It Seemed Like a Harmless Link…Until it Yielded a Sales Call

File this under creepy sales follow-up: a couple of weeks ago, I received an email from a company that sells client/contact management software for public affairs firms. I’d participated in a couple of events for one of their competitors, and I assumed they’d scooped my address up and put it in their promo database. The heart of the email was a link to a page on their site on which they compared their services to those of their competitor, under quite favorable terms of course. Being a big fan of propaganda, I clicked.

Then about 4 days later a voicemail arrived — it was a sales rep from Company A calling to thank me for clicking on the link and offering to demo their system. He referred to me as a current customer of Company B, which suggests that their database tagging operation may not exactly be perfect, but more than that, I found the whole experience Big Brother-ish.

Would an email have been better? Probably — it at least would have been within the same medium as before, and a phone call is just a bit more intrusive than I would like, particularly since I have no memory of giving them my number. Perhaps it was effective as a demo of the company’s client-management system, but in practice it was off-putting and did nothing to endear them to me. I ain’t exactly steering clients their way, either.


Written by
Colin Delany
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  • I think the big brother feeling stemmed from the fact that he actually thanked you for clicking on the email. I’d totally have been creeped out by that, too.

    If you’d just gotten what sounded like a cold call several days after having received the email, then I bet you would have thought to yourself that they are practicing good cross channel marketing by coordinating a phone and email campaign at the same time. As far as you’d have been concerned, they may have been following up by phone with everyone to whom they sent the email. There’s no need to actually TELL you that they were only calling the people who they knew had clicked on the link.

  • Point taken…

    However, the question is, were you likely to buy something from that company in the near term anyway? Probably not.

    That’s why sales organizations get aggressive like that. They have nothing to lose…