Thoughts ...

It’s all about your audience

I wish I was paid to speak to supplier and sales people, it’s what I say when they cold call me asking what big projects I am working on this year or what pain points I am suffering – that they can help me with? I wish I had the confidence to say ‘pain points? – Yes this call is one of them’

In the context of receiving cold calls from sales people, one of the big things I’ve picked up is that they don’t understand that no two organisation are the same. Organisations all suffer differing requirements and issues and require a unique approach in solving their issues. The honest truth is what makes them different is the audience and the market place they conduct business in. 

… decisions I made years ago would be different to decisions I would make today…


The audience is always different, some of us call them ‘stakeholders’ – some call them something else. In a hierarchical view it starts from the top, what direction does an organisation go is based upon the market they work in? And what external influences affect their direction? (Consumers, public or even government) It’s either all about stakeholder value, stock value or purely providing the best transparent and most cost effective service to the public. 

The hierarchical structure then flows down to directors and head of teams to take this and transfer it into activities, projects and embed as ethics, values and behaviours to ensure we are all going in the right direction. This is where it all differs, where skills sets, hidden agendas and prioritisation are elements that maps an approach where compared to similar organisation ensures they are all different.

The older I get the wiser I get –  decisions I made years ago would be different to decisions I would make today. As I have realised that the information I have now is much richer and more accurate than then. 

Making informed decisions is a difficult call if you don’t have the right information. I’ve had to make decisions based on the data available at the time, sometimes it’s been great information but most of the time the information is tainted with bias and the illusion that certain individuals want to share something that they think seems right and accurate at the time. It cracks me up when I even do this and then find myself backtracking thinking ‘I hope they didn’t take what I said seriously … ‘ until they do. 

Most of us want to included, liked and be involved, I guess this comes from our pre-historic genes when we were cave men and women – we want to be part of a group and didn’t want to out there fending for ourselves. We all suffer and want to be like Archimedes and what to bring the ‘Eureka’  moment to conversations – anticipating all the back-slapping and well done from colleagues in figuring it our and saving the day!

Oh, I wish I could get paid for speaking to sales people on the phone for a living

Last Friday I spent 3 hours in a briefing meeting provided by a supplier to provide a background to a new form of technology we were moving towards. Now 3 hours is a long time, so I was hoping to get out after an hour and a half but to no avail – we had entered the twilight zone of a sales session. I recall mentioned to colleagues afterwards ‘I really don’t mind being sold to, as long as I don’t know – I’m being sold to!’ and I was.

A couple of things were really obvious off the bat, the presenter was speaking from a note book he tried inconspicuously to carry around the room and secondly his content really didn’t  relate to what we wanted or even referenced how we currently worked?

A lot of suppliers feel they have a ’silver bullet’ for all problems and in some cases where there isn’t a problem – How do you deal with this? 

In receiving cold calls I sometimes try and make light of the conversation and try something they don’t expect to hear. 

On receiving a call today to attend a round-table event to discuss the pros and cons of a particular issue facing the IT industry on Thursday evening at fantastic venue in the city with dinner and wine, I thought ‘oh no, not again’ – I politely declined to which I heard what I always hear, it must be part of the standard script that most sales people use, ‘would you think anyone else would be interested in attending?’  

I paused, thought and said ‘yes, my brother and sister-in-law would love to attend … they always like a free meal in somewhere posh that they’ve never been before’. 

There was a silence on the phone … followed by ‘ do they work with you?’  

… Oh, I wish I could get paid for speaking to sales people on the phone for a living.

Photo credit: Jesper Rønn-Jensen / Foter / CC BY-SA