Last week my team and I were looking at some new software. No reason for it to be a secret - we were looking at Vocus, a news/PR/social media monitoring tool. It was...pretty good. We liked it.
My next question is always - who are their competitors? Sure, we could buy this, but what else is out there? Is it any good? Is it better?
Having spent a few years selling software in the City, this question always fascinates me. When you're selling one of half a dozen systems into a small market, you know who your comeptitors are - you bump into them every day, your customers are forever thinking about replacing your system with one or another of theirs and there are competitive pitches going on all the time. But from the point of view of someone buying a system, it's surprisingly easy not to know that one or more of the half dozen options out there even exists. The sales guys at company X aren't going to tell them that company Y has a great piece of kit too; they might ask their competitors what they use but hey, they're competitors and who wants to look clueless in front of competitors?