The Value of Transparency When Buying Custom Software

Building software with integrity is at the heart of what Atomic does. As a values-led organization, we stay grounded in our key traits. That means we always show up for each other and our clients in the best way possible – including during the sales process. Our values show up in different ways, but the value I’ve seen Atomic embody the most, or perhaps the most uniquely, during sales is “Act Transparently.” It’s counterintuitive to most in sales, but transparency is, perhaps, the most critical to a successful outcome.

Unfortunately, an opaque sales process is all too familiar to anyone who has purchased or sold services. With sales reward systems built around closing a deal, the natural tendency is to say what the buyer wants to hear. But, of course, no one likes being sold to in a disingenuous way. With custom software projects, the stakes are far too high to play games. We believe in consulting instead of selling and leading with honesty and curiosity to create a meaningful and valuable engagement.

Acknowledge the knowns and unknowns from day one.

The traditional sales approach exudes confidence and certainty, even when the salesperson knows little about the project. Often the buyer will award a project to the vendor who convinces the buyer that everything will be predictable and without risk. But with custom software, this simply isn’t possible.

Despite the vulnerability it creates, we believe in truth and transparency, especially about what we don’t yet know about the project. Our approach to budgeting and pricing factors in and highlight the uncertainty and unknowns. Our process provides a framework for navigating change and ensuring the project doesn’t get off track.

Understand how custom software is made.

Unless you’ve been through the process of building custom software a few times before, it can be hard to appreciate the complexities. Businesses like stability and predictability, so anything else feels uncomfortable, if not intolerable.

To help mitigate these feelings, we spend extra time and care during the sales process to share our experiences and knowledge. Even if a company chooses not to work with Atomic, we still believe this time was valuable and hope it sets them up for success in their future work.

Experience a real sense of the future partnership.

Above all the benefits of transparency during sales, we ultimately choose to lead with this value because it is who we are. We operate transparently with our internal teams, so it only feels right and authentic to engage externally in the same way. These genuine interactions with our teams give you a true sense of who we are and the type of partner we will be.

Admitting what we don’t know and being open about how complicated building custom software can make us vulnerable. We may lose projects to someone who proclaims to know all the answers. However, that projected certainty is easily mistaken for accuracy. Instead, we act with humility and ultimately align with true partners who share our values and are as thrilled as we are to explore what’s possible and build great software!


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