The other day I was pulled into a demo with a company who is evaluating our CMS intranet, Intranet Connections. I entered the conversation with my thoughts on our company vision and the heart of our core values: simplicity. The conversation steered ultimately to transparency.
With so many intranet vendors flooding the market, all with fists clenched around similar value propositions, I find myself annoyed with the inaccurate state of buzz words floating around. In a modern world of social responsibilities, there is only one way to win at being the best CMS intranet vendor: transparency.
Don’t sell what you don’t have. Be open and honest on what your software can do, but even more importantly, what it can’t do. Transparency is about trust. Trust builds the foundation for rewarding relationships.
Customers are coming to us far more educated. They have spent weeks, often months, researching various CMS and social based intranets. They have watched all of the videos and have read all of the case studies. They engage with us at a much higher level of understanding. We win on simple vs. the complex and that we are truly, 100% out of the box. And so are our costs. This lends to a low-risk investment because there are no hidden fees, what you see is what you get, and we offer robust business automation and delegation tools within our CMS intranet.
This blog post is a bit of a throwback to our “Out of the Box Intranet: Is it a Myth” blog from April 2011. In 2011, I was writing about a different conversation I had with a customer. I wrote about false advertising because I was hearing it a lot back then from our prospects.
Two years later and guess what! Not much has changed. The buzz words continue, the marketing messages are starting to blend and merge to be one in the same, and we find ourselves in a commodity market where everyone wants to be out of the box. There is a very big difference between being out of the box and wanting to be.
If your CMS intranet solution is out of the box, then so are your costs. You can’t market that you are out of the box and then turn your offering into solution selling. Solution selling looks like this: buy our base software and then spend big bucks on customizing it with a team of consultants, installation and implementation costs, on-site visits by “intranet coaches” and on and on. These are vendors who use their base software to essentially sell you expensive add on solutions and services. I am not disparaging solution selling, it is a lucrative business, but it is not out of the box so don’t call it that. Be transparent about the all-in costs to the customer to get from point A to B with their intranets.
Transparency wins, in all aspects of your business. It starts from the top and filters down to everyone who touches your product: support, developers, product management, sales, marketing and your customers.
Here at Intranet Connections we want to build on the customer experience. We are not perfect at it by any means. It is always a work in progress, but we strive to always be authentic and to go the extra mile. Transparency equals low risk for our customers, and it fosters a strong foundation for rewarding partnerships and relationships of which we value.
Do you think transparency is the best way to win in business? Please provide your comments directly below this post.
image source: http://resources.goodguide.com/content/images/slideshows/sustainability_trends_of_2009/sustainability_2009_transparency.jpg