What I Hate About HOW You Sell

Best Practices, Maren Hogan, Marketing

I am a marketer in a very specific space. I need to ensure that my communications reach some subset of a pretty broad overview of buyer (the enterprise buyer). So, I get it. I know selling of any kind is hard. I appreciate the hoops that you are going through to get my attention, catch me at the right time in the buying cycle and then slowly, so as not to spook me, approach for the kill.

I’ve read all the books, attended all the seminars, made all the cold calls and in my capacity here at Red Branch Media, created all the ebooks, email campaigns, direct mail pushes and conference and event collateral you could imagine. So here I am, you marketing automation providers, you PR platforms, you list selling and SEO building companies. Your ideal customer, telling you what I HATE about how you sell (now with added empathy!)

*Please note: The MOST important one is at the end of this list.

You ask for too much. 

I think many sales folks dwell in the land of where the sales is the only big ask at the end of the tunnel. In fact, the way many want to be sold to, is a series of little mini-asks. On Twitter, are asking for my attention, so what are you giving me in return? Useful information or a garbled RSS feed? When you set up a landing page for a white paper, are you asking me for my email or a 12 field form that doesn’t auto-fill? The first I will do, the second is too big of an ask unless you are giving me a lot more value.

You mis-assess value.

The value of your product varies depending on the potential buyer. If I already have three systems that do the job of your one platform, the value lies in the ease of use, not the bells and whistles. Instead of selling me on MY problems, you are trying to sell me on YOUR solution. Bad.

You don’t differentiate between current features and roadmap features.

Don’t say you have it until you have it. Sit your CTO and CMO down and figure out a way they can communicate so you don’t look like a jerk in front of potential customers. AND if you don’t have that feature then at least lock the price down for a solid amount of time.

You patronize me.

This happens all the time. The BEST salespeople gauge the technical knowledge of their prospects before engaging on any sort of demo. I loathe (beyond belief actually) sitting in on demos where someone tells me how basic dynamic forms work or how to work within HTML or what responsivity is or how monthly billing works. I run a marketing agency. If I don’t know the most basic skills in 2015, you shouldn’t be selling me your product because I will go bankrupt soon.

You call me. Do not call me.

Especially do NOT call me when we have no call scheduled. I know you have a sales manager that is telling you that cold calling works. It doesn’t. Not with me. Not with virtually anyone I know. Do NOT call me unannounced or try to get around the gatekeeper. I will not be impressed with your stick-to-it-ive-ness. This comes from a place of love. I have MADE cold calls. I know the pressure. But this is the 21st century man! Send a video, create a podcast, write a funny email. But anyone with the decision making power to buy a product above a certain price point will reach out to you when they are ready to talk.

What sales pet peeves do you have? Why do you think sales organizations are still run with some of the tactics we were using decades ago?

Author