As I’ve been consulting companies of all sizes and talking to folks within many age groups I’ve started to see a trend in regards to pricing model and ages. Older folks seem to have an aversion against open source technologies, younger folks have the exact opposite aversion against commercial technologies. All the while, SaaS seems to have no age preference but one of corporate size.
Older folks tend to have in their minds the adage “you get what you pay for”. They’ve seen price correlation between product development stage and cost. Some folks even think that the most expensive product must be the best product and instantly want to purchase that product. When open source technology is brought up there is an instant confusion and disregard.
Younger folks seem to have in their mind a vision of an evil corporation. No matter what it is, if it has a price tag, some younger folks will balk at it and think to themselves, “there’s got to be an open source project that does the same thing”. When commercial technologies are brought up, even if fairly priced, some young folks will not hear another word.
When it comes to the SaaS pricing model, there seems to me to be less of an age based correlation but rather a corporate size correlation. Larger companies tend to avoid SaaS products, even great ones like Salesforce.com, small companies tend to jump on top of any SaaS product that they think can help them progress. Large companies tend to be averse to any information that resides outside of their firewall, despite great studies about the security of the cloud like this one.
So what is driving the decisions at your company? Is it your age and your company size or are you realistically looking at all of the options that your company has?
- Many [not all] ‘Solution Specialists’ aren’t properly trained and really don’t have the right tools to go onsite and gather the business requirements proficiently.
- Many [not all] ‘Sales Reps’ don’t know how to ask to get paid for conducting the assessment [ouch].
- SE’s or technicians are thrown into the fire and asked to ‘survey’ what the customer’s business and technical requirements are in regards to imaging. Most of their experience is with the output side (printing) and now they need to fully understand the input side of the workflow. So.. the tools they are likely to use are fabricated from existing output surveys, or worse yet; they quickly make a spreadsheet, guess at the questions, and hope it gathers enough data that when the system is configured it will meet most of the client’s requirements. KEY: Proper training and professional software toolkits can eliminate this dilemma and ensure the solution will fit the need [happy customer, happy vendor].
- Most sales reps are experienced in ‘transactional’ selling. More frequently called ‘box-selling’ wherein the rep has a brief engagement with the prospect, qualifies, sells and moves on to the next opportunity. Now they are expected to realize this was yesterday’s way of selling, and today it is all about solution selling. In order to do this you must know the business requirements. To do that you must do an assessment. If you send expertly trained, certified staff to conduct the interviews you will have to pay them. The rep has to explain that to the prospect and ask to get paid. This changes the outcome from “your opinion” [done for free] to a professional observation [paid for]. The later will be taken seriously! KEY: Build the rep’s confidence and belief structure and he will see the value and not be afraid to ask to get paid [motivating training is needed].