Dear Sales People,
I can be overly critical of you sometimes.
It’s not because I am being a holier-than-thou jackass.
It’s because I care. It’s because sales is a passion of mine.
Prior to ecommerce, sales was my life.
With that being said, please stop doing this:
The failed attempt at social proof
Know your prospect. It’s pretty standard in sales prospecting emails to inject some sort of social proof. This is often accomplished by name-dropping some brands/companies that you work with. While this tactic can sometimes be the impetus that causes the DM to reply, it can also be the reason they don’t and mark you as spam.
So how and when does this social proof tactic miss the mark?
There are a few ways. Below I will outline the 3 most common ways I am seeing sales professionals fail with social proof.
The big brand name drop
"We work with Uber, Amazon, and L'Oréal. Awesome."
So you are super expensive and will skirt away from direct questions regarding ROI.
Yes, I understand this is a wild generalization and sometimes not accurate at all.
However, perception is reality. Name-dropping giant companies to a small business is not a winning strategy.
The small brand name drop
"We work with <insert small brands that nobody knows>."
So I prefer this approach versus big brands, BUT it can still lead to getting marked as spam by the DM. Why? When I don’t know any of the brands you have listed, my typical takeaway is neutral. The rest of your email will decide if I reply. However, if the rest of your email is solid and I am interested in your product or service, I will likely check out the brands you listed. The first thing I am doing when I visit one of those brands’ websites is clicking my SimiliarWeb chrome extension. No data? Ok, these companies are too small and we would likely be too large of a client for this vendor.
Social Proof via metrics
This is a tricky one. I am a big fan of dropping metrics in a sales prospecting email.
Give me some tangible data that I can get excited about. This can go south really fast and knowing your prospect’s data intelligence level is key. Obviously, drilling down on each prospect’s data IQ level is likely an impossible task. But you can bucket the brand prospects based on suspected size.
“We were able to get Brand X’s CAC from $84.53 down to $16.32 on TikTok.”
That’s a bold fucking statement. Who was managing the brand’s TikTok prior?
Their chihuahua, Dobby?
If you are going to make a bold statement like this, you need some additional clarity/context immediately in your email. In this example, most 7-figure, and all 8-figure businesses are going to smell something funny with a bold claim like this.
In Summary, know the company/DM you are reaching out to. Even if it's just segmenting your prospects out so you can try and hit them with something that will resonate. The big brand approach might be great for a big brand, but it's going to perform poorly for a medium or small sized business. Outlandish metrics might work for a smaller brand that does not understand metrics, but it's going to smell funny immediately to anyone that spends time in their company's marketing metrics.
Spray and Pray email blasts do not work anymore, and they have not worked well in years.
John Roman is the CEO and Co-founder of BattlBox. Prior to ecommerce, John built and managed B2B sales teams.