Feature

Quality Awards III: IBM and Sun shine among tape libraries

Ezine

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Sales-force competence
In the first of our five ratings categories, we asked respondents about their experiences with their vendors' respective sales forces. IBM topped the group of enterprise finalists with an average score of 6.46. "I told them my needs--I needed two drives and this many slots and this is what they proposed," says Edward Meyer, network administrator at Columbus-based power company AMP-Ohio, when describing his work with IBM's sales force. "I'm extremely happy with it." Jimmy Touchstone, senior systems engineer at Mississippi Baptist Health Systems in Jackson, echoes Meyer's view: "The IBM people were very professional."

Interestingly, the results for the enterprise finalists tracked evenly on almost every statement in this category. Each vendor had its highest rating for "My vendor's sales support team is knowledgeable," and each had its lowest rating for the statement "My vendor's sales rep keeps my interests foremost."

Among midrange tape libraries, Sun topped the group with a 6.13 rating. The scores in this category for midrange products yielded the lowest ratings in our survey. It should be noted, however, that these scores were still very good. IBM also fared well in midrange libraries, coming in second with a 6.09. While Sun had its highest rating for its sales support team (6.44), IBM's midrange sales team had its best score for the statement "My sales rep is knowledgeable about my industry" (6.19). Matching its overall third-place finish, Dell came in third in the sales-force competence category. However, it was the only vendor to be most highly rated for the statement "My sales rep is easy to negotiate with" (6.26). Dell's second highest score was for "The vendor's sales support team is knowledgeable." The combination of a knowledgeable and compliant sales team would seem to bode well for customers considering Dell.

Still, there does seem to be a trend of users taking sales matters into their own hands and making more creative use of the services of vendors' reps. "We do all the homework in advance, and we leverage the pre-sales and the sales folks to help us with generating quotes and bringing out the things that we don't already know about," says Jack Kinsey, AVP, network systems manager at LandAmerica, a real estate services firm in Richmond, VA.

This was first published in March 2008

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