vendor Engagement

This blog was written by Jim Goodison, Principal Consultant at Lumenia. For further information please send an email to Jim Goodison.