Nag or Nurture

I recently was subjected to a very aggressive call from a sales rep of a marketing automation solutions provider who denied knowledge any communications that their marketing team sent out; and during the call it was suggested that I should unsubscribe from their marketing materials if I wasn't interested. Clearly not a thought leader in marketing automation, just another tool in the shed.

This experience didn't give me any positive notions about the product capability of the pitching company, since our current (lower tier) automation solution already tells us response and engagement levels of marketing touches--that phase of customer lifecycle marketing that tells you whether or not the prospect is ready to convert from being a MQL (marketing qualified lead) to a SQL (sales qualified lead). I had a preconceived notion that a mid-tier solution provider would already have this in their service portfolio -and- be using it to its fullest potential.

Just because my job's predecessor was ready to jump ship doesn't mean that I am too. And asking to start where the previous incumbent left off in your demo process is unrealistic. As a marketer, of course I know what you do. But, as a prospective buyer of your services I have no idea what you have pitched before that would make our usage of marketing automation significantly better. We haven't even had a proper sales courtship.

Switching providers is not usually the best course for a startup; unless things have gone terribly wrong with the current solution (e.g., a massive vendor-side software bug that causes a simple email newsletter to crank out a lifetime of spam in one mass mailing causing 20% of your opt-in list to opt-out--as was the case with Silverpop). I am generally ambivalent about the tool that I use for email or marketing automation. If it does the job in enabling our sales team to qualify and convert leads into opportunities, is there any reason to switch providers? Are there quirks in the machine? Probably, but they are no worse than the quirks of mid-tier and enterprise solutions.

The call went badly enough that I have a much lower opinion of the solution provider because of my call experience; whereas before I had a high opinion of their capabilities. Now I just don't want to do business with them.
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