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Sales Reps: how many times must we learn the same cautionary lesson with generic templated emails? One more touch, it seems.

Last weekend, I went out for drinks with some friends in the Mission District in San Francisco. We’re all recent college grads, so we keep our working triumphs, woes, and learning experiences in conversational rotation — no matter how similar our stories are to each other. This time, however, one exchange I had with another SDR stuck with me.

Sales Representatives spend the majority of their days writing emails and leaving messages in the hopes of getting a reply from management at a promising account. We feel elated when it goes well, and dejected when we end up with an empty inbox by day’s end.

However, as I spoke to my friend (let’s call him Nate) about how his week went, I realized that I was (thankfully) missing out on a key component of the typical SDRs workday — receiving hate mail.

As he downed his beer, Nate told me about the daily mess of colorful responses he received from prospects that either weren’t the right fit, had received dozens of emails previously, or took issue with the automated email clogging their inbox. Nate told me he kept the most creative replies in a separate folder for when he needed a laugh at work.

Good humor aside, Nate’s story made me stop and think. Why was Nate of all people sending these robotic canned emails? Nate had already gotten Master’s degree and CPA by the time I finished my tenure at Northwestern — he’s clearly not slow on the uptake.

Missed Opportunities and Potential

Nate’s story encapsulates a problematic trend within Sales Development in the SaaS space. Loads of bright young people enter the Sales force in tech every year, only to be underutilized as a result of outdated business habits that enjoyed success back in the early days of marketing automation.

Young people value multi-channel communication and leverage it constantly outside of work (thank you, Social Media), yet still send uninspired outreach cadences whilst in their office chairs. B2B companies strive to hire capable and hungry young salespeople, but undermine their human capital by focusing on volume whilst prospecting.

Nate’s folder full of hate mail clearly highlights another issue with this mass-produced approach: the more leads you spam, the more opportunities you burn! I’ve seen Account Executives smooth over a mispronounced name on a phone call, but I’ve yet to hear of any SDR winning back an account after emailing a contact the same message three times in two days. Mass emailing leaves money on the table for salespeople and business alike, plain and simple.

If you can’t win business, you need to cut costs and focus on your ROI.

Mass emailing is inefficient with your leads/accounts because of the burn rate — on the surface, it seems like mass email batches are more effective than slower account based practices, but it’s not sustainable. If you’re a boot-strapped startup, slash and burn tactics will come back to haunt you as you move up-market.

Moving Forward with Account Based Engagement

B2B companies must move forward by moving away from bad sales and marketing habits — marketing orchestration is now the name of the game. Set a clear marketing vision by targeting the accounts and buyer personas that move the needle for your business. Act on it by trusting your sales team to craft the right message at the right time for their particular accounts. Sales outreach supported by account based engagement nets more business, causes less burn, and better leverages the true potential of your SDRs. As more businesses adopt an Account Based Everything approach, SDRs may get a break in their inboxes.