Having been involved with the supply of business software for some 30 years, I reckon I have a lot of experience to share. But how to share it with the people who need it most?
Well, firstly, who are the people who need it most? In my experience, it’s the poor soul who finds himself talking to an aggressive software supplier, and as the market has become tougher, there are a lot more of them out there.
How is aggressive defined? Simple, he or she is a salesperson who is committed to one simple thing – commission. This manifests itself in a number of ways but the cancer this engenders is a lack of respect for the prospective customer’s actual needs.
Typical actions will be:
– Overselling by quoting for higher level modules than the customer requires;
– Overselling by suggesting higher cost user licences when low-cost ‘light’ user licenses are available;
– Underselling (yes, I did say ‘underselling’) by casually omitting to mention that certain modules are required or that additional licences or infrastructure will be needed to run some of the functions proposed (you’ll be billed for these later, trust me); or
– Locking a customer in to a protracted contract e.g. 3 years.
In my view, the last one is the worst offence since a customer doesn’t truly understand how good, bad or indifferent the supplier will be in delivering or supporting the system as presented by the salesperson. The first year of delivery is crucial but, even if it’s been a complete disaster and all of the ‘extra’ costs necessary to deliver the solution are then revealed, the customer has two more years of this pain to endure before he can escape to a more professional partner.
So, what advice can I give? I spent a lot of time thinking about this over the festive period, and have put together a publication which is of benefit to both the prospective system purchaser and his or her business adviser. The ‘Guide to Business Advisers’ is free of charge and available by sending me an email with your name and address. Or follow the link here to request a copy:
And why does doing it right and being the good guy make long term sense? Well, at Turnkey we’ve carefully analysed our business successes during 2010 and around 75% of our revenues from new business sales can be attributed to reference sales. Simply put, people choose us on the back of recommendation from our customer base. So, the more help we can give them to find us, the better!