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Another lesson the solutions providers could learn is openness, especially in the provision of useful decision support material. I want to see a thorough narrative and detailed technical description of the product and, where appropriate, log in and try a
demo, or download and install an evaluation copy, before I even consider talking to a salesman. And don't bother telling me why that approach won't work. I've heard it before, and it wasn't true then either. Proprietary software vendors in vertical markets,
such as banking solutions, are the last bastion of treating the customer as an idiot. Customers will always favour vendors who are open with information – in comparison, more guarded suppliers look like they have something to hide.
Apart from perhaps the last point about Advertising / Communication, I'd argue that banking solutions vendors - at least the one I used to work for - have been doing the other three things for ages. To take Manufacturing / Prototyping as an example, I can't
remember winning a single deal without doing a prospect-specific demo, or what we'd call "scripted demo". As for evaluation copy, it takes a lot of time and energy to enter prospect-specific sample data, set up process flows and provide rudimentary training
in the software. All this costs the vendor a lot of money but I know many vendors who would be happy to support an evaluation phase if the prospective customer is willing to pay for the PoC. Unfortunately, most prospects expect all this for free, which is
where part of the problem lies. Let alone something as extensive as a banking solution, I'm currently evaluating a much smaller SaaS-based website visitor tracking solution. Nearly a month after signing up for the free evaluation version of the software, I
can't say that I've managed to understand the software completely. Neither can I blame the vendor for not providing the required handholding support.
29 Oct 2012