Last year, we decided GetApp needed a rebrand. We’ve been around since 2009, and since then the market has gone through a ton of change. The software landscape has grown; products have evolved. Today’s software buyer is savvier than they used to be.
We too have evolved beyond our startup roots, and to meet market demand, we’ve focused on providing our audience with more comprehensive and technical data on the software we list. We’ve focused on collecting reviews and building tools to help with their searches. We—along with softwareadvice.com and capterra.com—were acquired by Gartner and began working with and learning from former competitors.
Our current brand didn’t fit our personality anymore: Today we’re more disciplined and focused on providing better user experiences and technical information in our catalog of products. So we decided to make a change. We wanted something to represent who we’ve become. Where to begin? How do you rethink what has been part of your identity for years?
At GetApp we’ve always sought to better understand our audience so that we could speak to them in their language. Data has typically been the first step in our decision-making process. Data can help to tell a story, so I’ll let data help to tell ours.
We survey small and midsize businesses (SMBs) a lot. In late 2018, we surveyed 420 SMBs to better understand their challenges in finding the right software. What we found was somewhat surprising. Of the four stages of the software buying cycle—awareness, evaluation, selection, and purchase—small and midsize businesses spent the most time, an average of 6.13 months, in the selection phase. Some even spent more than a year simply selecting software.
Why does something as critical as software selection (and evaluation, for that matter) take so long? Our internal data suggests the answer is simple: The software landscape is incredibly complex, and those researching don’t have enough time.
We have more than 700 distinct categories of software and nearly 9,000 products listed on our site (Gartner Digital Markets sites list more than 45,000). In our CRM category alone, we list 328 products with an average of 15 integrations each.
Data on integrations was important for us to consider, since another survey showed that the biggest challenge for SMBs in selecting software has been ensuring integrations with existing tools. Of those surveyed, 26% listed integrations as their primary challenge.
Most SMBs don’t have the time to do even a quick comparison of the hundreds of software options available to them, much less an in-depth analysis that compares features and evaluates integrations. Limited time was the biggest difficulty for SMBs researching software: Nearly a third (32%) of respondents to one of our polls cited time over other challenges, such as calculating the full cost or too much technical information. Having once been a small startup ourselves, we know how important your time is. It’s the only resource that’s fixed.
The reality for most SMBs is that the task of selecting software can be overwhelming. These facts have helped guide our decision-making over the past few years, and we wanted our new branding to reflect these decisions.
Here’s what we believe are the two most critical steps in the software selection process and how each has influenced our brand redesign.
What we’ve learned about choosing the right software
1. Prioritize essential features
We know SMBs struggle to find time for thorough analyses of multiple software products, and we know that software can vary wildly in features and functionality offered, even when serving the same clientele.
Yet, features and functionality are the most important criteria for small and medium businesses choosing software, more so than other criteria including support, value, peer recommendations, and reviews.
Many software products, however, offer a variety of features that you may want but not need. Building a list of essential features and then a list of “nice-to-have” features, can help filter down a list more quickly. When you identify what is essential, you’ll have an easier time avoiding flashy products with a lot of nice features that may not be crucial to your specific needs.
We’ve worked hard to incorporate as much feature information as possible into our product listings, so those researching can see the depth and scope of functionality each product offers, as well as rank and compare it to other products. We’ve improved and expanded the filters available in our recommendation engine so that tech-savvy users have more comprehensive and accurate options.
We wanted to reflect this in our new brand by showing complexity, yet harmony. There are multiple, overlapping elements, but they work together and point to a single direction. Yes, feature offerings can be complex to navigate, but if you’ve thought through your needs and priorities, those priorities can help guide you to a quicker—and better—decision.
2. Ensure integrations needs
Though integrations with other tools may not be the primary consideration for choosing software, our data tells us it’s the most difficult to research.
This may be partly because it’s tough to find consolidated information on integrations for any one tool, but it’s also likely because businesses aren’t searching for just one integration, but integration with their current app stack. Finding products that work seamlessly with a suite of products increases the complexity, and time, of the task.
Here again, it’s important to ask oneself what the top integration needs are. Does a product need to integrate with the entire stack or one or two key tools? Prioritizing your list can cut down on time and lead to a better solution.
We’ve worked hard to ensure we provide accurate and in-depth integration information. We currently track more than 42,000 integrations between apps so that we can facilitate more comprehensive comparisons and analysis of software.
Now these efforts inform our new branding. We understand every business has unique needs. Those needs overlap and integrate and manifest as an appstack—the engine that keeps businesses hum. When they work in concert, they are powerful on the inside, but harmonious and simple on the outside.
We want to help businesses choose the right software the first time. We understand the complexity and importance of these decisions; we know it’s a long process. We want to make the process simple on the outside, yet data-driven on the inside. We think our new branding reflects these values and hope you do too.