It’s been quite sometime since I worked as an Autodesk reseller but I am still getting emails and phone calls from old clients asking me about this crazy “Customer Engagement” program. They seem to understand that this program has very little to do with measuring customer satisfaction and they are wondering about its real motive.
Here’s the low down. You need 3-D software: Revit, Civil3D, Inventor, etc… You call a reseller and ask for a quote. The reseller will say something along the lines of, “I will get you that quote but before I do, I am going to send you an email. It’s basically just asking if we are working together, please click the yes button in the email.”
Within a few minutes or days you get an email that states:
Dear So and So,
Our priority at Autodesk is to not only provide you with the best design products available, but to also provide you with the best customer service experience. As your Value Added Partner has probably informed you, we are contacting you to ensure you’re receiving excellence in service from your authorized Autodesk reseller.
Your feedback is important to us, so please take a moment to click on the link below to confirm that you are working with Reseller, Inc…
If you click YES, you are enabling that reseller to give you a better price on the software. You are also enabling them to collect a much higher profit margin. If you click NO, the price you will get on that same piece of software will be dramatically higher and the poor reseller will not be making much money on it at all. Let’s say you ignore the email. An Autodesk Customer Engagement Rep will call you and ask you the same question that’s in the email. Let’s say you ignore their phone calls. After a period of days, I think 14 but I could be wrong, your answer is recorded as NO. After three months (I think, this may have changed) the registration expires and you are fair game once again.
What does this all mean? As an Autodesk reseller prior to this program, I used to spend days, weeks, sometimes months selling 3D software to a company. It might begin with a cold call and then move to an in person meeting followed by a needs assessment meeting followed by a customized demonstration, etc… When the time finally came to submit the proposal, the prospect might decide at that point to shop around OR more often than not, another reseller might come in and drop the price of the software. Talk about unfair! You do all this work and then your prospect tells you they can get the software for a substantially lower price. What do you do? You naturally drop your price. But this doesn’t mean Autodesk is dropping their price– this means the reseller is dropping THEIR price and losing profit. By putting this program together, Autodesk was attempting to make sure that the first reseller into an account is protected against other resellers as well as prospects trying to get the cheapest price.
So what does this mean to you? Make sure you have a good relationship with a reseller. Make sure you like them and make sure you TRUST them. Make sure they give you good tech support. And then when you need software GO TO THEM FOR THE QUOTE! This way you both win. You get a cheap price and the reseller can make more money. And I will tell you, when the reseller is making money, they will treat you like a KING or QUEEN!
What if you don’t have a relationship with a reseller? Call around to other firms and see who they recommend. Give a call to some of these resellers and tell them you are interested in AutoCAD LT. If a reseller treats you right when you are purchasing just LT, you can be pretty sure they are a reputable company. Then once you choose who you want to work with, call them up and tell them you really want 3D…. and then click YES on that email.
And if you are wondering why your reseller won’t tell you any of this… it’s a secret! If they utter one word about it they get “embargoed.” What this means is they aren’t allowed to register anyone for 1 week or 1 month or whatever timeframe Autodesk deems as punishment. So don’t let on you know about this!