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As part of a recent project, I contacted several managed services software vendors to get information about their products. The process worked a little bit like this:
1.) I discussed high-level requirements with the client.
2.) Based on those requirements, I identified vendors I felt might offer a compatible product and contacted them about the project.
3.) I discussed each product with the applicable vendor and added their answers to my comparison matrix along with information available from their websites.
The end goal of this process was to pair down 20+ potential solutions to the five or six I believed to be the best fit. Those would be the solutions I would recommend that the client investigate further by setting up demos and more detailed sales calls.
This is a process I’ve developed during my time managing IT and in my opinion it works pretty well. By casting a wide net, but collecting a specific set of information in the process, it makes it a lot easier to objectively find products and vendors that are the right fit for a particular project.
All of the vendors I contacted (with one exception) were happy to talk to me about their products and answered all of my questions without any issues. In particular, Ed Kosakowsky, one of the sales reps at Zenith Infotech, actually spent about 45 minutes on the phone with me discussing their product. His sales pitch was effectively “This is the product. This is what it does. And this is how much it costs.”
I can’t begin to express how much I appreciate this approach to sales. Salespeople take note – If you want to make friends and influence people, follow Ed’s lead.
Nimsoft, by comparison, seems to have the most aggravating sales process imaginable. I explained the project and client needs to their sales rep and was told “our sales process doesn’t work like that.” Their rep refused to answer any of my questions. Instead, she affirmed repeatedly (but always politely) that they would only discuss their product within the confines of a pre-scripted product demonstration with my client.
I went a little more in depth into how we were paring down products from a big list to figure out which products to demo, but she wouldn’t budge. Signing up for a demo was the only way into their sales process. In the past, when I’ve dealt with companies that forced a demo, the product has never been very impressive.
I can understand, to some degree, not being fast and loose with pricing info, but to not discuss general product information outside of a controlled sandbox is a bit silly.It implies that either Nimsoft is so overwhelmed with new business that they feel they can now dictate how those customers will interact with them or that they are pursuing the sleezy-used-car-salesman technique, which is basically:
“Nah, don’t worry about that. Just get inside and feel the leather. Yeah, she’s a beauty. Isn’t she? Cost? I’m sure we can figure…Listen to how nice the radio sounds! MPG? Oh, it goes for miles between fill-ups. Have I told you how great you look in this car?”
Whenever a vendor isn’t willing to discuss their product directly I’ve learned to consider these possibilities:
1.) There is something wrong with the product or the sales model. Their value proposition doesn’t stand on it’s own against the vendor’s peers.
2.) The salesperson or sales-team has no idea what they are selling.
3.) The vendor is paranoid about their product information getting in the hands of competitors.
So because Nimsoft wouldn’t talk to me, I’m left to assume that their product is an expensive piece of junk that they don’t know anything about and that they are afraid of their competitors and customers finding this out.
I’ll feel poorly if I ever find out that Nimsoft’s product is actually really great. After all, I want to put great products in front of my clients to help them reach their goals. As it stands though, the next time I go hunting for those great products, Nimsoft won’t even be on the radar.
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