"It's been a long time since I've heard from you..."

"It's been a long time since I've heard from you..."

Summary: It was this ominous line that opened my conversation with my CDW-G rep who called me this evening. It felt a bit Godfather-esque for my tastes, especially after a day of talking to sales types.


It was this ominous line that opened my conversation with my CDW-G rep who called me this evening. It felt a bit Godfather-esque for my tastes, especially after a day of talking to sales types. However, I took the bait and let her know that we've been in a budget freeze, so haven't been able to make any significant purchases.

"So you bought some HP equipment a while ago..." I guess I should be glad that she's reading my blog, since I didn't buy the HP equipment from CDW, but I felt a flash of the guilt she intended. "Did you buy directly from HP or from another reseller?" I didn't bother reminding her that the HP Channel Partner (fancy HP-speak for a value-added reseller) from whom we purchased this last round of HP equipment blew them away on a bid almost three years ago, establishing a long-term relationship for purchasing HP hardware. I did tell her, however, that we had a Channel Partner with whom we worked when we were able to make purchases.

She went on, making it clear that she needed to sell more to us, noting that she "wasn't doing very good." Of course, at this point, the only thing she was doing well was irritating me. As she asked me about whether we had any federal or state grants to spend, I started to feel like I was in a cheap used car lot, rather than than acting as the Director of Technology for our school district.

I finally cut her off and let her know that she needn't call me, but that I would call her if I needed anything from CDW-G. As I hung up, I was pretty ticked off: it isn't my responsibility to help her meet her quotas. It's her responsibility to meet my needs when I have them.

CDW-G has always earned my business because they have everything I need in terms of accessories and miscellaneous hardware and they are on the state contract, making procurement fairly easy. Reading this blog to determine my purchasing patterns does not earn my business. Guess who's also on the state contract? GovConnection, among many others. GovConnection, like CDW-G, has a huge selection of a variety of equipment. The usual suspects (Dell, HP, Lenovo, etc.) are all on the contract, too. Later, CDW.

Topics: Browser, Hewlett-Packard

Christopher Dawson

About Christopher Dawson

Chris Dawson is a freelance writer, consultant, and policy advocate with 20 years of experience in education, technology, and the intersection of the two.

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  • She asked about your availible spending?

    That has to be the strangest approach to trying to get a client to buy something I've heard of thus far. "So tell me, do you have any money lying around that you'd want to use to buy our product?" I would have hung up right then, so good job on at least being civil about it!

    EDIT: Now that I think about it, the fact that she told you she 'wasn't doing well' is absolutely insane! Again, nice job on staying even remotely civil, because I don't think that I would have reacted the same way to this phone call...
    • Car Sales Tactics

      When my husband and I were shopping for our first car, we were looking at Toyota Corollas. When the salesman found out where I worked (an employer known for good salaries), he insisted we look at the bigger, more expensive Camry. We indulged him with a test drive, but still preferred the thriftier Corolla. He wouldn't let the Camry thing drop. So we bought a Honda Civic.
    • So what????

      Most any vendor familiar with K12 will ask that question in some form or another. They know how the funding works (or should).
  • RE: CDW-G Sales

    We haven't heard from our CDWG rep is probably at least 8 months, or probably more. We've been buying stuff from other vendors, since CDWG doesn't apparently want our Library's business. Too bad, they could've quoted on the network switches we bought last year. Oh well, their Loss.
  • Never get a sales call before?

    While she may have done it poorly, she was trying to encourage you to make a purchase from them and remember CDW-G. It seems she failed in that regards. The last thing one wants to do is tick off a customer and she appears to have succeeded. Now you wrote about it in your blog... She won't like that.
    • She won't like that.

      And no doubt that was at least partly the intention in writing about the incident. She needs to learn subtelty and sales tact if she wants any sales tactics to work. Or she just isn't cut out for sales!
  • RE: CDW

    Must be a push they're having at CDW since I just got a call from my rep yesterday too.

    Ever notice how prices seem to fluctuate between vendors, at different times each one can be lower. That's usually the one I go with.
  • Just bear in mind please...

    Being in Virginia, we are constantly harassed from the Civil
    War dogma, which ended generations ago though it lingers
    today and those of us in the state still suffer. So, with Bids
    for solutions on the New Media Classroom frontier to me are
    more something as international battlegrounds when say the
    Chinese win over American small businesses by slashing
    their quote by 50%. That's a scary thought to me!
  • I imagine as the economy gets worse

    desperation will increase proportionally. Yah, sales calls are annoying. But being unemployed is worse and I'm sure the sales person would really like to avoid that too.
    • Channel Partners Gone

      I wonder if there will be more than a couple channel partners at the end of the current economic depression?
      Too Old For IT
  • "Excuse the interruption, Mr Dasha1"

    Our researchers show you as living in Virginia. Now we know and understand how much stress is involved in reconstructing the south since the recent end of the Civil War and we have developed a brand new product that we feel will work wonders at releiving your stress.

