Pest Promotions

juan-and-juan

My web hosting company is a pest (I don’t want to out them, but let’s just say their name rhymes with Juan and Juan).

In a few instances I consulted to a software company, which my web hosting service now resells. Thus, when my hosting company called one day to sell me on their “new and amazing” SaaS offering, I was amused.  I politely told the telesales monkey about my history with the system, and suggested that I was not going to be a customer.

Then they called again … and again … and again. Eight times, and during each episode I asked with growing bluntness that they not disrupt my future days.

They called this morning.

Promotions, and the abjectly unpopular telesales routine, are essential to business. Making people aware of your products and value propositions are required as the first step in the marketing process. But like a neighbor who knocks on your door just to say howdy, what starts as a polite and perhaps quaint interaction eventually devolves into events that require calling the cops.

There is a line between being neighborly and being a stalker, and the same applies to sales.

Overly frequent or inappropriate promotions create dislike in the minds of prospects, or in the case of Juan and Juan, hatred and loathing in the minds of existing customers. Nobody likes a nag. Thus, your campaigns have to stop at some point lest they create resentment, which if prolonged creates reaction. Campaigns should target individuals very well, end after a set number of touches, and most certainly track the prospect accurately. The excuse Juan and Juan’s sales agents make is that I have multiple domain names, that I was getting calls about each, and there was no single account-wide flag to end those calls. The first part may be true; the last part is either an outright lie and the worst example of CRM management in the history of the industry.

Prospects and customers go through several phases of disenchantment. At first they accept new promotions. After the relationship changes from sales pitch to stalking, the prospect/customer quits buying new products because they do not want to deepen the relationship. If more inappropriate sales contacts ensue, they begin disengagement. If pushed further with unending contacts, customers retaliate, typically by telling everyone they know not to buy from the vendor (I for one have stopped three perfect strangers from buying Sony laptops due to a defective unit and a defective tech support team I once had the misfortune of encountering).

It is this last step that is deadly. Churn is inevitable in any industry. But mildly dissatisfied customers don’t make life missions of destroying your public reputation. Promotional campaigns that drive customers to the point of anger do. Thus, any campaign you run must be:

1) Well targeted — avoid aggravating non-buyers

2) Have consistent records — make sure sales attempts are tracked at the individual person, across all methods of contact (that’s what your CRM database is for)

3) Precise — don’t waste their time, which begins with getting your value proposition stated early

4) Finite — let it rest if you have not made a conversion after some small number of contacts (perhaps resuming after a significant time lapse)

In our wired world of social networks, you cannot unleash the wrath of angry customers. Start by not angering them. Just ask Juan and Juan, who if they keep up the harassment here will find new employment cleaning my pool.


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