“The lure of easy money has a very strong appeal.” -- Glenn Frey, Hustler's Blues
The technological tools used for prospecting are damaging both the profession and our ability to effectively use email as part of a prospecting sequence. Every day, our clients’ spam filters pick up and redirect dozens of emails from sales organizations. Some small portion of these emails actually come from a salesperson, but most come from automated sequences that grind away sending messages.
Your clients never have to worry about deleting most of these messages, even the ones that end up in their inboxes because it's impossible to hurt a bot's feelings. Besides, sales bots are programmed to be dumb enough to keep sending useless emails, whether they get caught in a spam filter or just deleted unread when your contact recognizes that your message provides no value.
Automation has many problems, especially during prospecting, but two stand out. First, there is no real cost for the sender to automate their prospecting outreach—at least outside of reputational damage, which apparently does not deter spammers. Second, as a result of this low cost, there is no targeting.
Why Sales Organizations Spam You
The reason sales organizations spam you is because they believe that they are prospecting, having applied one-to-many marketing tools to the one-to-one approach that professional sales demands. The big lie that salespeople should be marketers started back when people were still brave enough to use the words "social selling."
The relatively small amount of time, energy, and money needed to build an automated sequence makes it easier to generate more activity with a lower investment. Those who choose that approach often believe that they are speeding up their growth. After all, why hire more sales reps or (gasp!) improve their effectiveness when you can turn yet again to technology? In their pyrrhic quest for greater productivity, these would-be marketers don’t care that their business cards should say Chief Spamming Officer.
In this mindset, any email address will do, as will any LinkedIn profile listing a title that even hints at the authority to make a buying decision. There is no price to pay for being wrong, which brings us to our second problem.
Why Sales Organizations Try to Sell You What You Sell
It's sad, really, how often people in my industry message me on LinkedIn to try to pitch me the exact same thing I sell. Normally, I send them a note to suggest that their Professional Outsourced Spamming vendor needs to tighten up their filters, hoping to embarrass them enough to remove me from their database.
Unfortunately, embarrassment rarely works: any company that relies on this particular POS is full of lazy, sloppy people who have no real concern about their prospective clients, as demonstrated by their thoroughly transactional approach. If this were a cartoon, these email thugs would envision you only as a big fat wallet—and drool. Is that really how you want to make your own prospective clients feel?
The Spray and Pray of Modern-day Automation Approaches
For all their complaining about cold calling, these companies are doing what we spent years learning to stop doing: spray and pray. My dad had a friend who applied for a sales job in the 80s. During the interview, he asked the sales manager if he would be provided leads. The manager promised him he would have more leads than he could ever pursue, so my dad’s friend took the job. On his first day at work, he asked the manager for his leads, so the manager threw a phonebook on his desk.
Calling every number in that phonebook would be basically the same approach as modern-day automated prospecting. It's spray and pray, all the way. Any decent marketer would tell you there is no reason to put your message in front of people who can't or won't benefit from what you sell. They might also inform you that when you continually bother people by messaging them creating no real value, those same people will simply tune you out.
Remember the Human
Yesterday, I signed a contract to do business with a company. The salesperson initially sent me an email to ask me if I might benefit from what he and his company sells. He recognized that he could improve my results. When I asked him about the different choices available, suggesting I would go with the highest-priced offering, he pointed out that I would be overpaying and would realize no greater result.
Had his company relied on an Automated Spamming Sequence instead, the bot would not have been able to provide the same value the salesperson did: good counsel, recommendations, and advice about the decision I was making. No matter how sophisticated bots get, they’ll never be a match for human intuition. Bots can never show a true interest in my business, and they can certainly never care enough about my results to pick up the phone to tell me not to buy the higher-priced service.
Some people will always go for easy money, trying to cheat their way out of putting forth the effort they need for the results they want. Call it karma or payback or just reaping what you sow—you can’t cheat nature. The more that your competitors try to reduce their own costs cost at the expense of alienating their prospective clients, the easier it will be for you to create and win new deals by providing your prospective clients with human insight and interaction.