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September 06, 2009

Blogger Relationship Mis-management: Saying No to Madame Yes

I tried to let it go, but I just can't...

A few weeks back on a recent episode of The CRM Playaz Paul and I were joined by Marshall Lager and Chris Bucholtz - two of our favorite writers (and talkers) in the industry. As bloggers/analysts/pundits/loud-mouths each of us get contacted regularly by vendors and their pr firms to keep us up to date on what's going on. Many times vendors/pr firms are looking to introduce themselves in order to build a relationship, show us a new product or service, or even to get one of their execs on one of our shows. And one such CEO reached out to Paul to introduce himself and his company, but arrogant manner in which he did so ended up making him great fodder for all four of us. You really have to check it out the show to hear just how badly things went for this guy.

Paul's story immediately made me think my own BRM story of arrogance, starring a person I'll call Madame Yes (using this to protect the names of the ignorant - not innocent). More on her in a minute...

Now I'm glad to have blogger/analyst relations folks like Oracle's Susie Penner, Sage's Ryan Zuk, and many others keep me up to speed with what's going on with their companies, and to set up conversations with executive team members. I also appreciate when CEOs and founders of smaller players reach out to me to introduce me to what they're up to. Mercury Grove's Scott Annan and BatchBlue's Pamela O'Hara are two that come immediately to mind that I keep my eye on because of a friendly email approach. This helps me try to stay on top of what's going on in the CRM industry, and allows me to be interviewed for this month's issue of Entrepreneur magazine on CRM/social media-related topics. participate in things like CRM magazine's 2009 Market Leader awards in the small business suite category. By the way be on the lookout for post I did on Paul's ZDNet blog on CRM where I share a few thoughts on how this year's awards played out.

So I really appreciate the vast majority of companies that contact me looking to share their story with me and to start a dialog. I sometimes get overwhelmed with requests, but I really encourage folks looking to connect to continue sending emails, tweets, Facebook wall writings and other forms of communication, and I'll try my best to touch base. As long as you're not like Madame Yes.

For those not familiar, Madame Yes was a character on an episode of the Flintstones who claimed she was too important to do dirty/dangerous work. Even being a little kid her arrogance made me wanna "holla", even if she was pretty good looking. See for yourself:

Now you know she must have touched a nerve, if I still remember that episode all these years later. But that same irritating, arrogant nature came back to me recently when I received an email from my new Madame Yes - actually this Madame Yes had to have her assistant send this, as she no doubt was too important to contact me on her own:

Good Afternoon,

I am Madame Yes's assistant and she would like to schedule some time to speak with you next week. Can you give me a few options that I can schedule for about 30 mins?

Onward & Upward


Madame Y's Faithful Virtual Assistant

This is the email I got - the only thing changed is the name... once again to protect the name of the ignorant (not the innocent). This is it... really. So, would you really be surprised to find out that I did not respond to this? Now I was planning on answering this, except for the following little things:

  • I didn't know who the heck Madame Yes was, and this email never told me who the heck she was. I guess she assumed I was supposed to have heard of her.
  • She wants to schedule time to speak with me and doesn't say why she wants to, and what she wants to speak about
  • The "Good Afternoon" greeting has all the warmth and humanity of a robot
  • If she really wanted to connect with me she would have had her virtual assistant use a better template, or maybe even wrote the email herself

I mean, come on, madame. Would any of you be rushing to the keyboard to respond to this mess? I was so irritated by this that I actually spent valuable time searching for info on this character - and now I know why she didn't say much about herself.

Now compare Madame Yes to another email I received that same week, from Robin Carey of Social Media Today:

Hi Brent,

I'm a big fan of your blog and your insight into CRM in general. I don't know if you are aware of our company, Social Media Today, but we create web-based communities around btob topics, including TheCustomerCollective.com. We've worked with a number of leading bloggers in CRM, including Paul Greenberg, Denis Pombriant and others, but somehow we've never connected with you.

I've got a webinar coming up for which your input would be IDEAL, but I wondered if we could have a brief conversation about our mutual interests in the next day or two

Now after reading this, it wasn't a question of will I answer this, it was more about how quickly I could answer it. Let us count the reasons why:

  • Hi Brent - that sounds like a person... a friendly person at that
  • She gave me a nice compliment right off the bat. Now who wouldn't like that. It made me feel like my mother wasn't my only blog fan.
  • She didn't assume that I knew who she was or that I knew her company. Being highly respected in the business community I had definitely heard of her, her company and many of their sites, but i appreciated her modest approach.
  • She mentioned to people I have the utmost respect for
  • She mentioned what she wanted to talk about

This is night and day compared to Madame Yes. I was eager to speak with Robin, and have done so on numerous occasions on our way to building a very cool business relationship.

Madame Yes - I'm talking directly to you now - you're not too important to study Robin's approach to BRM. And while you're at it study how the Horn Group's Melissa Hick introduced herself to me recently, on behalf of her client, RightNow Technologies:

Hi Brent -

Before you set CRM aside for the weekend and get into the #fridaynitemix, I wanted to send an update on RightNow Technologies.

weekly disclaimer.jpg

If you had ( but i know you didn't) read my previous post (Why I Learned Everything I Need to Know About Social Media in 1989, Not 2009) than you'll know that every Friday night on Twitter I play DJ and use the #fridaynitemix tag to keep track of the music I tweet out. And I give a disclaimer letting my CRM friends know that I'm going into music mode. And that disclaimer is how Melissa starts her email to me, letting me know that she's paying attention to me on Twitter. Guess what Madame Yes, that's all I needed to see before I made up my mind to follow up with her.

Now you're not too important to follow Robin and Melissa's examples if you knew it would get you a "yes" response, are you madame?

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