Is it just me, or has the volume of sales pitches for B2B technology and services exploded to an immense volume so far this year?

Based on Scott Brinker’s new 2016 martech infographic, there are at least 2x more companies selling technology to B2B sales & marketing groups than just a year ago.  But maybe I wouldn’t be so frustrated at the volume of pitches if those pitchers weren’t so BAD.

Inside Heinz Marketing, there’s a subset of us that regularly share pitch emails with each other.  About 10 percent of the time it’s to compliment a technique, but 90 percent of the time it’s to share something that hopefully we never ever ever let a client do with their own prospecting sequence.

Here is just a handful of pet peeves we’ve seen in recent weeks:

  • The “fake forward”: It may increase open rates, but plummets your trust & credibility long term
  • The “we saw you on our Web site”: Activity tracking is a great way to prioritize communication, just don’t tell me explicitly that you’ve been watching.  That’s creepy.
  • The “did you get my last email”:  The answer is probably yes, but there’s also probably a reason I didn’t respond….
  • The “last attempt before we break up”:  Seriously, some people literally write copy in the last email of a follow-up sequence that references a break-up.  It’s not cute copy, we were never dating in the first place, and you’re trying too hard.
  • The “do you have 15 minutes”:  If your pitch begins with a request of my time (before even telling my why I should give you that time), the answer 100% of the time will be no.
  • The “I’m reading from a script”:  I get that you make the same call and leave the same voicemail 50+ times a day.  But if you sound like you’re reading from a script, that’s not good.  Practice and get comfortable delivering the same message in a natural manner!
  • The “I’ll just start calling you bud”:  Seriously, if we’re actually buds, that’s fine, but in your first or second cold email, maybe not so much.
  • The “every sentence begins with I”:  As in, “I want to tell you…” or “I want you to know…” or “I want to schedule a call…”.  Everything is about you, not the prospect.  That doesn’t work.
  • The “telling me what I should want or need”:  If you make definitive statements like “you need…” or “you should…” without qualification, I already don’t trust you.
  • The “space is limited on our webinar”:  No it isn’t.  It’s a webinar…
  • The “event meeting invite with no agenda”:  You want 15 minutes of my time at that conference we’re both attending, you want to buy me coffee, but don’t have an agenda? Why should I do that?!

I would consider this a personal rant if I hadn’t heard multiple recipients complain about similar (and in many cases exact) examples recently as well.  No wonder prospecting response rates are so bad!

What are some of your sales pitch pet peeves?  What have you seen or experience that you really wish would stop?

  • Nicholas Little

    Love it. I’d include the new trend of including emojis in prospecting and marketing emails, those have started popping up from time to time.

    • Good addition! Emojis are ok if you have a relationship but with cold emails it feels a little forward

      • I’d say it depends on industry, geography, and how you use emojis. With cold emails it’s certainly wise to apply with caution.

  • Good stuff @mattheinz:disqus I will be linking to this in the weekly newsletter!

  • Ron Parshad

    Great tips here! Thanks Matt.

  • jimstoltzfus

    Great stuff as always @mattheinz:disqus! Here’s my addition: ghost calling (not leaving a voicemail), and calling again in 5 minutes. If you’re not a family member with an emergency when I pick up the phone, I’m done with your company.

  • Robyn Eames

    Very interesting post with some common pains of many recipients of sales emails. I would love to hear your suggestions from the other perspective – what would make you open/ respond to a sales email?

    • Good topic for a follow-up blog post!

    • Brittany

      YES! Love this as a follow-up for Matt. 🙂

  • Great list, @mattheinz:disqus . I’d include the emails that go: “I am impressed with what your company is doing around product growth. [insert offering] can help [insert intended benefit].”

    Especially poor when the sender obviously didn’t research our company at all. I’m getting loads of such emails.

  • Brittany

    LOVE THIS. My pet peeve is the condescending “you didn’t respond to my emails because you must be soooo busy” line. I don’t even know you…so I was never obligated to respond in the first place and you’ve just guaranteed that I won’t!

  • Matt, I love how you took on a light-hearted take on such a common issue in the sales world. Surely, there are plenty of cringe-worthy sales pitch emails that we’ve all received at some point. I like the ideas you pointed out about starting with “I” in every statement. That is a major takeaway for any salesperson – focus on your prospect, not you!

    Gary from