Free Assessment: How does your inbound marketing measure up?

Get Started

Free Assessment:

How does your inbound marketing measure up?
Take this free, 5-minute assessment and learn what you can start doing today to boost traffic, leads, and sales.
Get Started

Free Assessment:

CEOs: Your Sales Reps are Damaging Your Brand With Lazy Prospecting Emails

By Bob Ruffolo

CEOs: Your Sales Reps are Damaging Your Brand With Lazy Prospecting Emails

As a CEO, I’ve got a prized inbox. And so every day I get dozens of emails from salespeople hoping to prospect me and gain my business. 

And I get it. I know that prospecting is part of the job of sales reps — and I know that many of them are going to go straight to the top and shoot their shot. 

I understand that I’m a target, but what I’ve seen lately has left me more and more dismayed. 


Sales reps are getting lazy. They’re blasting out prospecting emails without doing the slightest bit of research. 

These emails are so bad that I’m not just ignoring them, I’m getting irritated by them. Not only are these emails not going to get my business, they’re doing real damage to the image of the companies these reps work for. 

This kind of lazy email outreach is disruptive and damaging — and when I see the company they come from, I mentally cross them off the list of companies I would ever do business with. 

If you’re a CEO who’s not paying close attention to the work your sales team is doing, your brand could get tarnished without you even knowing it. 

Stop thinking of sales as ‘just a numbers game’

We’ve all heard the same thing over and over in our professional lives: “Sales is a numbers game.” 

I want to unpack what that actually means: that we think more about aggregate data than individual prospects. 

Everything we track is about the aggregate: Conversion rate, close rate, sales velocity. Every KPI is a generalization that lets us zoom out and focus on averages. 


This makes us think that sales is just a numbers game. We just have to apply those numbers to the future and we can predict how many deals we’ll close.

But I’ve come to see that this is the wrong approach. 

With every lost deal, with every abysmal open rate we shrug and say “sales is a numbers game.” And we ignore the collateral damage that comes with that mindset.

Think about it. 

A “sales is a numbers game” approach means that if 5% of your cold email targets get back to you and you close 10% of those, all you have to do is reach out to enough people to make the numbers work. 

Need to close 10 deals this quarter? Well, 10 is 10% of 100, so you need 100 people to respond to your emails. 

If you know you get 5% reply rate on your prospecting emails, that means you need to send 2000 emails this quarter.

But this ignores the staggering numbers on the other side of this equation: if 5% respond to your emails, 95% are annoyed by them — and many will write you off because of your sloppy approach.

Yes, you close 10% of those who respond, but what about the other 90% who chose not to buy?

This is the damage done by the spray-and-pray approach.


Think about the effect on the vast majority of people you’re targeting. Not only will they not buy from you — they’ll be left with an unfavorable impression of your brand. They’ll think you’re too lazy to put in the effort to research who you’re going after. 

They’ll think your brand is desperate and disorganized…. if they think of your brand at all.

Bad prospecting is more widespread than you think

A few weeks ago I got so frustrated with these lazy sales emails I posted about it on LinkedIn. I took a screenshot of a particularly bad email (one that didn’t even take the time to fill in where the template said “[company name]”. 


What I said hit a nerve, and professionals of all kinds rallied around what I had said.

But here’s the worst part.

This whole experience made me want to go check out the emails my own sales team was sending out to prospects. I was taken aback. 


Even though we work hard to base our selling on relationships, my own team was sending out the same templated nonsense to other businesses. 

And I immediately saw that just as I was criticizing other businesses, lazy sales emails were hurting the IMPACT brand — something I’ve built with years of dedication. 

Email after email, each doing more damage to my business’ brand.

Change needs to start at the top

It’s easy to fault the sales reps. They’re phoning it in by not doing any real research before they reach out. But the blame doesn’t stop there. 

Every sales manager who gives an arbitrary quota for prospecting is incentivizing quantity over quality. When a sales rep hears they need to send 50 prospecting emails this week, corners are going to get cut to reach that quota.


Let’s raise our standards and try a different approach.

Think about the numbers I shared above. Let’s say each sales rep needs to close 10 deals this quarter. Imagine instead of 2,000 boilerplate, stocky emails they sent out 100 carefully crafted, fully researched emails that spoke directly to the pain that prospect is experiencing. 

I guarantee their response rate will be way higher. I guarantee their close rate will be higher, too. 

I think they’d probably still get your 10 deals — all without alienating 1,990 people in the process.

This way, they don’t look lazy or desperate. They look well-informed and caring — exactly how you, as CEO, want your business to be perceived. 

Free Assessment:

How does your inbound marketing measure up?
Take this free, 5-minute assessment and learn what you can start doing today to boost traffic, leads, and sales.


Executives and Leaders
Sales Process
Revenue Operations
Published on May 11, 2023

Recent Articles

I Just Hired a Content Manager: How Can I Tell They're Doing The Right Things?
May 18, 2023 • 5 min read
Staffing Up After a Recession: Who to Hire When
May 17, 2023 • 4 min read
Looking for Better Applicants? Focus on Candidate Education
May 15, 2023 • 6 min read
CEOs: Your Sales Reps are Damaging Your Brand With Lazy Prospecting Emails
May 11, 2023 • 3 min read
Word-of-Mouth is Fragile; Here's How to Build Market Durability
May 10, 2023 • 5 min read
What You Need to Learn From Customers Who Didn’t Buy From You
May 3, 2023 • 6 min read
Your Meeting Superpower: Replacing Good Questions with Great Questions
April 26, 2023 • 5 min read
Top 10 Must-Have Qualities To Look For in a Content Manager
April 20, 2023 • 4 min read
What Small Business Leaders Need To Know to Thrive During a Recession
April 19, 2023 • 7 min read
5 Keys to Marketing Your Business During a Recession
April 17, 2023 • 5 min read
Why You Need a Content Manager (and How to Hire the Right One)
April 13, 2023 • 6 min read
Leadership Teams Are Often Blind to Their Own Dysfunction — And The Effects Can Be Devastating
March 8, 2023 • 5 min read
Sure, They Ask, You Answer Works in Other Industries — But Will It Work in Mine?
February 23, 2023 • 4 min read
In-house Marketing vs Agency: What’s Best For Your Business?
February 2, 2023 • 7 min read
Insourcing vs. Outsourcing Content: Which is Better for Your Business?
January 9, 2023 • 10 min read
Sales vs Marketing in 2023: What’s The Difference?
January 5, 2023 • 7 min read
Outsourcing Is Broken: Rethinking the Relationship Between Client and Agency
December 14, 2022 • 5 min read
What Is a Revenue Team?
December 5, 2022 • 4 min read
Want to Grow Your Business? Start by Growing Your People
November 30, 2022 • 4 min read
Building the Perfect Sales and Marketing Team in 2023
November 27, 2022 • 6 min read
How To Align Your Sales And Marketing Teams In 2023
November 12, 2022 • 8 min read
As a Business Coach, Here’s When I Tell Companies to Hire Instead of Promote
October 19, 2022 • 4 min read
Your Employees Are (Likely) Quitting Because of Poor Communication
October 12, 2022 • 4 min read
Miscommunication is Limiting Your Businesses — Here Are 4 Ways You Can Fix It
October 10, 2022 • 5 min read
When It Comes to Hiring, Experience Is Overrated
October 5, 2022 • 5 min read