When salespeople decide to go after a prospect, look out. You’ve never seen such single-minded focus, determination and sheer force of will. They rarely think about what is on the receiving end of their effort. It is for this reason that salespeople have gotten such a bad rap around the industry, and everyone who is responsible for introducing something new to a buyer gets tarnished with this legacy.
I saw a post From Peter Levitan about a marketing VP, who claimed to get assaulted by no less than one hundred agency sharks every week. My data shows that on average a marketer hears from 3 – 5 agencies each week, some as much as 20 or more. For those of you, and you know who you are, who respectfully try to get through in the face of such madness, I’ve gathered some advice. I asked a diverse group of marketers what annoys them the most about unsolicited agency contact. As you might imagine, they weren’t shy about answering. These are verbatims from the very people you are trying to reach.
Too much BS
The amount of BS emails they send.
Vendors not being able to clearly articulate the relevance and benefit of their service offering to our business in straightforward language.
Outrageous claims of results, sales, whatever, makes my eyes roll.
Agencies with too-clever claims of being human or seeing into the soul. Give me a break.
Who cares if you are the number one whatever in a category that I don’t care about. Stop talking about you
Too much self-promotion
If you send information in an email that I find interesting or timely promoting something new AND NOT promotion about you.
They have no idea what our needs are. They sell their widget versus trying to understand what we need first.
All about them and how great they are and how lucky I am to be on their call list.
Tell me why I should care, not how great you are.
After five straight minutes of about them, I hang up.
Don’t know my business
Not knowing anything about our business.
Lack of real knowledge about what our business is focused upon, showing no research or work was done before contact
When they do not take the time to learn about my organization - they want me to give my time to learn about their agency, but they will not even spend 5-minutes researching mine to see if we could even be a good fit.
They have no idea what my needs are or what my company does
Lack of relevance and go to market strategies
Don’t do their homework
Lack of category/industry/institutional research before calling.
When they quickly demonstrate they haven't a clue about me, who I work for or what I do.
Lack of understanding of my business! They go right into a pitch without learning much about me or my company. Do your homework!
The ones who haven't bothered to look at our social media pages, our website, my LinkedIn page - please don't bother me.
Do your homework. Know the company that you are speaking with. It is so, so frustrating to speak with an agency who really wants to set up a meeting to present why you need to work with them, and they haven't even done their homework on knowing what brands you have in your company portfolio. Make certain that the work that you do has relevance and of interest to the company you are trying to pitch.
Lack of preparation and insufficient knowledge about my specific group
Today's business developers act as if an email ENTITLES them to an answer. I wasn't looking in the first place!
There are just too many contacts. I receive 25-40 third party company solicitations a day.
The relentless pursuit - multiple phone messages, emails, a LinkedIn request, etc. -- all in the span of a couple of days.
Relentless follow-up despite no response. Then a note designed to make me feel guilty. Really?
To be pushy as if I am losing out on something by not talking with them.
The phone calls. Constant cold calling. Unsolicited Calls by appointment setters! Call bombing! I will call you back if I am interested...please do not call me repeatedly.
Courtesy and respect
Wanting only 15 minutes of my time. Really, that is all it takes to build a relationship and sell an agency?
There is an unending number of reach outs, they all are the same. They request me to do some work to learn about them. The best capture my interest immediately and make it easy for me to learn more.
The mass outreach to multiple contacts within our organization vs. doing their homework on the best single contact to reach out to.
Not paying attention to my emails which give the impression of an automated response, assuring me this agency doesn't listen or care and follows a cookie cutter approach to everything.
They assume you know who they are and why they are contacting you.
Not taking no for an answer.
So many don't take into consideration we are a retailer. There is no time in December that will EVER be good to reach out - too much else going on during peak season - so don't even try
A junior person contacting the CMO, plus they know nothing about our business.
Calling during the day and going into their sales pitch without consideration for what the person may be in the middle of.
Demands for immediate response/call back.
It's an intrusion to my schedule, and they don't respect my time and my priorities. Catching me when I'm not interested.
I think we get the point
Buyers are people too. They have busy schedules, long days and lots of stress. They are on deadline, late for a meeting, scrambling to complete a report, got to pick up the kids, and don’t want to be interrupted or disrupted. They have been ambushed too many times by you and are reluctant, no determined not to take your call. Let's face it. We’ve done it to ourselves and marketers have responded – no thank you.
Why not show a little empathy for our customer and rethink our approach. You are engaging with a person, a human being. Act accordingly. There is beauty in the white space outside of all the harsh salesy noise. There is something very appealing about the calm before the cold calling storm. Let's connect on their time and their terms. Find the white space. The conversation will go so much better. Lets Grow!
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