Welcome!

Search Authors: Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Aditya Banerjee, Sematext Blog, Jnan Dash

Blog Feed Post

Are Salespeople Screwing Up B2B Marketing Performance?

494786579

I sat pondering another in a burst of self-serving emails sent last week by salespeople who obviously lack any discipline in prospect research or the energy needed to attempt meaningful personalization. As one of the emails was from a company I'd thought "got it," it occurred to me that the salesperson just screwed up my perception of the company they work for.

This made me wonder how much salespeople may be screwing up marketing performance now that more marketers are being tasked with proving contribution to revenues and business objectives, not simply lead generation.

Before sales-oriented, progressive types take issue with me, let me explain.

First - why there's need for concern:

  • Buyers are self-serving content for a longer portion of the buying process. This means, if marketing is doing its job, marketing content and strategies are helping to attract and engage those buyers, building their perception of the company as helpful, credible and experts in their field.
  • Buying cycles are lengthening and the size of the buying committee is growing. This means that content must be produced to engage more people with differing perspectives and responsibilities. For example, a technology purchase is often driven today by business executives, not just IT executives. Marketing is tasked with engaging as many on the buying committee as they can in the most relevant way they can.
  • The amount of content buyers engage with during buying is also growing. Marketing is working hard to help increase the amount of content their prospects engage with. If they're reading yours, that's less time to read the competitor's - just saying.

Given those three reasons and assuming that a buyer has been nurtured and qualified before being handed off to sales (although research shows this doesn't happen for most companies who toss form completions to sales - but ignoring this) then it's up to the salesperson to capitalize on the work that's already been done. Or to screw it up.

I'm seeing more and more sales communications that are screwing it up.

In my work I do a ton of resarch which usually includes submitting a lot of forms to download white papers and reports that help me learn about an industry, market or solution. I get a lot of email as a result. Just this last week, I received a dozen or so examples.

I'll share a couple them to illustrate my point:

The first is a bucket approach. I hate this type of email. This is the lazy email that tries to make you feel bad by saying you're non-responsive and then asks for you to expend effort because the salesperson can't be bothered to do it themselves. Below is the email copy with only the brand name removed to protect the guilty party.

Hi,

Good Afternoon. I have tried contacting you in regards to [brand] software.

Would you be so kind as to provide me some guidance, as I do not want to be a bother and will gladly follow your direction. Which of the below describes where you are at:

A - You have made a decision regarding [brand] and want to chat now. Great End of Month Incentives.

B - You want to schedule a call at a future date

C - You are no longer interested in [brand]

I appreciate your feedback and hope all is going well.

Thanks.

This same email was sent three times in one day. It was also sent by a salesperson who works at a company that I've talked about as having a truly engaging marketing approach. I assume that I was subjected to this salesperson because I downloaded a bunch of content to see what they were doing. I will not be inclined to mention them again as their marketing processes don't seem to cross over to their sales processes. And, I'm irritated.

The first problem with this approach is that the salesperson couldn't even bother to include my name in the salutation. The second is that it puts the onus of effort on me. The salesperson is obviously cutting and pasting a template. A poorly written template at that. Or, God forbid, it's automated. And, until he sent the above three times in one day, I'd never heard from this salesperson before - so the first sentence is a lie. He hasn't been trying to contact me.

The second problem is that 5 seconds on Google would've told him that I'd never be his customer. As a consultant, I don't buy 5 figure BI systems. But because he did no research and sent a lazy email, not only did he waste his time, but he cost his company an advocate. Advocates don't come along every day.

But here's what's worse. Imagine if I was a buyer. I can tell you that their marketing content is very good. It's informative, well written and interesting. It's a considered purchase so what if I'd been a prospect for months, learning what I need to know, getting all my questions answered... and then I receive that email.

There's nothing helpful. It's like the anti-experience of the company in question. And I, as that primed buyer, decide to move on to my second choice, thinking that the quality of what I'd seen so far is a smoke screen. Could this be happening in your company?

Here's another example:

Hi Ardath,

I had a note you registered for the recent webcast, “Name of Webinar I Never Registered For”, about [XYZ] in the  enterprise. I’m not sure if you were able to attend, but I’d like to avail myself as a resource in case you were interested in learning more.

We've helped clients find great efficiencies for business users, reduce complexities for the IT organization, while mitigating risk for the organization as a whole when [doing XYZ]. 

