The Most Misleading Announcement of ASIS 2014

By John Honovich, Published Oct 02, 2014, 12:00am EDT (Info+)

One magazine called it "the biggest news to come out of the first day of ASIS 2014." Another described it in biblical terms.

What could get them so excited?

Answer: a struggling small analytics company partnering with Axis.

In this note, we examine Sightlogix's struggles, the meaning of the 'partnership' and what drove this fawning coverage.

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Comments (27)

First step in positioning for an aquisition? VideoIQ, as good as they were, seemed to decide they couldn't stand alone and let themselves be aquired.

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"For manufacturers, we see two key lessons:

  • Tout your partnership with Axis. Even if the partnership is meaningless, you have validated yourself by giving the impression that the biggest brand in the industry endorses your product. People will look more seriously at you."

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Very true!

I received a cold call voicemail 1 1/2 weeks ago from a company called Total Security, located in Sweden. They led the voicemail off with "We are software developers for Axis Communications" (After Greeting). The voicemail did catch my attention and I listened to the whole thing. I listened to the whole thing because he did say they are Axis Software Developers and because he did not sound like a sales guy and he sounded like he knew what he was talking about and he was talking slow, like he did not have 300 more people to call that day. (He is actually a sales guy according to their website)

I would attach Voicemail, but I do not see how I can upload an mp3 file here. If you want to hear the voicemail, let me know.

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Here is the voicemail recording. Money quote:

"We're software developers for Axis Communications."

This is extremely misleading.

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Perhaps they should have just said their voicemail was ONVIF compatible?

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First of I would like to express my admiration for our sales team that despite the time difference and language barrier do a very good job at conveying our message.

Unfortunately that barrier has caused a misleading statement that would have sounded differently in Swedish. This will definitely not happen again and that opening statement should have read something along the lines of:

“We develop software for Axis products.”

We would like to make it absolutely clear that we are not contracted by Axis in any way. We are a standalone business in Sweden that develop software solely for Axis products, that is why we mentioned them in our pitch.

Patrik Sjödin

CTO

Total-Security

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Patrik,

That was an excellent non-apology apology.

You might want to consider a future career as an American politician :)

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In Patrick's defense on the language portion, I have foreign language friends who are often frustrated by misspeak sometimes when trying to translate things to English. Especially with word order, which is not that common in other languages like in English where simply changing the order of words can make two sentences coherent and grammatically correct but say different things.

But I'd agree it doesn't absolve them of responsibility of making sure their copy is properly proof read for the language it is written in, and that includes English speaking companies writing for foreign language markets.

For myself I give him credit for being one the few companies that come on here from time to time to specifically address an issue and even admit a fault when so many, especially the big ones, just ignore them and keep right on with what they have, right or wrong.

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The big companies make changes in response to criticism, they just like to minimize giving credit or acknowledging the motivation for change.

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My takeaway from this is: To get someone to listen to your message when leaving a cold voice mail:

1. Quickly co-opt someone else's branding at the start of your cold pitch.

2. Don't sound like a salesperson.

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You have absolutely no idea how valuable not sounding like a salesperson is to a salesperson. We have an entire department of experts who do nothing but training our salespeople to not sound like salespeople, and every salesperson in this company undergoes many hours of training every quarter to reinforce these lessons. In addition, we have coaches who listen in on and grade random phone calls in order to make sure these guidelines are being followed, and who meet with salespeople on a regular basis.

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C, are you joking?

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Nope.

The hard sell pushes people away. We are trained to sound like concerned advisors. That's also why we're all on salary, not commision, across all our departments and divisions- if a customer wants to buy the cheaper thing, or just wants general advice, they aren't taking food off my table, so I'm not motivated to hard-sell.

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If it was not for the misleading quote "We're software developers for Axis Communications.", this cold call voicemail would be pretty good...in my opinion from a prospects perspective. I would prefer this type of sales call in my voicemail even though it is pretty long. You know how many sales voicemails I delete after the first sentence? A lot.

Not 100% sure why I prefer this style of sales voicemail. It is probably for one or all of these reasons.

  • genuine voice
  • laid-back voice that seems intelligent
  • different from the other calls I get.

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I possibly like because he hooks you in with a possibly misleading quote of "We're software developers for Axis Communications."

