March 28, 2012

The Salesman End Run Around IT

In my 15 years as CIO, I've experienced a gamut of sales techniques - the "end of quarter deal never to be repeated", the "we're your partner and you always get our best price", and the selling of products that don't yet exist.

However, today I experienced one of the most reprehensible - The Salesman End Run Around IT.

Don't like the answer IT is giving you?  Go to the CFO and try to convince financial leadership that IT leadership is squandering budgets.

Here's the redacted email that the salesman sent the CFO.

"From: Storage Sales Specialist at a large company
Sent: Wednesday, March 28, 2012 9:00 AM
To:  BIDMC Chief Financial Officer
Subject: Lower Storage Costs

I am the Storage Sales rep for the Caregroup hospitals.  We have been working with healthcare organizations that are typically XXX shops and saving them $500,000+ in storage cost and associated resources. We will guarantee that we migrate your current environment to 50% or less storage.  The industry leading analyst group Gartner has named our storage as the leader.

Why am I reaching out to you?  I met with IT a few weeks ago and they told me they didn’t have the time or the resources to evaluate new technology and they were happy with XXX.  I know healthcare organization have to think smarter and get more value out of the IT dollar.  Our storage is easier to manage (we have customers who reduce admin by 90%+ with our storage), our storage is faster, highly available (ability to have five 9’s reliability for critical applications) and has superior service/support.

Can I schedule some time with you next week to go into detail on how our storage can make your IT budget go further and give your stakeholders the best experience they deserve?  Please let me know a time that fits your calendar.

Best Regards,

Storage Sales Specialist at a large company"

I completely respect the challenges of commissioned salespeople and the difficulty that large companies face in a lackluster economy.   However, there is no better way to sour a long term relationship than to bypass the usual lines of hierarchy in an organization via an end run.

This salesperson works at a company I respect a great deal, so I believe this is an example of rogue behavior.  However, I welcome your comments and feedback - have you experienced the end run and how have you responded to it?

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