Question

What’s your worst software purchase mistake?

It seemed like the perfect tool, and everything went great during the trial. Or perhaps it fit your needs well for a time.

Then everything changed. You hit the limits, and needed something more powerful—or the feature you were waiting for never came, or a new redesign broke something you needed. Or the prices went up enough where it just didn’t make sense anymore.

What software do you regret buying the most?

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arpat's avatar
2 years ago

While I wasn't responsible for the original purchase decision, we use PingOne to authenticate users into our website, using their company's login servers. We have had nothing but terrible experiences whenever something goes wrong—they won't speak directly with our customers to help with their connections, but we have no visibility into our customers' configuration, so we also can't help them. When we connect directly with their support, they're often unhelpful, and have a history of telling us incorrect information.

Alas, we still haven't replaced them, because the cost of replacing with an in-house solution still hasn't outweighed the cost of quarterly firedrills. And not because the technical solution would be complicated—it's easy to build using libraries in the public domain—but because of the cost of program managing all of our customers' connections!

3 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @arpat )
2 years ago

Ouch that's the worst: A product you can't support your customers with but also that won't support you, and with high enough switching costs that it's too hard to move away from.

1 point
dvddmn's avatar
@dvddmn (replying to @arpat )
2 years ago

I reviewed Okta a couple of years back for the same purpose. At the time, we had 5 million+ users, and the initial cost would be "big." In the end, we decided to build an in-house version with the features we needed and the way we needed them. We had to make tweaks here and there, and it the long term, it was the right decision.

1 point
johncooleydk's avatar
2 years ago

HubSpot without a doubt. We signed up for the partner program, first of all being a partner doesn't give you any benefits; you pay full price for the software AND are charge a heavy fee for access to some videos. The pricing of the system is mad as well, to just get a decent useful setup you have to buy enterprise editions (things a recurring sales/retainers is only a thing in Sales enterprise and so on...)
We ended up losing a lot of money and clients due to our KAM at HubSpot not reacting or supporting even when we showed up with a lead being a consortium of 8 companies (counting a hospital, a hotel amongst others) our KAM never replied to my client's question and after a month of silence we, logically, lost the client as they went with another company and another marketing automation solution that actually answered and showed interest in new business. When I tried to complain everybody shut down and didn't respond to my emails, I ended up trying seven different persons at HubSpot without any of them answering (I could track the mails and could see that the mails were being read) first when I added the founders in the US in CC on my mails something happens and I got a response. HubSpot ended up offering me a (very) little part of my fee and partner fee back. In the end, we lost a lot of money, time, and clients just because we went with HubSpot, doing a little research you can easily get a proper setup a lot cheaper and with more functions by going with other providers - so the software we regret the most; HubSpot.

3 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @johncooleydk )
2 years ago

Interesting. HubSpot's site mentions revenue sharing as part of the partner program; did that offset the costs to your team enough to make sense at all?

Seems a common thread from many of the purchase mistakes in this thread are support teams. Amazing how many drop the ball there—and when that happens while you're supporting your customers, it has terrible knock-on effects. SaaS companies could likely go a long ways in reducing churn by investing more in support (which some have done, as there have been several Capiche threads about products with the best support and the best support teams).

What product did you switch your clients to instead of HubSpot?

1 point
johncooleydk's avatar
@johncooleydk (replying to @maguay )
2 years ago

There is a small kickback, yes, but that would only make sense if HubSpot actually replied on the questions so we could close a deal. In this case, my client used a specific software inhouse they wanted to be able to use still. I asked my KAM that I have been looking at the app store. There wasn't an integration for that system, so was that something HubSpot would/could make or was there a company she could point me to that did custom integrations; her reply was to walk me through how to use the app-store thing, when I ye again told her I already had she asked me to email her the question. After that (and several follow up emails later) she never replied to that mail even though she read it a couple of times from what I could see... So I wasn't able to provide an answer for my client, and after a month without any response from HubSpot, they moved along with an competing company that used Sharpspring instead.
Today I always advise any client against using HubSpot and book online demos with Sharpspring or ActiveDemand combined with Pipedrive instead to show my clients the alternatives.

