When Your Salesperson Creates An International Incident (Amazon / ICE)

By John Honovich, Published Oct 23, 2018, 06:05pm EDT

Having your salespeople be aggressive and go after big accounts is a virtue, mostly. On occasions, it can cause problems.

A new case involves Amazon calling on the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE). The Daily Beat headline and lead calls it out:

Amazon Pushes ICE to Buy Its Face Recognition Surveillance Tech - Amazon employees are up in arms about possible collaborations with law enforcement. That hasn’t stopped Amazon reps from pitching ICE on its face-scanning tech.

From the title, one might conclude that Jeff Bezos personally went to Washington DC and pled with ICE to use facial recognition to deport children but it was a far more mundane case. One of Amazon's salespeople called and met with ICE. ICE declined to use Amazon's facial recognition.

However, it has been picked up by the LA Times, the Washington Post, the Chicago TribuneBloomberg, Engadget, and many other publications.

A few lessons from this:

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Comments (7)

For example, if we had a dollar for every tech company that said they were doing a pilot with Wal-Mart, we could retire.

Any one employee or everyone in the company? ;)

everyone in the company? ;)

We could all retire and move to your neighborhood! ;)

So I shouldn't send DHS/ICE a sales flyer right now...

 

Whoopies

Bad look. You'd think a tech company of that magnitude would have a firm understanding of how the internet works. Secrets don't exist anymore, and public relations/corporate image are more important than ever.

So AMAZON develops a product and hires salespeople who are expected to sell it.  The product has a limited audience due to its nature and cost.  The salesperson successfully gets a meeting with a major target end user.  The salesperson is the bad guy?  He or she may have been working on that appointment for months.  Should they have canceled?

I don't get this logic path.  If AMAZON is embarrassed by the product they developed they should cancel the program.  Any and all technology can be used for good or bad.

The salesperson is the bad guy?

I voted that funny and informative. 

On the one hand, Amazon hired US 'federal sales' employees, so who else are they going to sell to but the US federal government? That is the element I find funny in the mainstream coverage. The perception that somehow it is more sinister than simply a salesperson doing what salespeople should do.

If AMAZON is embarrassed by the product they developed they should cancel the program.

The challenge with facial recognition is that it can be used for so many purposes ('good' or 'bad') and it still is uncommon (in terms of public security use) so people are trying to figure out where and when it should be used.

So meetings between large organizations and tech companies are commonplace, most come to nothing, to the chagrin of salespeople. But they are valuable for end users because it gives them insights into what is being offered.

When I run into a large company conducting these kind of meetings with everyone & their brother - I tell them which products we use and then give them a link to IPVM with the suggestion that if they want to check out various manufactures, before they spend quantum time on 2hr and 3hr meetings, they should research them through IPVM.  This, I tell them, will help then narrow down which vendors they give their time to and make better use of the meeting time as they'll already have a pretty good idea what each one can/can't do, financial strength, any weaknesses etc.

It also allows me to save my time and move onto a sales call with some potential to close.  Most of the time, the users are appreciative and will call me again with questions so it establishes me as their trusted "go to" for security information.  Win/win.

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