Are you a B2B Technology Sales Specialist tasked with generating leads and building email lists?
Then, perhaps you’ve heard of Angelina.
She’s that IT Professional hanging out in Afghanistan.
You know, the one with the big budgets and the bat phone, ever reachable on +123456789…
You think I’m joking?
Back in the IT networking stone age (circa 1990), we used to get UK weekly/monthly computer magazines delivered to our desks.
Unfortunately, most were free and therefore 95% filled with vendor ads and useless articles (sponsored by vendors). They became an endless source of amusement for cynical tech support engineers in quieter periods, especially when our own product marketing folks were within earshot!
Of course, to receive these rags we had to complete a postcard with real contact information and send it off.
A few weeks later, our 100+ page glossy arrived, and the publishers and vendors had ‘access’ to real, live IT people.
I have a theory that, in those pre-Internet marketing days, it was when many techies started to let callers go to voice mail en-masse because that zapped 95% of vendor followup tele-marketeting efforts.
Step forward twenty years and we now have the always-on, globally-available Interwebs, along with tons of connectivity toys.
And yet some b2b marketers are still playing silly games…
Here’s an example.
As an IT freelance case study and white paper writer, I’m always interested in seeing how companies use such items in their marketing. So, I regularly sign up for offers using my real name and contact details.
A free ebook from a company in the “networked computing” space attracted my attention. Their landing page was aimed at b2b readers investigating the viability of the technology. As such, there was little hard sell, and the subscription form required only name, email and phone number.
The ebook was an excellent overview of their target market’s concerns and included just a brief mention of the company at the end.
A “thank you for downloading our ebook” email, and then a followup mail with a case study link, along with another containing a short video clip, rounded out this company’s efforts in assisting my information search.
Off to a good start here, I thought.
But warning signs of my psychological resistance to covert sales pressure tactics began flashing with these additional emails:
+1 Day (after the video clip email mentioned above):
“Let me know if you would like to further the conversation and see ??? in action. Would you have time over the next week?”
On the very same day, another email arrives with a Google Calendar invite for a chat at 11pm my time…. er, big FAIL; since I gave a Japan phone number it should be easy enough to figure out business hours here!
This email regrets that “we never got a chance to speak” and suggests next Wednesday as a possible date.
(Hint to sales specialists: this is known as having a one-way conversation. Good luck with that…)
The kicker is in the final sentence:
“If you still aren’t ready, no problem, everyone’s cycle is different and we understand that. I would, in that case, slow the tempo of my communication down and touch base in a couple of months. Just let me know.”
Remember, I didn’t ask for this whole “let’s chat” conversation to begin, but already the sales specialist has me tasked with letting him know how to proceed with his sales campaign.
Do you know what I would probably do if I was still working in corporate IT and received these offers to “chat”?
I’d click Gmail’s “spam button” – because I’m too busy to be interrupted, I’m not ready to be sold to, and there’s no unsubscribe link at the bottom of any of their emails.
Are any B2B Technology Sales Specialists out there still surprised when told why “Afghan Angie Will Never Die“?
Mark ‘freelance b2b tech writer‘ McClure
PS – If you’re still wondering, Afghanistan is the first country in A-Z country drop down menus.
Angie is the first ‘A’ name that comes to mind.
She’s not all alone, though. I’m reliably told that Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Arnie, Pluto and Astroboy are all in-country and regularly sign up for b2b email tech lists. However, they’re not very responsive and none have been known to buy anything from all those emailing vendors. What a sad waste of relationship selling potential.