• I Do Not Eat Boogers: Marketing Automation vs. Cold Calling

    Did any of you see Jeopardy! the other day?  The super computer from IBM beat out 2 Jeopardy champions.  I guess the computers are winning, the world will soon be a scene from a terminator movie and humans are going extinct.

    Personally, I haven’t calculated a tip, remembered a phone number or sent a hand written letter in years. Technology frees up my mind to think of other, more complex things such as what I want for lunch even though it’s only 8:30am.  In Marketing, technology is taking over a lot of the tasks that humans used to do making us a lot more efficient. Marketing tech is reinventing the rate and consistency in which we reach our prospects. These marketing automation tools are awesome. The issue I have isn’t with marketing/sales tools. I do however take exception to the “now that we have these marketing tools, cold calling is stupid way to drive business” crowd. If you are one of those people, you are wrong. Here are a couple of reasons why.

    Automated Marketing tools don’t discriminate. I had a friend of mine send me a link to a webinar his company was running. He is in enterprise storage sales and his average sale is about $500k. I attended his webinar. I also went to the website, checked out a couple of pages and downloaded some white papers. After about 1 month he looked in his system and I was graded a 100 which roughly translates to “winner winner chicken dinner” in automated marketing terms. I have no money, don’t need to buy storage and don’t have the authority to buy it even if I wanted to. “Why would someone look at all of these things if they weren’t interested in purchasing the solution?” Well, there are a lot of people that opt in and hit your website that don’t purchase off of you. Some people just like information. We have a ton of hits on our site for sales tips and white papers and yet my phone isn’t ringing with people begging to write me a check. Just because someone has opted in, downloaded a white paper and gone to a webinar doesn’t mean they are ready to talk to sales. Most of them aren’t. Best way to find out if someone is interested AND can purchase is to call them and ask if they are interested and if they can purchase.

    Technology is an exact science, sales prospects are not. I’ve gotten some really weird responses from people and had to change how I sold on the fly. As a matter of fact, I would say that I have never had 2 sales processes go the EXACT same. There are always little intricacies. As far as I know, an algorithm hasn’t been written to properly respond to the VP that talks about himself in the 3rd person. To the best of my knowledge I don’t know of an automated marketing tool that can talk its way out of the “unsubscribe” category. Marketing tools can certainly inspire someone to take an interest in your solution. They can also lose touch with a prospect with one click of the mouse and you have no way of talking them out of it. I’ve closed a lot of deals that began with a prospect telling my inside rep he isn’t interested and then because my reps got a chance to talk to them we were able to convert them into and interested prospect. It’s a lot harder to “unsubscribe” to a real person.

    Marketing Automation can’t ask why. Did you ever hand a girl a note with the infamous “like” check box? Check here if you like me and check here if you don’t like me at all. What’s the first question you think of if they say no? “Why the hell didn’t she say yes?” Now if you had gone up to her and simply asked she would have told you that Kelly told her that you eat boogers which is why she doesn’t like you. If you are talking to her you can respond emphatically with, “I do not eat boogers and Kelly pees her pants”. Bang, you have a new sweetheart! In the world of automated marketing there are 2 groups of people. There are the “Like” and the “do not like”. They liked my email and have opened it 3 times. They haven’t downloaded our white paper. They have gone to our website and looked at the blog. They have signed up for a webinar but haven’t attended it. You know what the prospect has been up to, but you don’t know why. “Why” lets you know what your prospects think about you. It tells you what they like and don’t like about your offering. It tells you when they might be interested. It tells you why they are using your competition. Automated tools generally limit responses. You can opt in, opt out, answer yes, answer no, give permission to email, ask to unsubscribe. What you can’t do is ask why. As far as your prospect knows, you eat boogers.

    I use several marketing tools and I love them. My point is that you shouldn’t expect automated marketing to take a list of unknowns and pass them to sales as golden prospects. You shouldn’t expect to not need cold calling. Don’t use the machines to replace human effort. Use the machines to make humans better.  

    From AG Salesworks “Sales Prospecting Perspectives” blog, Feb. 17, 2011

    http://www.agsalesworks.com/Blog-Sales-Prospecting-Perspectives/bid/40643/3-Reasons-Why-We-Will-NEVER-Be-Able-To-Replace-Cold-Calling-With-Marketing-Tools

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