3 points
maguay's avatar
2 years ago

Perhaps the worst was my older shared hosting for my site, where I paid more for fewer features just because I thought it was too much trouble to mange the server. DigitalOcean ended up being both cheaper and easier, once I got an image configured. Similarly, I backed Ghost’s Kickstarter, but never ended up switching, and more recently bought an upgrade to Kirby (the CMS that powers my blog) but never upgraded since I’d need to entirely rebuild my theme. Somehow I bet I’ll eventually switch to a managed CMS (perhaps rebuild in Webflow?) and leave self-hosted blogging behind, as it’s easy to spend more time managing the software than actually writing.

Then, there are all the apps I’ve paid for but never ended up really using, especially writing apps for me. I’ve purchased Scrivener on every platform, thinking with each new version I’d use it, then end up reverting back to my mainstays in iA Writer and Ulysses. Similarly with OmniOutliner: I like the app in theory and keep buying it, but in reality usually just outline in my writing app.

2 points
harriskenny's avatar
2 years ago

Definitely signing up for the wrong CRM. I don't want to drag them here, as it's a perfectly acceptable tool, but I was focused on an integration with my accounting software as I thought that would be a big time saver for me.

Turns out, that was not important at all and I went with a wrong fit tool that slowed everything down. Ended up having to do a whole migration out within a month.

2 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @harriskenny )
2 years ago

That’s fascinating—tough to have to undo the work, but likely better over the long term. I wonder how often integrations make-or-break software rollouts. I’d bet that’s a rather common issue.

1 point
GorkaPuente's avatar
2 years ago

In our case, the worst mistake was purchasing OVH to host one of our e-commerce websites. We have a couple of issues, one regarding the DNS change, and other with migration of our SSL certificate from Godaddy. Godaddy gave us clear instructions (really good tech support by the way), but the last step with OVH was a nightmare. First, it takes days to get an answer from their support, then, their replies are usually lacking real knowledge of the topic at hand. After spending several days trying to fix the issue, we gave up. We had paid two yearly hosting subscriptions, and they don't refund anything (pending more than 19 months in total).
On the other hand, we are working with Bluehost, Godaddy and Siteground and we are really happy :) Siteground has one of the best hosting solutions for Wordpress, support is quick and effective.

1 point
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @GorkaPuente )
2 years ago

Yikes that sounds like a support nightmare. Glad the other hosts worked out for you!

Website hosting absolutely feels like one of the more extreme experiences support-wise—either they're great and helpful, or terrible (and often with shared hosting at least, seem to go from the former to the latter quickly over time, especially if they get acquired). It's a tough business!

2 points
GorkaPuente's avatar
@GorkaPuente (replying to @maguay )
2 years ago

IMO support is the first line of the business, you never know if that customer can bring you more domains/websites/ecommerce sites or more customers. We are small, but still have more than 50 domains, 5 websites, 2 ecommerce webs...
And from the product perspective, it's a good source of insights about your service or tool. I'm always involved in support somehow.
Anyway, the earn 250€ but lose a customer

1 point
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @GorkaPuente )
2 years ago

"And from the product perspective, it's a good source of insights about your service or tool."

100% agreed. I think that's what was great about Zapier's all-hands support—it let everyone in the company see the issues and challenges users face, and makes sure people in every department have to know how to use the product.

2 points
GorkaPuente's avatar
@GorkaPuente (replying to @maguay )
2 years ago

I didn't know about Zapier, just read this and saw that many companies are doing it.
In my previous company, we had the developer-on-support role. Every sprint, one of the developers focused just on support duties, full-time job. With a team of 10-15 devs, it's only once every 6 months or so.

2 points
Charles's avatar
2 years ago

Hubspot without any doubt

1 point
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @Charles )
2 years ago

What made you regret buying it that much?

1 point
Charles's avatar
@Charles (replying to @maguay )
2 years ago

Extremely pricey, support sucks, inflexible sales team and the product is complex. It already feels like a legacy product vs an Intercom

1 point
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