Chris Kranky

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Kranky Tips for VoIP Sales Personnel

Chris KoehnckeChris Koehncke

I’m a customer so loads of VoIP vendors patrol into our office hawking their wares and if your company appears somewhat decent, we’re generally open to meeting for 1 precise hour to hear your pitch. Having worked most of my career on the supplier side and now on the service provider, here’s a couple of pointers for all your sales guys in making your pitch to me.

Look at our website, stupid: Amazingly simple, but tons of folks don’t even bother to look our website before burning thousands of dollars of their company’s money to fly in and see us. I hear comments like, “Wow, I didn’t know your company did that’s”, well stupid, it’s right on our website. Obviously they did no prep work and it’s insulting for me to tell you what is available 24×7 on our website.

Pitch how your solution will work for us: I’ve seen far too many chart decks where the sales person comments, a “This chart doesn’t apply to your situation”. Then why on god’s green earth do you have it in the deck?  Are you that mindless? And why are you wasting minutes of the precise hour we gave you on something that doesn’t apply to us.

No is an acceptable response: Sometimes we ask stupid questions ourselves, “Will your solution work in a zero-gravity environment and make snow cones at the same time?” It’s amazing how a roomful of vendor personnel will spend 10 minutes trying to answer YES to that question. It’s OK to say No. In fact, NO, is helpful in understanding better what you do and where you fit.

Never use the word ROI: ROI means your solution is so expensive, I’m likely to have a heart attack when I hear the price. You don’t know our cost structure, you don’t know what’s important to us, let us figure out the ROI. ROI is a scary term to use when you have no data about us. My ears prick up immediately when I hear you say ROI.

Everyone, let’s not talk at the same time: It’s important that 1 person take the lead role in talking and directing questions. I don’t know your company or product and it’s damn confusing when 3 of your folks try and explain something at the same time using different technology approaches. I especially like it when one person explains something and then the next person in your group re-explains it to me again.

Powerpoint Bullets: for gods sake stop putting so many text bullets on your Powerpoint charts. Your charts are there to facilitate a discussion and serve as a backdrop, not as a crutch. Give me pictures, concepts and diagrams, keep the text to a minimum. I’d much rather have a conversation.

Get to the point: too many PowerPoint decks seem to want to tell me a story about how your company got created, how many important customers you have (please don’t use other companies logos, everyone has sold something to Verizon). I don’t care. I’m only interested in what you can do to help me solve a problem or make money. The fact that you have a crappy office in Plano, TX doesn’t matter.

Technology Terms: The words carrier grade, scalable, high reliable, industry leader should be banned from any presentation (I threw one vendor out when they told me they were IMS compliant, what does that mean, is there some authority stamping their approval on your product?).  Let me give you a hint, I’ve had no vendor come in and tell me they were consumer grade, unscalable, broke down all the time and had no leading customer. It’s not a competitive advantage to say these things.

Next steps: As a conclusion to any presentation, what do you want me to do? I’m not that smart, I have no clue. Everyone has some stupid summary chart about what I just heard, but never about what steps we should take to moving forward. It’s helpful to understand all the steps and who needs to do what and in what timeframe. If you expect me to figure it out, I won’t.

I’m going to another vendor meeting now …