Today we were working hard from Cisco’s offices in Didsbury, they’d kindly been hosting us whilst we were doing a bit of training with our account manager and we did some dreaded cold calling.

For you IT managers who sit on the receiving end of these calls, I am afraid I sympathise, I spent much of the early part of my career as an IT manager fending off people calling me trying to sell me stuff when I was trying to get on with work. Worryingly, I used to fend off people trying to sell me virtualisation, server consolidation, disaster recovery and unified communications! I used to say we weren’t big enough – how wrong I was!…

However, we’re doing this really exciting thing of building a new company which has its own identity and it’s destined to be different. Okay, I’m very much on board with that idea as you’d expect – but my problem is how do we get any discerning potential IT manager client to even talk to us, let alone believe our strategy and direction for the company.

We’ve took on board a lot of what we’ve been coached to do by various suppliers and advisors – so we’ve sent out some relatively powerful email shots, designed with the power of an MBA no less, to various lists we have. I don’t know about you, my junk mail filter is pretty good and I’m starting to not see any marketing emails whatsoever – and I do also get a lot of them. Then we’re following them up with a phone call.

What we’ve found is that few of these messages are getting through and of course, the minute you mention Cisco the first response is the potential client breaths through their teeth and says expensive!

That hasn’t been true in sometime, well, okay it is true, sort of, but not really. Cisco have two very distinct product lines – Cisco Classic and Cisco Small Business. I’ll give you one is expensive (though probably better off saying, feature rich, bomb proof and enterprise class). Cisco Small Business is as you may expect, much more affordable and is still pretty feature rich and bomb proof. People seem to forget that Linksys was purchased by Cisco and there was a merger of product lines and Linksys business products plus some existing products that Cisco had become Cisco Small Business. What’s more, is that there are also a myriad of new products in the portfolio as well as a few we’re helping beta test that will dispel any myth with regards to Cisco being expensive.

We can also do some very clever things!

The question is… how do we let all you discerning IT managers and business owners know that and know the benefits of Cisco Unified Communication for Small and Medium Businesses in Scotland and the North West. Answers on a postcard!

Wait a minute…maybe I could blog about it!

However the point is, and I’ve taken my own advice here – the next time you get a cold call and the receptionist is passing the call through to you and you’re asking them to take a message or whatever your standard “bin ’em” tactic is why not let one or two through – you can always say you’re not interested after they’ve done a quick pitch. To be fair, that’s how I did end up with my best suppliers when I was an IT manager and you could always put it down to doing a charitable thing each day and feel good about it!