    We would like to send you instructions for "SCREEN BE GONE" at the low introductory price of only $9.99 (US dollars only).

    ... *click*
    • That'd be

      "the late unpleasantness"

      Carpetbagging since the late unpleasantness.

  • RE: typical sales call

    Sorry Chris, but that was a typical sales call. She did do it poorly though. Her two major mistakes were both relative to the HP purchase, first that she forgot your channel partner out-bid her (don't they have CRM software to remember that stuff?) second that she brought it up in such a snide manner. As for CDW-G, we stopped using them two years ago because their follow-up was very delayed and their warranty procedures were sorely lacking. I have no patience for someone whose job it is to sell me stuff taking 2-3 days to respond to a quote request for everyday equipment. I do maintain my online account on their website so I can get comparison prices to keep GovConnection honest.
    Keep up the good work. On a side note, you can still get a decent deal on 17" iMacs, so don't go too cheap.
  • RE: Must be nice

    Must be nice to be able to purchase from CDWG. I have always found them more expensive then any other reseller, exceptions being occasional special offers on discontinued monitors. My school district has an account with them but never purchases large orders because they just can't compete, pretty amazing seeing as their whole push is that they can get everything cheaper because they buy in volume, guess someone is making some major profits there.
  • RE: It's been a long time

    As an Account Executive in the IT industry, I am always interested in honest feedback. When a customer makes a complaint, others felt the same way but just rolled their eyes and hung up. So, what should the unfortunate AE said to you that would have earned your future business? Please and Thank you. Shannon-Christi
  • RE: I'll let you in on a little secret...

    First, the reason the HP bid blew CDW's out of the water was for two reasons:

    1. The other reseller registered the deal with HP first. This results in a 15-20% reduction in cost vs. what you find as standard between Tier I resellers in the distribution channel. While other resellers can be added to this "Big Deal" as HP calls it, if the initial rep is smart enough, they will name the project title something very random (fishinabarrel for instance) so that if another reseller asks the customer to be added to their bid letter, both the customer and the other reseller will have a hard time getting approval without knowing the goofy project name.

    2. Territory reps for vendors like HP will sometimes forge alliances with specific account execs who were able to land big margins for them in the past by "duping" unsuspecting or uninformed buyers into believing they have some special contract they have to adhere to buying all of a rollout from them in order to get the pricing, all the while making 10% margin on backend...even though the quote is 5% below the other guys???s cost. The vendor rep then locks out other reps from participating in competing quotes. For them, there is no sense in cutting their profits down to 1-2% in a bidding war if they don't have to.

    Now I CAN understand the desperation that your now former CDW rep felt...as a corporate account manager for a competing DMR, we have the EXACT same linear ramp up for margin and revenue goals as we did in the beginning of 08. This may seem absurd given market trends based on the current abysmal state of our economy, but internally it serves the purpose of allowing the company to fire reps for inadequate performance, instead of announcing drastic layoffs. This has quietly been happening in our company for almost three months...I can only assume the same for my direct competitors.

    As for me, I think the most productive thing to do is to intently study the industry you are trying to earn more business from. Identify key things like ???budget neutral??? projects, finding ways to reduce unmanaged expenses (power consumption for instance), and software that you can prove to solve multiple problems with fast ROI (net management tools for example). With the market so dire, oversaturated, and clawing to hang on the edge of a granite precipice, to the CDW rep more than likely reading this: unless you DRASTICALLY change your techniques in how you identify opportunities, you???re going to fall by the wayside along with all the other struggling resellers with out the insight to adapt in the months and years to come. Good luck to all my brothers/sisters out there in the trenches fighting alongside and against. It???s going to be an interesting year.
  • RE: I haven't heard from you lately

    This rep from CDW needs training. If she hasn't heard from you lately, it is probably because she hasn't [i]called[/i] you lately.

    It is not your job to nurture the relationship, it is hers!
  • RE:

    NOT ALL CDW reps are the same, and CDW-G is a lot different than CDW-D which is their corporate division and i have the best experiences working with my Rep. I value price in this economy but i value a company that will be around to service my needs far after this recession. Their the only Lar's in the industry that provide products and services and they have a little company called ooo Berbee which services all clients cisco needs and deployment. Not to mention they helped us reduce cost on our Microsoft Practice. If you'd like to work with my Rep. Give him a call at 703-621-8256