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Updated: Feb 16, 2023

Woman being inundated with emails

As a salesperson and sales manager in the past, I am perplexed at the number of businesses and their salespeople that seem to use canned, impersonal emails or send automated messages when trying to sell their products and services. What happened to calling and speaking to a potential client or sending a personalized email to set up a conversation? Sending out what is seen in most companies as SPAM for email and voicemail messages needs to reflect better on your business. Doing this requires researching and understanding if those prospects are your target market, which improves your chances of any sale.


Though spam email can be illegal in most countries, it is hard to monitor and enforce outside your own country. Canned spam started years ago, primarily for offshore businesses in the web and SEO industry. Still, lately, this supposed sales method is being employed by many salespeople, including using unaddressed email and Social Media to perform a similar function.

LinkedIn used to be one of my favourite Social Media platforms, but as of late, it has become a breeding ground for those that try to connect after having used their InMail to send the same "canned" message to hundreds or thousands on the site to get around spam laws. There is no real difference in reality than spamming thousands of emails with the same sale pitch. As with the SPAM email, I will delete them without reading them. If someone selling does not take the time to determine if you are even their target market and send a personalized message, then they do not deserve any time. My business partner and I get emails and social media messages even from competitors trying to sell us their services, which shows they are just throwing a pitch out there and trying to catch some unsuspecting prospect. I received one the other day from a firm helping start-up consulting and coaching businesses that cannot develop engagements independently and selling subscription services to "canned engagements." We have been in business for 12+ years selling small business coaching and consulting, and if we have yet to figure out how to run that type of business in that time, we have larger issues.


Before I started my own business, the last business I worked for was a telecom provider of voice applications. One of the products they sold was an outbound call application that allowed you to leave a voicemail or send voicemails to individuals and use a callback option. It is a great application when used correctly for sending broadcast messages for emergencies and appointment reminders, to name a few. It was not developed so salespeople could avoid selling and send out a canned message to 1000's of individuals.


Inbound and outbound marketing are used to generate and collect leads. Whether you use forms, social media posts, SEO, direct mail, advertising or cold calling, all these ways and more are ways we generate leads for our businesses. Campaigns generate prospects that are targeted as those interested in the products and services sold. Once the opportunities are uncovered, there is still work to close the sale.

There is a place for mass outbound email marketing to those individuals who choose to subscribe to be marketed to or to sign up and receive a newsletter. InMails with LinkedIn are wonderful tools for contacting individuals to start a conversation. Still, I do not believe LinkedIn created them as mass mailing tools to avoid spam laws with email. The automated voicemails are also great tools to have for your clients or prospects that have signed up to receive them.


This issue stems from two different areas. First, too many businesses are not hiring trained or qualified salespeople and are letting them loose to sell in whatever way is "easy" for them without even having to talk live to a customer. This goes hand in hand with businesses needing to train their salespeople when they bring them on board regarding their expectations and sales practices. Finally, there is just pure laziness on the part of the salesperson. Instead of using tools like InMail, you research your intended prospect and write a personalized letter that lets them know you bothered to determine if you are a fit.

It is true increasingly; it is difficult to reach someone on the first call, but you don't just stop trying. There are other methods of marketing and sales to get prospects than just cold calling. For some reason, most salespeople are not even leaving voicemails if they don't reach you; they just hang up and give up. Spamming with "canned" emails, social media messages, and voicemails is not a substitute for "selling" and understanding your target market prospects. These are the same people who try to connect to you without a message in hopes of trying to grab your contacts.

Marketing and sales tools serve a purpose, but mass canned emails, social media messages, and voicemails are not one of them. When you have the prospect, these products help retain them and keep them engaged from other marketing and sales campaigns. Anyone before inbound marketing knows selling this way is the same as performing direct mail campaigns whose ROI is around 1-2%, but at least they are not spam.

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