I have joked for years about wanting to right a blog on “Where have all of the cowboys gone” in reference to the old school sales force.
When I was in the CEO role of a 100+ employee company, I was constantly bombarded with sales opportunities from all over the globe.
My inbox received more than 100 emails daily, and about 25 percent of those were either solicitations for new business or follow ups on previously sent emails that I had not replied to.
Here’s the math spelled out:
- 25 sales emails daily x 30 seconds to see the email, ignore it and/or delete it (possibly scan it if it looks interesting) x 50 work weeks = 3,125 minutes or 52.1 hours per year just processing those emails.
- At a CEO bill rate of $250/hour = $13,025 annually that could be generating revenue.
And this is just counting emails and not incessant phone calls…
Marketing Automation Has Evolved (And Not For The Better)
Now, we have Facebook messages wanting you to host in-home parties or offering you an in to make thousands of dollars per hour in the latest pyramid/network marketing scheme, social media tagging, Instagram hashtag followers sending private messages if you happen to include particular hashtags and the infamous LinkedIn inMails!!!
Aghh!!! It’s all just too much!
Sales used to be all about relevant connection making, consistent follow-ups, the occasional treat drop off at the office, and most importantly, intentional relationship building when a service offering would meet a present/felt need or future desire.
Now it seems to be about quantity over quality of relationships, automation to maximize volume and the pushing of services where there may or may not be a need or desire.
No relationship. No business understanding. No care for business goals and certainly very little personalization of messaging.
Now that I’m the CEO of a 10+ person organization and society has evolved; the emails have slowed down but the LinkedIn messages and InMail’s have gotten out of control!
These days, I still receive about 5 sales emails per day and about 10 LinkedIn messages wanting to meet with me or have a phone call per week.
But the thing that bothers me the most about the incessant barrage of sales messages is the often-found urgency language when you don’t reply.
“Haven’t heard from you”, “Last chance to reply” and “Don’t miss out,” etc. It leaves the reader feeling as if they haven’t done something they were supposed to or forces them into making a business decision that they have been pondering but simply aren’t ready yet to pull the trigger on yet.
My “favorite” inMails are the ones that urge you to use them as a service provider because they can revolutionize the way you do business and increase your sales by 200+ percent.
These audacious claims without understanding a business are not only annoying, but inappropriate and a symptom of a larger problem in the marketing industry: Over-promising and under-delivering!
Or they use automated language that is simply incorrect. “Being a lawyer, you know how tough the industry can be…” Yeah, I’m not a lawyer.
Or my biggest pet peeve is “I’ve reviewed your profile and your background is really impressive.”
Authenticity Is Key With Marketing Sales Automation
True confessions, when I first started my business, I tried the LinkedIn message approach and admittedly got several clients from that effort that we have been able to do good work for. I also got some negative feedback that I truly appreciated.
My messages, while sincere, were being sent through an automated system and somethings didn’t hit the mark. They were too long and not personal. It was clear I was trying to sell something and just get my message in front of as many people as possible without much regard for relevancy.
If you want to sell me (and many other business owners) on anything, here are a few tips:
- Be relevant
- Be authentic
- Be more concerned about the long-term than short-term
- Care about quality over quantity.
Marketing is critical in any business, whether through in-person networking, digital advertising, traditional mediums, or any other strategy.
I think we can all agree; however, that there is effective and ineffective marketing.
While this piece is focusing on the underbelly of social networking done poorly, there are certainly ways to embrace marketing automation that both earns respect and produces results.
Bottom line: Stop being weird and annoying sales friends! 😊