The "non sales pitch"… How to write a social media friendly B2B sales pitch.


I received a message from a fellow group member in an online community the other day. It read like this (note: names/titles have been changed):

“My new white paper on XYZ – available to group members Feel free to download – don’t worry – no sales pitches!”

Call me crazy, but when someone says, “don’t worry, no sales pitch,” it’s usually a sales pitch, especially when it comes from a sales rep.

So I clicked on the link and it took me to a form which began with, “Dear Group Member,” and I was asked to complete 12 fields (yes… 12!) in order to download the white paper.

This “non sales pitch” broke just about every rule in B2B social media and direct response marketing.

  • Social media is personal, and if you’re a member of the group, then address members by name. If it’s not possible, then it’s better to say nothing than “Dear Group Member.” Plus, if you held a webinar, then wouldn’t you have contact information from the registration?
  • The “non sales pitch” put the writer first and not the reader. It opened with, “Here’s my xyz white paper.” Where’s the WIIFM (What’s in it for me)? Why should I download your whitepaper?
  • Then the writer proceeded to tell me that he or she thought I would find the white paper relevant. Dude, you don’t even know my name, and yet you know that I would find the paper relevant? Hmmmmm…. the value of the white paper from my perspective is not clear, and therefore not relevant. Tell me it will get me a promotion, more business or save me time, and then, maybe I’ll find it relevant.
  • Finally, if you’re a member of a group, then just give out the whitepaper as you promised at the webinar. No one should have to complete 12 fields unless you’re giving out something extraordinary, like cash. Plus, these are your fellow group members, and you met with them over a webinar. It should be more personal.

Bottom line: this was most definitely a sales pitch, and it didn’t need to be one.

There’s nothing wrong with sharing your white paper. But the approach wasn’t social media-friendly.

What should the writer have done?

  • The solicitation headline should have read:
    Learn how to improve your close rate and free up more time for sales calls. New white paper free for abc group members. (disclosure: from my recent webinar)
  • The landing page should have said:
    “Thanks for attending the yada yada webinar. If you couldn’t attend, here’s a copy of the white paper explaining how you can improve your close rate and free up more time for sales calls. Download now.

    For more information call (123) 333-2222 or tell us your name, company and email.
    Thanks again for attending,
    Social media-friendly sales rep.

    PS If you’re interested in following trends on xyz, subscribe to our RSS feed here.”

Unfortunately, I think that as more B2B marketers integrate social media into their marcom mix, we’re bound to see more missteps like the one just described. The best advice I was given upon entering the social media sphere was:
Listen first and put the community before your own needs. Social media is not a broadcast channel it’s a place to find and cultivate mutually beneficial relationships. And that takes time.

Related Posts:

» Just How Social Is B2B Social Media
» A 47 Million Dollar B2B Social Media Success Story
» Do Your Marketing Communications Feel Like Marketing?
» Is B2B Marcom Creating Valuable Content?
» B2B Content Marketing - How marketing and sales alignment drives revenue

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