If you're open to a brief conversation, I'd love to learn about your business objectives in these areas. Would it make sense to speak? If you’d like, test the system with your own [trial]

Thank you.

Best Regards,

First off, if he thinks I registered for the webinar then he should know whether or not I attended. That data is in every webinar attendee report. But, in reality, my one interaction with this company was to download a white paper, so his information is faulty. And, you can tell it's a template he lifted because of the double sign off. He pasted it in and didn't even take the time to notice.

Now, if this was a one-off, I'd just delete it and not pay attention. But, I received this email twice plus a voice mail. And I took a look at his company. Once again, five seconds on Google would have told him not to bother with me.

So this is when it really hit me. Because of the repeated irrelevance, I will automatically delete any email from this company. If I was a potential prospect, marketing wouldn't have a shot. No matter how good their content or communications. In fact, the next day, I received a marketing email and immediately unsubscribed.

If your salespeople can't even be accurate about the type of interaction had with your company, what will your prospects think? And why, after one white paper download, do salespeople pursue leads? And, if they're going to do so, they'd damn well better figure out something more relevant that the email above. Which actually could be from any company, it's so vague.

So I ask you: How much damage are your sales team's practices doing to your marketing performance?

And, I'm not putting this all on sales, either. Marketing shares responsibility, in my opinion. With sales enablement that teaches salespeople how to effectively engage prospects based on a continuation of the story marketing is telling, this can be avoided.

If we want our marketing performance to contribute to revenue, we need to help salespeople have a better shot at not screwing it up.

And to all the salespeople out there who do "get it" and do their research and work hard at relevance, bless you!

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Ardath Albee

Ardath Albee, CEO & B2B Marketing Strategist of her firm Marketing Interactions, helps companies with complex sales increase and quantify marketing effectiveness by developing and executing interactive eMarketing strategies driven by compelling content.

Her book, eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale, was published by McGraw-Hill.

Her articles and blog posts have been used for university ezines, published in CRM Today, Selling Power, Rain Today and Enterprise CRM News. Marketing Profs has incorporated her blog posts into a number of their "Get to The Point" newsletters.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Cloud Expo 2014 TV commercials will feature @ThingsExpo, which was launched in June, 2014 at New York City's Javits Center as the largest 'Internet of Things' event in the world.
"People are a lot more knowledgeable about APIs now. There are two types of people who work with APIs - IT people who want to use APIs for something internal and the product managers who want to do something outside APIs for people to connect to them," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Media announced that Splunk, a provider of the leading software platform for real-time Operational Intelligence, has launched an ad campaign on Big Data Journal. Splunk software and cloud services enable organizations to search, monitor, analyze and visualize machine-generated big data coming from websites, applications, servers, networks, sensors and mobile devices. The ads focus on delivering ROI - how improved uptime delivered $6M in annual ROI, improving customer operations by mining large volumes of unstructured data, and how data tracking delivers uptime when it matters most.
DevOps Summit 2015 New York, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete at launch. DevOps may be disruptive, but it is essential.
Wearable devices have come of age. The primary applications of wearables so far have been "the Quantified Self" or the tracking of one's fitness and health status. We propose the evolution of wearables into social and emotional communication devices. Our BE(tm) sensor uses light to visualize the skin conductance response. Our sensors are very inexpensive and can be massively distributed to audiences or groups of any size, in order to gauge reactions to performances, video, or any kind of presentation. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Jocelyn Scheirer, CEO & Founder of Bionolux, will discuss ho...
“With easy-to-use SDKs for Atmel’s platforms, IoT developers can now reap the benefits of realtime communication, and bypass the security pitfalls and configuration complexities that put IoT deployments at risk,” said Todd Greene, founder & CEO of PubNub. PubNub will team with Atmel at CES 2015 to launch full SDK support for Atmel’s MCU, MPU, and Wireless SoC platforms. Atmel developers now have access to PubNub’s secure Publish/Subscribe messaging with guaranteed ¼ second latencies across PubNub’s 14 global points-of-presence. PubNub delivers secure communication through firewalls, proxy ser...
We’re no longer looking to the future for the IoT wave. It’s no longer a distant dream but a reality that has arrived. It’s now time to make sure the industry is in alignment to meet the IoT growing pains – cooperate and collaborate as well as innovate. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, will examine the key ingredients to IoT success and identify solutions to challenges the industry is facing. The deep industry expertise behind this presentation will provide attendees with a leading edge view of rapidly emerging IoT oppor...
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
Connected devices and the Internet of Things are getting significant momentum in 2014. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, examined three key elements that together will drive mass adoption of the IoT before the end of 2015. The first element is the recent advent of robust open source protocols (like AllJoyn and WebRTC) that facilitate M2M communication. The second is broad availability of flexible, cost-effective storage designed to handle the massive surge in back-end data in a world where timely analytics is e...
"There is a natural synchronization between the business models, the IoT is there to support ,” explained Brendan O'Brien, Co-founder and Chief Architect of Aria Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 15th International Cloud Expo®, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The Internet of Things will put IT to its ultimate test by creating infinite new opportunities to digitize products and services, generate and analyze new data to improve customer satisfaction, and discover new ways to gain a competitive advantage across nearly every industry. In order to help corporate business units to capitalize on the rapidly evolving IoT opportunities, IT must stand up to a new set of challenges. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Kaplan, Managing Director of THINKstrategies, will examine why IT must finally fulfill its role in support of its SBUs or face a new round of...
The BPM world is going through some evolution or changes where traditional business process management solutions really have nowhere to go in terms of development of the road map. In this demo at 15th Cloud Expo, Kyle Hansen, Director of Professional Services at AgilePoint, shows AgilePoint’s unique approach to dealing with this market circumstance by developing a rapid application composition or development framework.

