B2B Marketing 101: 10 Stupid Ways to Sell

Initially, all marketing has good intentions – to sell. But, at what point does bad marketing turn into plain stupidity?

Well, we’ve come up with a few examples for you. While there are probably hundreds of stupid methods out there, and some that haven’t been thought up yet, we cut it down for you a little.

Here’s our list of 10 stupid ways to sell along with some suggestions on how to raise your sales IQ:

1. Use a complicated message. Big words, lots of jargon, vague offers — the more complicated the message, the harder it will be for customers to figure out what you’re trying to sell.

Instead, get to the point and keep your messaging simple. Speak to the reader, use the word “you” in your copy

2. Focus only on making the sale. “We want your money now! BUY! BUY! BUY!”

The main focus should be on the value your product/service provides for the customer. We know you want to sell us your fancy new widget, but remember we’re people too. I  want to know how it will solve my problem and make my life easier.

3. Have a complicated purchase/checkout process.
“You must register, fill out these 20 forms and give a blood sample before checking out.”

Make it easy for customers to buy your product and navigate around your site. You can have people register, but try to keep it as simple as possible. The more frustration a customer finds, the more willing they’ll be to find another vendor.

4. Think the sale is over at checkout. “Thanks for you’re money, see ‘ya later!”

Wrong. This is just the beginning of your relationship with the customer, nurture it. After the checkout, send a thank you with additional offers or introduce your newsletter, keep the relationship going.

5. Skip customer research. How do you know the best way to sell to your customer before you even know who they are?

Research is critical — knowing your target audience’s demographics will help you mold your message and communicate more clearly. A little time spent now on customer research will help you save money in wasted advertising later.

6. Bombard customer inboxes with dozens of promotional emails. Just because I bought from you today doesn’t mean I want to buy another one in a few hours and even more tomorrow or another fancy widget on Monday.

Emailing customers too frequently is an easy way to turn people away, fast. Even worse, making it difficult for people to unsubscribe can get you in trouble, possibly even blacklisted, a hard thing to bounce back from.

Instead, target emails to different customer groups in your list. If someone just bought yesterday, don’t send them an email tomorrow advertising something else. Look at your sales cycles and determine the best times to email — weekly, monthly, quarterly.

7. Use outside links (ads, emails) that land on unrelated or general landing pages. I clicked on the link for a certain book title I’ve been looking for, don’t make me search through an entire page full of products to find it. I’m lazy, impatient and won’t do it.

Landing pages are a great place to focus your sales, don’t waste them. By clicking on the link, you already know the customer is interested. Keep the sale going and keep your focus clear. Tell them about the main features of the product or service, give them links to find more information, and tell them how to buy.

8. Send people to a “broken” Website. Broken links, missing pages, tons of error messages, poor content – clean up the house before you start bringing guests over.

Instead, spend some time and maybe a little bit of money fixing up your site, be proud of it before you start sending customers there.

9. Fail to respond to customers quickly. “The current wait time is approximately 735 minutes. Please stay on the line, your call is important to us.”


When a customer calls or sends an email with a question, be sure to respond as soon as possible. Not only will the customer appreciate the attention, but you’ve started a good relationship and established your company as one that cares about it’s customers.

10. Create a Website and then ignore it. This also goes for blogs, online networks and groups.

You put in all of that effort way back when, why throw it away? There’s nothing sadder on the Web than finding a blog that hasn’t been updated since January 24, 2005.

It’s worthwhile to keep your blog or network going, even if you only have time to post once or twice a week. Producing constant keyword-rich content will add value for your readers and make you very attractive to search engines.
Take a look at your marketing and sales activities from the viewpoint of an outsider. How have your past marketing ideas failed? What stupid sales ideas are you still keeping around?

Patch-up the cracks and fix your leaky pipes – your customers will appreciate it and you’ll see the results when all the sales start rolling in.


One response to “B2B Marketing 101: 10 Stupid Ways to Sell

  1. I was looking for something to serve as a springboard for my class in hotel marketing and the course hotel dynamics. Something different and, although not “directly” linked to the actual course, the comments listed, etc., certainly serve as an excellent springboard for good discussions. I always tend to be a non-traditionalist. ~~ The bullet points serve as excellent markers. ~~ Barry C. Kresge, Sr., MBA,Adjunct Professor, ESU. ~~ I’ll let you know how I make out ……. I will also provide the link to my students as I always do.

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