Stop Scaring Away Prospective Clients!

We’ve all made embarrassing mistakes at work before. Whether you accidentally tweeted a photo of your dog to your company’s ten thousand followers, or you called your boss “mom,” these mistakes are usually pretty benign.

But what happens when your mistake scares off a potentially big sale? Mom — er…your CMO — would not be pleased. Let’s take a look at three scenarios that will make your prospects turn and run in the other direction — plus ways to avoid them.

Scenario 1: The creepy sales rep

Let’s say you’re a salesperson working within your CRM when you get a notification letting you know a prospect named Rob just put in a demo request. Awesome — you should give him a call! But being the smart, savvy salesperson you are, you take a look at his past interactions with your company to get a feel for the topics he’s interested in. As you do this, you think, “Hmm, I know what he cares about from a business perspective — but I’d love to get a little more insight so I can really personalize this call!” And this is where you make your fatal mistake: you click on over to his Facebook profile and start scrolling.

Five minutes later you’re on the phone with him, having a great chat about your product, when he mentions he can’t set up the demo for this Friday because he’s going to a concert.

“Speaking of music,” you chime in, “I saw on Facebook that you’re a big Belieber. Are you going to his show next month?”

Aaaaand you’ve lost him.

The Biebs himself is really weirded out by your social media stalking.
The Biebs himself is really weirded out by your social media stalking.

I’ll admit, this example is a little extreme — but there are tons of other ways salespeople can cross the line when they’re intending to be relevant and personal. Watch this 90-second video to get some quick tips for personalizing your sales interactions without being creepy.

Scenario 2: The info-hungry marketer

Gated content (marketing content protected behind a form) is key for generating leads — but overeager marketers sometimes take it too far.

The other day, for example, I got an email about a webinar that sounded interesting. I clicked the link and arrived at a landing page with — wait for it — FOURTEEN form fields. “What in the world?” I thought. “Am I registering for a webinar or refinancing my mortgage?” So I quickly closed out of the page, and the sponsor company lost a potential lead.


As a marketer, I get the impulse to ask for tons of information! Leads are valuable, and you (and your sales team) want to know as much about potential buyers as possible — but requiring all that information up front is counterproductive. B2B buyers are busy; they don’t want to spend more than a few seconds filling out a form. Not only that, but they’re handing over their personal information to complete strangers on the internet. That requires trust, which you haven’t yet established with new leads.

The solution? Progressive profiling, a feature of marketing automation that allows you to gradually ask a lead for information over time. Take a look at how this feature works in Pardot to help you gather more data with less friction:


Scenario 3: Overabundant emails

Maybe you went a little overboard adding prospects to drip programs and list emails, but you didn’t mean any harm. You just want to share all the cool things your company is doing with as many people as possible. Unfortunately, your prospective customers won’t see it that way when they get ten emails from you in one week — and all ten will probably end up in their spam folder.

And just like that, all your hard work blows up in your face.
And just like that, all your hard work is smashed to smithereens. 🙁

Make sure you’re not inundating prospects with too many emails by using suppression lists. Suppression lists are used to omit a selected group of prospects from emails and lead nurturing tracks. When would you want to do this? Take a look at a few of the most common reasons:

  • They’ve already taken action. You may want to send out an invitation to an event, but there’s no need to invite prospects who have already registered. In this case, you could use a list of event registrants as a suppression list.
  • They’ve already been passed over to your sales team. Suppress sales-ready lists from drip campaigns that are focused on top- and middle-of-the-funnel content that’s no longer relevant to them.
  • They’ve been emailed very recently. To avoid flooding prospects’ inboxes, use the recency and frequency rule type in Pardot to create a dynamic suppression list. This allows you to automatically ensure you don’t send too many emails in too short a timespan.

You can find more helpful suppression list use cases in our Knowledge Base article on the topic.

Have you encountered any sales or marketing gaffes that have turned you off from a company you were previously interested in? Have you made any of these mistakes yourself? We’d love to hear your horror stories in the comments — even (especially?) if those stories involve calling your boss Mom.

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