I have one goal today: To share my 3-week experience working as part of an intranet software sales team and offer advice that will help you streamline your intranet software selection process. This will be especially useful for those individuals in a technical positions entering the intranet software buying cycle.
Recently, I was offered a temporary position in our sales department to help cover a fellow team member so he could soak rays and surf the wave-ridden coast of Australia (not that I was jealous). The thought of stepping foot in to a completely unknown domain was very exciting to me, a new challenge to conquer! Accepting this offer was an easy – YES! What unveiled during this 3-week sales experiment? Some best practice tips for intranet software evaluation and intranet software selling.
Developing the Relational Base
Whether it’s a new cashier at your local supermarket, a new kid in class or speaking with intranet software solution representatives – building relationships can be intimidating and does not come easy. Like anything, it takes a good combination of work and strategy to create a great relationship. This can be even more difficult when you are working with individuals through a virtual environment (via email, web and phone). Luckily, I had an aptitude for this coming from my virtual technical support background.
The fact of the matter is you aren’t just buying the software you are starting a partnership with this person and company when you select your intranet software solution. If the person on the other end of the phone can’t relate to you or speak your company language, they are not likely to do this in the future either.
Signing Up for Your New BFF
Unfortunately, people tend to be shy and reluctant when it comes befriending a complete stranger. This makes addressing your needs and pain points difficult. It may seem like a no brainer – help them help you! A genuine and invested Intranet Software Partner (individual and team) wants to understand everything about your business, your intranet project, and your goals in order to determine and (hopefully) deliver the best solution for your intranet success. This person and/or team, the potential Intranet Partner, just got added to your list of BFFs (best friends forever).
Selecting an Intranet Software Partner is forging a long-term relationship with the individual and team that you will be your closest resource and ally as you build out this new tool for your company and employees. Begin by establishing an open relationship to give your intranet deployment the best chance at success with all parties working with the same knowledge base of information to accomplish your goals.
Understand the Underlying Problem for Intranet Software
Let me preface this section by saying holy smokes, understand and know your frickin’ intranet software solution before you buy! I can’t tell you how many times we have heard horror stories about clients that have come to us from different slick intranet software solutions that promised the world on a demo but could not be delivered without hours of expensive customization and coaching.
Honestly, you need to prove to yourself that the software and the Intranet Software Partner, is the best fit for you and your company. A good Intranet Software Partner will prove this to you along the way as you develop your relationship, but feel free to test them and give them the live scenarios of how you will be using your intranet daily. Beware of intranet software representatives that lack product knowledge. A lack of product knowledge leaves you vulnerable to the possibility of intranet failure, with the potential of not delivering the BEST solution for your organization’s needs. I’m no mathematician BUT:
|Lack of * (product knowledge)||= lack of * (solution)|
|+ decrease * (product value)|
|+ increase * (chance of failure)|
Vanquish your vulnerabilities by doing whatever it takes to share every detail about your intranet project in order to learn everything about your potential intranet solution and how it matches your needs. The best way to learn is to trial the product, test the support team and run through every possible test scenario you can imagine. Luckily, if you work with an Intranet Software Partner, like Intranet Connections, you will have excellent sales and support resources you can rely on for helping you through the proof scenarios and ultimately making new BFFs.
Cut the Crap
Yep, you heard me. Tell the intranet sales representative you working with to cut the crap and keep it real! Develop no-BS strategy to work with your potential Intranet Software Partner to form a real, transparent relationship. Look for an Intranet Software Partners that will diligently study and plan the unique problems you present them with before they give you a canned, thoughtless answer. Once the core problems have been uncovered, a dedicated Intranet Software Partner will determine and deliver the best solution for your needs in the most concise matter possible.
The Power of ‘NO’
When it comes to transparency, the best answer you can get from an intranet software sales representative is NO. Appreciate those that don’t beat around the bush when a project requirement falls outside the boundaries of the solution… as much as it pains us to say NO it’s absolutely essential to be transparent to create a relationship of trust and integrity.
At Intranet Connections we pride ourselves on providing an honest evaluation of the capabilities of our intranet software solution to any intranet solution evaluator. If our intranet software is not a good fit, we are honest in delivering a NO. Seek this honesty and integrity in any software solution provider you work with and tell them to cut the crap!
Here are the answers you should be getting from intranet solution representatives that ‘cut the crap’:
- Yes, that’s possible and here’s how…
- Or, No, that’s not possible but here’s a better approach/alternative…
- And a definitive, No, that’s not possible…
After many of these conversations with your new BFF(s) you will be ready to make an informed decision based on the solutions, information and quality of service you were provided.
Feel free to share your sales stories, experiences, tips and tricks on intranet software selection and sales using the comments area below.