Dealing with aggressive vendors

By Sandra Rossi

IT shops, weary of cold-calling sales reps, are introducing some nifty techniques of their own to manage pesky IT vendors.

Analysts have seen the appointment of dedicated IT staffers that take on the role of being a single point of contact for organizations that want to manage vendor relationships.

Speaking at IBM Corp.’s user conference, Interaction 2003, in Sydney recently, IBS Australia Pty. Ltd. business development representative Stephen Matthews, said an “information lieutenant” can be appointed to oversee the barrage of e-mails and phone calls received from vendors.

The lieutenant then regularly reports back to the rest of the IT team with product information that has been received.

Matthews said cold callers are simply advised to send an e-mail with product information that is kept with all the other pitches and a brief e-mail reply is sent back to the vendor to confirm all correspondence.

“Retain the e-mail as a matter of record and present what has been collected to the rest of the team; if the vendor abuses the privilege by re-sending old stuff, then contact ends,” Matthews said. “The phone problem is also alleviated by this approach; the call is immediately taken care of, because the vendor has a central address to send information.”

Matthews said this process may be just a matter of information collection, but it means contact is more effectively managed and the product pitches can then be evaluated.