Most of the product selection work I’ve done with customers has been in the mid-range to large budget scale. There are many brands that fall into the high-end and middle section from which to select AND we run across most of them often-enough that we know what brands those are. Yet, I haven’t had many customers ask me to assist with smaller budget LIMS, ELN or LES purchases. There are several points I’d like to make about this.

  1. Budget. When a company has a tiny budget to purchase a LIMS, ELN or an LES, especially if they use the pay-as-you-go models, they don’t tend to have the money for a consultant to assist them.  If you are a software vendor and in that regard, then, there is probably little point to looking for consultants to whom to show your product, knowing that they won’t necessarily be in a position to include your system in a selection process.
  2. The Needle in the Haystack. There are many, many small software vendors in our industry. It’s just overwhelming to select from the products that are now available.
  3. Getting Attention. As I’ve been considering the iLES system, here is the one point that I most struggle with so I’m glad I’m not in sales, but I wonder how a small product grabs the attention of customers and convinces them to at least look at the system. So, if you’re the vendor of one of these products, how do you get noticed? It’s not easy. Most of the world doesn’t know who you are and you’ve got a lot of competition.

The Small Vendor
So, for the smaller vendors, there are fewer places to get noticed and it’s just harder to compete when no-one yet knows your name. In marketing, we talk about how to ask the customer about their problems and to use that aspect to get their attention, but so many people are doing that that the customer doesn’t necessarily find that compelling even when you might have a software product that could be well-suited to their needs and within their budget.

In the end, you need to find a way to both get their attention and convince them that you’re of any interest. Think of what it is specifically about your product that they would care about. Don’t think about what YOU like about it, think about what would solve THEIR problems.

The Customer With the Small Budget
When you have a small budget you will probably have to look for products whose names you don’t know – whom you haven’t seen in advertising – who don’t pop-up in magazine articles and industry conference booths, necessarily. As far as I know, there is no comprehensive list and, if you think about it, who could keep-up with the every-changing list of companies that probably come-and-go from out industry.

As such, the best thing you could do is ask another business the same size as your own in a similar industry. See what others are using and what they like and dislike about the systems they’re using.

If there is no-one like that that you can ask, then my advice would be to do what most of us do when we don’t know where to go next – do a Google search. It’s not a foolproof method but it will get you started. Of course, the most popular brands probably pop-up to the top as well as having sponsored ads, but a few pages in and you’ll probably get a number of products to consider.

Gloria Metrick
GeoMetrick Enterprises

3 Thoughts to “Product Selection on a Smaller Budget”

  1. I guess I see things differently. It is easy to find a lims and it is easy to get your lims noticed. There are tons and tons of resources that provide detailed comparisons of LIMS/LI products. It is very easy for a small lims vendor to get their products noticed. The vendors have to participate in the larger on-line communities where there are thousands of members. They need to promote by sharing meaningful information that helps users rather than focusing on trying to make a sale. Vendors should post on-line recorded demonstrations and the product price lists. There are many other techniques and none of them involve spending a dime on tradeshows or advertising and the community based techniques are tremendously more effective.

    The larger vendors can’t even play in the market that is less than $100K and there are literally 1,000’s of labs in that market space so there are plenty of opportunities for the small and midsize vendors. This market is not a good fit for consultants. There is simply no money available unless the consultant represents a LIMS product and can do the implementation and support.

    1. John, I see your points and I don’t disagree with them. On the other hand, most small vendors are software people not marketing people. The business skills are quite challenging to some of them as well as the fact that it’s not always easy to find where people are looking for products. Even having been in business for quite a long time and knowing these things, I happen to often find it quite challenging to get the word out about my business in all the places that I want to do so because that then takes away from doing the work because I’m so small.

  2. […] and labs face when they’re doing a product selection to purchase a LIMS, ELN or LES in Product Select on a Smaller Budget. Today, I want to talk about products selection, as a possible […]

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