Would you send out 400 emails daily to prospects?

Would you send out 400 emails daily to your prospects?

That’s exactly what an IT consulting firm in India has been doing. However, results have been mixed. First, the firm has been receiving a 40% bounce back rate. And second, the sales team has been complaining that the prospects who have responded to their emails have been weak. As a result of these problems, the firm posted an inquiry on a LinkedIn sales discussion board seeking advice.

Here is my advice –

Stop sending out 400 emails daily:

It’s one thing to send out emails if you are offering trial subscriptions to niche publications, or selling design services to marketing directors – provided that you include an “unsubscribe” link at the bottom of your email. But when you are dealing with prospects who need complex services and products, such as IT or telecommunications employees, you are only hurting your company’s  reputation by sending so many unsolicited emails.

The more complex the sale, the more consultative you have to be with your clients. Prospects in the IT, telecommunications or similar industries are turned off by sales people – they are seeking peers and consultants, not someone who is only interested in doing product dumps.

Personalize and Customize: 

If you must feel the need to send out so many emails, try to personalize and customize each one. Sending out an email with a salutation of “Dear Sir or Madam:” isn’t going to cut it. And sending out an email with the person’s first name highlighted in a different color than the rest of your text screams “merge spam” – i.e., you are so concerned about sending out tons of emails that you don’t take the time to ensure person’s name is the same color and font as the rest of your text.

Don’t just send out emails:

Sending out a bunch of emails isn’t like throwing mud to the wall and hoping that some of it will stick. You have to be more creative. That means making cold calls, leaving voice mail messages and maybe direct marketing pieces to larger prospects. In advertising, there is an old saying that goes like this “advertise multiple ways on multiple days.” When it comes generating new business, you should be “contacting prospects in multiple ways on different days.”

For example, I know of one Northern Virginia software company that sends out at least 6 emails to the same prospects over a period of time. That’s ridiculous. You need to mix up your attempts. While studies have shown that you need to make at least 6 to 8 attempts per prospect, that doesn’t mean spamming them to death. As I mention above, use a different variety of contact methods. For example, some prospects may not respond well to emails, but may respond better by a phone call, or a direct marketing piece. Test. See what works and doesn’t work.

Selling isn’t sending out a bunch of emails. Selling is engagement. You have to be more proactive if you want to be successful.

Today is National Receptionist Day

receptionist for National Receptionist DayToday is National Receptionist Day – or has some of us in sales would like to call it “Gatekeeper Day.”

Seriously, receptionist tend to have a bad rap in our profession. We view them as being the enemy, when really they are our friends. Treated right, receptionist can help guide us to the right decision maker.

And when you think about it, receptionist are not just administrative workers. They are marketers. That’s right. They help market the right image to all visitors and callers.

So what is the purpose of Receptionist Day? First, the obvious answer is that the day gives recognition to receptionist. While most of them are underpaid and sometimes treated badly by sales people or angry clients, receptionists should be recognized because they help your company’s image, branding and impression. A cheerful or smiling receptionist can make a visitor feel relaxed and at ease.

I’ve actually gone to offices where the receptionist would barely give me eye contact – I immediately picked up a negative vibe that may be uncomfortable for the rest of my visit.

No one really knows the origin of Receptionist Day.

However, the National Receptionist Association is taking credit for the day. According to its website, when the organization was created in 1991, they initiated the day. The association created the day “because we wanted to distinguish the role that a receptionist plays in business and note that it should not be combined with Secretaries’ Day or Administrative Assistance’s Day.”

So if you have a receptionist working in your office, give her a special thank you. And if you call and find yourself speaking to a receptionist today, try to be extra nice to her – after all, it’s her day!

ad:tech Conference in San Francisco, May 20-21

The ad:tech Conference will be held in San Francisco from May 20-21st. From the website, the conference is “where marketing, technology and media communities come together to share new ways of thinking, build strong partnerships, and define new strategies to address the key industry challenges and opportunities.”

Agenda topics include “The Updated Rules of Affiliate Marketing,” “The Rise of New Audience Platforms,” “10 Marketing Mistakes you’re Probably Making,” and “Beyond Millennials: Generation Z and Where they are taking Marketing.”

Speakers will include Doug Fleming, Director of Programming Sales at Hulu, DeeAnna McPherson, VP, Marketing from HootSuite, and Ana Villegas, Marketing Director of Dell.

