With so many competing IT outsourcers vying for your attention, some are resorting to shoddy sales tactics to try and win your business.
IT outsourcing is big business with more and more companies relying on IT support services.
But choosing the right IT support services supplier is a fraught process; choosing the wrong one could have serious ramifications for your business’ operations and even customer relations. Being able to spot a ‘bad one’ then is imperative before signing on the dotted line – and the best place to start looking for warning signs is during initial sales meetings. Watch out for the following ‘bad personas’...
The Powerpoint Warrior
Slides, so many slides.
Be wary of the sales rep who appears to be in love with the power of, well, Powerpoint. A rep trying to bamboozle you with fancy graphics and often vapid, stat-driven content and brightly-coloured pie charts should be treated warily – are they actually able to talk to you after the presentation and answer specific questions, or does the meeting dry up once the laptop has been powered down?
If the latter, then walk away; an IT support services supplier being so wedded to a ‘script’ is a bad sign. Better still, stipulate before the meeting that you don’t want presentations, but a frank and open discussion about your IT needs. Stuff the guff.
The ‘Me, Me, Me’ Rep
You have a selection of specific IT issues that need resolving – and the potential IT supplier will have ascertained what they are before the initial sales meeting. The problem is that they have a portfolio of specific products/services and they want to sell these to you, so they list the features of these products instead of telling you how to get the results you require.
So the reps end up trying to bend your needs to their own business strategy. If the sales team appears unable or unwilling to sit down and listen to you at the beginning of the meeting and then form their pitch round your needs, then what are they going to be like once you’ve signed up for their services?
The Vanishing VIP
The IT supplier’s head honcho is coming to see you, yes, you and your company at the very first sales meeting. You’re that special, that important to them. The VIP enters, makes grand promises about being personally involved with your account. And then disappears – never to be seen again once the contract has been signed. Well, they are very important people, don’t forget.
To truly test a potential IT supplier’s commitment to you and your business, best to ask the provider to bring along contact details of one of their customers instead so you can ask them directly about the supplier’s past service, or to see examples of work that they’ve done for another client.
The ‘Foreign’ Correspondent
Savvy, regular news watchers and readers will have noticed that some cash-strapped news outlets have an incredible breadth of correspondents making up their staff – from ‘US correspondent’ and ‘financial correspondent’ to ‘home affairs correspondent’ to ‘cricket correspondent’. The problem? Over time, it transpires that they’re all the same person; a veritable jack of all trades – and master of none. So how can you trust their opinion?
It’s a malaise that can be pushed on to you by a sales team too; a rep who is given a suitably impressive specialist title and has an informed overview of a particular area but is by no means specialised enough to answer your queries. To check if the sales team is trying to pull the wool over your eyes, test the ‘specialist’ by asking them specific, highly technical questions about their field of ‘expertise’ – if they flounder, enjoy watching them squirm. Before showing them the door.
The Contract Killer
You’ve spent hours hammering out the finer points of the deal with the sales team, sweating over the details; ideally, it’s the culmination of the sales process where both parties will walk out of that final meeting, happy they both have the right deal in place.
And then the contract arrives – and it’s nothing like what you’ve hammered out. New terms and conditions and small print have been inserted, leaving you with the choice of either starting all over again – or walking away. We recommend the latter.