I recently received an email from a company whose product we happen to use within our organization. The message was pretty enticing (kudos on this point), so I downloaded the white paper the company was offering.
Not five minutes later my phone rang, and low and behold, who should it be but the same unnamed company whose white paper I had downloaded.
The conversation went something like this:
Unnamed Company: "Hi, this is Chris, I'm calling from X Company. I noticed that you downloaded our white paper and wanted to talk to you more about our product."
Me: "Hi Chris, I appreciate you calling, but we actually already use your product."
Unnamed Company: "Oh, oops, sorry to take up your time. Have a nice day."
[End of conversation]
When I hung up the phone I realized I had lied--I didn't appreciate him calling me. I found myself looking over my shoulder to find the big eye-in-the-sky camera, because surely Big Brother was watching me from somewhere. I also didn't appreciate that company X apparently had no idea we were current customers.
Now here's what I would have appreciated:
- An email that contained additional white papers related to the topic that was interesting to me
- A conversation, if company X felt compelled to pick up the phone, that acknowledged we were existing customers (maybe a thank you in there somewhere), and a question about what other types of information I might find useful
In my particular example, company X needs a refresher on smart marketing practices. The lesson to be learned? Don't let technology be a replacement for smart marketing practices--technology is a complement and catalyst to improved processes and efficiencies. The two go hand-in-hand. Set your best practices and then leverage your technology in conjunction with them to perform tasks like identifying a prospect versus an existing client. Technology such as marketing automation is the key to making sure you don't send your poor salespeople into an awkward situation. Send them out armed with knowledge, make them valuable to the person they're calling ... and don't let them be another annoyance.