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Semi-Automated is Worse Than Automated
January 9, 2017
Semi-Automated is Worse Than Automated

semi automated is worse than automated, channel sales

It’s Monday morning at 10:12am, and like most Mondays, having wrapped-up our leadership meetings, I’m back to check emails. There’s something about the state of my inbox this morning, however, that has me a bit riled-up. Dirty, almost. I’ll start with a few subject lines:

  • The Other Day…
  • This is Interesting
  • Allbound + ____ = Success
  • Are You a Revenue CEO?
  • quick feedback…
  • Follow-Up
  • Time today?
  • Considering your growth
  • Tried to call
  • Time to meet?

Here’s a screenshot of what pretty much every one of these emails looks like…I’ve blocked the sender info to try and be a little nice.

sales email example

Folks, the practice of semi-automated, “personalized” emails from SDRs who have managed to hunt down email addresses with tools claiming to have “hacked” LinkedIn’s API while using some next generation, venture-backed “machine learning” tool to try and relate the email to my socially derived personality traits…has officially reached NUTSOVILLE.

Remember the days of those professionally designed HTML emails of the past that at least admitted they were marketing to you? Sure, you may get a few here and there – but more often than not these days, you’re being “techniqued” with some canned thread written by a “growth hacker” who just read his or her third ebook this week while hopped-up on double-shot almond milk Stevia Americanos.

Listen, being in MarTech myself, I appreciate the innovation and effort. I’m even a big supporter of the SDR “movement” being lead by companies like SalesLoft,,, and others. But refinement is needed, and its needed fast – before becoming the pin that bursts the so-called “MarTech Bubble.”

Sitting with a mix of execs at a recent digital conference, I’m guessing many SDRs and even more senior reps would have been horrified by the mix of chuckling, eye-rolling and head nodding when quizzed on whether there was anything worse or more insulting in today’s sales process than being “techniqued” or “qualified” with semi-automated emails. Especially when the sender supposedly assumes that you’re not smart enough to realize it. It’s become today’s digital version of the unwelcome door-to-door solicitor.

A recent HubSpot study, Buyers Speak Out: How Sales Needs to Evolve, shows that the chasm between how B2B buyers want to be sold to and how todays salespeople are actually selling is more misaligned than ever. And it starts with the first sales call. 55% of salespeople wanted to spend more time on qualifying topics like company overall goals, timeline and budget. Meanwhile, only 31% of buyers thought this was relevant.

At the end of day, people buy from people and companies who they feel are aligned to their needs and, more importantly, authentic thought leaders who can solve their problems. The search for the “A” lead is dying – today it’s about being the “A” solution provider with a passionate approach to the problems you solve and a ubiquitous identity in the market you solve it for.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in April 2016 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

Daniel Graff-Radford
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