FOR some companies letting their customers talk openly about the difficulties of implementation would be the least effective method of producing further sales, but that’s the approach of SAP channel partner Realtech.
Last month Realtech held the first in a series of seminars aimed at educating end-users on the ups and downs of evaluating, implementing and managing an ERP system.
At the insistence of Tim Wool-field, Realtech managing director, the events have no vendor sell or marketing spin and instead rely on past customers to talk about the aches and pains of selecting and implementing a system.
“I wanted a subtle sponsorship and both SAP and HP agreed. The best sell job we can do is to let a customer talk,” he says.
The focus for the next seminar is on implementing a system and Woolfield wants to use the opportunity to help potential customers understand what Realtech expects, its processes and generally explain the method in its madness.
Of the 30-odd attendees at the first event, 100% have signed up for the second seminar and 80% for the third.
Lee Weyers, Realtech SMB business development manager, says the seminars also present the chance to put like-minded people in touch with each other.
“Customers are looking for an implementation partner with a similar cultural fit since that relationship will probably last for at least ten years. That’s why Realtech’s focus is on integrity; customers can be re-
assured they are getting into bed with a trustworthy company — not some cowboy outfit,” he says.
Alex Morcom, SAP small and medium business manager, says he is fully supportive of Realtech’s efforts in educating businesses. “The feedback I heard was that it was a wonderfully independent and unbiased presentation. There is a huge need for education but that can be difficult to do as a vendor,” he says. One of the biggest challenges, according to Morcom, is that smaller companies don’t tend to plan for IT spending.
“We need to help small businesses plan and budget for IT upgrades. That’s why education is so important; if the knowledge is there the customer will make a much more mature decision.”