How not to sell product (or why I hate Salesforce right now)

salesforce-sucksSo we’re looking for a CRM. Lots of startups are. It happens. You get to the point where you can’t track stuff in spreadsheets, the cheap stuff drives the marketing person (i.e., me) completely nuts, and you have to grow up and pay for something real.

Okay, no problem. so we’ll look at options. Oh, two of us know Salesforce really really well? Cool. Let’s look at that. Do some research. Figure out what kind of deals other companies get. Fill out a web form.  Awesome.

I naively thought that Salesforce would have its crap together with selling. After all, IT’S SALESFORCE. They wrote one of the rulebooks that I’m basing my sales process on.  Also, I thought, since I negotiated hundreds of software contracts during my 11 years in IT, that this should be a pretty easy negotiation.

And then… sigh.

I like sales reps. Even new ones. Except that the one we got had no idea whatsoever how to handle this deal. My coworkers got to the point that they could tell when I got him on the phone, because my body language and voice tone got rather amusingly annoyed.

I don’t know that I realized how badly a sales rep could screw things up with a customer who WANTS TO BUY, but this guy did. I spent the morning looking at other CRMs, and I emailed his boss a few minutes ago to ask for a different rep. I’ve gone from 100% wanting to build my business on Salesforce to just wanting this guy to go away so that I can set up my sales processes without getting stabby. Well, MORE stabby.

What did he do? So glad you asked!

  1. Kept trying to get to the “decision maker”. Key problem: I’m the decision maker, idiot. Yes, my CEO will be pulled in to make sure I’m not smoking crack (or maybe to play bad cop), but you’re an idiot if you’re selling to tiny startups as your job and you can’t figure out that “Head of Growth” might have a bit to do with making the decision.
  2. Followed the script. I said, “I want pro because of the following reasons:” He then walked me through all of the questions that got us right back to the same conclusion. Sigh.
  3. Overuse of the nuclear option. Hint: Saying, “I’m not sure that Salesforce is the right fit for your company” when ALL I ASKED FOR WAS NON-LIST PRICING on every effing call was overuse.
  4. Leaving the breakup voice mail too soon. Yeah; I do have a full time job. Sorry I didn’t get back to you that same business day. Thanks so much for breaking up with me.

Good grief. I can’t believe how hard he tried to lose this sale. Should be interesting to see if his manager can salvage the deal.