Category: sales geek

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.

How to Get A Geek To Speak English

Office Person: Hey, IT guy, can you get my computer working?

Install Tech (IT) Guy: Well, what is the problem?

Office Person: I don’t know! It’s slow when I try to get to the internet.

IT Guy: (evil smile) It could be a few things…Have you cleaned out your RAM or checked to see if your cache is getting too full? Then again, it could just be that the bandwidth on your T1 connection is full and can’t handle the load of data. Run a diagnostic test, defrag your hard drive, and call me in the morning if it’s still slow…

If conversations with your IT department have gone something similar to this before then you know what is it like to be totally lost in a conversation. Geeks are geeks for a reason–they eat MBs and MHz for breakfast. Their language is full of acronyms that you and I will never fully understand. So, in a world where we all rely on IT to get through our busy schedules, what is the trick to getting geeks to speak plain English? Respect!!!

When I was working for a telecom company a few years back, I was just a young 21 yr old who was learning the ropes. The average sales rep age was over 38, so I felt a little out of place. They were talking about the old days when it all was so simple and one company did it all. Anyway, during one of those conversations a desk phone rang and the rep got a pissed look on his face. “What’s wrong?” I asked. “The $%@# IT Guy pissed off another one of my customers!” was his angry reply. We all got paid residual commissions on clients we had sold in the past. It was a great way to build a bigger paycheck. Unless, of course, there was a huge communication gap between your IT department and client.

When the install tech returned from the site visit the rep went up to him and just blasted him, calling him worthless and so on. The IT guy came back and explained how the rep had done his paperwork incorrectly, so the IT got caught between a rock and a hard place because he didn’t have the right equipment to fix the problem. The sales rep kept on blasting and the IT guy fired right back saying how lazy the sales reps were….blah, blah, blah, you can see where I’m going.

From this situation I learned a very important lesson: don’t bite the hand that feeds you (in this case the IT guy). He was responsible for keeping the service I sold up and working. The better the service, the better my paycheck. So what did I do?

During the slow period of the day I would go back to the IT room and just sit and talk and ask questions. I learned their names and personalities, and anytime a customer would call to say how nice the IT guy treated them I would always make a point to publicly praise them. After 3 months, all of my installations were done ahead of schedule and the customer was always happy. Thus, my paychecks made me VERY happy.

Geeks are people just like us. They know how to speak plain English, but if you piss them off they will be quick to drop some IT jargon on you and send you screaming.

Introduction: John Guidroz

John Guidroz's old macJohn Guidroz is a naturally born salesman that has used the application of IT to support a very successful career in both the Telecom and Healthcare Industries. When he was a kid his dad got a Apple computer in 1986, the Apple IIGS, and he was hooked. Over the next 20 years, he had a fascination with technology and how it can make our personal and business life more efficient. In sales he used the help of his IT staff and internet knowledge to help lower prospecting time while increasing sales. Every salespersons dream

Having a good partnership with your IT staff and knowing the proper way to lead them can help many companies with a heavy IT interaction improve their sales process. Of this he is sure.

Image courtesy of blakespot.

Welcome to the New Leading Geeks

Welcome to the New Leading GeeksAfter a much longer hiatus than I initially anticipated, we’re re-launching Leading Geeks!


I (Jenn) got lame.  I changed careers, and it turns out that also changed my day-to-day thoughts enough that I didn’t have my nifty general ideas to spew out on my blog.


Stay tuned!   Folks will be introduced over the next few weeks. (But you can get a sneak peak using the links up at the top.)


Hey; I’m just putting up this post so everyone knows I have 3 awesome co-authors who will start publishing soon.  Turns out there’s not that much else to say :).