Thursday, May 08, 2008

Calling On Behalf Of...

I seem to be getting more and more telemarketing calls that start off with "Hi, I'm (insert name here) calling on behalf of (prominent vendor)."

Immediate bristling and rise in blood pressure occurs here.

I can't help it. It's just preposterous, to me. What can the hit rate for cold call prospects be - 0.1% tops? I have to suffer because a sales organization has run out of real work to do and has resorted to beating bushes and shooting at anything that flies out?

The puzzling part is that I have a Microsoft account team; I know who all of them are. They know what we need, and what is off-limits. I guess it's kind of an "oopsie" moment when I ask them to clarify what "on behalf of" means.

Me: "So you're with Microsoft?"
Them: "Yes."
Me: "Because I have a Microsoft account rep, who I just spoke to in e-mail yesterday about this. You're a Microsoft employee?"
Them: "On behalf of Microsoft, yes."
Me: "Well, I deal directly with a Microsoft account team. Thanks." (click)

The call today found me a bit less tolerant.

Them: "I'm so and so calling on behalf of Microsoft, working with the Exchange team, and would like to ask you a few questions."
Me: "Well, I deal directly with an account team at Microsoft; I don't deal with partners."
Them: "Well did you about Microsoft's security product called Frontline?"
Me: "Yes, we're not using it."
Them: "Well did you know that Microsoft has partnered with Nortel and (someone else)?"
Me: "They partner with just about everybody, yes."
Them: (pause) "Okay, then thank you."

Flabbergasting. What in the world can they possibly expect to come from a cold call, much less a cold call that has you hiding your own company's identity behind your partner's?

It's a good thing for Microsoft that there exist a lot of unknowledgeable, uncritical decision makers with large budgets and a susceptibility to FUD.

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