Tuesday, August 16, 2016

How not to send a follow up (marketing / sales) email

Today I received another follow up email. Ever since I came to the US, I am getting many of these. This is probably the worst follow up email I received from a big company. I previously had received emails from some other companies. They were better in nature. At one instance, one company was too eager in sales email and sent more email even after I clearly indicated I am no longer evaluating them since I am busy. But this takes everything to new level.
Creepy and lazy follow up email hurts more than helps

So the title says "follow up from download". First no proper title - no correct capitalization.

The email starts with Hi {FirstName}. They are too lazy to check the email formatter. Just like you would spend time on testing the product, please spend time on testing these email sender programs. That will help you a lot.

"Saw you had a chance to download.."
Comes to the point too quick. Somewhat scary, and reads like someone was monitoring/watching/seeing my whole activity.

".. download our Community Edition (M3)"
I swear to the God that I do not remember what product he is referring to. It would be better, if you mention the product name instead of only "Community Edition". M3 can even be omitted.

"A lot of our customers are happy with community support. However, some have come back asking to provide enterprise grade support. We're pleased to announce we now support enterprise grade.."
The fact that "some have come back asking for paid support" does not motivate me to get it. There is no new information provided to arouse my curiosity or interest, except some filler sentence.

"I can fill you in on details if you're interested."
No thanks. I am not going to waste time dealing with automated telephone calls or more emails. In fact, I am not going to reply a "No thanks" either. This blog post should be sufficient.

"Do you have time to connect sometime this week?"
Certainly not. Why would I connect with some emailing bot for no reason?

Too common name with no results in Google or LinkedIn search for full name with company. Probably a made up name.
The not-so-improved further follow up emails.

I indeed opened this email (and further follow-up emails from the same sales person) despite its lack of interest in the title just because of the company that sent this. Now they have lost my reply. However, I decided to make a blog post to summarize my learning. If you are going to send a customer a follow up email, use it as an opportunity. Don't send a random email just because you learned somewhere that sending a follow up email would earn you a customer. Better wait for the moment and send the right mail than a random one, like the one I dissected above.

Later Update
As you can see above, I received further follow up emails. In the second email, you may see he just mentions

"I wanted to follow up from my previous email. 
Are you available for a quick call this week?
This does not add any value to the previous email, and vague at its best. 

The third email goes on to say, 
"If anything, I’d love to provide you with resources to help educate you and your team on what’s new in the space. "
It is fine that you like to "educate" your customer. But do not say so explicitly. First, I am an individual - rather, a poor student, I am not a team. Moreover, I do not think I need some sales team to "educate" me on this domain. I am pretty good. ;)

Finally, the fourth (and potentially, last) email goes,
"Since I haven’t heard back from you, I thought I might be heading down the wrong path.

Is there a better time frame or a different person I should be reaching out to discuss Big Data/Hadoop with?

If so, I’d appreciate you pointing me in the right direction."

So the sudden realization comes that the "potential lead" is possibly uninterested. Only in this last email, I realize that all this time, he just wanted to discuss with me BigData and Hadoop. It might be a good idea to mention this in the first email itself than being so vague. I mean, come on - I am not going to let you spam another person by forwarding you to them. :)

So next time, kids. Don't just keep emailing. I know, you must have learned "persistence is the key", or "potential clients reply 85% at the 5th email" in your sales and marketing training. But don't just send meaningless emails. Put some real effort, and send when you are confident. Hope that helps. Let me know if you need any help in writing an email, of course. ;)

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