For those of us who are small services companies in the LIMS/Laboratory Informatics industry, we sometimes wonder if the overflow of work from other vendors will help us. If the software vendors or the bigger services vendors oversell their services, we wonder if that will help us.
The Consultant’s Answer
You guessed I was going to say this, “It depends.”
Here’s my opinion on this from my own observations and I’m sure many have seem different things working in different areas of the industry, but let me categorize some of this to be more specific in my answers:
- If the software vendor oversells on the initial project, if it’s small and needs just one person, the customer is unlikely to go elsewhere as the entire sale is tied together, both licenses and services.
- If the software vendor oversells on the initial project but it’s huge, the customer might consider looking elsewhere to find more resources once they realize that the software vendor just doesn’t have enough people to get the project done. However, when software vendors make customers extremely afraid that something terrible will happen if they do this, if the customer is easily frightened, they’ll actually let the work go undone rather than look outside the software vendor.
- If the software vendor oversells and the work is additional work, I find that it’s somewhat more likely that customers are willing to consider using other services vendors to do the work than they are with the initial project. At this point, they’ve “been around the block” on this and know that there are probably plenty of great resources they can use. At this point, the ones that were afraid to try this tend to realize there’s nothing to be afraid of.
- If it’s a big services group that oversells the services and they’re a preferred vendor with the customer, a small services group is EXTREMELY unlikely to be able to get the customer to consider letting them (the smaller services group) provide the services.
- If it’s a big services group that oversells the services and they’re not a preferred vendor with the customer, the small services group does have some opportunity to convince the customer to use their services instead of the larger company’s services.
There are never any guarantees, of course. For example, there’s a potential customer I’ve been speaking to about potentially providing services and been speaking with them for probably five years, as a guess. They never quite commit to using my company’s services and they do have a lot of services that they need. Just a few days ago, one of the larger services groups called to ask me if I “knew anyone” to suggest to them for this particular customer. So, I do know this customer doesn’t have all their work getting done because they’re looking for not just one but several people. Yet I also know that I recently spoke with them and they were entirely uninterested in using my company’s services.
What do you do about that, you might wonder? Nothing. If they’re not interested, they’re not interested. You can’t make them be interested. You can sit and stew all you want about the fact that it’s unfair or whatever but it’s the customer’s money and they spend it where they want to. If they don’t want to spend it with you, you have to let it go. It’s not your concern whether or not their work goes undone. Worry about the customers you still have a chance with and give your all to them, instead.