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Factors that affect your choice of IT systems provider

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LewisBassett

New Member
Good afternoon,

I am trying to gain an insight into which factors are most important to SME owners when they chose a provider for an IT solution.

The factors that I have identified are:

a - cost
b - reputation
c - technical qualifications
d - locality
e - likeability (of the representative - i.e., me)
f - portfolio of previous work
g - innovation (i.e., are you attracted to new technologies and methods)
h - speed of service

I would be most grateful if people would assign a number to each one, with 1 being the most important and 8 being the least.

Thanks.
 
Mike Lewis

Mike Lewis

New Member
Hello Lewis,

First, welcome to the forum. I see you have already announced yourself in the Introductions section. No doubt others will be welcoming you as well.

I won't try to answer your question, mainly because I am - like yourself - on the other side of the fence. As a software developer, I am not in the market for IT systems, but I do need to market my own (very small) company as a supplier of software and systems.

In my experience, the main factor that influences a potential client is personal recommendations / referrals / references. I guess that corresponds most closely to items b and f on your list. If someone recommends me to a potential client, then that is nearly always a clinching factor.

After that, cost is sometimes an important factor; and sometimes it makes no difference at all. Availability is often important (roughly equivalent to your item h). Locality is rarely important for the client (but the client's locality is often important to me).

One thing that no-one ever asks about is technical qualifications - or any other kind of qualifications. The question just never arises. Similarly, I doubt if anyone is interested in whether I am "attracted to new technologies and methods".

So, that's my experience, for what it's worth. I'll look forward to seeing what other forum members think.

Mike
 
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LewisBassett

New Member
Thanks for the feedback Mike.

I was under the impression that qualifications would be important to a potential client, but others have also told me that this is not so.

What factors do you try to stress in your marketing communications Mike?

Lewis
 
Wills

Wills

Member
Verified Member
Knowledge is missing it's that single factor that makes suppliers stand out, not waffle or gobbledegook.

Next is the ability to understand and deliver, everything else is secondary. It's the most difficult aspect of business unless you are selling commodities.
 
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LewisBassett

New Member
Hi Wills,

Thanks for the advice.

I absolutely aggree with what you are saying. To me, knowledge is an internal quality that others cannot measure. My line of thought is that my knowledge would be demonstrated as certifications, reputation, previous work, etc.

Without using technical jargon, how can I demonstrate my knowledge as a marketing message?

Lewis
 
Wills

Wills

Member
Verified Member
Project solutions, execution, customer satisfaction/testimonials, achieving deadlines and on budget would summarise both capability and knowledge. Case studies spring to mind ones that demonstrate your ability to go beyond the competition.
 
L

LewisBassett

New Member
Thanks for your feedback. Assuming that I could convey these qualities as marketing messages within some of the factors I listed, which order would you put them in then?
 
Mike Lewis

Mike Lewis

New Member
Wills has made some good points. I can only say that in my case, formal qualifications have never helped me in my marketing (as far as I know; of course, you can't really know what's going on deep in the potential customer's mind).

However, I agree that knowledge is important - of course it is. It's just how you get it across to the customer. You need to come across as a competent and knowledgeable professional. I can't give you a formula for how to do that (I wish I could).

Perhaps it's a question of listening to the customer, showing you understand their problems, showing that you are interested in them, and making sensible suggestions - not being too pushy.

As I said earlier, if you get a referral from an existing customer, the battle's won. Failing that, references and testimonials help. But use them sparingly; don't throw them in the customer's face.

I also agree strongly with Wills' point: no waffle or gobbledygook.

Hope this helps.

Mike
 
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