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Aaron’s blog on Networking, and Enterprise Technology

Salesman grief…

Okay, my last post was about using email as a File Transfer Medium, and what alternatives were out there.  This post was in response to a Sales Person at Utechsoft.com (I suppose the makers of File Catalyst).  So, first, a little background:

I contacted Unlimi-Tech Software as I was interested in their File Catalyst product.  The File Catalyst product does quite a few things that I wanted, such as LDAP Authentication, file upload, and receipient emails.  The only thing it didn’t do, that I wanted, was an Address Book Lookup, which, I’m told by the developers, that it’s in the works.

However, when demo’ing the product, I ran into an error where my end-recipients couldn’t access the file.  There was an error message.  No problem, these things happen.  I requested a "walk-through" which entailed a software developer troubleshooting the problem.  It turns out, that it was a programming error on their end, and they had to fix it.

1 week later, the sales person emails me back asking me to test using the new software.  At that point, I really didn’t want to keep testing.  I was done.  It did some things I wanted, not others, and for a price of between $10,000USD and $18,000USD, I was actually expecting more.  Now, before you start complaining about price, let me just say, I work for a large company, and I spend lots of money where I think it needs to be.  So, if it was worth it, I would spend that money.  I just don’t believe File Catalyst is worth it yet.  Especially after the fact that the technician had to debug their own problem on my machine.

Here is the email I received after the technician worked with me:

From: XXXXXXX
Sent: Friday, March 07, 2008 10:18 AM
To: Aaron Paxson
Subject: FileCatalyst Webmail

Aaron,

You recently installed FC Webmail and walked through a quick online session with XXXX, technical engineer.

We would like to set up another session with you to walk you through the newest release and have you conduct you testing with this version.

Let me know when you would like to set up this web meeting next week.

Regards,

Okay, so moving on, I simply told the sales person that for the price, I felt that I shouldn’t be testing their software, and that I was no longer interested. I still feel I was professional, but I really didn’t want to continue. It was too expensive for what I received from it. Plus, I was a little disappointed that I had to help the technician debug their own problem. This was a pretty big problem, if the recipients couldn’t get the files. I mean…isn’t that the point?

My response was fair, I believe:

From: Aaron Paxson
Sent: Friday, March 07, 2008 11:23 AM
To: XXXX
Subject: RE: FileCatalyst Webmail

No thank you, XXX. I have tested the application enough to see what it does, and how it does it. I feel the cost of the application is more than the Quality of Service that goes into the "production" application.

At this point, I feel like I’m "testing" your application for your developers than actually "demo’ing" it. There was no "walkthrough" on our last call, but merely a helpdesk call for your developer to troubleshoot the problem.

Again, for the price of this product, I just feel uncomfortable.

Thank you for your time.

Regards,
Aaron Paxson

I mean, I don’t think anyone can blame me for that, right?  I was disappointed in how it was handled, and I really do not feel I should continue.  Here is the response I received today, and the reason for this post:

From: XXXXXXX
Sent: Monday, March 10, 2008 9:34 AM
To: Aaron Paxson
Subject: RE: FileCatalyst Webmail

Aaron,

It is unfortunate that you have this impression and feel uncomfortable with our solution and the pricing.

You contacted us February 21/08 via an online request for information and download of FileCatalyst Webmail.

I responded by providing download instructions the same day and offered a web meeting to demo FileCatalyst Webmail.

On Feb. 28/08 you downloaded the software and proceeded to test independently prior to a thorough overview of our solution.

If price is the issue, I understand.

If you would like a complete “walkthrough” of Filecatalyst Webmail, I would be pleased to provide this to you.

Sincerely,
XXXXXX

Okay, maybe it’s just me, but this really ticked me off. It sounds like the salesman was going through a chronological timeline, to justify what he did, and then proceed to (and I’m paraphrasing here) tell me that I’m too stupid to test their product because I, "….proceeded to test independantly prior to a thorough overview of their solution.".

Let me tell you something… when an engineer has to get on my laptop, to test and troubleshoot the problem, then have the salesman send me the "latest version" to continue testing… it is NOT BECAUSE I proceeded to test independantly prior to a thorough overview.

At this point, my professionalism is leaving me, and I’m starting to get upset.  Here is my final email:

From: Aaron Paxson
Sent: Monday, March 10, 2008 9:44 AM
To: XXXX
Subject: RE: FileCatalyst Webmail

I had no problems testing your software. But, recall, there was an error in the software that your software developer had to be on the call for, troubleshoot, then fix the problem.

This had nothing to do with "not having a thorough overview". By sending me an email and implying that I had these problems because I "failed to receive a thorough overview", because I, "proceeded to test independantly" has me feeling that it was my ignorance that caused the problem.

If it was because I "tested independantly prior to a thorough overview of your solution", then why send me the "latest version" to proceed to test with.

I wanted a demo, not be a ginea pig. The demo didn’t work, and I am moving on. So should you.

Thank you for your time.

Regards,
Aaron Paxson

Now, I’m not saying that their product is bad.  But, I did have a bad experience.  If you choose File Catalyst as your FileTransfer server, just be cautious.  And if you happen to have a salesman like this, just drop the product all together.  It’s not worth it.  I have better things to do.

What’s the most humerous piece of this??  Well, I received a comment from ANOTHER sales-person about the same product.  I’m done….

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2 responses to “Salesman grief…

  1. jk March 10, 2008 at 4:59 pm

    Take $2k, go to the local university and talk to the computer professors. Create a ‘grant’ for their students to create a product.

    Insist on specific details and talk to the professor about how you want it designed and made, they’ll enforce the requirements on their students.

    It’ll become a project for them and they’ll write you kick ass software and you’ll have 12 versions of it that you can choose from. OR, add another $500 to it and have them make it a summer project for an independent study student to get the best of the ideas in the project and make one that really works well.

    Sales people…. ugh

  2. Aaron Paxson March 12, 2008 at 3:41 pm

    That’s a really good idea, Jk. I may just do that with other projects. At this point, I’ve decided to write my own. It’s fairly trivial to create it. It’s the “Fancy Fixins” that will take more than a few days (i.e. AD authentication, Address Book Lookup, Tokenized URL’s).

    All in all, it should be decent. And, once that’s done, maybe I’ll ask the University to come up with something better, or enhance it.

    I’ve also dabbled in Enterprise Java, so it should be fairly easy.

    Thanks for the comment!

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