What do you do to get a better class of vendor cold-calls?

I posted this the other day on LinkedIn:

Now that I’m the head of IT, I get an impressive array of sales folks calling, emailing, and trying to connect via LinkedIn. I’m more than willing to talk to someone who’s coming in via an introduction, but the cold calls I almost always ignore.

That said, I appreciate that there’s potentially valid information in sales and marketing outreach, and I do find a few of these cold-calls useful or interesting. Sometimes the contact will be from a technology company I’ve heard is doing great things. Sometimes it’s a recruiter who shows some sensitivity or expertise re: our hiring market.

Unfortunately, the overall yield of valid contacts isn’t great. Is there anything that you’ve done to improve that yield?

There are a number of decent comments, but no magic bullet. Any ideas?

Asking vendors partnership-promoting questions

As I closed my Q&A with Gary Cohen, I asked about working with oursourced resources.   Service and technology providers are integral parts of many projects, but too often I see them treated like arms-length vendors rather than true partners. 

  • Crossderry: What kind of questions should we ask consultants and vendors to reinforce to them — and to other stakeholders — that we are all in this together?
  • Gary Cohen: To encourage partnership with consultants, I recommend asking the following questions:
    * What risks are there to you if the project fails?
    * What opportunity costs are you giving up in order for us to work together?
    * What would like to hear me say to you a month after the project has been completed? What praise, in other words, would signify the optimal outcome?
    * What might prevent you from hearing that praise?
    * What can I do to help you achieve the optimal outcome?
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