How to save a Lotus Notes customer

Wednesday, September 6th, 2006
This week, I met with a client that was considering scrapping Lotus Notes in favor of an alternative solution.

I told  them that I thought they should switch away from Notes. I offered to help them make a shopping list of what they would need to purchase to match their current capabilities.

Half way through helping them with the shopping list, someone said, "But our [Lotus Notes system] already does all of that."


Interruption: "Eric, can you move the XYZ demo database to our server so that we can evaluate it?"

I did a FILE, DATABASE, NEW COPY ...  I casually mentioned that the application would be deployed in 5 minutes, as soon as replication had completed.

"That fast?"  Yup. You're application is now  deployed, thanks to replication. No complex admin or deployment steps.

"That's amazing!"

They decided to stay with Notes and learn more about what they are not currently doing with Notes.

Sometimes we take for granted the simple things that Lotus Notes does so well that we forget why Notes is a powerful platform for getting things done.

Discussion/Comments (8):

Chris Blatnick ( 9/6/2006 6:55:30 PM
How to save a Lotus Notes customer

Great job, Eric! :-)

Your last sentence is a perfect compliment to Julian Robichaux's tag line, "Lotus Notes...yeah, it can do that too"

({ Link })

Congrats on this customer win! Cheers...

Sophos ( 9/6/2006 8:38:47 PM
How to save a Lotus Notes customer

So, what was the shopping list?

Colin Williams ( 9/6/2006 9:04:19 PM
How to save a Lotus Notes customer

I don't understand the "I told them that I thought they should switch away from Notes" bit?

Why tell them to move in one breath then prove there was no need in the next?

Eric Mack ( 9/6/2006 9:14:21 PM
Some more details...


As I posted on Ed's blog, I wish I had videotaped the meeting. It was too funny how it worked out.


A lot of software and a few applications from Redmond - to get the same job done. (This is a small company)


What I did not mention was that this had become a ritual with this client, asking "What value Notes." It only happens when licenses are up for renewal. In years past, I staunchly defended the Notes decision because I "knew" it was the best for their needs. I decided, however, that I needed to be more objective in letting the client reach their own conclusion. After all, I would remain their eProductivity specialist regardless of which solution they would choose. So, when it was suggested that they were not getting value out of their Notes investment [because they were too small a company] I suggested that perhaps they were right and should drop Notes in favor of another solution. I knew that they would count the cost and reach their own conclusion. It's not hard to do.

Colin Williams ( 9/7/2006 2:16:26 AM
How to save a Lotus Notes customer

Nice! Can't argue with any of that! ;)

Tim Marman ( 9/7/2006 5:17:20 AM
How to save a Lotus Notes customer

This is not exclusive to Lotus Notes, but a common theme I've noticed.

We love the idea of a "silver bullet" in technology that is going to solve all of our problems. Often, our existing software can handle those requirements if we just used it to its full potential. In other cases, it may address a specific problem but ultimately introduces a new (sometimes worse) set of problems.

The grass is always greener, right?

Keith Brooks ( 9/7/2006 6:10:19 AM
How to save a Lotus Notes customer

The Ben Franklin close as our Sales people would say.

This works well when dealing with people in the "Lotus" know or a strong user.

When you have less kowing people or even no previous Notes experience you need to take them by the hand and spend some time showing it to them. Find out what is important to them from a end user perspective.

Automatic field updates? Seperate but connected domains for sales and marketing? the whole address book in the palm of your hands(care of Dircat). And on and on.

andy b ( 9/7/2006 6:59:19 AM
How to save a Lotus Notes customer

I too have used the 'reverse' selling tactic, also finding it quite helpful when dealing with license renewal.

Great minds must think the same.

It is a very cool approach to listing the functionality that is 'taken for granted' in a Domino architecture.

Directory services, database server, application server, deployment (thick client) process/installer licensing, etc...not easy for a non technical person to see rolled up in the Notes/Domino license.

I have helped customers, who's Notes/Domino apps were properly suited, to remove their whole VPN environment and replace it with end to end encrypted NRPC. There was a huge savings in hardware, software licensing, infrastructure support AND help-desk service call volume.

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