Tuesday, March 1, 2016

How an eLearning company landed on my sh*tlist

One of the most interesting thing about starting a new role is seeing who reaches out to you and how.

On LinkedIn I got many congratulations from contacts, close and otherwise, when my status changed.

A small hand full of those were companies I've either worked with in the past, or been in some sort of conversation with. Usually these folks remind me of their business and offer their services to me if I might need them in my new role. 

There are also a few companies that don't use LinkedIn but send emails to my new company email address. Usually these are folks I've never worked with before.  

Being pretty well versed in the various offerings out there, I usually reply something along the lines of " thanks, We will reach out if we have need of you"

Occasionally this is not enough.

One company kept sending me emails and calling, leaving me lots of voicemails. When one of these guys was (un?)lucky enough to actually get hold of me on the phone I told him that there constant attempts at trying to set up time to chat with me were counter productive. 

And here is why.

If you don't listen to me telling you I don't want to talk to you when I';m a prospect that you are trying to get to spend money with you, I can only assume you will be even worse at listening to me when I describe my needs or if I need help after a purchase.

And that brings me to GROVO.

A couple of months after I started I got an email from them. I'd heard of them and seen a demo of their product at an ATD conference. Their micro-learning approach was something that I thought might fit in with our needs somewhere along the way. So I checked in with my new boss just to see if we had spoken to them in the past. 

That is when she told me that the sales teams at Grovo had been in touch with each of the members of our team at various times and it had gotten to the point that she had told them clearly and directly not to contact anyone at my company. As they failed to listen to that message I made my reply very clear.

I spoke with my Director, who informs me that there have been several attempts by people at Grovo to contact and engage the L&D function at XXXXXXX.. So many in fact that she apparently made it very clear in her last communication with you that we currently have no requirement for your services but if we do we will reach out and we don’t want to keep receiving these.
So I’ll repeat that message here.
 And further I get the feeling that the more attempts you or your Grovo colleagues  make to contact us the further and further down a list of possible vendors you move. Regards

The reply came back, apologizing and telling me I'd be removed from their marketing lists and would not get any more emails from them. 

About 6 weeks later, a colleague in the Talent Acquisition team got an email from them, which she shared with our L&D team.. At that point we pretty much decided that we would NEVER give them any business. Our colleague replied again telling them to remove us from their lists. One of my team mates sent this around, about how we felt when Grovo was so annoying.

This morning, one of the VP's in a team that couldn't possibly have need of their services received an email from them.

Exactly how we deal with this, is yet to be decided.

But at this stage I felt it worth my time to create this blog post and share it with you. 

Because a company that does not listen is a company that I'd advise you not to do business with. 

Because a company in the Learning Business that does not learn, is a company that I'd advise you not to do business with. 

Because in the modern interconnected world, a company that does not consider how they might piss off people who talk to each other though Blogs, Professional organizations and Social Media is a company that I'd advise you not to do business with. 

Happy Learning.


  1. UPDATE:
    They just tried to connect with my Director on LinkedIn!

  2. I appreciate knowing this, and I'm glad you shared it. It's appropriate to try to handle things privately, as you and your director obviously did. After so many attempts though, I think a public message like this is beneficial to others of us in the industry.

    Easygenerator is the company I avoid, for very similar sales practices to what you mentioned. Their sales person wasn't able to have a normal human conversation that didn't involve a sales pitch.

    I always feel like companies who need to push so hard to sell their product probably aren't selling anything worthwhile. If you have a great product or service, often people will just talk about how wonderful it is naturally. Look how people rave about Storyline and do their marketing for them. The Articulate team does a lot of work to build and maintain a community, of course. That community is focused on making their *users* awesome, instead of being focused on telling everyone how awesome their *product* is. Grovo would do well to pay attention to Articulate's success.