It happens to all of us, we get invited to a meeting to see the latest product from vendor X. Thirty minutes into the 1-2 hour meeting and half of the participants are nodding off and the presenter continues to plow through the demo script. Have you experienced this? I do on a weekly basis.
As a client advocate, I jump at the opportunity to find the best ways to use everyone’s time. It is precious, not only for you but for the vendor resources too. When a sales meeting is planned the vendor is thinking, I need to give an overview of product, you know… sell their story on what value their product brings to you. So the meat of the presentation will be flashy cool stuff that is designed to make you, the client goo goo eyes over their product. The problem with this is that usually no real conversation occurs and you are no closer to figuring out if the product is what you need. The vendor is a wealth of knowledge on their product and the sales team will bring a techie with them to answer the “difficult” questions. In fact, they are eager to dive in and show the real value of the product beyond the beautiful marketing slide deck and perfect “live” demo. Ask the right questions.
Shame on you if you haven’t done some homework on the product and have generated a list of question as they pertain to your perception of how the product works and what you expect from the product. If you have not done this, then do not call a meeting. Develop use cases, and know who the stakeholders are that you need to get buy-in and budget dollars from. Determine how you can show the product value to the stakeholders.
Steps to Properly Approach a Problem and Engage Vendors
- Identify a Problem
- Identify a Solution
- Study the Solution
- Build Use Cases
- Build Value Proposition
- BRING IN VENDOR – Be PREPARED
- Proof of Concept (requires use cases and expected results)
Following a few simple steps will show your peers you really do care and you are not the cookie monster of IT security spend by showing value. Your vendors will also like and respect you too. Remember, their time is as precious as yours.
Einstein said it best, “strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.”