Inside Foundant – the Blog

Negotiating your contracts with software vendors

From my previous blog on buying software, I highlighted the three most important questions you need to ask yourself before you begin to evaluate software (or any purchase).

  • What did we actually NEED to run our organization better?
  • What could we AFFORD to spend to gain these efficiencies?
  • WHAT WERE OUR EXPECTATIONS if we purchased the new software?


These questions become the basis of negotiating your purchase.  My negotiation style is to share the basics of this information with the potential vendor as quickly as possible.  If they can’t meet my price, delivery and basic needs, it is not worth either party’s time to invest in learning how fantastic their software could be at solving non-strategic issues or for a price I cannot afford.   As a person that has been on the sales side of the equation a few times, I can honestly tell you that good sales people appreciate honesty and the ability to evaluate your needs using all the relevant information.

If a salesperson tells me they can meet my price, delivery and basic needs identified at the beginning of the process but then changes the offer as I move closer to purchase, I begin to not trust them.  I have even requested a new sales contact at an organization because I felt I couldn’t trust my initial sales contact.   After all, if I can’t trust them during the negotiating phase of the software purchase, what will my experience be like when the time comes for implementation?

The most important thing to remember when beginning the negotiation process is that you do not owe the vendor the sale.  Hold firm to having your basic needs and expectations met.  Don’t fall victim to feeling that due to the time you have spent evaluating a solution, you need to do something.  If you start to wonder if you are making a good decision, it is time to reevaluate your answers to the three most important questions from the beginning of your software buying adventure.

-Mark Larimer, Vice President of Marketing & Client Services