Spend Matters welcomes another guest post from Jon Winsett of NPI, a spend management consultancy focused on eliminating overspending on IT, telecom, and shipping.
You probably don’t pay much attention to changes in your IT vendors’ sales and account management organizations. But, being in the IT purchase optimization business, I see time and time again that these changes have a direct impact on the customer experience and the price you pay for products and services.
That’s certainly been the case over the last 18 months as vendors seek ways to tune their sales strategy to reduce cost and capture more revenues and market share in a post-consumerization-of-IT, post-BYOD landscape. For many vendors, the response has been a restructuring of their sales organizations to more aggressively pursue the pockets of large enterprises. In some instances, vendors have created specific sales divisions to focus solely on major market accounts (the largest enterprise customers). Often, these teams or divisions are supported by exclusive account management and support resources.
While this is advantageous for a vendor’s largest customers, it’s not good news for existing small and mid-sized clients. Many are used to being serviced by an “A-team” and having several account management resources on hand to help tackle their IT management challenges. Now, those resources are scarcer. Given the breadth of some vendors’ solutions, and the complex IT ecosystems in which most businesses operate, it can be daunting to navigate these challenges alone.
Because many vendors are assigning their top-shelf sales and account management people to enterprise accounts, small/mid-market accounts are more likely to get “B-team” and newbie resources. Sometimes they’re not as adept at explaining complex licensing, pricing, and terms; laying out your purchasing options; handling your negotiations; communicating your requirements to business unit decision-makers; and other important aspects of the sourcing lifecycle.
In short, if you’re not one of your vendor’s largest accounts (or prospects), and they’ve recently restructured their sales and account management organization, these changes can make more difficult to buy effectively and achieve implementation/deployment success.
It’s more important than ever before to understand the drivers behind IT vendors’ sales and account management strategies, and to have the market and pricing data required to better achieve best-in-class IT sourcing outcomes for your business.