Not long ago, I was speaking to the CRO of a sales technology company. We had a passing acquaintance, I’d been a guest on a webcast a couple of years ago, we had a few conversations and emails since then. I was, relatively, a fan of the tools they provide.
I reached out to this individual, saying, “Can we have a heart to heart…..?” I suspect he was surprised and, possibly, a little confused, but he agreed.
We jumped on a Zoom call, I said, “Can I share my screen?” I displayed the marketing/sales outreach emails I get from his company. 2-4 a day, every business day, for 2 years. Each of them addressed to “Hey you…” Each of them totally irrelevant to me, my interests, and my business.
We read the last 4 emails I had gotten, I asked, “If you were me, what would you do with these?”
He swallowed hard, “I’d SPAM them!”
I said, “OK, done….” I took all 4 and sent them to my junk mail folder with an unsubscribe.
We went on in our conversation. I told him I was a fan of the products, I thought they created good value for the sellers using them. I said, “I know what you and your team ‘preach’ in your webcasts and content about how to target customers, engage them with relevance and insight. But your people aren’t doing this in their own engagement approaches.”
It was a bit of an uncomfortable conversation, he was embarrassed and apologetic. I reassured him, “Don’t be worried, 95% of the providers of sales/marketing technologies do the same thing, so you’re not alone. But you need to change–and if you did, you would stand out from those competitors.”
We talked a little more about recommendations, pretty simple ideas. Better targeting, change the messaging, at least some personalization, “Dear Dave.” I asked, “Why do your customers/prospects need to hear from you 2-4 times a day, even if you are targeting and messaging them correctly?”
As we wound up, I asked, “Are you on your company’s mailing/prospect lists?” Not surprisingly, he wasn’t. He was totally unaware of what his team was inflicting on their prospects. He said, “I need to do that, but won’t they recognize me? Won’t they look at my LinkedIn profile?”
I said, clearly they won’t. “After all, your team knows that I’ve been on your webcasts, that you feature some of my articles, and who I am, but I still get this garbage. They aren’t doing the work you preach your customers’ sellers should be doing. If they were, I would not have gotten at least 80% of these emails!” We agreed, however, that he would subscribe as Jim.Smith@anemailaddress.com, and he would start looking at how his company markets to and sells to him. He asked, “How do I get on the list?”
“Just download any white paper, you’ll be hit with everything….” I replied.
Again, sadly, he is not alone. 90% of the prospecting emails I get are from sales and marketing technology companies, sales/marketing consultants/gurus, and other related organizations. 90% of that messaging is irrelevant to what I care about—though I do care about what those companies do and how they might be leveraged.
Are your people doing what you want them to be doing? Are they engaging people in the way you want them to be engaging them? Are they targeting the right people with impactful/relevant outreaches?
It’s easy to find out…..