Large software company playbook

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I cannot use the real names of the companies and people involved and the real names do not matter anyway. But the storyline is an interesting one worth sharing with the community.

One of our reps calls me all excited to tell me that we are the selected vendor in a project management software deal. Legal documents are being reviewed and the deal should be finalized in a few days. Almost like clockwork, a few days later, our solution champion calls back the rep with a smile and says "You were right. What you said will happen, did.".

One of the big companies we beat found out who they lost to. They immediately resort to their standard playbook:

1) Dig up the key talking points why this prospect should not choose this vendor

2) Search the internal competition folder archive (must be a few terabytes large!) for most recent wins against this best of breed player

3) See who we have as a reference that is ready to throw loads of mud, fear and doubt at the prospect. If we do not have any reference see who from our customer base we can convince to be that reference by giving them heavy discounts and other incentives, do whatever it takes, to find people who will speak negatively about this company and product.

4) Call the prospect and send him/her the key talking points, anti documents, and provide the negative references


This worked well when we were not ready for it. But then we learned the standard playbook. Now we tell our prospects what to expect. That large software companies spend more time on anti competitive research and content creation than they do on innovation. That their focus is neither on why the prospect should do business with them nor on why they have a better solution, rather it is why they should not do business with a specific best of breed vendor.

I am sure this kind of mud works from time to time. But, technology buyers aren't that stupid. Ultimately, the superior solution, better technology, more innovation, and great customer service wins a lot more often.

Posted on: January 28, 2011 08:57 AM | Permalink

Comments (2)

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Hi Rudolf:

Best line I ever heard to respond to that kind of big software company anti-competitive behaviour was, "So what they''re doing is kind of a weird compliment in a way. What the big software company is basically saying is - we can''t compete on solution functionality - we can''t compete on value - we can''t compete on industry expertise - we can''t compete on speed or quality of implementation - and we can''t compete on technology, or on customer service - so all they''re left with is.., well what they''re doing."

"Because if they could complete in any of those areas.., why wouldn''t they be talking about that instead?"

I still smile every time I read that, and yes, I''ve had to say it to a prospect a time or two as well.


Interesting but this is NOT the way we did things at Netscape and we grew at 65,000%

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