“Selling is not telling, selling is asking”
Over the years of acting as a strategic advisor to customers on new OctopOSS projects, it only recently dawned on me that there have typically been two gaping omissions:
- The customer rarely has a compelling business case in mind before diving into the project (they invariably have sound technical drivers though) and
- I’ve never seen a vendor pitch specifically around the customer’s business case
As per Zig Ziglar’s quote above, point 2 perhaps indicates that the vendors are telling rather than asking when providing their canned presentations.
So what are the business case models that can be used to build a compelling story for implementing a new OctopOSS? Brand security (ie being able to respond to faults expediently and avoid brand damage), speed to market (getting new products to market faster than competitors or getting services to end-customers faster), flexibility (being able to get innovative solutions to market faster than competitors), efficiency gains (ie reducing the bottom line in resources, be that human resources, hardware, licencing, support, etc), revenue protection (identifying leakage with a potential for rapid payback periods), innovation (eg services that attract new customers and gain new revenues and/or market share). Refer also to the business case builder.
Each of these models would require some fairly fundamental differences in an OSS vendor’s sales pitch I would think, so a canned presentation never seems to bring complete satisfaction to the customer representatives.
This is where vendor and customer can work together in a slightly different way. Bonding to build a compelling story. Build the pitch around the jointly developed business case model and a partnership is already evolving. Chances are competing vendors won’t have built this trust.
Perhaps the vendors could even consider building products around the various different business case models, as this is what the business drivers really are. For example, if efficiency is the driving model, then what are the solutions that help the customer learn from their best operatives and drive that into the tools / processes so that all their operatives are nearing the outputs of the best.