Working at a Fortune 50, I have vendors calling almost everyday. I don’t fault the vendors for doing so, it is their job and that is how their company makes money. But one thing I have noticed over the months is how vendors are solving for the obvious. And when they solve for the obvious, they run into a problem when dealing with someone like me.
I often get called into vendor presentations dealing with analytics or big data, because that’s my space. And this is where companies run into a problem. Their initial point of contact normally is not that intimate with what my development roadmap looks like, they know I work in the space but not in detail. When I sit in those presentations, I see really great presentations that are solving billion dollar problems. And that’s the problem, they are the obvious billion dollar problems.
If a company has someone like me on staff, you can pretty much bet, they are already solving those obvious billion dollar problems and one of a few scenarios then ensues. A poor sales person will present their product as a way to replace what I’m creating, that’s going ensure a lot of resistance and generally a solid no because often the ROI of doing so is really poor. An ok sales person will try to tell me how what they have can really help improve what I have already, but normally the ROI just isn’t there. A good sales person will ask me where do I see a fit for their product if it is not in the space I own. I generally already have an idea and will be willing to share it.
The problem is, most sales people focus on the billion dollar obvious prize and forget that large companies have lots of problems that are not as sexy but just as important and those other problems are good places to make money.
I really don’t enjoy telling someone, thanks but your product is not needed because we already solved that problem. My advice would be to find people like me and find out what we are solving for and then go find the problems nobody is tackling or focus on different clients. If a vendor can make me stop and think, wow, why hasn’t my team thought of that yet!? Then I will be interested in talking. And a couple have done that and I have called them back for more.