I'm assuming a lot of sales managers would probably cringe at this type of call even if you took out the possibly misleading quote.

Is it misleading or are they really Axis software developers?

On the other hand...Is it creepy because they are targeting Axis Gold Partners that are listed on the Axis partner page? Probably not, because that is what sales people do.

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"targeting Axis Gold Partners that are listed on the Axis partner page?"

Does Axis publicly list all of their Gold Partners on the Internet?

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If you go to the Where to Buy link on the Axis website, you can see the majority of Gold Partners, once you fill out the form. To get on this page, you need to provide Axis your company logo and you need to create an Axis-Specific landing page on your website.

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Thanks for sharing.

Btw, it looks like you can get the list without filling out the form. There's a secondary tab labelled '...or view Resellers'

I thought there were going to be thousands, but there's only ~100 total. Not sure if everyone is listed though.

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Could be low becuase you have to create a Axis Specific landing page on your business website. Axis does give you Javascript template coding of a few different style layouts if you want to make a simple embed page.

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So how does a 'salesperson' sound?

I mean, I know what a high-pressure used-carlot sales pitch sounds like, but what specifically turns people off about the way a sales person presents themselves?

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The biggest thing I've seen is when sales people keep interrupting a prospect trying to tell the sales person what's important to them and keeps talking about what the client should have.

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Keep talking and talking and talking. Keep pressuring the customer. Keep trying to rush the customer, not giving them time to think. Laugh too loud, keep using the customer's name, imply that the price could go up any second so they better sign on the dotted line right now, or else. You know, general shadyness. Have you ever tried to buy a car? Those guys are a perfect example.

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A few things -

  • Repetitive
    • Features and Benefits
    • Memorized brainwashed scripts that company provided
      • Marketing Department can be the fault here.
  • Over Selling/Over Promising
    • Industry is notorious for selling future features as if it was coming in a week, even if it is over a year out for rollout.
  • You can tell when it is all about the sale and nothing else.
  • Pestering
    • Always trying to close or get you to the next step (Even if you express no interest)
      • I prefer to take the next step on my own and not get led to the next step with a leash.
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Right! I forgot repetitive, like you're talking to an NPC in a badly programmed game.

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I've lost count of how many times I have heard a salesman "name drop" in a pitch. ...or as B put it "Quickly co-opt someone else's branding at the start of your cold pitch".

How many crappy no-name CCTV cameras have you seen mention "Sony" or other global brand somewhere in the component description, ie:

It applies to integrators as well. Claiming 'FedEx' or 'Walmart' as a customer because they buy alarm monitoring from you or you stuck a 4 camera system in an executive's vacation home does not impress.

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Axis has their own thermal cameras, along with basic on-camera analytics and aggressive well-trained salesforce.

If I was at Sightlogix, I'd be worried about the risk of losing some opportunities to Axis in this arrangement.

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Axis has 100 times the sales people that Sightlogix does. I don't imagine there will be many prospects for Sightlogix that Axis neither knows about nor cannot get serious consideration, without Sightlogix.

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This does show a rather sad state of journalism. Thank you for exposing this. I wonder if this food for news tradeoff escalates as other marketers ratchet up the food venue? Do any of the trade mags have policies regarding items like this? A fair amount of government entities and corporations have policies about gifting and meals.

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I have not seen any security trade magazines with policies against accepting gifts / meals. To the contrary, it's pretty much the norm to do so.

For example, here are a collection of trade mag editors showcasing their NY vacation sponsored by Speco:

Speco Handshakes 2 Hugs Media Summit @Fire Island @GingerHill13 @SSN_Editor @SSIEditor @SecInfoWatch @SDMmagazine pic.twitter.com/0vHqQiJsvm

Speco Technologies (@SpecoOfficial) July 30, 2014

No shame, no qualms.

What's really ironic is that the reason the trade mag readers don't complain is because trade mags have very few actual readers. For example, Security Products had ~41,000 visits and ~68,000 page views last month (September 2014). IPVM had 3x more visits (~122,000) and 4x more page views (~327,000) in the same period, despite us being a paid site and them being free.

It's a truly bizarre situation. The manufacturers pay them for coverage, despite them not having enough readers to really care about the coverage nor the conflict.

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