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Readers Write: Vendor Lessons Learned 1/23/13

January 23, 2013 Readers Write 3 Comments

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The views and opinions expressed are those of the authors personally and are not necessarily representative of their current or former employers.

Vendor Lessons Learned

After 10+ years working for a few HIT vendors, here are a few lessons learned:

  1. Stop trying to sell half-baked products: new products, upgrades, and old products remarketed. Litmus test: if you wouldn’t sell it to your mom or best friend, it ain’t ready. No amount of sales talent will overcome poor quality.
  2. Hiring a strategy firm for a lengthy assignment is a red flag that shows a lack of confidence in the direction of the company. Litmus test: validating information or evaluating a new market is one thing, hiring someone to tell you how to run your business is another.
  3. Buying a business at a premium and then inflating prices to customers and prospects to cover the cost of the acquisition is not wise. Litmus test: if your pricing strategy is based on creating value for you rather than your customer, you have it backwards.
  4. The best sales talent in the world can’t fix bad products, bad service, and bad strategy. Those problems need to be first addressed at the top before anyone is going to sell anything of value over time. Litmus test: silver bullets don’t work despite the temptation to believe they do.
  5. Stop establishing sales quotas that have no basis in reality. Spreadsheets don’t sell deals and prospects don’t care about your budgets, business plans, or quotas. Did you hear Nick Saban talk about winning? He doesn’t focus on results, he focuses on the keys that create the results. Litmus test: if you are not clear on exactly how you expect to generate the leads required to hit your sales targets and/or your plan is solely contingent upon your reps figuring this out you have a problem. Hope is not a strategy.
  6. Companies that achieve consistent growth follow basic principles. At the core, they have passionate leaders who have a cause, are committed to being the best, and are dedicated to truly helping their customers (internal and external) win. This is much easier said than done. Litmus test: you know when you have something special. You cannot really explain it, but you have Mojo – Energy, Confidence, and Focus.

The author has chosen to remain anonymous.

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