Avoid These Terrible Tactics That Destroy Trust

January 8, 2017
by Christine Viera
  • Terrible Tactics That Destroy Trust

Where is the Promised Land of Permission Marketing?

As a B2B marketer, I’m on the receiving many sales and marketing tactics. And I watch with utter dismay as others make the rest of us look bad with scurrilous tactics. 


3 Terrible Tactics That Make Me Crazy


1. My #1 pet peeve is bad outbound sales and marketing which forces me to unsubscribe or block you.

It goes something like this. Entrepreneurial types or inexperienced marketers:

  • Get your email and phone info in shady ways.
  • Barrage you with badly written emails, or plague you with “anonymous” calls.
  • And then make you unsubscribe or opt out.

Seriously. It’s ridiculous. Psst….here’s a secret. We know that we didn’t give you permission to ping us endlessly about your magic fairy dust.

If I want to interact with you or find your content useful, I’ll give you my email address. Or, if you’re going buy or guess my contact information, please do a better job of being relevant, interesting, and credible.

Here are two examples from the Hall of Shame. No joke. The first one is downright creepy, probably violates some federal laws, and looks like phishing. It’s hard to find words to describe the second one. Maybe this’ll work…‘Gee thanks for making yourself available so that I can book 10 minutes to hear your pitch.’

Example of Terrible Tactics 1Example of Terrible Tactics 12. Emails About Alligators, Kangaroos and Such Things

Adding insult to injury are those hapless sales development reps who email us asking if we’ve been eaten alligators or kicked by a kangaroo. Sadly, these desperate folks try whatever unproven and ill-advised idea is hitting the “sales idea circuit.” Newsflash: when your audience sees the same content from 5 different companies…it’s not so original.

Try making it personal. I respect the folks who try to learn about my business, and legitimately connect. Even if I’m not buying now, I remember the brands that work to effectively connect.


3. Lies

Less common but vastly more egregious, I’ve had sales reps from reputable brands contact me saying they were referred by someone on my staff or by a trusted colleague. When I checked, no such thing had taken place. Don’t you understand how easy it is to check? It’s beyond dishonest. Fortunately, this is rare since most seem smart enough to avoid this self-defeating behavior. It’s why this is #3 on my list.


The Consequences of Cheating Your Way to Connections

From bad targeting to error-laden copy and lies about mutual connections, the list of marketing sins I see every day is disturbing. Why do companies believe these terrible tactics work? What stats do these misguided people use to rock themselves to sleep at night?

Let me give you some current and sobering stats to consider:

  • Cold calling also called sales prospecting has a lead-to-opportunity rate of .9%. Source: Marketo
  • It takes 18 calls to connect with a buyer today. Source: Hubspot
  • Email open rates vary widely – from 3% to more than 30%. Source: Email Marketing Statistics 2016 by Dave Chaffey via Smart Insights
  • But…B2B buyers are 5X more likely to engage when you are introduced to them. Source: Hubspot [Hint: when you earn the right to engage, you’re more successful.]

And guess what? You’re not in the upper end of those email open rates when you send spammy, terribly written stuff to unsuspecting people.

You can’t hit the average of 18 calls to connect if you’re trying to sell lab equipment to a marketer thanks to lousy lead targeting. (Yes…it’s an actual example from my Hall of Shame collection.)

In an era when phishing and hacking are rampant, the likelihood that we open your email or click your links is plummeting. Here are 5 reasons why unsubscribing can be a bad idea. So, don’t count on us to opt out of your terrible tactics.

Here’s what happens instead.

Junk Mail



Please, Please, Please – Wake Up

There’s gotta be 10,000 articles on why permission marketing and engaging prospects works best. So, why do the spam-o-blam type of marketing?  It doesn’t work.

Friends don’t let friends do this. So, please share this blog in the hopes that someone can learn and stop doing it.


High energy, inspired B2B Marketer. Lessons learned largely in high tech and communications industries where I've worked with very smart folks, on very cool things, in very dynamic environments. I like helping others navigate people, tech, programs, and problems with vision, courage, and impact. All opinions are solely my own.