Execution Breakdown: Sales Team Sent to Trade Show with Defunct Email Address on Business Cards

What separates the winners from everyone else when it comes to successful business execution?

Credit: iStock

Attention to details, or put another way, making sure the operational nuts and bolts are in order. Plus, doing that with a customer-focused mindset that’s spread across the entire organization.

It’s not surprising, with so much emphasis on high-tech tools, that the basic “low tech” stuff that keeps the trains moving can be overlooked or even dismissed. Sometimes, the new tools are positioned in sexy wrapping paper and target (take advantage of?) those always looking for the next shiny new object. Of course, others offer real utility and have staying power.

To be clear, technology and related wow tools can provide amazing ways for marketers and business people to succeed in their jobs. For example, last month I attended a presentation on artificial intelligence and machine learning, geared as an introduction for marketers. Cool stuff and important to know more about that.

The basics aren’t sexy but get the right things done well!

Last week, I reconnected with a former colleague at an industry trade show. It was great seeing him and we exchanged contact info.

The next day I sent him a short note, using the email address on his business card. The message bounced back undeliverable. Strange. Fortunately, I located a second work email address on LinkedIn (we’re connected), and resent my note. Someone he met at the trade show would not have been able to do that.

He responded as follows: “Sorry, we just changed our email addresses and we don’t have new cards yet.” Then, prominently marked in bold red at the bottom of his message was the real “NEW EMAIL ADDRESS” to be used going forward.

I share this story to reinforce my message about the nuts and bolts required for best execution.

In almost every business scenario, both the prospect and current customer have choices. You want to make it easier, not harder, for them to learn about your company and decide to do business with you. The example I just shared made it harder.

In this case, we have a $2+ billion multinational corporation sending its sales team to interact with customers at a trade show with business cards that contain a defunct email address. Of course, this is not the sales team’s fault. They were improperly equipped to fully engage with customers. Instead, it’s an operational failure by their company.

I understand that companies morph, and email systems and addresses change. Plan for that though, including any lag time to print and distribute new business cards. The easiest step should be to keep the old email address up and redirecting to the new email address during the transition period. How hard a task or great an investment is that?

Consider how much time, effort and investment go into customer engagement initiatives such as trade shows. Yet, when the customer is finally ready to act and tries to reach out, pfft, no good. Or, how about the company that doesn’t answer the phone number posted on its literature and website? (sad but true example)

Those who embrace and practice marketing discipline, and believe in the power of nuts and bolts operational foundations, should always have the business advantage. Technology and innovation march on (rightfully so), yet the little things still matter. Always have. Always will.

Don’t believe it? Maybe the customer trying to reach you  got “Address Not Found” instead!

Harvey Chimoff is a versatile marketing and business team leader who believes good marketing sells. Contact him at StratGo Marketing, a plug-in marketing department service for company leaders. Please subscribe to receive immediate notification of each new post.

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