Every day, I get at least 5 emails from vendors wanting to set up a meeting or web demo of their latest and greatest product as soon as possible. Of these, two or three will be totally unrelated to security. The rest are security related, but almost all of the messages are obviously canned (some with the wrong salutation as a result of mail merge errors). The vendors sending them have no idea what my company does (no, I don’t care about PCI compliance as we are an institutional brokerage) and tend to be from obscure companies. I usually ignore these messages, and block the sender from further contact.
Every once in a while, a vendor does something to distinguish themselves from the pack… the other day, a salesman for a vendor who shall remain nameless sent me a canned “I would like to arrange a meeting with you” message, which I opened, looked at and deleted. There must have been a web bug in the html, because this email was followed by a message which stated that the salesman “noticed I had read the email” and reiterated the request for a meeting. Bzzzzzt!
I find this kind of behavior invasive and creepy and that particular vendor will need to be offering a machine that turns water into gasoline before I will want to talk to them ever again – and I would insist on a different salesperson. It is one thing if I visit your web site, provide my contact information and give you permission to email me, but to spam me and then spy on me puts you and your company on the fast track to al-blivion as far as I am concerned.
Salespeople, I understand that you guys have a tough job and that recent economic conditions have made that job tougher. But please realize that sending spam (while quite effective for dodgy pharmaceutical sales, offers of great wealth from Nigerian princes and attempts to infect PCs with malware) is not how to sell enterprise security products that cost tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. Want to sell to me? Get a good reputation and good PR – I will find you. If you are going to contact me, take a few minutes to learn something about my company before you email. And don’t cold call me – all I can think of when I get a cold call from a salesman is Jack Lemmon in Glengarry Glen Ross.