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No way to build a relationship, but it is ironic! I think that CRM needs to be mutually beneficial for both the customer and the company -- this is a key example of a marketing program (e.g. output of CRM) that is designed from the company point of view, not the customer's. It should be the other way around.


As a new CRM Director I did a lot of research which included downloading dozens of white papers. Invariably I had to fill out information about my company and me which lead to either a phone call or an e-mail by a salesperson within 72 hours.

We had already purchased our CRM software so I was not in a position to buy. Nor did I want any of the other resources they had to offer.

Yet I had to waste their time and my time convincing the sales people that I was not a prospect.

I don't mind giving them some information in return for the free white papers. But they tend to ask way too many questions. Eventually, I stopped downloading white papers unless they were recommended to me by my peers.




Just wait until I get finished buying a new copier for my client's office. I have some really bad stories about lame salespeople, lack of discovery processes, and totally annoying followup ("did I win the job, did I, huh huh?").


The great irony is that it is CRM. The worst sales approaches I have experienced in the last year were all from CRM vendors.


What do you guys feel is the best way to build a relationship then?

Any tips on getting people to actually open up and respond positively to an email?

John Windsor


It's NOT the new norm. It's just laziness and, perhaps, arrogance — or at least stupidity. To assume that because someone wanted to see a company's white paper, that client must be panting at the chance to buy is misguided and more likely to kill an opportunity than it is to foster a relationship.


Adam Pack

Unfortunately I believe the email is justified. Companies have created this impersonal nightmare for the following reasons:
- Companies need to lower costs and have unrealistic expectations, therefore they don't hire good people, nor have good training programs, nor set realistic expectations and processes to get new business.
- Companies have created so many barriers of entry in contacting them that computer automation has become critical in hopes of just reaching someone rather than paying for someone to attempt to build the relationship. They are not willing to wait the proper amount of time to build a relationship step by step. They think it can happen overnight "What will it take to get your business" Bluhhh
- The information age has created impatience and an immediate gratification focus rather than quality and due dilligence. The emphasis is on now now and quantity.

The list can go on. As much as I detest a horrible impersonal sales strategy or poorly trained people it is something that will continue until the bubble pops. Meaning companies need to realize and value a good sales department. Without sales/revenue a company is worthless. I belive people like Konrath and Gitomer help show and guide many companies on how to do it properly but it is still a challenge that so many companies only want to take the easy way out and focus on "automation" rather than "relations."



The email is a waste of time - the sales rep is only "hoping" that one day someone will actually take the time to answer all the questions - what happened to seek to understand before being understood.

If you are going to take the time to send an email do a little research on the company first, you have their email address which means you have the company web site.

Tim King

It may be a norm of sorts, but not among the best. Briefly, once someone downloads your white paper, it's probably sitting there on their hard disk. What you should do is to email them for a few days with a few tips, highlights from the white paper. "Did you know the biggest mistake people make when choosing a CRM system is... as on page 7 of the white paper." That sort of thing. Maybe include with each of these with one question. Or better yet, try to get them to ask you a question. At this point, it's all about establishing a relationship. Not about selling.

Of course, I haven't said anything here that isn't also in the spirit of Selling to Big Companies.




The email is not the norm and is absolutely not justified (to pick up on a few earlier comments). It is a shining example of a company that hasn't bothered to do it's homework before attempting to develop a prospect.

Like Glenn, I occasionally see these sorts of crass examples of information gathering. They go straight onto my blacklist of companies not worth talking to.

Information gathering in support of sales is not a God-given right. It requires hard, diligent work. And it has to be focussed on my needs, not the needs of the selling company. I am the customer. I am KING.

Graham Hill

Jill Konrath

Like most of you, I don't think the letter is effective either. It's designed to "qualify" a prospect before a seller invests any time in him/her. Unfortunately, it has a boomerang effect and causes potential buyers to immediately disqualify themselves.

Adam has some good points about companies creating their own nightmares. With their unrealistic expectations and impossible time frames, sellers are under tremendous pressure to deliver the results.

Ceece, you asked for positive examples. Take a look at "Does Email Cold Calling Work?" at http://sellingtobigcompanies.blogs.com/selling/2006/07/does_email_cold.html#more

Hope this helps!


Nick Rice

Agreed, it feels too formulaic and doesn't offer the prospect any value. It's all about qualifying and no one likes to be overtly qualified. I doubt that the sales or marketing team that contrived this type of contact is in touch with the current trend of customer power and conversation.

A simple thank you and offer to personally answer any additional questions would be fine - especially if they had attached a free white paper or something similar of value.


I have found that emailing doesn't work for this stuff.

Jon Miller (Marketo)

Imagine a guy goes on a blind date, and starts asking his companion all about her most personal details. She'd be creeped out and would quickly call for a cab home. But that is exactly what's going on here -- Marcus from CRM Systems is asking for too much information long he's established the trust to earn the right to ask that information. Just like in dating, companies need to build the relationship by asking for just a little information up front, and building from there.


This is the way big business is done. They cannot afford to chase after customers they need you to come to them. This email separates the lookers from the buyers. why waste your time with a prospect that may or may not ever buy let alone in 2 quarters from now.

alot of this blog is geared toward- small guy with no money trying desperately to sell or even talk to big companies.

Not huge public multinational company with 500 million ad budget selling to other huge multinational public company's.

you have to put this into perspective. I can bet you any money that the CRM is way way way over what your company can afford. And this is way you are making a big deal over it. I tried to get some answers out of an Indian IBM rep about leasing a 10K server and the rep barely spoke English. I rudely hung up on her after being transfered and no one there spoke English. But you don't hear of any customers complaining or even a dent in their sales because of this. It is the way of big business, if you tried to pull this in your small business you would be doomed, but not so for big business. everyone reading this and commenting is small time. Including myself.

erik bos


you are such a fake. just a bunch of small time idiots I am chucking your book in the garbage as I am writing this. keep moderating so you can only show one side of the field.

Jill Konrath

Eric, you're the first person to accuse me of being a fake. If my stuff doesn't work for you, then by all means throw it out. FYI, the only emails that don't appear on this list are spammers trying to lure people to their site. Perhaps that's your intent too.


There are a lot of good comments on here about CRMs and how helpful they are. Our company started using one CRM and you wouldn't believe the results we are getting. I will never not use a CRM, especially the one our company is using now. The great thing is they have the coolest dialer that increases our sales agents productivity by at least 200%. Check out their dialer.

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