The ERP Bad Guys: The Dodgy Salesman

“We want to partner with you”. “Our goal is to help build your business”. Recognize these? Do these sentences make you want to trust your ERP salesman? Me neither…

Some words used to describe salesman include deceptive, fraudulent, cunning, evasive, slick, and tricky. Those who sell ERP systems are not immune to these descriptions. Dodgy is kind of a British word but it fits some of the group well.

Recently I asked for some more details on an advertised “better way” to scan and record transactions. I got a ballpark amount for the module and the scanners. Then, when the details came, there were three modules along with support costs. The scanners were 50% higher than the guess and on top of that were added costs for spare batteries, charging stations, and a couple of other things.

The best ERP salesmen really do want to help and are looking to help solve your problems through their products. They won’t sell anything unless their product or service will help out the customer somehow. The problem is when the solution they offer is conveniently tied to another one of their products. Most of us would prefer to learn that they can’t help today but they know someone who could. We might buy from that someone else but I know we will remember who it was who truly helped us. We all plan to be in business tomorrow and that includes our suppliers and potential suppliers of ERP systems.

On the other side, we need to remember that our ERP salesman might have exactly what we need if only we listen. There is a cartoon I saw a few years ago where two armies were lined up on either side of a valley. There were knights on horseback, archers, catapults, and the king ready to fight. A lackey was standing by the king who told him, “Not today, I have a battle to fight”. In the background we can see the salesman by the gate and on his cart is the Gatling gun he wants to show the king.

So, use your ERP salesman as a valuable resources. Listen to what they say; they have more experience with ERP systems than most of us do. But listen carefully – they might have been to a sales seminar yesterday where they were pumped full of old-fashioned techniques. Even so, that doesn’t make them bad people.

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Tom Miller

About the author…

Tom completed implementations of Epicor, SAP, QAD, and Micro MRP. He works as a logistics and supply chain manager and he always looks for processes to improve. He lives near San Francisco Bay in California and can be found on the water in his kayak or on the road riding his motorcycle. Contact Tom at

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Tom Miller

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