Tech Sales Reps Gone Wild - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IT Life
08:06 AM
Grumpy IT Guy
Grumpy IT Guy

Tech Sales Reps Gone Wild

Today, Grumpy IT Guy is grumpy about sales reps who don't know when to quit.

Mobile software vendor sales rep sends me his pitch. The pitch seems interesting; I respond. No response to me from the rep. But there is a "reward" for my quick response. I get a response from... multiple people from my company?

First, CEO forwards the pitch my way. "Looks interesting, can you accommodate him?" In between the lines: "This guy must be pitching me because you are not responsive." So I forward my response to CEO, and copy the sales guy.

Looked at the time stamps: I actually responded before the sales rep sent it to my CEO. In between my lines: Stop the pestering!

[What got Grumpy IT Guy's goat last week? The Test System That Wasn't.]

But no, it just won't stop. Next, purchasing people send the same pitch my way. This sales rep has "reached out" to them too (if you consider reaching out to be acting like a stuck key on a keyboard).

Purchasing: We will add you to our list. That fictional list that we say we keep but don't really. You know the one. But please talk to IT. (In between the lines: Please, for the love of God, do not email us again. Please send all spam to IT. I can see the cat meme now, "IT, Why U No Respond To Vendor?")

Next, I get a note from finance. "We're not sure why we got this, please handle." In between the lines: "Can't you be a little more responsive to sales reps? We don't have time to forward your email to you." Yes. And I wish you wouldn't.


It still won't stop. Multiple customer service reps get the same pitch. Now I'm getting scared. What, did this guy hack our mail server? Having visions of every fifth email being a pitch from this guy from now on.

I have a reputation for being approachable by users. That's good. But in this case, it's bad: Many customer service reps are comfortable forwarding the pitch my way. Teeth gritted, pasting on virtual smile. "Thanks for letting me know." Argh!

If you think he has been mail-bombing the whole company, you would be right. I get the same email forwarded to me about 50 times. Great job, sales rep. That's how to get me to notice you... in a bad way.

The irony! The pitch was good. The truth: After I got this pitch 50 times and got my time wasted by having to respond multiple times to coworkers, I was about 18,000 times less likely to follow up -- much less become a customer.

Maybe his whole company acts this way. I can see it now: As a customer, you put in a support ticket. Instead of emailing you back, the support desk emails 50 randomly selected coworkers. Maybe their mobility product works like that too.

I can tell you this: I don't want to find out.

If the world wasn't changing, we might continue to view IT purely as a service organization, and ITSM might be the most important focus for IT leaders. But it's not, it isn't and it won't be -- at least not in its present form. Get the Research: Beyond IT Service Management report today. (Free registration required.)

Grumpy IT Guy avoided historic disasters and clueless people while working his way up the IT ranks, but he retained his keen sense of humor. He now leads an IT organization somewhere in America, as part of the FBI's Grump Protection Program. Need advice? Send questions to ... View Full Bio
We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Shane M. O'Neill
Shane M. O'Neill,
User Rank: Author
9/19/2014 | 5:43:26 PM
Salesman shoots self in foot
Wow, that is one over-eager sales rep doing everything possible to sabotage himself. The lack of email etiquette is startling.
User Rank: Author
9/19/2014 | 10:56:12 AM
Mail manners
Mail-bombing the whole company, including someone's bosses, rarely works whether you are selling, requesting a meeting, or asking for a similar item. Your boss should trust you to filter and respond to such requests in a polite and timely manner. I have had similar experiences -- and the names of the over-contacters stick in your head, for sure.
InformationWeek Is Getting an Upgrade!

Find out more about our plans to improve the look, functionality, and performance of the InformationWeek site in the coming months.

New Storage Trends Promise to Help Enterprises Handle a Data Avalanche
John Edwards, Technology Journalist & Author,  4/1/2021
11 Things IT Professionals Wish They Knew Earlier in Their Careers
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  4/6/2021
How to Submit a Column to InformationWeek
InformationWeek Staff 4/9/2021
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
The State of Cloud Computing - Fall 2020
The State of Cloud Computing - Fall 2020
Download this report to compare how cloud usage and spending patterns have changed in 2020, and how respondents think they'll evolve over the next two years.
Current Issue
Successful Strategies for Digital Transformation
Download this report to learn about the latest technologies and best practices or ensuring a successful transition from outdated business transformation tactics.
Flash Poll