Having been in the IT business for over 15 years, we are very familiar with the quick quote artist and the slow or nonexistent reply reseller.
Recently we had a request for a very particular piece of software that required a quote from an authorized dealer. So as many customers we approached this very prestigious three letter Big Board traded company. Knowing we would not get past their elaborate phone tree we went directly for their online chat. We were quickly given the name of the product that would fulfill the needs of our customer.
We then clicked on all the authorized partners in the area and proceeded to contact them and request a quote. Now this is were our story takes a terrible turn. Of the 10 resellers we contacted only two returned our call. None returned any of our e-mails, two of the resellers had never heard of this three letter high availability storage leader of which had listed them has dealers of their products.
The one reseller who did contacts us said they would request a quote for the industrial distributor ( located in Arizona) and would revert to us shortly. Well after two days he was not able to get the distributor to answer his request. We have accounts with Ingram Micro, D&H, Synnex and can login or e-mail our sales rep with the part number and get a quote in minutes. Why this was so difficult is beyond me.
After three days the sales rep had given up and referred me to his sale engineers who had a work around for us. Granted the work around is functional but as the factory I would be upset that the reseller was not able to quote us the $2k software which would be 98% profit to the manufacturer.
The solution to this problem is very simple. Periodically drill down your list of published resellers on your website and conduct a little blind shopper experiment. If this is the first line of introduction the public will have to your product line you want qualified, competent and quick responding companies on the front lines. I understand that in small or medium size companies when there has a been a growth explosion or resources are low this will be difficult to conduct even on a quarterly basis. But when a company has over 50,000 employees worldwide and they still do not perform this fact finding task, I think that they are not focused on new or growing their business and are comfortable with their current earnings and stock price. Lets face it the typical investor in this stock will never see its products face to face or ever interact with the company.
So why is it that they have a 10% higher price target than their current stock price? It makes me think that their PR firm is telling a much different story than those of us in trenches are experiencing. This is not our firms first time experiencing this type of corporate mismanagement but when a company has the means and the personnel to correct the problem….what are they waiting for?