Sales folks are a funny breed. It's a salesman's job to work to
convince you to buy his product. But he's only willing to do so much
The amount of work he's willing to do is vaguely correlated to the
amount of money he might make from you. For example, when I was at
BellSouth, if I called Empirix to get information on their product,
they wanted to get on a plane and come explain it to my. They heard
"BellSouth" and saw big dollar signs. The frustrating thing was that I
wanted answers today, not some future date after they fly to visit me.
Big companies (like large telephone carriers) get lots of attention
from the vendors. The vendors do tons of work — often for free — at
the hope that the big-company customer will buy lots.
But I work a lot with smaller companies too, and it's strange to see
the vendors balk at my request. Recently, a DSLAM vendor was
explaining his product to a smallish midwestern CLEC telephone company
I work with. There was one feature they had in particular — Option
0x82 support for bridged-mode DSL — and this telco would need to
depend on how that feature works. The salesman and his sales engineer
explained the features and benefits for us. But when we asked him to
give us some examples — packet captures, or configurations — they
complained. They did do some web searching for us, but never actually
provided us with hard information.
Fortunately, the CLEC is large enough that the vendor is providing
some evaluation hardware. This way, we can do the work and actually
prove out the feature.
But it's funny to get the complaint. They didn't understand that we're
really just asking for very detailed specifications of their product.
They admitted that they'd have to test it in a lab to give our answer,
but then tried to redirect us to the technical support organization.
Is the support organization going to do a better job of running the lab?