Buying college software can be a nightmare. A lot can go wrong, and sometimes it seems that the devil you know—your old system—is better than the devil you don’t.
You’ve heard the stories. You might’ve even been there yourself. There’s a lot you might be worrying about...
What if they screw up our data?
How do I know it’ll work as promised?
What if there are three years of pain before it starts working?
How long before it needs upgrades?
What will they charge for those upgrades?
These concerns weary the mind and make the whole process even more of an ordeal. But perhaps we can offer a few gut checks that might help cut through some of the noise.
How simple is the tech setup?
What will the system’s technology require of your school? Do you need 27 programmers to run it? Will you need to maintain it and manage servers yourself? Is it actually web-based, or does it need some techie VPN thing to work? Who’s in charge of keeping it secure? Will your students and faculty be able to use it?
Another way of phrasing this question might be: What is the real ongoing cost for the system?
Am I excited about the pricing?
It’s more than just what it costs. What does the vendor’s pricing motivate them to do?
Do they get a big check upfront? Do they lock you into a long-term contract? How does customer support fit into their business? Does their pricing make them focus only on new clients? Or does it compel them to support all their customers?
You might also ask what exactly you get for the number you’re discussing. What’s included? What isn’t—and why not? Does this pricing indicate that you’ll need to someday pay more to get the service you thought you were getting?
Do I actually believe what they’re telling me?
If a vendor has complicated tech requirements but assures you that won’t be a problem…
And if their pricing doesn’t require them to serve you but they assure you that you’ll have their attention…
…How do you know that they’ll actually do it?
The support experience frequently resembles the sales experience. So don’t just listen to what the salesman says. Look at what they actually do.
- Determine whether their interests are aligned with yours. Is their product and support built with you in mind? Is their pricing designed to keep you on their minds?
- Consider their sales process. Are they promising you the world to bring about a sale? Are they transparent and helpful? Do they conceal their price behind negotiations that make you wonder what their other clients are getting? Or is their pricing clear and plain to understand? Are they attentive to your questions? Or do they drop the ball regularly?
- Ask for references. Do their other clients enjoy working with this vendor? Or is it just the devil they know?
What about Populi?
Here’s how we would begin to answer these questions; of course, we’re happy to go into much greater depth on any of these topics...
What are Populi’s tech requirements?
Populi is web-based and fully-hosted. We handle all the infrastructure and connections and backups and whatnot. You don’t need to download software or updates. You don’t need your own servers. It doesn’t matter if you use a Mac or PC. Everyone at your school can use it.
All you need is the Internet.
What is Populi’s pricing model?
Populi charges you month-by-month. There are no upfront costs whatsoever. Nor are there any cancellation fees. There are no long-term contracts, which means you can leave at any time. The price includes the software, support, implementation, upgrades, and everything else we could think of. All the details are available on our pricing page and in our Terms of Service.
This means we don’t make money when you first sign up. We only make money if you want to stick with us.
Consequently, our entire company is built around winning you back every month. Our software developers are devoted to building and improving a system that’s easy-to-use, never obsolete, releases new features and updates every week, and works together seamlessly. Our mature, thoughtful support staff is devoted to providing helpful answers in a reasonable timeframe to make sure Populi is working for your school.
Will Populi actually work how we say it’s going to work?
But don’t take our word for it. Read our blog and knowledge base. Watch our videos on YouTube. Sign up for a demo account. Ask what current Populi customers think about us. Dig into it yourself—we’ll provide the shovels!
Also, remember our pricing model. We don’t make money unless you keep coming back. You’ll find that this changes the sales process: why talk you into signing up if we know it’s a bad fit? Because if you quit after a month or two, we lose. We don’t have the luxury of cashing a big upfront check after locking you into a 3-year contract that you can’t get out of.
We either perform or we lose customers.
Our sales approach is based on honesty and transparency. We want to have a solid, straightforward relationship from the beginning, one where you can believe that we’re gonna do what we say we’re gonna do.
Give it a try
We hope some or all of this proves useful to you as you consider your options. If you’d like to learn more about Populi, you can get the ball rolling by signing up for a demo or calling or emailing us. We’ll be happy to make at least part of your software search easier and more straightforward than you might be expecting.