Charging for ROI?By Channel Insider Staff | Print
Return-on-investment calculations may have been more about marketing than substance in the past, but increasingly customers want solution providers to produce provable numbers.
Good ROI information takes time, and every solution provider needs to decide if the ROI analysis is part of the sales cycle or a service to be sold. A fee gets customers engaged in the process, while a cost-free approach may persuade them to consider the exercise.
Every solution provider takes a slightly different approach. "We do run into the situation where customers don’t value free stuff," said Osborn, although he added that Lilien does not charge for its assessments. By asking the customer for minimal information, Lilien can finish an assessment and proposal in about a day.
Heartland reserves deep, up-front analysis of current customer costs for large solution deals, said May.
MasterIT sells assessments as a service with a per-seat fee, charging an average of about $160 per seat.
"We collect half the fee up-front," Drake said. "It’s a great prequalifying tool to help us determine if a company will be a good client going forward. If they aren’t willing to pay for a good three- to five-year road map, they probably wouldn’t be willing to pay for a fixed-fee engagement. It separates the serious from the casual."
Hailey Lynne McKeefry is a freelance writer based in Belmont, Calif. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.