The Five Signs of Vendor PhoneSpam and How to Stop It

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					The Five Signs of Vendor PhoneSpam and How to Stop It
By Stewart Levin, Principal Consultant,

Vendor PhoneSpam is the constant dialing of your office phone
number by a sales person in the attempt to determine if you are (or
know) the decision maker who could possibly be interested in buying
the salesperson’s product.

The Five Signs of Vendor PhoneSpam

!    You do not answer your phone
     during business hours (external

!    When you do answer your phone,
     you find yourself speaking to a

!    You spend more time deleting
     vendor voicemail messages than
     listening to voicemail that
     pertains to your job/business.

!    You have multiple “hang-ups” on
     your voicemail with no message.

!    Your receptionist/assistant
     spends too much of their time
     dealing with vendor calls and
     regularly reports of vendor
     salespersons that were rude,
     abusive or devious in their
     attempts to reach you.

Vendor PhoneSpam is the result of businesses making it more
difficult for unsolicited vendors to cold call their employees. Most
have adopted numerous defensive policies and technologies
(voicemail, vendor management teams, etc.) Unfortunately the net
effect of these measures has been to create large amounts of
busywork for the support staff, shuffling vendor e-mails, information
parcels, taking messages.

Faced with these defenses, most salespersons, comply with
whatever is requested of them by their target customers. However,
experience shows them the best way for them to start a sales cycle
is by talking with a “decision maker.” This is an accurate perception.

So they look for ways to outmaneuver your defensive strategies and
call 15 other people in your company by gleaning their names and
titles from various resources on the Internet, from their marketing
programs or from other divisions in their company.

Even if that person has nothing to do with their product or service,
with sufficient social engineering, a referral to the right person can
be obtained.

What contributes to this effort and stacks the deck in the favor of
the unsolicited vendor crowd are three advantages that vendors
have over your vendor management teams: Vendor Fatigue, Vendor
Motivation, Vendor Training.

Vendor Fatigue

The sheer number of phone calls
and e-mail from unsolicited
vendors usually overwhelms
most support staff. Small
wonder! Unsolicited vendors as a
whole outnumber your support
staff (and sometimes your
company employees!) by a 10-1

Let’s assume a conservative
figure of 25-50 businesses that
target your company, assuming
that they have 1-5 salespersons
assigned to your account, that
means your company faces 25 to 250 calls each day. Add in those
additional vendors who are alerted to your presence by your
marketing department’s press releases or news events in the press
and you find your support staff wilting a bit under the pressure.

After your first 500 vendor calls, “vendor fatigue” sets in for most
support staff. This means that their efforts focus more on avoiding
conflict and getting the vendor off their phone as soon as possible,
even if this means referring them to another employee in the

Vendor Motivation
                          Unsolicited Vendors have a stronger
                          motivation than most support staff.
                          Salespeople must sell or lose their jobs.
                          They are under pressure to produce or

                          Contrast this motivation with the
                          motivation of those employed to keep
                          them out, or at least controlled.

                          Traditionally this task has fallen to the
                          receptionist, executive assistant, or the
                          procurement department. Each of these
                          has higher priorities than babysitting the
                          hordes of salespeople calling them daily.

This puts them at a disadvantage as they are merely completing a
task, but the vendor is trying to survive.

Vendor Training
Look up Sales Training on the internet and you will find at least
134,000,000 references to people who want to teach your sales team
how to sell better; how to penetrate accounts; how to leverage or co-
opt support staff to get your message to the decision maker.

They have deconstructed the entire sales process from cold call to
final signatures and are willing to spend days and weeks teaching
vendor salespersons how to accomplish their goals in their time

For most support staff and vendor management teams, when you talk
vendor management processes you are talking about how to manage
vendors that you have engaged or gathered for a bidding process.
There are not many solutions out there for unsolicited vendor
management besides So most support staff has
very little training on how to handle unsolicited vendors.

Killer Combination
So, being outmotivated, undertrained, and
suffering from fatigue, it should come as no
surprise that in the matchup between
unsolicited vendors and support staff, the
vendors “win.”

Unfortunately that means that everyone

Vendors lose as companies become more
difficult to call/sell into and your company
loses valuable time and productivity on the
behalf of your support staff.

The Costs

Most of the costs dealing with unsolicited vendors are soft costs,
                        taking up time and attention, rather than
                        dollars. These costs occur in four areas:

                        !    Reception
                        !    CTO/CIO/Procurement
                        !    Collateral Damage Areas
                        !     Executive

                        The best way to figure these costs is to add
                        up the time spent on the phone with vendors
                        plus the time spent deleting their voicemails
                        and e-mails, then multiplying this times all
                        the people affected. When you add in the
                        additional costs in terms of employee morale,
                        delayed projects, and disrupted schedules,
you begin to get a good view of the cost impact of unsolicited vendor
calls upon your organization.

What Can Do for Your Company
This brings us to Yes, for the last ten years, I was
one of those unsolicited vendors haunting your phones, leaving
messages, circumventing your vendor management teams, and co-
opting your support staff to help me sell my products.

As the years rolled on I began to see patterns in the way my calls
were handled – which companies had the best vendor engagement
policies and which did not. And began theorizing what made which
policies effective and which led to more confusion.

I began to identify a set of ideas and policies of making the process
easier for both vendor and
customer that would be more
effective for both groups.
Finally, when the time seemed
right, I launched to offer
some viable options to meet
the needs of both unsolicited
vendors and corporations
trying to deal with the
problems caused by cold call
campaigns. is a
consultative service to
corporations seeking to
improve their response to
unsolicited vendors. We do
not want to replace your
current vendor management
efforts, but to offer effective tactics to quickly engage and qualify
potential vendors as being valuable to your company – or not,
without encouraging them to call further into you company.

We offer vendor handling training for support staff and can offer a
wide variety of strategies for those in the process of devising a
vendor management effort who wish to avoid some of its possible
What Won’t Do For Your Company
                           Most companies that provide Vendor
                           Management solutions want to take over
                           the process and insert themselves or have
                           you outsource your vendor management
                           process to them, including such things as
                           contract management, bidding process,
                           and service level agreements.

                  focuses on improving
                           unsolicited vendor handling due to the
                           fact that most all-in one vendor
                           management solutions actually add to the
                           problems created by unsolicited vendor

                          We go further than these solutions,
                          providing proactive as well as reactive
                          elements to our strategy and we tackle
                          the problem from both vendor as well as
customer perspectives. This enables you to improve your overall
business by removing distractions from those who can least afford

So consider giving us a call, lets talk about your situation and how we
can help.


Stewart Levin
Principal Consultant

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