I was appalled to receive an email from someone today. Unsolicited, I might add. I don’t know why I was appalled but I was severely irked by its contents.
The subject line read: “Using LinkedIn for cold calling – live webinar”.
This promotion was for a webinar being hosted by the heads of two companies, Vorsight and Inside Sales. They promise to show how to use LinkedIn as a source of leads for you to cold call.
Why should I be so bothered? Surely someone has a right to marketing their business any way they see fit?
The reason I am annoyed by this promotion is that it devalues everything about LinkedIn that most of its members hold dear. It is less prone to spam – although there are lots of anonymous people always claiming to be your friend. LinkedIn has much more of a professional face, so it is harder to just broadcast anonymous messages without some kind of push back.
On Twitter, you can pretty much spam anyone, although you still have to behave. On LinkedIn, you have to at least form some kind of connection before you can start sending personalised messages. If you try to flout that rule, you are likely to be reported.
So here we have a marketing company effectively promising to tell people how to ruin the whole ethos that is LinkedIn. If I was LinkedIn, I would just ban them before their webinar even got started.
If you want to be a reputable, organic marketer, use social networks in the right way, which is the way others on the network want them to be used. No one likes cold calls. Most people on LinkedIn don’t like random strangers contacting them. The very notion that LinkedIn should be used to target members for cold calling is frustrating, but for someone to publicise that they are doing it is ridiculous.
A reply from Ken Krogue, President of InsideSales:
Since this article was re-published on Business2Community, Ken Krogue wrote his own article on Forbes.com. He explains that the webinar was not intended to promote cold calling and that the headline for the promotion email was just to grab attention.
He implies that the webinar was to promote the benefits of Sales Navigator – a LinkedIn application that helps you identify key people in your network to sell to. LinkedIn was designed as a tool for reaching people through those with whom you are linked, so that kind of approach is more in keeping with the idea of the network.
I maintain though that a headline suggesting you are going to teach people how to do cold calling through LinkedIn is counter-intuitive.