Like everyone whose career has spanned two decades or more, I’ve witnessed the creation of email and then smart phones to help make our communication easier and more real-time. But I’m not convinced these tools have made our communication more effective. Maybe that is why I am part of a select minority who does not own a Blackberry (or similar device) today.
For MindTree’s lead generation campaigns, we don’t have the advantage of describing a true product when writing to an executive to request a meeting. We need to describe services that are obviously not tangible. So one needs to rely on effective written communication to convince IT or Engineering executives to meet with us. Sounds easy enough? Well, consider that in the outsourcing industry, it has been estimated that there are more than 1000 services providers. More or less, all of us providers are targeting the same prospects. So conservatively, we can estimate that these prospects- IT/engineering executives– receive dozens, if not hundreds, of emails a week all pitching very similar if not identical capabilities.
How can we differentiate in this saturated market?
As Chief Marketing Officer, I read my share of emails that can be best described as “DOA” (dead on arrival). “DOA” means there is no chance that it is being read. Executives inundated with choices are not going to entrust multi-million dollar engagements with someone who cannot communicate effectively. Think about it: how often have you received an email pitching a product or service that is not relevant (i.e. poor target segmentation)? Or emails that contain numerous typos and grammar mistakes? Or a 500+ word email that requires that we read 4 paragraphs to understand what (why) you received it in the first place (i.e. poor structure and format)? It’s all about creating trust and a favorable first impression.
Coming back to my opening comment, I believe email and smart phones are at least in part to blame for poor communication. I’ve seen both tools become so taxing on people’s mind (“I gotta check my inbox at all hours of the day”) that they lose the ability to perceive, interpret and think. The end result is DOA email campaigns.
The message I try to deliver to our business development team is to put less emphasis on completing the transaction with an executive(s) quickly and more emphasis on making sure it’s what the executives wants to hear . What good is real-time response if it’s the wrong response?
I’m not suggesting we go back to manual typewriters and voice mail to communicate. I did my share of that in the early 1990s selling for NCR Corporation in New York City. Thankfully, that ship has sailed. Rather, I am merely suggesting we do not use these tools without thought.