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How do you negotiate a technology contract?

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What’s involved in getting a lower price? Will bringing in Dark Horse damage your relationship with the vendor? How much can you expect to save and how long will it take? How does Dark Horse actually negotiate technology contracts?

The world of IT contracts is complex, and while we’re here to simplify negotiations for you, we’re also all about providing you with everything you need to make informed decisions. That’s what this resources section is for: your knowledge. We will update it regularly so you can see what’s happening in the industry, what it’s like to work with us, and get answers to all your software negotiation questions.

Frequently Asked IT Contract Negotiation Questions

Is Dark Horse affiliated with technology vendors?
No, Dark Horse is 100% independent and values-driven. We have no economic relationships with any vendors or resellers, so you can always be sure we are truly aligned with your interests.
Our IT software agreement expires in a few weeks, is there still time to negotiate?
Yes! Our model is based on coming in at the last mile. To get started, we typically need 4 hours to review your contract and provide a strategy for moving forward. Engagements usually last between 2 and 10 days, so things move quickly.
Will working with Dark Horse affect my relationship with my vendor?
Not at all. We come from their side of the table, so we know what they’re thinking about, what they care about, and what they’re willing to gain in exchange for a better price. Plus, you’re always in the driver’s seat. We won’t do anything without your consent.
We have a strong procurement department. Will working with Dark Horse create issues there?
Most of our clients have great procurement departments. We aren’t here to do their job for them: we simply have intel about vendors they can’t possibly be expected to know.

It is up to you on how we engage in negotiations. Your team members can still drive the negotiations and we’ll be in the background, providing the strategy and insight they need to get the deal done. Or if you prefer, we can speak to a vendor on your behalf.
How do you negotiate a technology contract with a company like Microsoft that wouldn’t seem to have much motivation to negotiate, considering the challenges involved in switching vendors?
You’d think companies like Microsoft wouldn’t negotiate. But they do. We regularly save our clients an average of 12% on their Microsoft contracts.
How much can we expect to save?
Typically, we help clients realize 10%-40% additional cost savings after the vendor’s “best and final” offer. However, that number has been as high as 75%. It completely depends on the contract. There may be times when we don’t think our involvement will make any meaningful difference to the price. If that’s the case, we will be up-front with that: you’ll get third party validation of your contract without paying a dime.
How do you charge for your services?
We have a risk-free pricing model: we charge a percentage of the money we help you save above and beyond the initial “best and final” offer. If you don’t save money, you don’t pay. It’s that simple. However, if you prefer another fee model, we're happy to discuss.
What makes Dark Horse better than other consultants?

A few things:

  1. Our Global Advisory Network is our source of difficult-to-obtain intel about the vendor sales team on the other side of the table: how they are paid, who reports to who, who’s up for promotion, who internally approved the pricing exceptions, what is possible/not in the deal, etc.
  2. We come from the vendor’s world, so we know how to get results while keeping your relationship strong.
  3. We’re straightforward and easy to deal with. If we don’t think there’s more room to negotiate, we’ll let you know right away. If we do, we’ll be transparent in our dealings to ensure you get the best price.
  4. We let you control as much (or as little) of the negotiation as you want. We act as an advisor in the background, sharing intel on who to talk to, when to talk to them and what to say to help you level the playing field. And if you want us to speak directly to a vendor or reseller on your behalf, we can certainly do so.
How do you negotiate a technology contract?
We bring the in-depth knowledge of our Global Advisory Network, made up of 80+ former Sales VPs from all the big software companies, and use that information as leverage to get our clients better value. And we do it in a matter of days. We work behind the scenes, supplying you with the insights and benchmarks you need to make compelling arguments and informed choices.

Got questions we haven’t answered here?

Please ask! We’ll add answers to our list as they come up.