I wrote this several years back when I owned an IT company, but as I revisit my prior musings I see how applicable they still are today. The original, along with many other random thoughts, is available on our blog. I’ve slightly modified this version.

Why would an organization ever choose someone else over us?

Before we developed our comprehensive, best practice based, disk encryption solution, we competed against another company to deliver something similar. The prospective customer liked working with us and respected our expertise, yet they selected our competitor. Our pricing was fairly close, we were both proposing the same product, our architecture and delivery mechanisms were similar, so why did they select the other company?

Our competitor thought differently, and their proposal went outside the box. They recognized that the IT department would be fighting an uphill battle with their users to get them to adopt the new software, and they offered the assistance of their internal marketing group to create awareness and excitement about the project.

The need was clear – architect and install an encryption solution. We proposed exactly what the customer asked for. It was a wonderful proposal. It was a wonderful solution.

Someone else thought differently, and realized there was more to this. Our competitor won, fair and square.

Customers are evolving and they are no longer looking to us to just do what we’ve always done. Design, install, maintain. They are looking for much, much more.

We can choose to be the same as every other IT company out there. We can deliver the same assessments, the same designs, the same implementations and the same support.

Or, we can choose to think different. We can choose not to be constrained by the walls we traditionally place ourselves between.

By the way – we followed up with the customer after the project was complete, and the marketing assistance was the primary reason why the project succeeded on schedule and on budget.

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Chris is currently the Chief Innovation Officer at Internet Marketing Ninjas where he manages M&A activity, legal work, and also focuses on the use of technology and other solutions to lead innovation and growth. Prior to this, Chris led the sale of his $10mil information technology company, twice an Inc500 fastest growing company in the US, to an investment banking firm in NYC. He has a strong passion for sailing, and had the opportunity to spend two years travelling from Lake Champlain to the southern Bahamas and back with his family.

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