Analytics Companies – want my business?

For about the 5th time in as many months, I just received an e-mail from one of the "big four" (Omniture, Hitbox, Webtrends, Coremetrics) analytics comapnies asking for my busuness. Apparently, every new sales guy at "xx major analytics firm" or even some of the minor ones thinks – "Wow, that agency has some big named clients – maybe I can sell all of their clients on our system and get a huge commission check."

And while I’m not too haughty to take a free lunch and learn a bit more about the latest and greatest in analytics packages – let me share a secret. Most of my clients don’t come to me for advice on which analytics package to use. In fact, most larger clients come in with huge, multi-million dollar deal already sigend with one of the big analytics firms out there. I suspect that the devil is usually involved in these deals as well, in a Faustian sort of manner.

So, big four analytics players – you want to get my business? You want to use my "influencer" status to your advantage. Let me share my pain with you.

While most of these clients come in with a pre-existing, carved in stone relationship that may or may not have involved the selling of someone’s soul, most clients don’t have the tool configured correctly or have no one on staff who knows how to use it. There are exceptions, but I find this to be the case 90% of the time.

So, it’s up to my team to figure out to use this tool, configure it correctly AND get the data out of it we need to show success (or lack thereof) for the marketing initiatives.

WIth that being said – you want me to recommend your product…make sure me and my team understand everything about it. We are willing to sit and go through training – but I WON’T do any more sales demos. In sales demos, we learn what the product can do if it’s running in a utopian world. And despite the fact that some of us are heavily medicated on some sort of Soma, the world we play in is far from utopian.

You want me to make sure that you are "in like flynn" when contract negotiations come up for my big clients in regards to their analytics programs? Give us the inside scoop and make sure we don’t have to spend countless hours configuring the damn thing just so we can get proper referrer data. When we are working with these big clients, give us customer services that doesn’t require 10 phone calls for one returned. Understand that we do have influence, but it’s not going to happen right away.

Right now, we have an analytics package that we recommend for small to mid-size clients. We’ve even branded it our own. It works well – and although the customer services is less than desirable, we don’t need it that often because we know the program and it works well. But the top-spot for major companies is WIDE open. I don’t have a preference. I have had equal trouble with all of the major four, and believe me when I say it ain’t pretty.

So if you want to do a sales call with me, take me to lunch somewhere nice where I’ll listen politely and then never call you again. If you want my business – offer up some training to my folks at a minimal cost and we’ll see what we can do. No guarantees, but then in life, there never are.

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