What can sales organizations do to insulate against untrustworthy vendors? Moreover, what does a truly reliable vendor look like in the sales engagement space?

In a previous post dedicated to understanding common security concerns facing sales organizations, we called out an industry problem: un-trustworthy vendors.

We have all been there. Sellers promise the world… then implementation happens. Suddenly, all those promises are forgotten. Worse yet is what could be happening behind the scenes.

In a recent interview with Mad Money’s Jim Cramer, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff made the case that a great concept is no longer the key value for technology buyers, it’s trust.

“In technology over the last two decades, the most important thing has been the idea. That is, the best idea wins. That has been what gets you funded, that’s how you grow your company, that’s been your highest value: the best idea wins. No longer true. The current highest value is trust, and if trust is not your highest value, if the most important thing to you and your company is not trust, you need to look again, and that’s what’s happening with these companies today.” – Marc Benioff, Salesforce CEO

So what can you do to insulate yourself against untrustworthy vendors? What is an untrustworthy vendor? And what does a truly reliable vendor look like in the sales engagement space?

Reputation is Everything

Big Tech out of Silicon Valley has a PR problem.

Namely, they have lost the trust of the consumer and their employees.

“Their executives are walking out, employees are walking out, and that happens with a lot of companies in tech right now. We’ve had a lot of walkouts this quarter. And the reason why is because it’s kind of a message to the executives: it’s time to transform.”
– Marc Benioff, Salesforce CEO

It’s not unique to big tech, it’s systemic. Just ten years ago, SaaS was still the wild west. It takes time to shift the mentality of an industry.

“Every company has to hold themselves to a new level of trust, and if your brand is not about trust, you’re going to have customer issues, and you can see that in that brand.”
– Marc Benioff, Salesforce CEO

As a B2B consumer, it can be difficult to translate a companies brand and reputation into a metric of trust but it is not impossible. When looking at vendors, third-party validation and transparency in business operations are your most valuable tools.

Some questions you may wish to include in your buying process include:

  • How easy is it to identify a provider’s internal security practices?
  • What is the providers average customer satisfaction rating?
  • When asked tough questions do sellers answer directly or distract?
  • Do they bad mouth their competitors instead of focusing on solving your needs?

By answering these questions, you should be able to rate sales tech vendors on a scale of reliability. Where you draw the line is up to you, but it’s important to know the location of your line.

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Want more information on selection criteria for Sales Engagement Platforms? Adam Waid, VP Professional Services at SalesLoft, recently wrote a blog post further discussing 5 buying considerations when selecting a sales engagement provider.