I know... I know... don't blog angry but I'm sitting here at the end of the day after three sales presentations by three different companies about three different technologies and I'm annoyed as hell.
Attention Sales People: You and I are part of the same marketing family but you are making us look bad. So listen up: if you don't understand who you are talking to and what they need before you have the sales call don't have the freaking call!
I have a lot of marketing experience my specialty is online conversion, testing, and online customer acquisition strategy, humbly, I would have to say that I'm pretty darn good at it. On each of these calls today the reps have started off the call by trying to build me a business case telling how online conversion works or what A/B and multivariate testing is. In a moment of compassion I have decided to keep these companies nameless (and they are all names you would recognize) but my favorites quote from today is (and I kid you not):
"well see the results in the right hand side of Google search results are paid and since you pay for every click the better conversion you can get the lower the cost to acquire a customer through those links will be"
Oh well thank you Captain Obvious! I never realized thats how that worked... or another one today as someone pitching an ecommerce system was spending all this time talking about the "robustness of the cataloging feature that allows for easy navigation of thousands of products" and the "inventory/warehousing feature that allows for real-time inventory".... HELLO don't you know that our project is an online service and there are only about 7 permeations (max 50 in the future) that one can buy and there is no physical product (although I think our founder would love to "sell out" of the lowest priced package most days :) )
I'm not saying this isn't valuable information, it is for the right audience, but in all these cases a simple fact check, interview, etc. before the call could have set them up right. Instead I, the potential client, am sitting back frustrated/patronized looking at my already slammed schedule listening to someone tell me in excruciatingly pedestrian terms the basics of online marketing 101. What's equally frustrating is that they are usually not familiar with the subject and are reading off preprepared scripts. Tip: don't quote me the eMarketer study unless you had read the follow-up study a year later adding more clarity to the point and can have a valuable exchange on the subject.
Oh ,and don't you think I would grasp the value of the service if I called and asked for the demo? Why don't focus on why you are the best at delivering this value? I don't walk into an auto dealership to hear "have you ever driven? it's incredible! you can get places fast, go long distances, carry lots of things and people. do you get the value of driving?"
So I'll say again Sales People: Know your audience and know their needs, before the pitch. There are a ton of great free resources out there to help understand the audience you are pitching. A source that seems to really get it is: www.raintoday.com, highly recommended.
Thanks for the rant time. I feel better... still not buying "DysfunctoCorp's Conversion Creator-o-Rama 2007 v10.6.3 w/toaster and detachable sunroof" but I feel better.