Every now and then, I have to blow off a bit of steam. I am after all only human. As you might have read, I am trying to find out more of the lay of the land here in central & eastern Europe around ETRM solutions. There are actually 5 or 6 local vendors that say they offer such solutions and have installed bases in the region. Now, maybe I am naive, but you would think that if ComTech call a vendor or send an email, someone would be interested in responding? After all, we only recommend to solutions to end users, disseminate information about vendors to the market and provide one of the best channels to market in the form of this website right? It doesn’t cost anything but time to speak with us, give us a briefing or a quick demonstration and there almost certainly will be a blog article following that may actually drive some inbound inquiries….. you would think.
But not here. Not in this part of the world. Nope.
Before you think I am just full of my own self importance in being miffed about this let me add another dimension. What if I were a prospect calling or emailing? How would I fell at the treatment you get in trying to contact one of these vendors?
By the way, this isn’t something limited to CEE either. Trust me, I have ranted about this before.
So I have called three of the vendors this morning after emailing them all yesterday…. here is how those calls went. You be the judge.
Hello, (firm name), how can I help you?
Yes, I’d like to speak with someone in marketing or someone who is responsible for your energy trading & risk management software please
And who are you?
Gary explains he’s an analyst and covers the space.
So you don’t actually know anyone at our firm?
No, I don’t – that’s why I am calling
I’m sorry, I can’t put you through to anyone if you don’t have a name for me
OK – I see on your website, XXXX XXXX is responsible for sales. Can I speak to them?
Do you know him?
No, I don’t.
I’m sorry, I can’t help you
Gary – now a tad frustrated… You know, am I right in thinking you actually sell your software?
OK – so then how do I speak to someone if I don’t know anyone and yet I am interested in your software?
Which software are you interested in?
Your Energy Trading and risk management software….
Hmmmm. I don’t know who is responsible for that but you can send an email to our general email address and we will reply.
I already did – no one replied.
Well, perhaps you should try again.
I have sent three or four already.
Well Sir, if you don’t know the person you need to speak to I can only suggest you send in an email.
OK – So I get it. I’m talking to a receptionist who isn’t fluent in English. She has no idea what an analyst is nor what we do and the fact I don’t know anyone there is a red flag that I want to sell them something?? Maybe? Otherwise, I’m confused. I thought software companies were in the business of selling software? I thought talking to an influencer in the marketplace was a good thing to do? When I was VP of Marketing for an ETRM firm, I would have killed to speak to an analyst…….
I am forced to conclude after many years of contacting vendors like this that the vast majority of them (not all – some are truly excellent and skilled at directing inbound inquiries), need to spend some time, money and effort training their receptionists….
BTW – if you are based in the region and have a solution – please contact me and save me the stress – gary at comtechadvisory dot com.
Also – if you are a user or a consultant, please do take our short survey here.