I understand that most vendor contacts you initially receive are not technical people. I also understand that a sales or account manager’s job is to turn inquiries in to sales. However, I’m a firm believer that sales shouldn’t be the only goal of your account representative. They should be knowledgeable enough about the product that you’re interested in to give you a comprehensible response during testing & evaluation. If they come across a question they can’t answer, you should be immediately directed to someone that can. When I’m dealing with a vendor, I don’t want to keep getting badgered with information that I don’t care about. Nine times out of ten, the tool I’m looking at will have one purpose, and I want to know more about those specific capabilities, not the other wingdings that come with it.
Another major peeve I have is when vendors just won’t stop. If I told you I’d call you back in a month, don’t call me 32 days later. Chances are I’m busy and that’s the quickest way to get the conversation pushed out another month. When I can, I’ll call, and that call won’t be to push out the conversation. If you cold call me and I tell you I don’t want the product, don’t call back, I’ll never buy from you. If I call you and we end up having a discussion about why I don’t want the product, only call back if those reasons are now fixed (as in 100% fixed, not planned or partially fixed!).
I know this may seem like a rant, but it’s really not, and there are some vendors that I’ve dealt with that were extremely pleasant to work with. *requirement* These views are not endorsed by my employer. I do not gain any benefit (financial or otherwise) from this post. */requirement* The three that specifically stick out in my mind are:
- Matt Shannon & F-Response
- Amber Schroeder & Paraben
- Ted Augustine & Technology Pathways
I’m not saying these are the best products ever, I’m not saying you should immediately go out and buy them. What I am saying is that these people and companies made for a breath of fresh air when dealing with vendors. They are personally involved in the success of their company and their product. They maintain great service and answer inquiries quickly. Perhaps most importantly, I wasn’t constantly badgered by them during our interactions. You know what I notice though? These three companies are relatively small compared to some giants in the industry. While I’m sure that helps, each one is lead by a practitioner; someone that had a hand (or arm, or blood sweat and tears) in making the product. It’s a personal endeavor and the goal is to provide a real benefit. I’d bet that’s the real difference. If there are any other vendors you feel should be mentioned & given some props, let me know in the comments!