I want to understand your how your product / service works techncialy, what is your company strategy and most importantly skip the marketing terms/hot topics. At the end of the day I want to know if you are a fit within my technology roadmap and how specifically that can work.
I agree with Lee...Where does the product fit into my strategy. I tend to turn off when vendors start out with a slide deck telling me all their customers. I didn’t marry my wife for who she dated in the past.
I agree, I want to know about the company that stands behind the product and overall knowledge and stability for my roadmap, products and services. Is that salesperson start ing with me is going to be there or gone in a flash. tell me my life will improve with your support and what makes you stand above the rest, without marketing or disparaging the competition.
The most important is whether they understand this is a potential partnership, not a contentious vendor/client relationship
I want the vendor to have done his homework on our organization so that they at least have a common understanding, 98% don't do this and it's a turn off at the get go. Those that do, I want to understand how their organization is going to help me achieve the goals of our organization. It's all about business outcomes, not selling me a widget or gadget. If you can truly partner in achieving those business outcomes, you'll be a vendor I'll use over and over.
Here are my 2 cents on this topic...
1. What's their "story", "differentiator" or "value add" by the vendor to tell while trying to get the foot in the door
2. Reputation, financial stability and experience of the vendor
3. Reference cases and success stories in the same or comparable industry and their willingness to expose those references for direct conversations
4. Company structure, geographical representation, staff vs. contractor ratio, stability or fluctuation across employee base as well as management base...things like geographical spread may be more or less relevant depending on one's own structure
5. Experiences, qualifications, certifications (certifications matter more to some and less to others) of the vendor's staff / contractors
6. Certifications of the vendor organization and business (may be more or less relevant depending on the type of engagement and one's own business) like ISO27001, 9001, SOX or others
7. Compatibility in between the vendor organization and oneself (eg. values, style, human aspects, flexibility, customer focus...)
8. Last but not least of course - financial offering in comparison to competitors and in the context of one's own requirements