What is the dilemma?
The relationship between IT vendors and IT consumers is nowhere near as efficient as it should be. Consumers have problems, and vendors often hold the solutions. But sometimes the two just don’t match up as they should in a perfect world. Self-serving vendors are responsible.
How did we get here?
This conflict is a result of selfish vendors. Vendors who care solely about pushing their products and services place little to no emphasis on understanding a consumer’s problems.
In return, IT professionals are trained to anticipate a self-focused perspective from vendors. The result: they place a conversational firewall on discussions with new vendors.
What does this look like?
The Cause: A new cyber-security company has been working on a new email security solution that uses machine learning and AI to achieve better benchmarks and statistics than its competitors. The product is incredible. It has been tested, and it works.
John, an account manager from this company, places calls to CISO’s on a regular basis to spread the news. John’s goal on the first call is such: schedule a demo of his product with the prospect.
Here’s the problem: John doesn’t listen to the prospect’s problems… the ones which his solution is intended to solve in the first place. By rushing into a demo, John has chosen to prioritize his agenda over the real task at hand: solving the consumer’s problems.
Maybe the prospect just isn’t a fit for John’s solution. Maybe they are already using his company’s solution. Or maybe they’ve been using an outdated solution for 10 years and are in drastic need of John’s product. John will never know because he did not listen.
The Result: Steve, a CISO at a medium sized pharmaceutical firm, receives his 7th unsolicited phone call of the day from a new cyber-security vendor. The call lasts 30 seconds before Steve hangs up and goes back to work correcting the aftermath of a virus his company contracted via email.
Here’s the sad reality: John was on the other end of the line for that 7th call. John has an amazing product that could fill all of Steve’s needs. The work Steve has tirelessly been doing to repair and prevent these situations over the past month can be solved in 4 hours by implementing John’s solution.
But thanks to John and the thousands of Johns out there, Steve will never learn of this great product. His efforts and company’s security as a whole will suffer, continuing on with another renewal of an outdated security subscription that their company has been using since 2009.
This is not said to suggest that Steve is behind the times. Steve is likely dedicated to his profession, and he is at no fault here. This is instead said to suggest that John’s inability to listen results in the failure of Steve getting the opportunity to apply new solutions.
What can be done about it?
The solution is simple: John needs to listen to Steve’s problems before discussing his own solution.
Vendors need to be disciplined to understand and listen first, solve second. Fancy solutions, shiny new technology, and neat tools are all irrelevant until they have partnered with a legitimate problem in which they can solve.
This means that prior to scheduling demos and pushing unwanted free trials, vendors need to take the time to ask questions about what’s going on in the IT world. Ask questions. Listen. Understand.
Had John placed himself in the role of a student, seeking education from Steve on his existing security obstacles, John may have learned that his solution would be a life-saver for Steve. And on the flip side, Steve may have stayed on the phone long enough to find out that John has the answer to his most annoying headache.
The DII Computers Perspective
As a VAR and an MSP, DII Computers is on both
sides of this coin. When researching new tools so we can better service our clients, we are the consumer. And when we are delivering our products and services to clients, we are the vendor.
Finding this space in the middle-ground, we have come to understand the dynamic relationship that must exist between the two to drive more effective technology solutions on both sides. With this understanding, DII places all emphasis on understanding the problems of those we interact with, before taking action to solve these problems.
We could talk all day about the great things we can do for customers. But if we did that, we wouldn’t get to do as many great things for customers. Instead, we choose to listen.
We want to know what you’d like done for you, before we tell you what we can do for you. We will ask you: What’s not working the way it should be? What is negatively affecting your company? What’s taking up more of your resources than necessary?
Technology is a fundamental piece to the puzzle for all businesses today. New technology is a beautiful thing, with vast capabilities of improvement in all areas of business. It’s a shame to see great technology wasted when mouths get opened before ears.