Software companies often build freemium business models. Those who may or may not work for well-known brands have the ability to subscribe to use the software for free. Marketing, in its quest to achieve credibility, scrapes the logo of that major brand from the site and posts it on the software company’s site to announce the major brand is now a happy client.
Where does this fall on your integrity spectrum?
Imagine that you work for H&R Block as an IT Analyst and you subscribe to a free version of a SaaS solution. Would you want to assume the liability associated with the use of the H&R Block trademarked logo?
Now fast forward to a sales rep’s conversation with a new prospect who’s just reviewed the vendor’s web site. How does that rep respond when asked about H&R Block’s use of the software? Is it ethical to put a sales rep in a position to have to justify Marketing’s position that a free “user” (and I use that term lightly) is an actual “customer”?
Sales reps are often in very challenging positions. Their employers are obligated to provide strong, credible support and collateral materials in an effort to support the sales process. This provides funding for all functional areas of the company.
Don’t compromise the integrity of your sales department in an effort to impress analysts or investors. It’s simply not good business and of course, should you be discovered, good luck explaining the significant benefits the national brand is realizing.
One free user does not a customer make.