Many technical support cases can be mission-critical with significant business assets at stake. When a Symantec sales team found itself head-to-head against a competitor for a million dollar NetBackup deal, they called on tech support for answers—and help. Jaime, a NetBackup support specialist, picked up the call.
A large, regional health insurance company needed to replace its home-grown UNIX backup and recovery software. Symantec was in the running as software of choice, but the customer had some questions about the product capabilities.
“Our Symantec sales rep said the potential customer was particularly concerned with bare metal restores, BMR, running AIX,” Jaime recalls. “The rep sent an urgent email to our engineering facility in Pune, India to see if the group had a white paper on BMR with AIX or UNIX.” The sales rep had cc’d Jaime on the message. Jaime contacted the lead sales engineer to get a better feel for exactly what the customer needed to make a decision. “The customer was already using UNIX utilities for this operation, but they wanted to know if NetBackup could perform better.” The clock was ticking—the customer would probably decide on a software vendor within a day or two. Jaime decided he couldn’t wait for the response from India. “Between the time differential between Symantec U.S. and India and the uncertainty that they would have the documents we needed, I decided to answer the customer’s questions myself,” Jaime recalls. Even if engineering had something available, Jaime realized it might be too late.
Over a period of 30-45 minutes Jaime took the questions provided to him by the sales team and wrote a detailed technical document explaining the BMR process step-by-step. This wasn’t merely a case of copying steps from a manual or technical note, however. “I had to answer their specific questions, but I was also highly aware that much of what I had to write up might have company-sensitive, competitive information in it,” Jaime says. He had to walk a fine line between satisfying the customer’s technical needs and preventing the release of too much proprietary information.
After Jaime finished the document, he contacted the sales team and they requested that the customer sign a non-disclosure agreement before reviewing the information. The customer agreed, and began reviewing the document sent over by Jaime.
A satisfied “pre-customer”
The next day the lead sales team member called Jaime and indicated the information had convinced the customer to choose NetBackup and agreed to sign a contract with Symantec. The day before, Jaime had received word from India that they did not have the white paper that was needed. “It’s a good thing I acted when I did,” says Jaime. The delay would have cost Symantec the sale. And in all likelihood, any white paper he might have received probably might not have answered the customer’s questions without rewriting significant portions of the document. As a result of his work, Jaime received the following Thank You from the sales leader:
“Jaime, On behalf of my team I wanted to send a special thank you for the work you did constructing the information our customer requested around BMR with AIX. This is a million dollar competitive NBU deal with [a competitor] with a very demanding customer. Your quick and thorough action here was sincerely appreciated and went a long way with the customer's impression. After that meeting Symantec was verbally awarded the deal! Thank you so very much. You truly added value to our deal and as a company allowed us to show true dedication to the customer.”
For his part, Jaime doesn’t see this case as unusual. “Sales has a great need for this kind of support,” he says. “I always try to make myself available in these situations.” In fact, Jaime says he routinely fields calls from sales personnel he knows. “The customers are blown away when a sales person can make a call in the middle of a meeting and get an answer—right on the spot.”