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Prospecting, Going Through The Motions

by David Brock on September 30th, 2019

Today I received a prospecting email, something about it seemed familiar.

I did a quick search through my email archive (I save this stuff, it’s such great fodder for blog posts).

Sure enough, 90 days ago, I received the exact same email from the same person. And 90 days before that, I received the same email form the same person. And 90 days before that, …….

For each of the prior emails, I had actually responded. My first response thanked the sender for the outreach, but I explained why we wouldn’t be interested (What they sold didn’t fit our business strategy or priorities.) The second response was a little impatient, “You asked me about this 90 days ago and I said it wasn’t a fit, the answer hasn’t changed. This is not a part of our business strategy.” The third response was very impatient, “Haven’t you paid attention to my previous responses? Why do you continue to waste your time and my time with these emails?”

I received no responses to my responses. Nothing like, “Thanks for the response Dave, I really appreciate you taking the time….”

Today, I looked at the calendar, yes, it’s 90 days after the last email. Again, the email was word for word the same as the previous one. This doesn’t deserve a response, nor will the one I know I will receive in another 90 days, and 90 days later.

Yet, this sales person is producing results–actually without doing any work. He is meeting his numbers in outbound emails. The email data will show the email was opened, it will actually show an actual response. The manager reviewing that data will be happy, the sales person is hitting his numbers. The problem is that none of this will lead to revenue!

But he is accomplishing nothing–or worse, he has created a negative impression of the company. I am glad to share the name of this company with any of my followers, I am glad to suggest they never consider this company for business.

I wish this were unusual, but it is more the rule than the exception. At least 90% of the email prospecting I get, should never have been sent to me. My company is the wrong target, I am the wrong target, the email is poorly structured, it focuses on them and what they want to achieve, nothing that may be of interest to me. I respond to a number of them, saying I have no interest and asking them to cease mailing. But to no avail.

Now here’s the absurdity of all this—when I meet with sales and marketing people, their lament is, “No one responds to our email or prospecting efforts! We can’t get our prospects to respond!” Sadly, some of the companies I meet with are the source of these bad emails and marketing efforts.

We have created this problem and are training our prospects how to deal with (read avoid) our prospecting. Even those organizations that do a thoughtful job of targeting and prospecting suffer from the sloppy thinking and execution of the majority of organizations.

Aren’t we better than this? Why do we accept this level of performance within our own organizations or within our profession?

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