Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Evasive by Omission on Quickbooks @ the XERO Partner Meeting with Bagels, Mimosas & Big Dreams....

Xero founder & CEO Rod Drury believes with every fiber in his body that Xero is a more dynamic company than Intuit with a vastly superior product than Quickbooks.  He's not shy in saying exactly that and in many ways.  Our favorite is a couple months ago when  Mr. Drury analogized Xero will EAT Intuit.   That happened.  

Over at RadioLive we listened to an interview with XERO CEO Rod Drury.  Mr. Drury talks about what distinguishes XERO from Quickbooks Online and Xero's advantage over Intuit at about 6:30 into the interview. To Listen to Rod Drury interviewed, click here.   @ 07:35 into the interview Mr. Drury summarizes his arguments with a reference to laws of nature and the animal kingdom by saying,   "It's not the big [Intuit] that eats the small [XERO] it's the fast [XERO] that eat the slow [Intuit]".  We love it and we can provide lots of examples of Mr. Drury expressing this measure of passion and determination that in his battle with Intuit,  Intuit is inferior and Xero will prevail.    

Today we sat in on the Xero Partner U.S. Update hosted by Jamie Sutherland.   Why?  We were invited.   The webinar ended giving us a clear understanding why Xero is experiencing a sales malaise in the U.S...and demonstrating a stark contrast between Rod Drury and the U.S. Xero management team.

At today's webinar the words "Intuit" and or "Quickbooks" were never mentioned by anyone from Xero.  Not a single anyone. Not by U.S. President Jamie Sutherland, not Ian Vacin (VP Product strategy & Marketing), not Marie Jung (Partner Marketing Manager), not Mark Pinard (Sr Product Marketing Mgr Payroll).    Mind you all these people spoke about what's coming down the pipeline (in some cases as early as next week) from Xero with respect to their specific areas.......but no one said "Intuit" or "Quickbooks".

Why is that important:  Mind you this is an event wherein Xero U.S. is trying to motivate, inspire, excite, and 'rally the troops' (the accountants & bookkeepers) on the front lines and in the trenches to go out and push Xero.   When Jamie Sutherland or Ian Vacin talked about features soon to be released (Business Performance Dashboard, Inventory Light, Global Search, Find & Recode (Re-classify - efficiency gains, etc)  there are numerous points for them in their discussion to stop and bring attention to a feature that separates Xero from Quickbooks/QBO.

They can say, "This is going to be a big selling point against Quickbooks" or "Quickbooks offers nothing like this" or "We feel this really separates us from Quickbooks", etc.

Today there was no talk of contrasting points or efficiency gains Xero delivers over QBO.  Mark Pinard, Marie Jun, even Amy Vetter (Education & Enablement in the US)...all of them had opportunities to brief the Xero Partners where Xero separates and or leads (in comparison to QBO) and delivers the clear advantage.  We have no idea why - but none of them - not a single US Xero management person drew a point of contrast of Xero in comparison to Quickbooks at today's webinar. 

What did we expect?  A reflection of Rod Drury.   Rod Drury does not miss an opportunity to drive contrast between Xero and Quickbooks, to anyone......ever.  We did not get anything close to Rod Drury.    We got pure "evasive behavior" (sidestepping by omission) of the real world for the Xero partner (contending with Quickbooks). 

Example:  Marie Jung, Xero Partner Marketing Manager spoke and posed the question and presentation, "What is the biggest challenge you face in building your Xero practice?". Participants were asked to vote for 1 of 4 prescripted answers:

1. staying on top of new tools & features  
2. finding more clients  
3. moving existing clients and files to xero  
4. creating actionable business plan

That's it.  The elephant in the room?  Can you say 'Quickbooks'?   Why wasn't 'displacing Quickbooks' or 'competing with Quickbooks' or just the word 'Quickbooks' an option?  Is anyone going to argue that it's not the biggest challenge in building a Xero practice in the U.S.? The real, key, and primary answer to the posed question is "Quickbooks".   

This is Xero being evasive by omission on the matter at hand, competing against Quickbooks.   Marie Jung did not offer any insights as to where Quickbooks is vulnerable to what's forthcoming from Xero on a marketing level.   Instead Marie Jung illustrated shrewd marketing prowess by Xero Partners such as Sabrina Covington and a little marketing event/strategy she created called, "Bagels, Mimosas, & Big Dreams".     

Seriously.  For real.   We are not making this up.   Here at the quarterly Xero partner update webinar to an audience of Xero partners and bookkeepers, no advice on marketing against Quickbooks was offered.   Instead the US Xero Partner Marketing Manager presented Bagels, Mimosas, & Big Dreams as an illustration to Xero partners of a way to market.   How does it get worse?  This is an event that took place over 1 year ago in 2013.   Is there nothing a bit more recent and fresh to point to?   Yes Rod Drury, with Xero U.S., it's come to this.....

If it were not for a question in the open Q&A and Xero Partner Cloudsourced Accounting's Blake Oliver....the word Quickbooks would have never been mentioned at all.   Blake mentioned the word "quickbooks" twice in describing the background of hired employees and stating they were not capable of transitioning to Xero; and in the Q&A, the first question was;  

1. Did you find it hard to convert clients from QB to Xero (to Blake Oliver)? 

Thank God!  Leave it to someone in the audience to have had enough of the Xero evasive by omission behavior and get to the heart of the matter.  However Blake did not answer the question in the context of a sales & marketing challenge, he spoke to the technical side only of 'conversion', advising to do the clean up of the files in QB first - then convert to Xero (as opposed to converting to Xero then doing the clean up).   


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