bigstock-Man-Standing-On-Street-Is-Aski-132268082A political fund-raising call I got the other day ended very badly. No, not because I wound up screaming at the caller, or even because I didn’t contribute.

It ended badly because the organization almost lost my contribution by boring me with a bland, “one size fits all” script and forcing me to go on-line afterwards to contribute, rather than letting the caller easily send me a follow up email.

The same happens all the time with B2B sales campaigns. Here’s what went wrong and how voters, and customers, could more easily vote with their wallets.

The Rigid Sales Script

I got the political fund-raising call when I was 1) busy working and 2) out of the country and thus charged mega-bucks for every minute of phone time. I tried to tell the caller I was interested but couldn’t take the call, and even offered my email address as a sincere expression of interest.

But the telemarketer sounded completely confused and continued with what was obviously a pre-programmed spiel. I wound up, unfortunately, hanging up on him. The script from which he was working, and his call center system, probably wouldn’t let him easily grab my email and send a follow up note with an easy link to contribute.

I wound up finding the organization’s Web site and contributing, but someone less motivated wouldn’t have. In addition, my call will be recorded as a “hang up” (and a failure) rather than a success (by reminding me of an organization I chose to contribute to.) That makes it harder for this political organization to track the effectiveness of its call banks vs. email or other communication channels, or to link my contribution to the call.

The One Size Fits All Script

The second mistake was that the “sales pitch” began with a general, high-level reference to themes from the previous night’s convention coverage. But just as product pitches need to tell me exactly how the product will help me, this call never got specific. What would have been even more compelling would be something like this:

As you know, funding for the endangered sea turtle will be a critical issue in the next Congress.  Rep. Joe Kelp in Maine’s 2nd congressional district is head of the natural resources subcommittee that will vote on such funding early next year, and is in a tight race with his challenger, Harriet Treecutter. We need only another $125,000 to fund a targeted direct-mail campaign to the 30,000 swing voters who can keep Kelp in this important chairmanship and move this funding forward next year. We’re currently $78,000 of the way there. Will you move us forward with another $50 contribution? If so, we’ll update you in three weeks with the results of the campaign.

And how would the organization know I care about the sea turtle? That’s where all the Big Data, micro-segmentation of voters we keep hearing about comes in. If you know what I care about (as a voter or a tech buyer) tell me very specifically what my contribution (or purchase) will do based on my specific desires.

The Turn-Off Follow-Up

Since contributing, I get almost daily emails form this group with subject lines like “BRUTAL loss,” “DANGEROUSLY behind,” and (which I love) “you haven’t answered.” Even in this election year, the sky can’t be calling every day – and it’s not my job to answer unsolicited emails.

What might get more contributions out of me would be an update on the results of the previous voter turnout campaign I helped fund. Tell me how the polls have turned, how many committed voters you have registered, and exactly how you would use my next contribution to make more progress.

In the B2B world, effective follow up means finding out if the customer is using the product, getting value from it, and is aware of how specific add-ons or upgrades could make them more money. For solutions sold in the cloud, sellers can track usage patterns, social media comments and other feedback to tailor their follow-up to each customer, suggesting products and services geared to their specific needs.

But as both an IT customer, and an involved voter, I keep seeing clumsy, unfocused and just plain irrelevant offers. In these days of Big Data and personalized messaging, why can’t we do better?

Author: Bob Scheier
Visit Bob's Website - Email Bob
I'm a veteran IT trade press reporter and editor with a passion for clear writing that explains how technology can help businesses. To learn more about my content marketing services, email bob@scheierassociates.com or call me at 508 725-7258.