In consumer markets, the purchaser selects the product. B2B markets are different in that the seller becomes responsible for selecting the most appropriate buyers.
Our core clients understand that IT and phone systems are long-term investments. Their purchasing decisions are therefore guided by value, not by price. However, many mid-sized businesses approach IT equipment decisioning with a short-term, price-oriented mentality. We have learned that referring prospective clients who share the latter mindset saves us – and our clients – money.
In one recent case, a marketing company had focused on price when purchasing a backup plan. Their IT vendor had set up regular server backups, but the plan did not extend to critical data on the owner’s laptop. When the owner’s laptop died unexpectedly, she called the backup company and asked that her images and video files be restored.
The data had been collected from a number of recent photoshoots and commercials, but it was stored on her laptop only. The data was irrecoverable because only the server was backed up – not her laptop. Thousands of dollars in work and time was lost.
You can understand the owner’s anger. The business expected backups to extend across all systems, and she had not taken the time to understand what she was buying. She was focused on price when she chose the backup plan, as opposed to value.
The IT firm is also partially responsible for the mistake. They did not communicate effectively. We have learned to avoid these issues by choosing clients who are willing to learn what their IT and phone systems will do for them.
For us, the difference between backups and disaster recovery is like telling a basset hound apart from a beagle. It is simple. But communicating those differences to someone who has never seen a dog before can take some time.
Experience has taught us that the challenge can only be overcome by teamwork. We often turn away prospective clients who are too focused on pricing to hear the value proposition. This saves us money and allows us to focus on our core customers.