Filed under: Content management
I’m working with a state government agency to help them select a CMS at the moment. The product is for their intranet, as part of a wholesale site redevelopment (much needed!).
They have an incumbent provider of enterprise solutions, one of the large vendors, who they’d like to evaluate alongside other offerings. (And no, being strictly vendor-neutral, I’m not going to mention the vendor in question, or the client for that matter.)
It’s been a while since I’ve seen this product, so it seemed like an ideal reason to get in touch to obtain a full demo of their current CMS offering. Looking through my records: no, don’t have a specific contact person for this vendor.
Ok, I guess I’ll just have to ring them up. Now the fun really starts.
The call is answered by someone clearly not in Australia, who asks me the nature of my call. “I’d like to talk to someone on the <product x> team.”
“Well, I’m going to have to ask you some questions first.” I then get the 20-questions treatment, asking me the nature of the project, the budget (can’t tell you), the name of the organisation (can’t tell you), when the decision will be made (hopefully early next year). I explain our role in the marketplace, and highlight some of the notable clients I feel should grab his attention (such as Westpac, BHP Billiton, federal government agencies, etc).
20 minutes later, he’s written all this down, and promises to “pass it on”. Two days later, he rings me back to “check on the details”, and we go through the whole lot again.
A week later, I get a phone message from someone at the vendor. I return the call, and go through the 20 questions again, asked in a different way. I’m informed that if I can’t reveal who the client is, it’s “difficult” for them to provide me with an actual contact. They’ll look into it, and will get back to me in a few days. I’m assured that they “aren’t trying to be difficult”, but that isn’t the way it seems to me.
So a week-and-half later, I don’t know anything more about their product, and the clock is ticking. Fail.
It seems this vendor has very carefully put in place processes to prevent potential customers from talking to them, unless they’re deemed “important enough”. I certainly felt like I was the one who had to prove myself, instead of them trying to sell to me.
It’s a funny way of doing business, and it makes me wonder:
Are the big vendors hungry enough for new business?
I get one-hour responses from most vendors within Australia, and regularly receive demos from them. I’ve had vendor CEO’s showing up to walk through products. But not from the really big enterprise vendors, where it’s consistently hard to even find someone to talk to, let alone to get information from.
What have your experiences been?