Report shows IT directors' concern over sales tactics

IT directors are concerned that some software suppliers' sales teams are being "economical with the truth", according to a report by analyst group Ovum.

IT directors are concerned that some software suppliers' sales teams are being "economical with the truth", according to a report by analyst group Ovum.

The report, into sales tactics used by software suppliers, lends weight to the frustrations expressed by CIOs in Computer Weekly's special edition on software licensing last week, which found little evidence of licences offering better value than in the past.

Ovum highlighted a series of poor practices by software sales teams, particularly the long-standing tendency to overhype the product.

One common source of frustration was that suppliers were too often unwilling to admit their product did not support a particular user requirement.

David Mitchell, practice leader at Ovum, said that rather than admit that a function was not supported, salespeople tended to say functionality "could be achieved through integration".

In another example, a user felt the sales team was naive in suggesting that buying a software bundle would solve a compliance issue.

Related to this was ignorance on the part of the sales team about the products. In some cases covered in the report, user businesses were more aware of the functionality within the product than the supplier's sales staff, said Mitchell.

Sales teams driven by the need to meet sales targets, rather than appreciating the buying cycle of the user, were a particular source of frustration.

The report highlighted a company that awarded a £2m enterprise software contract to a supplier whose product was more expensive and not as good a business fit as a rival product.

The preferred product was rejected because the supplier had tried to accelerate the sale to meet its financial year end, rather than adhering to the buyer's timescales. The supplier had also tried to put personal pressure on the senior executive team at the company.

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