Are you making it easier for you to sell, or are you making it easier for me to buy?

I’ve had a frustrating experience trying to buy a new cloud-based CRM tool.  I have signed up for multiple free trials with well-known CRM solutions and I’ve signed up to evaluate brand new CRM providers.  I’ve been using a CRM since back in the ACT and Mazimizer and Goldmine days.  I was a Salesforce CRM user when it was still free for under ten users. I lost a shoe at their Canadian launch party in Toronto.  (If anyone found that, it was a black Franco Sarto size 7 with a chunky heel and a pointy but boxy toe.)

I don’t like the CRM we’re currently using, I don’t want to use Saleforce again, so I went looking for a new solution.  I did what most people do when they know they want to buy something:

  1. I made a list of features that were important to me.
  2. I did some research
  3. I read some reviews
  4. I made a list of some of the systems that I thought sounded really interesting
  5. I signed up for free trials with ten different CRM solutions

And hey, I like to root for the underdog, so I was genuinely hopeful we’d find something built by an up-and-comer.

Of those ten CRM company free trials that I signed up for, only two have called me.

The first CRM solution was disqualified quickly – it was the wrong tool, and the sales rep thanked me for my time and we parted ways.

The second I’ll be meeting with next week some time.  That leaves 8.

So what are the other eight CRM companies doing?

They are emailing me.


They are expecting ME to pick up the phone and reach out to THEM.  They already made me jump through hoops and fill out forms.  Now they are going to make me chase them down for a demo.  There are eight of them, so I’m getting eight emails a day. I haven’t read any of them, and we’re up to 64 emails about CRM solutions.

I have a theory when it comes to buying software:  If the company won’t pick up the phone to sell it, they won’t pick up the phone to support it.  I get it, sales reps are more expensive than automated marketing platforms.

Email is a marketing tool.

You don’t have to market to me.  I’m here!  I want to buy something.  Sell to me!

Sending me a tip every day on how to be successful using your system isn’t helpful.

One; I’m not reading them.  Two, you don’t know how I want to use your system yet.

We all like to buy differently, so you can’t put all your eggs in one basket.

I like to talk to people.

Tha’ts my job. I’m in my forties, and when I started my career there was no email and there was no downloading.

We are creatures of habit.

I use the same locker at the gym every day, I drive the same route to work every day, and I like to talk to people when I’m making a buying decision.

I am sure my fifteen year old will feel differently when she starts her career – she grew up texting, snapchatting, whatevering.

How we sell will evolve.  However, there’s still plenty of people in the workforce (not a lot of 20 year old CEOs, are there?) who prefer to be contacted the way they are most comfortable and familiar.

If your main sales strategy this year is “convert by email”, I would urge you to heed my cautionary tale.  I’m probably going to go with the company that gets to me first in the way that I most like getting got.

The phone is a powerful tool.  

If the company that had called me right away (and it was *right* away, within a day of my sign up) was actually a good fit for what we wanted to do, I’d already be using their software.  I don’t need to try on three pairs of shoes after the first pair.  That’s how I buy.

If you’re reading this and thinking “Oh, no, I *need* to try on eight pairs of shoes!” or “Oh no, I *hate* it when sales reps call me!” you are validating my entire theory.

Email AND Call.

Market AND Sell.

Doing just one or the other is going to alienate a large percentage of your audience.

You may be an early adopter, especially if you’re running a tech company.

Your buyer may not be.  Your buyer may be someone like me.  My buyer may be someone like you.

We offer several types of high-volume cold calling “touch campaigns”.

One of our clients teaches companies how to effectively use email marketing – they use our cold calling team to promote that service.

Their recent campaigns had a 28% conversion rate – meaning 28% of the people we called on their behalf bought their program.

They used cold calling to sell their email marketing programs.

And that means we should be using email to market our cold calling sales programs.

Which is why I’m trying to buy that darn CRM system to begin with.