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2015-09-21

Five Lies Your Integration Vendor Will Tell You

Managing Sales for an IT integration vendor, I’ve run into a lot of potential customers who have some serious ‘trust’ issues. And you really can’t blame them — not with how many times they’ve been misled by other IT service vendors in the past. It can be a rough game, trying to convince them that we’re not the same as all the others. Over the years, I’ve gotten a feel for where customers are the most distrusting, and it’s often direct consequences of the following five insincere lines that they’d fallen for in the past:

1. “It Won’t Put Much Of A Dent In Your Budget”

Many integration vendors try to downplay the financial damage they’ll end up causing to their customers without acknowledging the hidden costs down the road. Too many vendors will tell you that the financial pain will be over quickly (like ripping off a Band-Aid) but the reality is that the cycle of unexpected charges never seem to end. By the time you realize the total cost of unexpected and ongoing development services, maintaining custom code, and product upgrades to match changing business requirements, you’ve already given so much that you might as well just keep paying for your mistake.

2. “Professional Services Will Only Take A Few Days”

When you let them in, the Professional Services Team promised they’d respect your space and get out of your life quickly. Instead, they’ve been crashing on the couch for two years. All too often Professional Service Teams commit to completing specific initiatives like “creating a virtualized data warehouse” or “seamlessly embedding self-service integration capability into a customer portal” within a just a few months. It turns out, though, that the vendor never had any intention of leaving because their business model requires them to stay.

3. “You’re More Than A Commission Check To Me”

The integration vendor went to great heights winning you over, and that horn trio playing “All You Need is Love” from behind the park bench was too much for you to take. But now you know…they were working you the whole time. After the vendor got your signature on the dotted line, there were no serenades. In fact, after you signed, your salesperson dropped you like a hot potato and passed you off to an account manager, and you’re lucky these days if he’ll even return your call.

4. “Nobody Gets Fired For Buying Big Blue”

At the time, it felt like a pre-game pep talk. The integration vendor sat at the table, telling you that together the two of you would be invincible. They pumped you up like a balloon full of overinflated confidence, and yet you were somehow surprised when things popped… What they failed to mention at the time was how many people just like you get fired regularly because of bad investments that resulted in project overruns and out of control integration costs.

5. “Of Course Support Will Call You In The Morning”

“You’re in good hands,” they said. “We’ll take care of you,” they said. But the first (and fourteenth) time you needed them at a crucial moment, they left you hanging high and dry. You thought because they were a large, well-known company that they’d know how to handle their customers’ needs. Instead, you found yourself at the mercy of the schedules of a distant support team and a vendor who knows you have no choice but to sit around and wait for their call.

If you’ve heard these lines before and you had to learn the truth the hard way, I’m sorry. But don’t let yourself get too cynical. Not every Integration vendor will leave you feeling used and abused. Or, I know of at least one that won’t…

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