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Sunday, July 10, 2005

The new cold calling tips for e-marketing agencies:

Several years ago I wrote some tips for ad agencies trying to win our business, which I remembered when I saw an old link from Hugh. I thought it might be time for an update on the e-marketing side of things, especially if you are a sales /business development person, stuck cold calling on companies that might need your services:

You’re cold calling us. Someone probably told you who the guy who handles e-marketing is. Odds are, someone with a title like Director, E-marketing for Road Runner is probably easily found on Google. Maybe even on some other network sites.

It’s not very likely that our Fortune 500 company has made it to 2005 without doing any e-marketing. Therefore, pitching the fact that you’re a “comprehensive” online agency isn’t going to make us very excited. Unless, of course, you’ve found the one day that we’re drawing up an RFP for a new agency. The odds are against that.

Also, the fact that you offer search engine marketing, email marketing, CAN-SPAM compliant marketing really isn’t that fascinating. My current problems fascinate me…and I’ll go into that more in a minute..

Working with our competitors…Pointing out that hey, we just did a big campaign for competitor X and it got great results is a double edged sword. It’s great that you work with them, but the fact you seem willing to sell them out is a red flag. Especially since we’re in an industry where you generally can work for one set of competitors or the other. It’s like working with Google or Yahoo. Probably, not many vendors work with both. Walking the middle doesn’t work so well, unless you’re a huge search engine, have truly mammoth scale, or you’re Staples.

For that matter, pitching anything is not your best first move. I’m probably distracted by reading email, talking to someone, or was doing something else at precisely the moment you called. It’s entirely likely your area code was the same as someone I really wanted to talk to. You’ve got about 20 seconds before I come up with a reason to stop talking to you. Your best case scenario is to find out if I’ve got a problem you can help with.

The exception to the 20 second rule. If you can say that someone referred you, you’ll probably get 2-3 minutes, as I try to figure out if this is a legitimate referral, and something I need to pay attention to, or, if you just figured out the name of the company president .

Sounding relaxed, and if you’re having fun helps…Something like, hey, bet you’re excited to get cold called by an e-marketing, will at least get you an acknowledgment of where I’m at in the day.

One of the most fascinating things I’ve learned about the sales process, from enterprise salespeople, is that their biggest sales have always occurred from being able to solve a particular point of pain for their customers. Not necessarily the thing that would have driven the biggest value, but the product that solved the biggest problem they had. I’d be curious if this has been common for other salesfolks who might read this.

Like most marketers, we’re fascinated by our own issues. If you can ask us “what’s your big problem of the day” or something about challenges we face, you’ve got your greatest chance of getting somewhere. On a given day, I may need a list of X million addresses with particular demographic requirements. On another day, if I get a random call, and the person on the other end has the ability to run multiple text ads to a viral blog we’re trying to launch, that might be exactly what I need.

If you can ask a question or two, and then mention that you might have a solution…you’ll get enough interest to set up a meeting, or a follow up conversation. What you do then is a topic for another day.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, we don't care what you can do. We only care about what you can do for us (me). What is worse is when you "follow up" after it is clear your product/service cannot address our (my) needs.

11:14 PM  
Blogger Josh said...

from a friend: I just Furled your blog post about cold calling tips for sales guys – I had a sales guy cold call me last week and yell at me when I told him that what he was offering doesn’t yield results, and that I wouldn’t be putting any of my budget towards it. Luckily, I think “Don’t yell at the prospect” can go unsaid for most sales guys…

3:20 PM  

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