Monday, July 7, 2014 Dreamforce Sales FAIL: A Comedy of Discounts

So I just got a call from a telesales guy at Salesforce. He wanted to see if we were interested in going to Dreamforce this year. I told him that we were considering it, but I still had my reservations and complaints from last year.

He then proceeded to offer me discount codes. It was near the end of the call by the time I got around to asking how much the discount was for -- 10% off the current price. Not exactly a mind blowing discount, but he was excited. In fact, he seemed a bit surprised that I wasn't more excited.

"Just 10%?," I asked.
"It's 10% off the current price, but we can give you more of a discount if you send more than five people," he responded.

I tried to convey my disappointment. As a long time customer that's been to five or so Dreamforce conferences and participated in several rounds of surveys, I actually felt a little insulted. "Is this the best you guys can do," I asked? "Perhaps I should just wait for someone to provide a better discount code."

At that point, he told me he would also send me their ROI calculator to help me better determine the ROI on the experience.

Why Some Sales Experiences Suck
Sometimes, as a sales guy, your job with the customer should be to do no harm. In this case, the experience actually reminded me of the ways that has really been pissing me off lately. To start with, if you're going to take the time and effort of a direct sales call to my cell phone, you'd better have something exciting and meaningful that you're offering. It had better be special.

Those "special contact" touch points are limited access for a reason. When you turn it into a crappy sales call, you're not winning the hearts and minds of your customers.

The "sending me the ROI calculator" response to the "is that your best discount" question reeks of an un-empowered phone sales agent who isn't really allowed to go off script. In short, he has only one or two tools in his tool bag and doesn't seem to have any direction on when to refer problem calls up the management chain.

Yup, there's nothing like being a long-standing customer that's dropped into a customer service pool that treats you like statistical digit. Perhaps you may want to tweak your algorithm to include time served.

Customer touchpoint FAIL.

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