Just a short entry today re a some points to take into account if you're ever (un)lucky enough to be trying to sell anything to me, yes that includes technology, products, services, change or ideas :-
1) I expect you to have done your homework on my company
- understand my current suppliers, current products, scale, locations, press releases re plans, priorities & focus. If you don't do this, arrive unprepared, arrive late, arrive at the wrong location or spell the company name wrong then don't expect me to pay full attention.
2) Product positioning, definition, differentiator to other products and overall reason for existence
- if you can't explain these points to me in 6 slides and 15 minutes expect to go no further. In effect I expect to be presented with at least the internal pitch made to justify the product's creation
. Assuming you manage to do this, I also need to get a clear understanding of when / where this product should & shouldn't be used, and compared to other products from the same supplier. Lastly I expect a clear comparison to other vendors products with a strengths & weaknesses competitive assessment.
3) TCO / ROI / CBA
- Total Cost Ownership, Return On Investment, Cost Benefit Analysis are the bywords for technology evaluations and procurement. You are expected to provide customer editable models for your products and suggested architectures, including the assumptions and process/org context these models have been built for. Where you don't know input values relevant to my business then use & identify industry averages for me to edit & refine.
4) I'm not interested in free-of-charge trials
, loan equipment or evaluations as sales devices - if you can't sell & prove the value case without this then please hold your breath for an hour and we'll carry on after then... Should you manage to prove value, then I may, at some point in the future, wish to want to validate certain things with either customer reference visits or witness tests in your labs - at your cost.
5) Please understand that any form of change costs money
- this will always be factored in to any decision made.
6) A feature does not make a product or a company
- look around the IT graveyard and you'll find lots of companies that tried to break this rule. I am VERY unlikely to change product or supplier as a result of a single feature - useful & valuable features will become free-of-charge hygiene factors common across the industry soon enough.
7) I try and measure value & cost over 7 years
(to include ingress, usage & egress), not this month's discounted deal - accepting this will be longer than your likely sales role with supplier, please understand you will be impacted by your predecessors sins of the past.
8) I'm more interested in partnership
and quality people & relationships than transient discounted deals - trust and credibility is earned through honesty, actions, delivery, quality & consistency.
9) Understand that your sales forecasts
, quotas, commission, priorities, timelines, financial period ends etc are of absolutley no interest at all to me
10) Understand that I'll contact you when / if I'm interested
or able to - I'm often very busy and if you continually chase, harass me or phone me out of work hours then you'll drop down the list faster than a lead balloon.
11) I make our standards process
very clear. If you attempt to avoid or subvert the standards process in any way (including with mngt manipulation, FoC offers,avoiding the truth or clandestine work) then expect your company to be removed from my engagement lists in totality and permanently.
12) If you use FUD or hype expect me to publicly challenge you
- also expect me to validate anything you say using me own methods & sources. If you continue expect our relationship to get difficult.
13) I need electronic copies of any & all materials discussed or presented
- no exceptions, without this I can't use it as reference material in my internal strategy planning. If you hide behind "it's beyond NDA", or "NDA prohibits" then I'll interpret that as "you don't trust me personally or respect me professionally" and the relationship will be difficult from then on.
14) If I give you questions & actions (and I will, likely lots of lists of questions) then please ensure you deliver upon them
or things won't progress well
15) My company is global
, I need you to be and to able to map to our account structure requirements globally - service, support, products need to be globally available directly and we need empowered global SPOCs with partners
16) Good enough is good enough
- the world is about fit for purpose rather than best of breed or ultimate performance nowadays, let us make the decisions re performance or resiliency by providing all the information
17) I expect industry open performance benchmarks
for each product / technology - even if you don't like or believe in them allow me to interpret their use, value, accuracy or relevance.
But most importantly, if you do take the above into account, we will have a good relationship, I will be a loyal customer and together we can do lots of business... And I'll even buy the beer :)