Cybersecurity sales reps without a clue story of the day

By | March 29, 2017

I attended “SecureWorld Boston” for two days last week. Overall, it was a disappointment. I attended primarily for the educational opportunities, but the extended track I chose was less useful than I’d hoped, and I didn’t find the other presentations I attended particularly compelling. Overall, not worth my time.

There was, of course, a big room full of vendors, just as there are at all the conferences of this type. The conference web app had the option of reviewing all of the vendors (in a rather poor UX, but that’s a different story) and adding the ones that sounded interesting to a “My Exhibitors” page in the app. I did that for a number of vendors, but then upon further review I decided it really wan’t the best use of my time to visit most of them, so I ended up visiting exactly one vendor booth during the conference.

After the conference, however, I started getting emails from vendors thanking me for stopping by their booth. Which, just to remind you, I didn’t. I contacted SecureWorld and asked what was going on — I had my suspicion, which they confirmed:

We’re sorry that you’re receiving unexpected emails from a few of our conference sponsors. The app is set up so that when you add companies to your “My Exhibitors” tab it does share your contact info as an indication of your interest in them. Your feedback will cause us to take a second look at. It’s likely that most people would only expect to be contacted if they’ve visited a vendor’s booth and had their badge scanned.

So I began writing back to these vendors and explaining that I had not, in fact, visited their booth, but rather had merely added the to the “My Exhibitors” tab. I ended one such email as follows:

You might want to consider being more careful with your messaging. I generally consider it a black mark against a company when they email me thanking me for speaking with them when I actually haven’t. I imagine I’m not the only one who does.

In response to this email, I received the following:

I apologize for doing my job diligently and proactively reaching out following SecureWorld. I manually scanned your badge at our booth on Wednesday 3/22 at 11:54AM which is why I followed up. Perhaps I failed to note (in the App) when I scanned it, that I was only scanning it for entry into our giveaway prize, the Amazon Tap?

I apologize again for reaching out… I am always very careful, crafty, and respectful with my messaging.

I responded as follows:

I did not stop by your booth at SecureWorld.

You did not scan my badge.

I did not enter your contest.

I can say all this with certainty. It is very easy for me to remember which booths I stopped by during the conference, because I stopped by exactly one booth in total.

If your data says otherwise, then either you are misinterpreting your data (“Wednesday 3/22 at 11:54AM” sounds like around the time when I added you to the “My Exhibitors” tab in the app), or someone else was walking around the convention impersonating me, which seems rather unlikely.

Here is what the folks at SecureWorld had to say when I asked them why vendors were emailing me claiming I’d stopped by their booths when I hadn’t:

We’re sorry that you’re receiving unexpected emails from a few of our conference sponsors. The app is set up so that when you add companies to your “My Exhibitors” tab it does share your contact info as an indication of your interest in them. Your feedback will cause us to take a second look at. It’s likely that most people would only expect to be contacted if they’ve visited a vendor’s booth and had their badge scanned.

You’ve now emailed me twice falsely claiming that I stopped by your booth, the second time after I explicitly told you that I hadn’t and explained why your data might say otherwise.

You are mistaken if you think this is a good way to build business relationships.

I CC’d my response to the CEO of the company.

 

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