I recently tried to migrate our company to salesforce.com. Here is a primer on HOW NOT TO SERVICE YOUR CUSTOMER.
I explained that one of the reasons I was exploring salesforce.com was its tight integration with Hubspot, a service we were using. He had never heard of Hubspot, a company that salesforce has invested heavily in! So what's wrong with this picture? The trial to conversion process is broken for most companies selling their software on line. Here are the opportunities that got missed:
1. The lower versions are "teasers"-that's marketing and we all understand it. But the process is completely broken when companies assume its their job to bait-and-switch you as quickly as they can. What they sales person did not do was give me a logical road map or meaningful reasons why I should upgrade. His impatience was quite transparent. In essence, his pitch devalued the lower edition, causing me to question my judgment on what i had signed up for. And not in favor of a higher edition, I might add.
2. The salesperson was not knowledgeable. The logic is obvious-why put knowledgeable people on "lower end" sales? However, the company was flawed in its assumption that what I signed up for was what would best suit my needs and being rushed to convey its blatant interest in upgrading me.
3. The training and rewards systems are flawed. His reward should have been tied to:
a. ensuring i had a successful trail of the lower end product
b. ensuring that he was supportive of my trial effort-making me aware of his availability and that of other resources that could be helpful
4. He also passed up the following opportunities:
1. specific collateral he could have sent-not sales literature but how-to information
2. the offer to sign up additional people in my firm for a trial.
1. It starts with a culture shift-when you don't clearly value your own lower end products and engineer your sales pitch to steer people away from them you are having the opposite effect than the one you desire. We all know that salesforce.com is very successful, but the missing the "lower end" which is why products like Zoho CRM, HighRise and SugarCRM take up the slack.
2. Customer input is key here: Trial to Conversion analysis: why people adopt or don't adopt after a trial is paramount to creating the sales process.
3. Workflow re-engineering- with the goal of completely satisfied customers in every aspect of the cycle coupled with delivering the right message and the right information assets at each stage-this did not clearly happen in my interactions.
4. Management must play undercover boss and "secret shop" their own products to really understand how their investments and assets are under-performing
5. Redefine the win: Sun Tzu says-"the ultimate victory is to win without fighting". The company wins when it creates processes such that the up-sell is natural and effortless.
Only three days left on our trial. Got an error message when trying to invite our Director of Marketing, never heard back from sales person. I think we’ll stick with our current CRM. Object lesson for Salesforce.com and anyone else selling software services online.
by Alan Nazarelli
CEO of Silicon Valley Research Group
Phone: (408) 920-0361
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