It started with one of those random tweets you see from somebody attending a conference ... stuff that is completely out of context to anybody not at the conference but is completely relevant to a person absorbing fifty-five minutes of vendor-paid content.
The tweet went something like this:
- Instead of asking for 30 minutes of time with a CEO, try asking for 15 minutes. You will increase your chances of landing a meeting.
Immediately, the cold, unending reality of being a Vice President entered my mind ... the non-stop phone calls, the random individuals showing up in my office, the sales rep calling 15 execs hoping to land one meeting where he demanded that the other 14 execs be invited (that was Forrester Research), and then performing a victory lap around the table, celebrating his ability to navigate the labyrinth of corporate matrixed hierarchy. Naturally, IT took the bait on that one.
So I tweeted out the cartoon above. That's what I do on Twitter now. Nobody listens to anything anymore, so why not entertain?
Then I found out that people were listening.
- "This is my life, and I hate it."
- "These people are just throwing darts and don't care about my time."
- "I have to deal with 40 of these cold calls every single day."
I spent a year working for a vendor ... 2000, at Avenue A. I worked with two different people. Each person offered me an interesting quote that I never forgot.
- "It is my job to lie, it is your job to make my lies come true."
- "We aren't selling anything today. The reason I'm the best sales rep at this company is because I never sell. These people want to meet with me because I don't sell. Surprisingly, I learn what these people need, and then I find people like you to deliver a solution."
The sales rep in (2) was phenomenal. I traveled with him a few times. He didn't sell. He was invited into companies, where I witnessed Execs that you know open up their confidential information, share their secrets, and then hand over $750,000.
The person in (1) was like a sore tooth that few people wanted to be anywhere near.
Identify if your vendor partners are (1) or (2).
Throw (1) out the door.
Double-down your investment in (2).