I have learned that there is only one reason to talk to a salesperson when hiring an outsourcing company. That is to ask them 10 questions, so you can compare their answers to the technical manager to check for consistency. Most companies are dishonest, while others are just uncoordinated. I check for both when hiring. I just got off the phone with a salesperson who refused to answer most of my questions. He referred me immediately to the technical manager — he didn’t get any point deductions for integrity or accuracy reasons! Smart!
So, talk to salespeople as little as possible as a rule. But…
There is a rule of thumb when talking to salespeople. In my experience, the salespeople who were too slick, and too good at sales had teams who did NOT deliver the best results. On the other hand, those who had clunky sales people who had trouble giving answers to easy questions, also didn’t deliver well. Those who gave nonsense sounding answers turned out to be a nightmare. I also didn’t have good luck with very solid sounding corporate types who worked for a very reputable company. I talked to one guy who sounded smart, but who spoke in a sloppy way who delivered poorly as well. So, now we know who to avoid — so who do we NOT avoid?
Look for a point of contact who is a salesman who is not “salesman-ny” or “salesman-ish”. Basically, they should not come across as being too much of a salesperson. They should be more of a technical person who gives intelligent answers to your questions without using any psychological techniques to woo you into a contract. Find someone who is straight who is not too slick. A salesperson who is 70% technically oriented and 30% sales oriented is your guy (or gal).
Once you get more experience talking to people who do outsourcing, and seeing what type of results they deliver, this will become natural. Unfortunately, less than 10% of outsourcing companies out there are worth dealing with. You really need to find ways to learn how they deliver. If their website isn’t that nice, they probably don’t do nice work. A website is proof of a company’s finished work. If they don’t do good work for themselves, they will not do good work for you. If a company can not afford a good salesperson, they probably can not afford good service providers either. Learn to be shrewd. Your success in business depends on it!
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