Flying from Ireland to San Francisco on the way to Dreamforce 2013, I was thinking about a session I was going to deliver. It was important. It was the first of 10 sessions we were involved in at Dreamforce and I wanted to kick it off well. It was also the first public showing of our new Dealmaker Sales Performance Insight solution, so I felt the pressure of a product launch. The session had been over-subscribed to the extent that it had to be moved to a larger venue, and still it sold out. No pressure.
The plan was that Joe Ryan, the session host, and product manager at Salesforce's Work.com business, was going to talk about Work.com and the capability for partners (like The TAS Group, Xactly, Hirevue and others) to extend Work.com and the Salesforce Chatter profile in general.
That's where I come in.
Joe would intro me "And now I'd like to introduce Donal Daly, CEO of the TAS Group, ....", and I would come on go ... "Hi, I'm Donal Daly with The TAS Group" (the audience knew that already - a waste of 5 seconds), "and The TAS Group's unique combination of sales methodology and smart software has been helping companies like HP, Salesforce, Autodesk to grow revenue by ..." (are you yawning yet? Seriously, I want to know). Zzzzzz.
So, as I thought about this, somewhere over Greenland, I thought to myself, "You know that is not the way to do this." This is an audience that will sit through hours and hours of sessions at Dreamforce - hopefully many of them ours - and they don't need the standard "Hi, I'm Fred from XYZ, we leverage the power of the blah, blah ....".
So, as British Airways 285 left the coast of Greenland and continued on towards the east coast of Canada, I challenged myself to come up with a whole new intro; one that described our unique value in a way that the audience would remember amidst all of the noise at Dreamforce, and then I remembered a conversation that I had with one of our customers just a few days earlier.
"No surprises", Rob said. "What I love about what Dealmaker does is that it means we have no surprises; Surprise wins, surprise losses, surprise competitors, surprise price pressure, surprises in the forecast, surprises in the pipeline. They are all bad and a waste of time. Now, because we plan better, and bring more value to our customers, and Dealmaker keeps us on track, we don't get caught off-guard as much, and that's why the revenue is up."
Surprises. We help our customers avoid sales surprises.
The best way to prevent a surprise is to create one, and the best way to create a surprise in sales is to bring uncommon value to your customer. We try to do that for our customers and help our customers do that for theirs.
So, go ahead. Surprise your customer.