Hitmetrix - User behavior analytics & recording

Companies: It’s Okay to Say No to Prospects

Not only does DMN report on and write about marketing technology, we are also pitched technologies for our publishing business.

We recently proactively reached out to a start-up doing interesting things in a marketing technology field (we are not listing the company or what they do: as it’s not about them and we don’t want people to reach out opportunistically).

The first response, which of course was a robo response, was quick. A human followed with the promise of a meeting and the opportunity to work together.

We did get on a quick call, where we collectively learned that both sides needed other specialists in order to ask and answer the correct questions. I followed up shortly after the call.

And then… silence. I followed up with Person A. Silence. Compounding matters is the fact that they – and most startups – use one of those customer communications platforms with long strings as email addresses; it may streamline comms for the recipient, but it leaves the sender always wondering to whom he or she is writing.

Finally, another person responded to the email, apologizing and explaining that Person A had left.

The respondent, who appeared to be one of the cofounders, apologized and asked me to send him what needed to be done, even though the communications trail was on that very email. I responded. Silence again.

But then the person who was ostensibly fired or left wrote me back, asking to pick things back up. But he, of course, needed to me to remind him exactly what those things were that were.

We really wanted to use the service and customize it (e.g. real $$ for them when their product is a free-mium).  So I gave it one last go. I wrote them, explaining that we were a large media company and wanted to customize the product, explaining (perhaps pedantically) that this would be real money. I told them I would understand if they were focused on growth-hacking the free model or otherwise just a small company with a great product caught in a maelstrom of growth.

I told them it was okay to say no. Silence to this day.

Now, if I was a vindictive type or otherwise moved to shame a company, I could do that here. And plenty of people use social media or a publishing apparatus to do such a thing. My time was wasted – until I turned this into an article! – and other people would probably think twice about doing business with a company that was either over its head or unresponsive.

If they reached out and said, we’re not ready for this conversation. Could we pick it up in two weeks when things have settled down, I’d consider waiting. I liked that tech that much.

But they went silent. That is not a risk you and your organization should take. While everyone has sales goals, having an honest conversation with a lead about prioritizes and resources not only could lead to a better sale down the road when you are focused, but it eliminates the risk that someone like me will write this very article, mentioning your company often. They lucked out; you may not.

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