Vendor Horror Stories – Second in a Series of Vendor Relationship Posts

Thanks to everyone who re-tweeted and gave other shout-outs to my last Slaw post on vendor demos and webinars. Considering the feedback, I thought I’d continue on with a vendor theme in a few more posts.

In this post, I’ll relate a few vendor horror stories and explain why vendors should never ever ever repeat them. Of course, a caveat: I gathered these from a variety of sources/firms, who shall remain nameless.

But – I’d like to repeat that vendors are absolutely integral to our legal technology ecosystems, and note that most of my interactions, and those of my colleagues, are enormously positive.

With that in mind, readers, please get in touch to share “wow” stories of how vendors have gone above and beyond (tweet at me – @jkhogan), and I’ll make that another post in this series.

Standing on Your High Horse

After putting together a team to review market offerings of a certain solution type, three vendors were invited in to a firm to pitch/demo. One flew in three people. Another did pre-work for the firm. The third…refused! The CEO sent a snippy email saying that they’d tried to work with the firm in the past, and the firm had – gasp – decided to postpone that work. The team lead fumed a bit, but decided to reach out with very compelling reasons the vendor should reconsider (including the fact that funding was already confirmed). There was no reply. It will be a cold, cold day in hell before that vendor gets into that firm again. Good vendors understand that sometimes firms don’t know what they want or need. Sometimes projects are put on hold. The demo builds a relationship that may not pay off – it’s a risk and an investment for everyone. Burning your bridges is a bad idea. The legal tech world ain’t huge, and word of your bad behaviour will get around.

End-Running Your Firm Contact

Never, ever go around your firm contact to escalate a decision to his or her executives. Again, decisions take time, and this behaviour only turns us all off. You make the contact look bad and undermine them. You are also taking up the executive’s time – that’s why the executive delegated to your contact in the first place!

Playing Fast and Loose with your Customer List

Definitely keep letting us know who is using the solution we’re investigating. But be very honest – don’t tell me Firm ABC is “using” your Product A when in fact they are only testing it BUT have purchased your Product B. Again, that’s poor relationship building, and we’ll eventually find out. Similarly, don’t show the logo page as if all those firms have purchased the product I’m looking at, when in fact they may be using any number of your product suite.

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