Friday, February 01, 2008

Extracting value from a failed cold call

A few days ago l got a cold call from Pitney Bowes, the postage meter company. And they wanted to sell me a new postage meter that they had scaled down for small & medium size businesses. It was an interesting machine but looking at the price of it and the value it had to me I wasn't really interested.

In the course of the conversation, though, I gave them quite a bit of information about what I really wanted. Here's the price point I could accept, here was the no. of letters that I mail per month and packages and so forth.

Eventually the conversation ended but it occurred to me that there would be a lot of information in those types of calls that could be used for marketing research. The feedback from various prospects could be assembled and made sense of, narrative-wise, and convey a lot of information to the marketing group. (This is in the spirit of getting value out of, for example, "unsuccessful" product development efforts and "failed" scientific experiments.)

All marketing calls are recorded of course, but my sense is that sales call recordings go into the archives, especially failures, and are not dealt with again.

Which seems like a lost opportunity for the product manager to learn more about an untapped customer segment.

spoken through SpinVox

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Glenn Gow said...


Lost deals. What a fantastic storehouse of information that – I agree – goes completely untapped.

Your example is an excellent one because you were not completely out of the target market. In fact you were pretty close, as evidenced by the fact that you were willing to take some time to tell them what you really wanted. (If, for example, you never sent mail, and were therefore not in their target market, you would have had a much shorter conversation.)

As marketers, we need to know why people (or companies) in our target markets don’t buy from us. When we determine that, we can either choose a new target market, or make the changes necessary to capture you as a customer.