ARMONK, N.Y., Nov. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --  IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that it is bringing a greater level of control, security and flexibility to cloud-based application development and delivery with a single-tenant version of Bluemix, IBM's platform-as-a-service. The new platform enables developers to build ap...

Building low-cost wearable devices can enhance the quality of our lives. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Sai Yamanoor, Embedded Software Engineer at Altschool, provided an example of putting together a small keychain within a $50 budget that educates the user about the air quality in their surroundings. He also provided examples such as building a wearable device that provides transit or recreational information. He then reviewed the resources available to build wearable devices at home including open source hardware, the raw materials required and the options available to power s...
An entirely new security model is needed for the Internet of Things, or is it? Can we save some old and tested controls for this new and different environment? In his session at @ThingsExpo, New York's at the Javits Center, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, reviewed hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal a new risk balance you might not expect. Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, has more than nineteen years' experience managing global security operations and assessments, including a decade of leading incident response and digital forensics. He is co-author of t...
The Internet of Things is not new. Historically, smart businesses have used its basic concept of leveraging data to drive better decision making and have capitalized on those insights to realize additional revenue opportunities. So, what has changed to make the Internet of Things one of the hottest topics in tech? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Gray, Director, Embedded and Internet of Things, discussed the underlying factors that are driving the economics of intelligent systems. Discover how hardware commoditization, the ubiquitous nature of connectivity, and the emergence of Big Data a...
The Internet of Things promises to transform businesses (and lives), but navigating the business and technical path to success can be difficult to understand. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sean Lorenz, Technical Product Manager for Xively at LogMeIn, demonstrated how to approach creating broadly successful connected customer solutions using real world business transformation studies including New England BioLabs and more.
We certainly live in interesting technological times. And no more interesting than the current competing IoT standards for connectivity. Various standards bodies, approaches, and ecosystems are vying for mindshare and positioning for a competitive edge. It is clear that when the dust settles, we will have new protocols, evolved protocols, that will change the way we interact with devices and infrastructure. We will also have evolved web protocols, like HTTP/2, that will be changing the very core of our infrastructures. At the same time, we have old approaches made new again like micro-services...
Enthusiasm for the Internet of Things has reached an all-time high. In 2013 alone, venture capitalists spent more than $1 billion dollars investing in the IoT space. With "smart" appliances and devices, IoT covers wearable smart devices, cloud services to hardware companies. Nest, a Google company, detects temperatures inside homes and automatically adjusts it by tracking its user's habit. These technologies are quickly developing and with it come challenges such as bridging infrastructure gaps, abiding by privacy concerns and making the concept a reality. These challenges can't be addressed w...
The Domain Name Service (DNS) is one of the most important components in networking infrastructure, enabling users and services to access applications by translating URLs (names) into IP addresses (numbers). Because every icon and URL and all embedded content on a website requires a DNS lookup loading complex sites necessitates hundreds of DNS queries. In addition, as more internet-enabled ‘Things' get connected, people will rely on DNS to name and find their fridges, toasters and toilets. According to a recent IDG Research Services Survey this rate of traffic will only grow. What's driving t...