Avoid Social Selling Mistakes: Want to Know Why I Don’t Respond to Your Emails?

January 11, 2017
by Peg Miller
  • social selling

It’s 2017, most professionals know about social selling and sales enablement best practices. Why then do we continue to make the mistakes of yesteryear? I need to get this off my chest: Your emails Drive. Me. Crazy. Want to know why I don’t respond?

I’m calling for marketers to unite. Actually, I think I’m begging you, pleading with you, please let’s help ourselves and preserve the reputation of our profession before it’s too late. Let’s rid the world of bad sales emails, one company at a time. I’m only going to hold you accountable for the company you keep, but can we all agree to stop bad email practices, at least at our own organizations?

As a marketing practitioner, I receive a lot of cold emails from SDRs and account executives trying to pitch me on the latest, greatest {insert product or service} – everything from web development services to automation software to lead generation services. As marketers, we are in the unique position of being on both the buy side and the sell side of the business buyers’ journey. Perhaps this explains why I have a heightened awareness for good and bad sales emails. We owe it to ourselves and to the reputation of our craft to help put a stop to bad sales emails, especially if they are getting churned out of a marketing automation platform which we control.

Want to know why I don’t respond? Salespeople, here are a few of the reasons why I don’t, cannot, and will not respond to your sales emails. Pro tip: Oh, and if I haven’t seen enough value to respond to your email, I will not find the time for a 15 minute conversation:

  • You sound like a robot.

    Marketing automation does not mean using an automated voice or response. Take the extra effort to personalize the message and include a human touch. If the sales team is the root of the bad emails, insert yourself as a marketing leader and please help them get enlightened on what will get opened versus ignored.

  • I don’t know who you are or what you do.

    We all know the classic McGraw-Hill ad showing a prospective customer sitting in a chair, saying, “I don’t know you, I don’t know your company, I don’t know your product. Now, what is it you wanted to sell me?” The ad was designed to sell advertising in business publications by talking about the importance of branding in the sales process. My reaction to cold emails is very similar, and goes something like this: “I don’t know you, your product or your service, but you want me to spend 15 minutes on a demo with you? No thanks.” Delete.

  • Just because I started a new role doesn’t mean I’m going to rip and replace technologies immediately.

    In fact, if I’m smart, you can bet that I won’t make any technology changes in my first 90 days unless something is dramatically broken. If you know me on a personal level, and know that I liked your product or service, then it might be a good time to congratulate me on the new role and suggest that at some point in the future, when I’m ready, you’d be happy to discuss bringing your product or service along with me to my new company.

  • You don’t know me any better than I know you.

    I know you’re being a good soldier by conducting searches in Sales Navigator, then trying hard to do research before you contact me, but your feeble attempt to pretend like you understand my situation through general internet research makes you sound like a fool. For instance, don’t try to woo me with your ability to generate 200 qualified prospects each day, when the reality is I’m targeting a total addressable market of 200 companies, tops. We would both be better served if you understood more about my funnel, but I’m not going to take time out of my day to educate you.

  • But I do know too much about your funnel. 

    I know you are desperately trying to get me to do something, anything, that will help qualify me as an MQL or SQL. Please just mark me as uninterested as a dead lead, or put me in a nurture funnel rather than trying to move me into a sales opportunity. Your VP of sales will not want me in your revenue projections anyway, so mark me as a dead lead and move on to someone else.

  • You’re moving too fast.

    The cold email has become the easy replacement for the cold call, and the effectiveness is just as bad or worse. Let’s take a selection of real emails I’ve received in my inbox in the past few days. I get about two similar emails daily. My colleagues at enterprise organizations see approximately ten-fold the amount of solicitation emails that I see:

Hi Peg, I visited {company}’s LinkedIn profile and learned that I could find your prospects on LinkedIn.

 Using our tool, you can build a list of 200 potential prospects each day along with their business email address & phone and increase your sales appointments by 5 times.

Would you like to see this tool over 15-minute online demo? Please let me know your convenient date and time for this week.

I’d appreciate a simple “Yes” if you’re interested.

And another one:

Hi Peg,

 I know that you’re busy – I’m just checking in to see if we could set up a time to talk. I want to share how we’re helping companies like yours to boost online lead volume and improve lead quality.

 I’d just like 15 min of your time. If you click here you can book time on my calendar – or if you’d prefer that I’d just leave you alone please let me know. I hope you choose the option to talk.

Eager Beaver Salesperson

Salespeople who send emails like this (and marketers who allow it to continue inside their organization) aren’t getting the concept of modern permission marketing. Why are you trying to go straight for the holy grail – the 15-minute time slot on my calendar? I know you are simply using that to try to gain 45 minutes of my valuable time or because you know that xx% of the people you talk with will convert to close. I applaud that you are trying to get me to engage with you and your product. But can’t you see that you’ve given me absolutely no value at this stage of the process? There is no incentive for me to meet with you. I don’t even know if I have the problem you solve. I’m not sure what problem you solve. I have no idea where you fit into my tech stack or why I should care.

I’ll say it again, marketers, can we all agree to unite to improve sales and marketing alignment this year, and eradicate bad sales emails once and for all? Let’s practice the golden rule – do unto others as you would have done to you. Let’s market to others as we want to be marketed to.


Peg Miller is Co-Founder of the B2B Marketing Academy, and consults with high growth companies on their marketing, content and product strategies to achieve revenue results.