Click here to close now.


API Journal Authors: Yeshim Deniz, AppDynamics Blog, Elizabeth White, Yakov Fain, XebiaLabs Blog

Blog Feed Post

Are Salespeople Screwing Up B2B Marketing Performance?


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.


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.


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
There will be 20 billion IoT devices connected to the Internet soon. What if we could control these devices with our voice, mind, or gestures? What if we could teach these devices how to talk to each other? What if these devices could learn how to interact with us (and each other) to make our lives better? What if Jarvis was real? How can I gain these super powers? In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Chris Matthieu, co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, will show you!
The IoT market is on track to hit $7.1 trillion in 2020. The reality is that only a handful of companies are ready for this massive demand. There are a lot of barriers, paint points, traps, and hidden roadblocks. How can we deal with these issues and challenges? The paradigm has changed. Old-style ad-hoc trial-and-error ways will certainly lead you to the dead end. What is mandatory is an overarching and adaptive approach to effectively handle the rapid changes and exponential growth.
SYS-CON Events announced today that ProfitBricks, the provider of painless cloud infrastructure, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. ProfitBricks is the IaaS provider that offers a painless cloud experience for all IT users, with no learning curve. ProfitBricks boasts flexible cloud servers and networking, an integrated Data Center Designer tool for visual control over the cloud and the best price/performance value available. ProfitBricks was named one of the coolest Clo...
As a company adopts a DevOps approach to software development, what are key things that both the Dev and Ops side of the business must keep in mind to ensure effective continuous delivery? In his session at DevOps Summit, Mark Hydar, Head of DevOps, Ericsson TV Platforms, will share best practices and provide helpful tips for Ops teams to adopt an open line of communication with the development side of the house to ensure success between the two sides.
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome,” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
The IoT is upon us, but today’s databases, built on 30-year-old math, require multiple platforms to create a single solution. Data demands of the IoT require Big Data systems that can handle ingest, transactions and analytics concurrently adapting to varied situations as they occur, with speed at scale. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chad Jones, chief strategy officer at Deep Information Sciences, will look differently at IoT data so enterprises can fully leverage their IoT potential. He’ll share tips on how to speed up business initiatives, harness Big Data and remain one step ahead by apply...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM Cloud Data Services has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. IBM Cloud Data Services offers a portfolio of integrated, best-of-breed cloud data services for developers focused on mobile computing and analytics use cases.
Today’s connected world is moving from devices towards things, what this means is that by using increasingly low cost sensors embedded in devices we can create many new use cases. These span across use cases in cities, vehicles, home, offices, factories, retail environments, worksites, health, logistics, and health. These use cases rely on ubiquitous connectivity and generate massive amounts of data at scale. These technologies enable new business opportunities, ways to optimize and automate, along with new ways to engage with users.
The buzz continues for cloud, data analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) and their collective impact across all industries. But a new conversation is emerging - how do companies use industry disruption and technology enablers to lead in markets undergoing change, uncertainty and ambiguity? Organizations of all sizes need to evolve and transform, often under massive pressure, as industry lines blur and merge and traditional business models are assaulted and turned upside down. In this new data-driven world, marketplaces reign supreme while interoperability, APIs and applications deliver un...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data shows "less than 10 percent of IoT developers are making enough to support a reasonably sized team....
Today air travel is a minefield of delays, hassles and customer disappointment. Airlines struggle to revitalize the experience. GE and M2Mi will demonstrate practical examples of how IoT solutions are helping airlines bring back personalization, reduce trip time and improve reliability. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Dr. Sarah Cooper, M2Mi's VP Business Development and Engineering, will explore the IoT cloud-based platform technologies driving this change including privacy controls, data transparency and integration of real time context w...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, will keynote at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Developing software for the Internet of Things (IoT) comes with its own set of challenges. Security, privacy, and unified standards are a few key issues. In addition, each IoT product is comprised of at least three separate application components: the software embedded in the device, the backend big-data service, and the mobile application for the end user's controls. Each component is developed by a different team, using different technologies and practices, and deployed to a different stack/target - this makes the integration of these separate pipelines and the coordination of software upd...
Mobile messaging has been a popular communication channel for more than 20 years. Finnish engineer Matti Makkonen invented the idea for SMS (Short Message Service) in 1984, making his vision a reality on December 3, 1992 by sending the first message ("Happy Christmas") from a PC to a cell phone. Since then, the technology has evolved immensely, from both a technology standpoint, and in our everyday uses for it. Originally used for person-to-person (P2P) communication, i.e., Sally sends a text message to Betty – mobile messaging now offers tremendous value to businesses for customer and empl...
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
WebRTC converts the entire network into a ubiquitous communications cloud thereby connecting anytime, anywhere through any point. In his session at WebRTC Summit,, Mark Castleman, EIR at Bell Labs and Head of Future X Labs, will discuss how the transformational nature of communications is achieved through the democratizing force of WebRTC. WebRTC is doing for voice what HTML did for web content.
Nowadays, a large number of sensors and devices are connected to the network. Leading-edge IoT technologies integrate various types of sensor data to create a new value for several business decision scenarios. The transparent cloud is a model of a new IoT emergence service platform. Many service providers store and access various types of sensor data in order to create and find out new business values by integrating such data.
The broad selection of hardware, the rapid evolution of operating systems and the time-to-market for mobile apps has been so rapid that new challenges for developers and engineers arise every day. Security, testing, hosting, and other metrics have to be considered through the process. In his session at Big Data Expo, Walter Maguire, Chief Field Technologist, HP Big Data Group, at Hewlett-Packard, will discuss the challenges faced by developers and a composite Big Data applications builder, focusing on how to help solve the problems that developers are continuously battling.
WebRTC services have already permeated corporate communications in the form of videoconferencing solutions. However, WebRTC has the potential of going beyond and catalyzing a new class of services providing more than calls with capabilities such as mass-scale real-time media broadcasting, enriched and augmented video, person-to-machine and machine-to-machine communications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Luis Lopez, CEO of Kurento, will introduce the technologies required for implementing these ideas and some early experiments performed in the Kurento open source software community in areas ...
There are so many tools and techniques for data analytics that even for a data scientist the choices, possible systems, and even the types of data can be daunting. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Harrold, Global CTO for Big Data Solutions for EMC Corporation, will show how to perform a simple, but meaningful analysis of social sentiment data using freely available tools that take only minutes to download and install. Participants will get the download information, scripts, and complete end-to-end walkthrough of the analysis from start to finish. Participants will also be given the pract...