I Am Not a Good Lead

March 26th, 2009 10 Comments

Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross

Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross

New this week, cold calls from innovation and strategy consultancies.

Maybe it’s a function of a crappy economy, or maybe I happen to be an easy to find contact at Oracle. For whatever reason, I’m now fielding calls from consultancies who want to help Oracle with innovation or Web/Enterprise 2.0 adoption or social media or brand management.

Or all of the above.

In the past, we’ve received lots of cold pings from companies via the contact form. If you left a note and waited for a response, I have an excuse. The form was broken for several months. That, and I don’t have budget or authority to engage any outside services. Sorry.

I also get email from vendors pretty often, which I mostly ignore. Again, sorry.

The recent twist is companies are calling me directly, on my work number and on my cell phone.

I don’t mind that much. This isn’t a rant.

I feel a little bad because I’m not lying when I say I really and truly have no power, no budget and no spending authority. I’m not kidding. Plus, Oracle is a huge company, and we have internal equivalents of most of the products and services pitched to me, which makes it a hard-sell to go outside the company, even if the said products and services are really great.

Is this a harbinger of the horrible economy, or a sign of something else?

Honestly, I feel bad for the people who call me. I try to be helpful because I understand. I briefly worked in business development at a startup during the waning days of the OB (original bubble), and I understand how hard it is to get your message heard by the right people.

And so far, no one has been rude when I give the bad news.

So, if you’re out on the ‘tubes with a company affiliation, do you get cold-pings like this a lot? Have you noticed an uptick lately? If so, why do you think?

Find the comments.


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10 Responses to “I Am Not a Good Lead”

  1. John E. Bredehoft (Empoprises) Says:

    I have not noticed an uptick in cold calls, but my name is (quite literally) not out on the tubes to a great degree, and when it is, it's not necessarily connected to my day job.

    Most of my cold calls come via email and snail mail. I did have one person who called me once a month to pitch his consulting service, but he eventually gave up when he realized that I am just a small cog in a Fortune 500 company and can only provide the bureaucratic response (contact headquarters and get on the approved outside vendor list).

  2. Jake Says:

    I'm about the same. Lots of email, from here and direct, but the calls are new for me, especially to my cell phone. I don't really care (yet), since I get more calls from that factory warranty bot than anyone else. Still, where did he get that number?

    Anyway, I chalk it up to being a semi-public persona. I do think they're increasing in frequency though.

  3. Mark Coleman Says:

    Hi Jake,
    I'm the Operations Manager for my company so I've noticed a big uptick in calls. I added it up one day and after 10 cold calls and the obligatory “what's your environment and what's going on” to only tell them we weren't interested, I had spent an hour and a half on the phone fielding calls. Since I'm also the DBA and the unix admin in addition to my management duties, I couldn't deal with that. I changed my voice mail to include a message declaring our spending freeze, purchasing freeze, project freeze and started letting every call go to voice mail.
    Best move I've made so far. I hated to do it because I know those guys are just trying to make a living too, but any work that doesn't get done during the day gets done from home at night. Have to sleep sometime.

  4. Glenn Says:

    I thought WE were the Web 2.0 company?

    Anyway, I've gotten those kinds of calls too, and I have less authority than you do Jake. I swear all of the calls end with, “Do you know PHP?”

  5. Jake Says:

    Yeah, I don't use that as a my lead though, since “I have no budget” works really well.

  6. Jake Says:

    Good tip. I may have to change my name to Jake “I have no budget for your service/product/offering/solution” Kuramoto.

    I like how you've produced a measurable loss in productivity due to telling them no. That's a pretty compelling argument. That may change my approach to a more aggressive no to save time.

  7. John E. Bredehoft (Empoprises) Says:

    It's surprising how much information can get out on the tubes. Even when I was trying to remain pseudononymous, I'd attend some meeting or another, and the sign-up sheet would be posted online.

    In addition, I have an account associated with my church that maps to my personal e-mail account. That church account gets a lot of spam targeting churches.

  8. John E. Bredehoft (Empoprises) Says:

    Mark, I like the idea of a voice mail message declaring our spending freeze, purchasing freeze, project freeze. However, the most effective solution might be, “Hello, we're undergoing layoffs. Please leave your contact information so I can send you a resume.” Soliciting them back will stop the messages entirely. :)

  9. Jake Says:

    Anonymity and privacy are delusion if you have a computer and it's ever touched the 'tubes.

  10. Jake Says:

    I <3 that idea. I may have to borrow it.

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