Are Ethics Dead In B2B Marketing And Sales?
VC-funded companies desperate for metrics go too far!
If you do not want to read the entire article, skip to the end because the answer is yes.
We could take a deep philosophical definition of ethics but, for a short version, we can agree treating people the way we like to be treated pretty much does it. When we treat a stranger (in marketing called a prospect) in a way we would find repellent if done to us, well, that is pretty much crossing the ethical line.
OK team: let’s go to our sales and marketing platforms automating all human interaction.
We buy DiscoverOrg lists. We hire an army of 20-somethings for dialing farms. We bring in products like YESware and other SPAM-generating engines endlessly SPAMMING until someone raises their head with a download.
Here we have the first live reaction of the sales funnel. A live person — stranger — is interested in our stuff. Our dialing army calls endlessly until they finally answer, only because they forgot to set their call blocker. As call blockers become standard, marketers move to personalization so they will think we really know them.
Let’s ask our first ethical question here. If that stranger is you, yes, you, would you want to be treated that way?
Probably not. That is why you use RoboKiller and SPAM blockers while your IT department may use artificial intelligence to stop these calls. Whether this is right or wrong at this point is quite subjective.
Let’s go to the stats. Studies note 90 percent or more of executives will not take a cold call. Over 65 percent of B2B company reps do not make quota. Virtually every CRM revenue-marketing-customer engagement-platform company is on its Nth round of financing without a dime of profit.
The numbers pretty much show treating strangers — prospects — like they are just sales funnel transactions may not be effective.
Let’s go to ethical.
Non-creative people cannot solve with creativity; they become evil. In the B2B space, evil is manifested when the company crosses the line between being an irritant to actually scamming that stranger — prospect.
And the concept of local presence dialing is that first step. It is purely evil. It is fraudulent. It is wrong, and most importantly to those using it, it fails because the prospect knows it is trickery.
Local presence dialing — you know it and you hate it. It is when you get a call and your phone tells you it is from your local area code. If it were from some other area code, or from an 800 number, the area code alone would tell you it is SPAM and you would not take the call.
But your blind rescue cocker spaniel is at the vet. He may have an internal injury so you are focused on that call, which might change the trajectory of your entire month.
Clever marketers know this. They know you may have a cancer test coming from the local hospital. You may have a delivery from a merchant. You may have a school call about a child’s problem.
Local presence dialing takes outgoing cold calls and projects the local area code of you, the recipient. You take the call, thinking it may be that vet.
Hark! It is Tiffany, the BDR from the company you do not recall where you once, ages ago downloaded a white paper.
She — in her professional, young voice — immediately gets into her pitch and you are forced to just hang up, be kind and tell her you are not interested, or listen to something that is both a waste of your time and a distraction from your work.
Would you do this to a friend? No. Are you pleased the seller got through using this scammy technique? Doubt it.
Marketing and sales executives are being driven, as never before, by VC-funded boards to deliver metrics. They must have outbound calls, a number of answers, the beginning of a funnel.
Customers do not want to hear from reps. So scamming them becomes a substitute for creativity.
The endgame is the same. Buyers retreat, take more steps to hide email addresses and cell numbers. More B2B firms go deeper into endless VC rounds never achieving profitability.
Creative sales and marketing are always welcomed by customers. Tricking them may work once, but it never creates buyers, it creates irritated victims.
Reprinted from Software Executive Magazine OnLine