Personalization At Scale – And Other Sales Madness!

By Jay Valentine

B2B Stuff That Fails Every Time

Finding Person

One can hardly believe the really stupid stuff modern B2B salespeople are pitched by sales gurus and over-funded CRM software firms with no chance of success.

Among the craziest idea is “personalization at scale.” This ridiculous derivative of Account Based Marketing means you can use CRM software to create a more touchy, intimate, and personal relationship with strangers who will never take your phone call.

Could anything be dumber? Well, maybe.

With all the nonsense about using social media marketing to get personal with a prospect, I once thought there must be an island in the Pacific where these guys came from. Hark! There is: Australia.

Look, I have nothing against old sales guys and VC funded not-so-needed CRM companies making a buck. I guess it is better than unemployment.

People, apply a modest amount of critical thought here.

The single dynamic permeating all B2B sales activity today is NOBODY WANTS TO TALK TO A SALESPERSON. Dig it, embrace it, and deal with it.

Social media marketing is abhorrent – to its victims.

I am now on the 28th pitch from “franchise consultants” who pinged me on LinkedIn. My “lead gen pitch” score almost exceeds 100. Life coaches? 24 pitches. Go away!

When the B2B field of play is defined by NOBODY WANTS TO TALK TO A SALESPERSON, why are so many companies still trying to find ways to get people to take their calls? There is the “local presence dialing” scam where sellers fake your area code so you may think their number is really the vet with the bad news about the dog. Despicable.

Personalization at scale is, however, the example that just takes the cake. It is the today equivalent of the preprinted birthday card one gets from the Toyota dealer because you once filled out a loan form. It is about the same as the “likes” you get on social media from perfect strangers for your post. Nobody believes this stuff so why do people still do it?

There are two reasons. First, it is activity that can be measured. We now live in the age of sales metrics, not sales imagination. Measure cold calls, emails, people who download a crappy infographic, that’s how success is measured.

Second, nobody has anything better to offer.

So the treacly sales gurus from Australia and our own here sell more of the personalized approach – at scale. Really?

Who among us would take the call from the person who likes our post about an event where we participated? Who among us would believe the creature with the title “digital transformation advisor” on LinkedIn can transform anything but their profile?

How exactly do we have manufactured trust? Perhaps group intimacy?

This stuff is complete nonsense and the creepy people selling it know better.

How do people buy today? Let’s be you. Here, you can do it.

You are evaluating a complex item, maybe a car or expensive refrigerator or a physician for your plastic surgery lift.

You look around on the internet. You Google choices and become enveloped in the material. Then you break out a few finalists before you engage. Then what do you do?

You start looking at RATINGS. You seek out what others have said. You read the reviews if they exist. You find people who you trust who have made the same buying journey and you talk to them.

You have just traversed the “trusted advisor selling model.” We all do it for any complex decision.

Selling complex B2B products is no different. Buyers talk to an ecosystem around them who may have information about the particular product. It might be trusted consultants, vendors of other products, peers.

Information from trusted advisors carry the most weight.

Smart B2B sellers might just learn that it is much easier getting to a trusted advisor than to the buyer. The trusted advisor might just have an incentive to work with the B2B seller to bring needed technology to that buyer.

But alas, trusted advisor selling may work best, but it is hard to measure in CRM systems that log spam calls.

Thus, few use it.

Those who do, win.

Reprinted from Software Executive Magazine On Line

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