I bought my first cell phone in 1985. The enormous device was hard wired to the car, connected to a heavy metal box, and cost $2,000 to install. All calls in and out were billed by the minute and my bill averaged around $1,500 per month. The coverage was so spotty that most calls were dropped several times per conversation. The only practical way to use the "car phone" was to find a coverage area, find a place to park in that area, and then have a conversation. It took a good 15 years for the technology to catch up with the concept!
The same thing has happened with email prospecting. I had my first email account in the early 90's. My email address at the time was sales guru at prodigy dot net. Since then, marketers and BDRs have been sending dreadful emails to drum up interest and I believe it has been an utter failure. Over the past few years, they added artificial intelligence (AI) to their efforts and despite the time it saved, it was far worse. Emails generated using AI were absolutely dreadful. Until now. Sunday I received a cold email, generated using AI that was actually personalized. Not with just my name, but it included information about my company, where I attended college and more. While I still have no interest or need for the service being pitched, I actually read it instead of deleting it. Here's what it said:
Hi Dave — We hope you're well, and having a great start to the new year and the Q1. I'm inviting CEOs with similar backgrounds to an exclusive session below.
I love that Objective Management Group continues to pioneer the sales assessment industry by providing crucial insights to maximize sales performance in companies of all sizes and industries. It's clear why you do it. I have been researching the importance of creating "perfect pitches" for consistent conversions when selling candidates quarters!
I'm [his name], [his title] at [his company] We recently invited a number of companies similar to yours, please accept our intro session for Objective Management Group (attached deck here) to learn more about how we've helped them.
I've noticed that you graduated from Assumption College, hope it was a great experience! Have a wonderful rest of your week!
I'm not saying this is good because it's not even close to good. It's just better than what I usually get. The second paragraph is copied from OMG's website and the college information was probably taken from LinkedIn. Every sentence has grammatical and style errors and it has a terrible call to action but it is SO much better than the dozens of emails that you and I receive each day. Those are so, so awful and without any good reason ask for us to hop on a call this afternoon for a discussion.
Worse, their workflow was overly aggressive. Without indicating that I was open to a meeting, I received a calendar invite for a random time. I declined the invite and then received a meeting confirmation. The potential is there but the execution, from writing to workflows was still horrible. It makes me wonder. Companies and marketers invest the money for these AI applications but don't invest in copyrighting, messaging and getting the workflows right. Why bother?
And in case you got the wrong idea, I'm not suggesting that you run out, get an AI application and begin sending better automated messages. I'm suggesting that if you are going to bypass the phone and resort to prospecting by email (I'm not a fan), then invest the time to manually target, do your own research, invest in better messaging, take the time to plan your follow up and don't follow the email I shared. That's your only chance if you actually want and expect anyone to read a cold email.
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