Just returning from my Dallas event with Ingram Micro…what a great trip and event! Ingram Micro always does a great job hosting these types of programs for it’s reseller community…a few follow-up notes on my talk for those who attended and even those who did not…
There is a time to charge for assessments!
1. When the fee is commensurate with the sales effort
2. When the scope includes stake-holder level people who can see it through to remediation
3. When an assessment is required by law or internal policy
There is also a time to give it away…While some people hesitate to provide anything complementary, this may be short sighted…
1. Demonstrated by three assessments I was personally involved in, I showed one that sold for $125K – no remediation work followed, however the GP was extremely high given the efficiency of the deliverable. In sample 2, I sold the deal for $36,000 – however, given my inexperience at the time (this was over 15 years ago), we disengaged from the buyer and produced a report that did not meet his expectations. They never paid, and we took a loss. In the third sample, the assessment was done for free, however it landed $32,000 in remediation and $7000/month in recurring managed services work with a three year contract. Which would you choose?
2. For smaller assessment opportunities – SMB level business, it often makes sense to perform the assessment at no fee. If your opportunity will sell for $2500 or $3500, an experience had by more than half of my audience, I showed that the amount of GP in the deal is not worth the trade off in control of the process. While I do make somewhere in the range of $1500 to $2000 in GP (if I really know what I’m doing), the client controls the process simply because they’ve paid for it. If I do it for free, I can demand time with any asset owner in the organization, both as part of the discovery as well as in the delivery, where I sell the remediation and managed services. At any point, if management disengages, I can stop the process. It’s free, so it’s my call. In this case, the profit does not justify the sales time unless follow-up work is sold.
3. Finally, never give the assessment away – it’s not really free. Not to contradict point 2, but to require a trade of services. In the case of an event, executive attendance justifies a complementary assessment. There may be other situations that do the same. But don’t devalue your service by advertising free assessments. Put a price tag on it and perform it as a gift for those willing to invest the time and energy at the right level. Discernment is required – but in the end, you’ll create the justification needed.
4. Finally, the deliverable must sell the next step. This is never a technical paper. Data supports the case, however the measurement of risk must be delivered in a compelling business case document. It’s like going for angel investor money. You’ll need the support of economic buyers to move forward, so treat this as a marketing process and remember, it is your job to convince management if there’s a serious risk at hand, not IT’s.