This past week I’ve been attempting to contact technology companies that do sales enablement or some sort of sales force automation, in order to add Buying Facilitation® to the front end as a ‘buying enablement’ capability. Imagine enablement software that could enter the buying decision journey earlier to add the human side of decision making into the work flow! Good idea, right? I think so. And so I made all these cold calls to find tech companies who agree with me and want to partner.
I usually like cold calling. Not this time: It’s virtually impossible to get through. Either you must put a (known) name into the dial-a-name (which works only half the time), or leave a message on the switchboard voice mail. Those are the options. Even though they say to push ‘0’ for the operator, there is no operator anymore, just voice mail. Once in a while someone actually answers, but that doesn’t work either, as I explain below.
WHY ARE COMPANIES NOT TAKING CALLS?
What is all this about? In my mind, it means companies don’t want new callers or new business. I’ve been told I’m wrong, that companies really want you to email them so they can route (and I expect follow) you email through their system. That’s right: it’s all about them. But even this is so confusing to me: if it’s all about them, how do they deterimine what will bring them success if they are just managing emails from contact sheets or disembodied voice mails on switchboard answering machines?
What happens with these voice mails they receive? How do they know what to do with them? Do they just return only those calls that will get them business? What if I were a prospect? What if I were a possible partner – like me? How would they choose to speak with me or not? Would they ignore me if they weren’t familiar with my name? And does that make me/my material less valid or user friendly? How much business do they lose this way? How many solid business partners do they ignore? How do they know that there might be some ‘gold’ in a new opportunity?
What if it were a customer with a problem or complaint – do they ignore this person? Is there a special number for customers to call with problems, or do they just give up and find a company with a real person answering the phone?
And who, may I ask, listens to the messages to determine who gets called back and who gets ignored? Do they have someone sitting by the phone, collecting voice mail messages to look up callers to see if they are worthy of a return call? Is it a senior vice president who can discern problems and possibilities, or a junior person who has a rule book in front of her and just puts calls into categories?
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN COMPANIES ARE INSULAR?
I don’t understand how businesses grow, change, add, collaborate, partner unless they are accessable to the outside world. I remember the days when people/companies wanted folks to call them. And I suspect it will go back the other way once again.
Today a receptionist told me to hang up and get online and fill out the contact sheet on their site and someone would get back. “Really?” I said. “I’ve tried that and no one returns my call.” “Oh. Well. There is nothing else I can tell you. I’m just following the rules: if you don’t have a specific name to give me, I can’t find anyone for you.”
So what are they getting from this closed door policy? I sure don’t know. Obviously my material is a perfect fit for some sales enablement groups. I guess they will have to find me. Because they have beaten me down. Far too painful to break through their screens. And I sure hope they are getting what they want from this type of activity.
Who knows? Maybe I’m the only person frustrated!
For those interested in hearing me and my friend Mark Sellers discuss both ends of the Buying Decision Journey, join us on August 19 for a live webinar. You’ll even be able to ask questions!