When Sales and Marketing Don’t Mix, Part 2

Since it’s part two of the story, I’ll share two examples of ineffective sales strategy.

And even though I say “sales” in these cases, if you take a good, long look it’s clearly marketing that shares the blame. As a marketer, you have to align with and win over the sales team, and implement a holistic strategy that gives the customer consistency and value all the way through the value chain. If you don’t then you’re not doing your job. And making your job harder at the same time — because crappy sales contact leads to customers who don’t respond or come back in the future.

Example one is from a company in the meeting business. I get an email out of the blue from someone I don’t know — which in itself isn’t terrible, although we all know that the From Line is the most important factor in email open rates. We won’t even red flag this. However, the subject line of the email was “(E-mail Subject)“. Literally, that was it, character for character. Tells me this is a broadcast email gone wrong. That’s red flag #1.


Red flag #2, as you see in the graphic above, is that the company’s logo doesn’t appear correctly. So not only does it push down the message in the email, it takes away from the brand and the message because it’s cut off. Again, this is a broadcast email done terribly — or a horrible cut and past job by the sales person who sent it. Lastly, red flag # 3 is the damn message is all about the company, nothing about the customer. No questions about my need for such services, no inquiries about my goals and problems, no facts about my industry. No dialogue.

I’ll actually throw in one more red flag too — when I asked how this person got my email, her response made it clear that it was harvested off of a website where it appeared. Now, that’s fine if you send me a personal email — but if you’re harvesting to broadcast, you’re setting yourself up for some very unfortunate consequences if you hit a honeypot and an ISP blacklists you. Did you know there are more than 43 million email addresses being monitored as spam honeypots?

Example two is from a genious operation (sarcasm) called InsuranceAgents.com. Same old story: unexpected email from sales rep, message that’s irrelevant to my business because they know nothing about me, terrible email copy and message. Well, all that and the fact that the email did not provide an opt-out mechanism. So now we’ve moved from just terrible judgement to actually violating the CAN-SPAM law. However, this person was actually — and sadly — all too honest when I asked how he got my email address. His reply was “One of my web spiders picked it up I guess.” Are you kidding me? Then after I informed him what a horrible practice this is and that not providing an opt-out for commercial email is illegal, he say “Thanks for the heads-up. Didn’t realize it was illegal.”

Now, this person is either a really clueless sales rep, or it’s a strong example of why you need to provide your sales team with training and messaging with which they can engage customers. Clearly these examples show that if they lack clarity and guidance on how to make the customer experience value-laden from the first point of contact, they will create an environment that’s actually counter-productive to things that customers value and that makes it harder for marketing to do its job. And while email is the most popular channel for these kind of abuses, it can also extend to telemarketing, direct mail and social media channels like Twitter.

So charge ahead right now and make sure your sales team isn’t engaging customers in any was similar to what’s mentioned above.