Telemarketing. The one word brings a host of responses: shudder, disgust, annoyance, etc… all guaranteed to be negative. And while so many blogs and informative literature address the issue of soliciting with calls, I feel a disappointment towards potential customers on par with what they may feel about me.

Now, to be fair, most of the customers I reach aren’t a) decision makers or b) target audience. My job is the sift through the a large pool of “potential” customers who’s likelihood of needing the tool varies wildly. However, just as my inability to reach a customer may inhibit my success, the customer’s inability (or unwillingness) to be reached may be a missed opportunity for improved efficiency.

For my first project, I am calling customers who might have an interested in Mentor Graphic’s LP Wizard tool. This powerful little tool is:

• The only CAD library generation tool approved by IPC
• 89% faster than manual part creation
• Powerful search tools improve design efficiency
• Includes a starter library of 10,000+ components

just to name a few features.
I suppose the key selling point of this (or any) tool is efficiency that leads to a reasonably (or better) ROI. 89% time savings on a library cad creation may be only 50 minutes at a time, but over the life of the tool, those 50 minutes can become many hours. At the cost of paying an engineer to spend those tedious hours, the tool genuinely pays for itself. The additional guarantee of quality through the elimination of human errors makes LP Wizard even more enticing.

LP Wizard is only a small example of how tools are ignored. Innovation and growth comes from understanding the resources we have to streamline our processes. I wonder if construction workers, lets say framers (those who frame houses), were so adverse to, oh, let’s say, the nail gun. How many builders, so bent on hammering by hand, lost the opportunity to minimize time to completion of projects?

Again, not to say that everyone needs the tool. If you have a small company that outsources the layout process, or don’t work with a lot of new components wont have any use for the LP Wizard. But, it could be argued that as engineers, we should want to make things better. Taking a few hours to examine a new tool and running some rough cost/benefit calculations is a worthy investments if it can help with time-to-market, quality, or any other metric of product development.

But telemarketing isn’t easy. It’s a combination of technique (which I have yet much needed practice to develop) and persistence to wade through the long list of “potential customers.” It’s unfortunate that the stigma of solicitation calls can hurt those on the receiving end.