The last few months since starting Fresh Source Digital and having the words “Founder” and “Director” in my job title have certainly been a whirlwind. It has brought with it many plus points – no more unnecessary commutes through obscene rush hour traffic. Getting to build, mould and shape a successful and thriving business with my excellent partner. Being in control of my own destiny.
It’s not all been plain sailing. My hairline is receding faster than British support for the EU and my use of wine to “take the edge off” is certain not to have long term benefits for my health.
But something strange has started to happen. An ever increasing number of young women, fuelled by their desire for my prestigious power and position (ahem), have begun throwing themselves at me online.
No, this isn’t a tale of Tinder gone wrong. Nor does it involve brides from a variety of Eastern European countries. This is the story of a one way infatuation by a number of salespeople who were desperate for the attention of a decision maker. Any decision maker. And unfortunately, they chose me.
The example I’ll use is only the most recent. The unlucky individual if you will. But it always seems to follow the same trend – a number of emails of increasing frequency using the same tactics to try and get you to bite.
And Ciara clearly loves me. She sends me regular emails, she knows my name and company, she even has a pet name for me – NUVI. At least I presume that’s what it is…
At its core, it’s an old fashioned telesales technique of identifying a decision maker, then attempting to gain information on a sales contact within a business to pitch your product and service. Unsolicited. Unrequested. Cold. Useless.
The contents of the emails are also particularly bleak – selling in the benefits of something you’ve never heard of, don’t identify with and have never discovered a need for.
And it all starts out friendly enough, as all relationships do. A quick introduction and a list of your benefits (who doesn’t do that on a first date?), I’m sure she even dressed up for the occasion.
Email 1 – Let’s get to know each other – and I want to meet your friends!
But then you’re busy, you don’t answer a couple of emails, and the resentment begins…
Email 4 – The Argument….
Email 5 – I Didn’t Mean to Get Mad – Please Let’s Be Friends
Then the social media stalking began, with LinkedIn connection requests adding to the emails. I have now begun changing the locks on my door and fitting a padlock to my bin, just to be on the safe side…
Surely this isn’t just me. This form of brute force, cold, “personalised” sales is clearly madness. Is there any consideration to the damage this behaviour is doing to the brand? Of the time that is being wasted on mindless emails? Of the lack of creativity and ingenuity that is being broadcast?
To me – this screams one thing – we want your money. End of. This is not a company that wants to add value to my business or understands our problems.
Just as you wouldn’t meet for a first date in bed (or maybe you do now, it’s been a while), you wouldn’t start a lead generation process with the sale.
This is the crux of the issue – added value. If I am going to invest in something for my business, it will be something that solves a challenge or issue I’m facing and can demonstrate added value. Your emails are doing nothing but shout about your features, not what you can do for my company.
So what’s the answer?
- A blend of marketing and sales. If your prospects haven’t got a clue who you are, approach them with content that demonstrates that you understand their business and sympathise with their challenges
- Act on engagement. If someone is showing that they are engaged with your messaging and researching your company, allow them to opt in to the sales process and offer them a free demo of your platform once they are showing interest
- Maximise sales efficiency. Don’t waste your sales team’s time in trying to break the door down and drag a lead kicking and screaming into the sales process. Generate interest, gather a database of warm and engaged leads and leave sales to do what they do best – close the deal
- Be better. Surely your company is worth more than a few spammy intro emails and some social media stalking
This has been a tale of heartbreak and loss. But hopefully from the ashes of my tale of woe, you can learn to build healthier, stronger relationships with your prospects, and wander off into the sunset holding hands.
Or at the very least – not piss each other off.