For more details, please check out the website –

http://www.ad-tech.com/sf/Content/Welcome/1/

Below is a short promotional video about the conference from YouTube –

5 Roadblocks preventing clients from receiving your emails

One of the biggest challenges of sending B2B (Business to Business) emails is ensuring that the prospect on the other end will actually receive it. With so many companies (and individuals for that matter) being flooded by emails on a daily basis, safeguards have been placed to prevent unsolicited emails from coming through.

As a marketing or sales person who wants to increase your bottom line, what are you supposed to do? Sure, you can make cold calls. Nothing wrong with that. But with voicemails, caller IDs and receptionists (gatekeepers) blocking your way, cold calling just isn’t your only option these days.

Yes, you could send direct marketing pieces. Maybe a nice card with a handwritten message enclosing your business card. Or, you could send swag like a mouse pad or magnet with your company’s contact information and logo. But there is no guarantee that your prospect will read your information much less open up the envelope.

So what to do? You must use a combination of tactics. Cold calls, Check. Leaving voicemail messages, Check. Sending direct marketing pieces, Check. And….also sending emails. Check.

Real Magnet, a marketing automation company, outlines several challenges that you face when sending emails to your prospects. In the video below, the Bethesda based company mentioned 4 hurdles we all have to overcome –

1). Too many domains – while B2C  (Business to Customers) clients only have a few major domains, e.g., aol.com or gmail.com, B2B clients have thousands of different domains. Making sure you have the right domain is a major task in itself.

2). Spam filters – even if you have the right email address with the correct domain, you still must break through spam filters. There are many spam filters on the market, including Microsoft Exchange, Barracuda and McAfee, to name just a few.

3). Capacity varies – While most B2C clients will accept emails quickly, B2B clients may have strict limitations on how many emails they will accept at a given time. This is especially true for large and popular companies that you are trying to target.

4). Message Placement – even if your email reaches the prospect, there is no guarantee that it will reach the inbox. In some cases, your email may end up in a spam or quarantine folder. I dealt with this situation firsthand; for example, even if both the prospect and I know each other, and have been speaking to one another, I would still find my emails ending up in his spam folder. After a few phone calls, the prospect would eventually adjust his server to accept my future emails.

And I will add one more problem below –

5). Using the wrong email address – It happens. We think we wrote down the correct email, but then we receive a bounce back. No worries. Just review your notes and resend the email again.

While Red Magnet is obviously promoting its own tool, I believe the video below does a great job discussing in more detail the problems we all face when sending emails.

Please watch the video below –

Asking for the Sale

You have devoted a lot of time working with your prospect. You went through the entire sales process – asking qualifying questions, determining needs, establishing rapport, making sure you are speaking to the key decision maker, and knowing they have budget. You also properly handled all of the objections.

Check. Check and check.

But wait a minute. Didn’t you forget something? Oh yeah, that’s right. You forgot to ask for the sale!

It happens more often than you think. Some sales people are shy. They assume the prospect is going to buy. After all, haven’t both of you spent so much time together – talking about your vacations, your kids, your hobbies, etc. You assume that the prospect is your friend. Your buddy. Of course he’s going to buy from you.

But he’s not going to buy unless you ask for the sale. Why? Because no matter how great your product or service is, people hate to part from their money. Even if you are solving their problems, you still have to ask for the sale. Without that one question, all your time and efforts are for naught.

Below is a great video from YouTube that illustrates my point –

Today is Renewal Day (seriously)

Renewal Day in SalesToday is Renewal Day. I’m serious. It’s a real special holiday.

No one has any idea why or when the holiday started.

As defined by Merriam-Webster, renewal is “the act of extending the period of time when something is effective or valid : the act of renewing something.” It is also “ the state of being made new, fresh, or strong again : the state of being renewed.”

But for salespeople, renewal means something else – it means renewing your subscriptions with your clients. Those subscriptions can be anything from niche publications to software programs.

As we all know, renewing is a lot easier than obtaining new business or sales. For one thing, you are working with clients who are already familiar with your product, and will most likely continue to renew with you year after year. For another, unless you are dealing with high-end or high-priced products, all you have to do is send your clients renewal notices, and most of the time, they will send you back the payment.

However, I would recommend not waiting until renewal time to contact your clients. Again, depending on the size and price of what you are selling, it’s always a good idea to stay in touch with your clients throughout the year. Also, depending on what you are selling, you may be seeking up-sell or cross-sell opportunities.

Whether you are in sales or not, Happy Renewal Day!