A Message to My PM SaaS Friends

Hi guys. You know who you are. I’ve been building relationships with you for several months now, and when we get a chance to talk one-on-one, I always feel great. Anytime there’s something to talk about, whether you’ve come out with a new feature, or written a great white paper or overhauled your UI, I’m happy to pick up the phone and gab with you for hours about it.

That’s because we’re friends.

SaaSBut then there’s all the SaaS folks I haven’t met yet. As a person, I’d love to make friends with you (because I’m super chatty); but as a user and consumer of software, to be quite frank, I don’t really care. As a user, what I want is to be able to go to your website, and learn about what you can offer me. I want to find out whether or not the offering you have is worth an investment of my time.

So I go to many of your websites, and what do I find? A form I have to fill out so you can call me and tell me what I want to know.

Just so we’re clear, I, as a user, want to know if you are worth my time, so you want me to invest that time (and personal information) so you can answer that question for me. Guess what: your publicly available information hasn’t sold me yet so I really don’t want to talk to one of your salespeople. We’re nowhere near there. You know what I’m going to do? I’m going to click away and do something else. Most likely, that something else is going to be:

1) Forget about it and just use what I’ve got (I’m resourceful which is why I sought you out in the first place, so I already have lots of things).

2) Find someone who doesn’t expect me to give (my time and information) just so I can find out if I should go on giving (my money). As a consumer, how exactly am I benefitting again?

Fortunately for you, most of your competition behaves the exact same way. I find it incredibly frustrating, but for the most part I don’t have much choice. For now.

One day, though, some smart person is going to twig to the fact that if they provide price sheets, demos, white papers, feature lists, and any other sales and marketing tools they have string free on their websites, I’m going to call them on my own. If I like what I see, I will hunt them down, and beg for their time. “Here! Take my money! Take my information, and my dog’s too! Please let me have what you’ve got!” is what I’ll say. Of course, they have to take the chance that I’ll like what they have. Therein lies the crux.

The crux is, we have a trust issue that boils down to one of two things. Either you don’t trust me to “get” your literature without forcing me through a spin doctor session, or you don’t trust your own product enough to stand up to my initial look.

In either case, exactly…uh…why should I give you something of mine?

Anyway, guys, hopefully I’m not stricken from your next company barbecue now. I’ll make it up to you with something nicer next time! 🙂

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I’m a professor of project management at the college where I work. My students continually amaze me with their insights, passion and all-around awesomeness. I figure they deserve access to more answers than I can give them by myself. This site is for them.
  • PatrickRichard

    Geoff,

    I agree 100%. Give me the info and trust me to be intelligent enough to ask for questions if I need to. The give your info and we'll call you has zero traction with me; they'll never sell to me that way.

    Patrick

  • Heya Patrick! 🙂 That's a very good point you raised. If you (not you Patrick LOL), as a vendor, don't trust me to be intelligent enough to ask good questions, do you really want me as a client?!

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