This issue of Agency Sales magazine includes a report on software for manufacturers’ representatives, the first such report MANA has done in four years. The most significant changes evident in this report compared to our last one in 2002 are:
- The number of software providers who responded to our survey declined from 18 to 14.
- Fourteen of the 18 providers listed in our 2002 report are missing in the 2006 report.
- Only four of the software providers who responded to our 2002 survey appear in the 2006 report, the other 10 are new.
Although the number of rep software providers appears to have declined, the product descriptions submitted by the suppliers suggest some noticeable changes in their offerings, some of which should be of particular interest to representatives, depending on the nature of their business. The three most noticeable changes are:
- Costs appear to have declined in some cases.
- There are more choices between installed systems and web‑based systems.
- The inclusion of software to manage a representative’s buy‑sell business appears to be establishing a foothold in the offerings from some suppliers.
Given the changes that continue to take place in rep software, I suggest you take the recommendations preceding the report seriously.