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.

11 thoughts on “How not to sell product (or why I hate Salesforce right now)

  1. I cannot count the number of reasons I hate Salesforce, nor can I understand why it’s so popular except for the Microsoft Windows/IBM explanation (“everyone else is using it, it’s the tool that I learned and I don’t like learning new things, nobody ever got fired for choosing this popular solution”). Its default interface is clunky, it pushes you to use highly-paid and poorly-educated consultants to “configure” or “deploy” it for you, it goes down more than a , sales people hate to use it for workflow so it’s always out of date, and the only thing worse is everything else.

    You’re running into the problem of “enterprise software”, which is “if you have to ask, you can’t afford it”. In this age of Amazon, it’s amazing someone hasn’t undercut them yet. I personally refuse to purchase products and services that don’t have published, real pricing.

    But, if you have to, street is always 40% of list, and you shouldn’t pay a dollar more.

  2. I’m seriously considering quitting my job because we have to use Salesforce. It’s ridiculous. To get simple data out I end up having to jump through multiple hoops and write huge amounts of code. To get an equivalent amount of data out of a SQL database would take 2 minutes and a couple of lines of SQL. Worst of all, we’ve just gone over our ludicrously small (yet expensive) data allowance because a contract developer had to DUPLICATE almost all of our data. When I asked why he says it’s because he needs a field to be a lookup in order for something else to work, so he’s had to duplicate everything in order to add this additional functionality. WHAT? I hate it so much! It wouldn’t be so bad if my boss would consider moving to another product, but no. It’s worn me down so much. Why the hell do people use it?

  3. I would love to know which geographic region of the country you experienced this ineptitude. I loathe their pompous attitudes which masks obvious insecurities.

  4. Thanks Jenn. Stuff always rolls downhill. That is why mid level managers are not engaged, more interested in saving their own skin or not looking inadequate and drive desperate behavior. From Glassdoor: Advice to Senior Management – The further you get from the foundational vision of creating great products and ensuring customer success, and instead recruit big company people focused on ego and self-promotion and growing a fiefdom, the more Salesforce starts to become just another Oracle or SAP or Microsoft. My sense is, that’s what the board wants. If so, so be it. There will be another innovative and passionate startup to disrupt salesforce some day soon.

  5. Try LeadSquared. Its strong on marketing and gives you intelligent insights on your contacts. Things like when your contacts are visiting website, engagement scoring to identify which contacts are currently engaged with your business and more cools stuff.

  6. Sales Farce should be named “Electro-Lux”. It not only sucks to use, but sucks all of the motivation, spirit, and joy out of working. Time that could be spent maintaining current accounts and growing new ones, is spent entering and updating useless garbage that will never be accessed again. Except by anal-retentive bosses, who have no life, other than fondling themselves while playing with Sales Farce.

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