….that is the line that was shared with me verbatim today by an account executive of the leading CRM organization, Salesforce.
Here is the situation. I love Salesforce – not only are they the market leader, it’s by far my favorite CRM and I not only use it for my own business, but also on behalf of all of my clients. I recommend it whenever clients are considering a change. If you aren’t using Salesforce these days, you’ll face additional challenges as so many of the apps are developed (and are being developed) for it.
Sales Training or Intriguing Entertainers?
Recently we were invited to their World Tour in New York. I happily attended the conference, not only to network, but also to find out what new developments might be a good addition for my business or for my clients. The sessions were good, so were the networking opportunities. During Happy Hour we were entertained by a scantily dressed female playing the violin (wonderfully), a great marketing accessory but, in my humble opinion, the money spent could have been allocated to sales training. In the end, every event is only as successful as revenues increase as a result.
Salesforce is undoubtedly a market leader – and herein lies a dangerous trap: To simply rely on your outstanding software/programming/product development/service/etc. alone and forget that you are actually selling to people.
So, getting back to the title, here is the essence of this blog (I’m sure you were wondering where this was heading).
Even Warm Leads Need Work
At the event we found out about a newly integrated Salesforce B2B marketing automation solution, Pardot, similar to our current solution. As I use Salesforce for my business, I thought I could consider their new software – integrating it with Salesforce would make more sense than two disjointed systems. We spoke to a specialist at the event who said she would have an “Expert” in our local area contact us.
After the event an Inside Sales person reached out and we had a 20 minute call. And we explained our situation, provided details on what we do (the sales person hadn’t looked at our websites – what else is new?) and what we were looking for. This person was NOT an expert. And, he hadn’t done any pre-call research, either.
The next step would be to speak to a “real” specialist – the Inside Sales person explained, referring to the internal workings of “their process”.
OK, we can do that. After all, we had been very specific about our situation and needs. We wanted to look into Salesforce Professional (an upgraded version), plus have a demo on their automated marketing software with a price quote. So, we scheduled a follow-up call for the next day with this “specialist”.
When Your Service is a CRM System, Use It! Right?
As we began our conference call the following day, it became clear that this so-called “specialist” had also NOT reviewed our website NOR did he check our status in their own CRM, didn’t read the other salesperson’s notes, and to top it off, was not aware that we are actually already an existing CUSTOMER!! Much to our astonishment and intense irritation.
Think about it – a company like Salesforce whose salespeople don’t use their own tools!
He began asking us the exact same questions as the Inside Sales Person. We tried to stop him politely, to no avail. And then to add insult to injury, he kept talking over us, seemingly trying to disguise the fact that he was unprepared.
Never, ever talk over people, especially not your prospects
When I very impatiently (patience is not always my forte!) said that we had already shared our needs the day before, the account executive said. “Let me explain to you how our organization works“.
Oh boy! I didn’t reply in the way I was tempted to (“I don’t eff..ng care how your organization works”), but, as politely as I could, said that I have neither time or interest finding out about their inner workings, and would rather spend the time seeing a Demo of their professional upgrade and marketing software to find out what the investment would be. Though, I had to literally shout over his “waterfall of information” to be heard!
Honestly, it sounds even more ridiculous now putting this on paper, but that’s exactly what happened.
So, let’s look at the phrase: “Let me explain to you how our organization works”.
What’s More Effective? Good Sales Practices or Event Entertainment?
This is truly only and I mean ONLY, warranted when you sit on the other side of the table. When you’re the prospect – not the supplier. After all, as salespeople shouldn’t we be more interested in how our prospect’s organization works?
In closing, my recommendation to all salespeople, when developing new business is show interest in your prospect’s inner workings, do your research, be prepared for that call and PLEASE, under no circumstances, not even when you work for Salesforce, please don’t bore your prospects with details on why you are unprepared for a sales call.
So, I am asking you – Do you think a company like Salesforce, the market leader in their space, could use Consultative Sales training or should they keep hiring sexy entertainers at their event?