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September 14, 2012


Slideshare didn’t want my business

by Tom De Baere

source : Flickr – by Joriel “Joz” Jimenez

Some time ago, I started using Slideshare as an extra way of putting out content to buyers.

At first it was an experiment, but we must have done something right, because soon we had over 10.000 views on a number of presentations.

Because we passed the 10.000 views mark, we got a mail from Slideshare to try the PRO version of Slideshare, adding lots of interesting functionality. Yeah, nice !

Sneaky free offering

Interesting, as it seemed, I went on to their website and tried to activate the free month trial period.

I got quickly disappointed, as the offering required me to fill in my credit card details. The sneaky bit here is that although they would not debit my credit card, filling in all the details would mean an AUTOMATIC renewed monthly debit subscription to the PRO service. I also saw that at LinkedIn, but hey, aren’t they the same company?

Bummer !

Marketing take-away: if you are offering a free trial period, make sure the terms and conditions do not harm your brand by putting in sneaky or less appealing conditions. Your offering must remain attractive, even during the free trial period.

Resisting to have me as their customer

The number of views kept growing, so I decided to go for it. As our company is not set-up to work easily with on-line credit card payments, I hoped that Slideshare would be able to invoice me fort heir services.

Nowhere on their site I could find anything about that, so I decided to give them a call.

The customer service representative was very friendly, and as I explained that I wanted an invoice it went through the following strange conversation:

  • Slideshare: “We do not work with invoices, unless the yearly amound spent exceeds 1000 USD.
  • Me : “But I only need the Silver PRO version which only accounts for 228 USD, so how can I get to the 1000USD?”
  • Slideshare : “euuhh, we can write you up for a 4 year contract ?”
  • Me: “but I only want to try your service, I am not willing to commit for 4 years!”
  • Slideshare : “sorry sir, we currently have no option to take your business!”.

Although the above conversation is not literally what happened, it pretty much sums up what happened.

Marketing take-away: even if you are not set-up to work according to customer wishes, you always need to be able to work out a solution to take away all the possible obstacles that make people NOT buying from you.

A positive surprise

Still a little blown away from the fact that Slideshare didn’t want my business, I was positively surprised by the fact that I got an e-mail from an account manager at Slideshare asking for a phone call. Somehow the customer service representative had given my contact details to the sales team, as they noticed I wasn’t very happy. Well done Slideshare.

So we did, we set-up a conference call.

After a lengthy conversation, in which I explained that we preferred to be invoiced, the situation remained the same. It was a great conversation, and the lady on the phone absolutely agreed with me that Slideshare should take away all possible barriers to business with them.

Not a happy ending

But in the end, we didn’t do any business. Maybe later, but not now. Maybe later, and maybe not with Slideshare.

The key take-away here for Slideshare, and any other company, is that they need to understand the buying process of their buyers, no matter where they are and what their buying preferences are.

Across the complete buying cycle, they need to find out where there is a gap between what customers want, and what they are offering.

Let’s see what happens. Maybe Slideshare will read this and send me an invoice for their services? ;-)

Warm regards,

Tom De Baere