Why is the market changing based on the customers’ buying journey in many industries? Disruption is taking place in many industries and it seems the reason is based on where the prospective customer starts his or her research on the buying journey. This is happening in our industry but is it in the best interest of the end customer?
The perception from a prospective buyer is that a direct relationship with the manufacture is the most cost effective. This makes sense on the surface, but is it in their best interest long-term? Let’s weigh the pro and cons with this thinking.
Pros for buying direct from the manufacturer:
- I can negotiate the agreement direct and reduce cost.
- I will get the manufacturer to fix my stuff direct.
- They know how the software works for the business unit.
- We do not need a partner because we have the technology experience internally.
Pros for buying through a partner:
- In my experience, manufacturer direct agreements include licenses and or cloud services that are not fully being leveraged. Licensing and/or cloud services are just part of the overall cost of implementing a complex solution.
- Software and cloud providers know the part they provide but are not as familiar with your environment. Our experience shows that every customer environment is unique to them. The intimacy of understanding both and the partner becoming an extension of your staff in solving complex problems as a team is the magic that needs to take place.
- The partner puts their most valued resource (or should I say their smart people) on the project or in front of the customer. Many times these are people who implement these solutions for many customers and have been a customer in their past life. On the other hand, the manufacturer or software provider puts their smartest resource or people on the continuing development of their solution. How the software or cloud solution works in a real-world environment and guiding the customer in his or her consumption is built the partner’s DNA. The partner knows they need to keep this customer for the long haul.
- Trying to save money by implementing a complex solution internally is a recipe for disaster. The knowledge and lessons a partner brings to the table will reduce the workload, knowledge and risk for a successful outcome. That being said, all our implementations include a team effort from multiple, knowledgeable parties. These are very complex implementations with many moving parts that require a teamed approach.
Many industry consultants state that the customer needs to buy direct. Are they suggesting this in the customer’s best interest, or in their own best interest? By buying direct, the consultant has additional consulting engagement opportunities that many times the partner is providing as part of their support and services. We have all seen the commercial where the consultant is suggesting to the customer what they need to do to be successful and the customer says, “Let’s do it!” Then the consultant says, “We do not deliver the solution. We just recommend what needs to happen.” A good partner will make recommendations and then deliver them.
Contact me to learn how our team helps organizations meet those expectations.