There is value in being a Reference site

Taking up customre references and getting comfort from the fact that someone else has ‘been there done that’ plays a significant role in the decision-making process of software ¬†buyers. As a result, most software suppliers are keen to add new names to their reference lists. Whether the software vendor is a new start-up or global giant they are all especially keen to get advocates for new products , new software releases or when moving in to a new vertical markets.

By offering to serve as a reference you can often use this a leverage to negotiate yourself a better deal. And the amount of the extra discount will depend on what you are prepared to do as a reference. Taking a few phone calls in a year doesn’t take up too much time, but the logistics of having potential clients come on site can be quite time consuming and can significantly interupt your day-to-day job. You should insist your software suppliers reward you well for the time spent helping them sell their products to other potential users. Extra discount is one option. Free stuff is another, ie training, education, consultancy etc.

And finally, beware the software contract that already includes a clause that states you will be a reference site. Some vendors hide these clauses in their contracts as if it is a standard element of every deal; it’s not, it has value and it’s totally negotiable!

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