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keyboard-311803The 80s was a crazy time; a decade of shoulder pads, space hoppers, Rick Astley and eccentric parents naming kids after their favourite combination of typewriter keys.

Not familiar with the last one? Then you’re obviously not the salesperson who has been dumping emails addressed to “Dear qwerty” in my inbox for the past three months.

The background to the story is simple and I’m sure most of you can guess what happened. I downloaded something from a business’s site, was presented with a form that was too long, and lazily entered false details to make the process quicker. In truth, I don’t even remember doing it.

Now some may argue that this is just an unfortunate consequence. The company cannot feasibly spell check every new inbound lead and then research the right details associated with the email address – besides, this would potentially introduce a “creep factor” for a recipient who has already given a clear sign that they do not wish to be contacted.

In reality, this is where the lines between B2C and B2B remain distinct at a time when blurring is occurring in almost all other areas.

While B2B buyers have almost unanimously moved to digital channels to conduct research, the game is still about relationship building. Sending a newsletter to whatever name has been entered is fine; the buyer has entered his/her details knowing specifically that they will receive such emails. However, if you are aiming for laser-focused contextual marketing on the basis of a user’s actions, then failing to take the time and effort to evaluate inbound leads will only succeed in denting your own reputation. Remember, just because sales teams no longer pick up the phone in the early stages of the buying process doesn’t mean the personal touch is not valued.

In this particular instance, the business assessed the content I downloaded and drip-fed me with several related resources. At this stage, the scenario was simply amusing. However, the final straw came last week when I received what, on the surface, appeared to be a highly personal email, informing me that the salesperson had researched my company (also entered as gibberish) and felt we’d be a good fit.

This staggering lack of planning underlines the need for an inside sales team role capable of filtering inbound leads and ensuring that only the strongest and most accurate get passed through. If you are not confident about the buyer’s name, do not send a personalised email; if you find a typo, correct it. Regardless of the volume of inbound leads, this role is now an essential component of effective B2B demand generation.

“Dear qwerty” reaffirms the most important fact any business progressing with marketing automation must keep in mind at all times – automation works, but only if you plan meticulously to ensure nothing ever appears automated.

If you are interested in finding out how to effectively automate your funnel, request a free demand generation audit. You may also be interested in our ebook, Eight Demand Generation Promises to Make This Year.

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