While attending the Salesforce Event in Stockholm on the 7th of December I realized that Salesforce is doing the sales rather complicated for themselves.
First of all, use examples that are familiar to the audience.
Running a demo with names like 'Universal Containers' and a user named ''Adam Perot' doesn't make it familiar to business people in Sweden. Why not have names like 'Stockholm Transport AB' and 'Sven Johansson'?
Secondly, use the Swedish language version of the tool.
If Salesforce is available in Swedish (as I was told by a salesman), why running the demo on the English version?
Finally, local presence is great, but you also need to make it obvious.
One thing that really impressed me what the number of Salesforce people attending the event. (Even if I assume quite a few were brought in from the London office.) This is not the impression you got while surfing the Salesforce site. For example, you are able to choose 'Svenska' (the word for 'Swedish') in the top menu, but that only takes you to the UK version! (Why even bother having the choice?) The same with all the material, none in Swedish.
Does it matter?
I believe it does. Most(?) managers choose suppliers that they believe understand their business situation and will be there if something happens. How about support and training? If they don't even has sales material in Swedish, will they have manuals in Swedish?
My tip to Salesforce, if serious about their business in Sweden, is to make it obvious for everyone that the service is available in Sweden/Swedish. Don't have us guessing.
The event in total?
It was great. The presentations by Mats Gustavsson from Wednesday Relations was inspiring. Moreover, the highlight of the event was to hear first hand experience of Salesforce from a customer. Göran Möllebo, Sales Development Manager, at Pan-Nordic Logistics seems to be a very satisfied Salesforce customer.
I also had the opportunity to exchange cards with Salesforce customers. The best source for information since I'm going to evaluate the system for a potential switch of CRM supplier. Especially since the demo of Winter 07 release looked very impressive.