Recently our organization was involved in a sales process with a company that had reached out to us to inquire about our solutions. Upon doing some initial discovery they shared with us that they had made some bad technology decisions which was having a negative operational and financial impact on their growing business. Their business critical data collection and dissemination processes were were highly inefficient, labor intensive, and caused a delay in response to customer and vendor needs. They had done some due diligence and were looking for technology solutions that would enable them to operate more efficiently and grow their business without overwhelming their back-office. After some research this company decided to give us a call based on our solution offerings and client successes.
After numerous discussions, demos, and more in depth discovery, we were able to present a roadmap that provide immediate short term benefits as well as longer term wins with more advanced technologies. The feedback from senior management was very positive in both the direction of the roadmap and functionality of the solutions, which included: supplier onboarding, finance vendor portal, PO dispatch & update, accounts payable automation, workflow and systems integration with their ERP and other line of business systems. We presented a proposal and after some consideration they decided not to move forward. The reason…cost.
While it is never a good feeling when you don’t get the deal, you generally understand the reasons why and either try to correct whatever deficiencies might have contributed to the loss or accept that it just wasn’t the right “fit” and the decision was inevitably good for both sides. But there is one reason that leaves a lingering bad feeling, and that is when “cost” is presented the issue because it usually is not. Now I understand there are budget constraints and many other factors that go into that “cost” decision and that is legitimate. If I only have $100 it doesn’t matter how great the new mouse trap being offered is, if it costs $150 I can’t buy it no matter how much my mouse problem may be costing me. But as expensive as a $150 mouse trap may seem, if I do have the funds and the new trap helps to solve my $1000 mouse problem then I would willingly “invest” in that mouse trap in spite of my perceptions of the high cost of the trap. Unfortunately many companies just can’t get past the cost of that metaphorical mouse trap despite the real cost of not buying it.
This experience is not unique, it happens more often than it should. In fact, we recently did a deal with a company we had talked to a few years back who initially declined to move forward because of cost. When they came back a few years later the problems they initially came to us for had grown as their business had grown and now the “cost” to fix it was also higher. But now they had the insight to look at the price tag for the business solutions they were implementing not as “costs” but rather an investment. And I am happy to report that they are already seeing economic benefits that exceed the price of the solutions and we are still early in the process.
So take this as a cautionary tale for those of you who are involved in the decision making process around buying technology solutions for your company. Do your due diligence, understand the true cost of problems you are trying to solve, and most importantly know what the cost is of not addressing those problems. If you do that, the price of any given solution may seem high, but you will quickly realize that cost of not moving forward may be far greater.