Pitch Slap: The worst kind of Social Selling & What you should do instead!

pitch slap

Does this sound familiar? You’re on LinkedIn, and there’s a notification on the My Network tab. It’s a new connection request. Their headline and profile look ok. Maybe they’re a digital marketing strategist or a customer engagement manager.

You let your guard down for a split second and press the accept button. 3 seconds later you’re getting a wordy thank you DM: 1% thank you 99% sales pitch. 

If you’re especially unlucky, you’ve been added to an email drip too. Along with an email scheduling a call on the next business day.

It’s safe to say that most people who get pitch slapped aren’t happy about this. Platforms like LinkedIn try their best to reduce this kind of activity but it still happens. Does that mean cold outreach is dead? Or is there a better way to connect with your prospects on LinkedIn?

pitch slapped

What is a Pitch Slap?

When you think you’re having a normal conversation, but it turns out to be a sales pitch.

The strategy behind the pitch slap.

Spray and pray. When it comes to LinkedIn Outbound Prospecting (LOPs) too many sales and marketing professionals are guided by a software vendor. To be honest, it’s pretty tempting.

Vendors like Alfred and Octopus have such great value propositions; “Generate Leads While You Sleep” and “Automate and simplify your work on LinkedIn.” How awesome is that?

I’ve used both of the apps above and sent out a few LOP pitch slaps myself. Not proud of it but happy to share what I learned from my prospecting experience way back.

To be honest, my slaps were more like gentle pushes. They were written with a highly-targeted audience in mind. Plus the follow-up wasn’t very pushy. Here’s an example:

  1. Send a connection request
  2. Follow up with a “you might be interested in Product/Service”

The most common kind of cold outreach we see on LinkedIn aren’t well-targeted and go straight for the sale with zero research on their audience.

bad experience

Breakdown of most pitch slap campaigns

  • Misleading information
  • Broad messaging
  • Single medium
  • High Volume
  • No personalization
  • Automated Follow Up

Does pitch slapping work?

Hell NO! Imagine you’re at a bar. You go up to a total stranger and the first thing you say is “let’s go back to my place and kick it up a notch.” Sure, you might have a quick win here and there. But in the long run, this strategy is doing more damage to your brand than the revenue it’s bringing in. The only time LOPs worked for me personally, was when the prospect was already in-market and open to looking at new vendors.

sales and marketing team

Why do salespeople and marketers continue to pitch slap?

Bad KPIs

If the business is only thinking in the short term, they’re going to focus on lead generation. Marketing, get as many leads as you can. Sales, send out as many emails and DMs as possible. Sound familiar?

At some point in time, we’ve all worked under those conditions. Instead, companies need to align their sales & marketing team. Create and distribute content that’s going to add value to their prospects. Create new KPIs to accurately measure their campaign’s success.

When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.

Goodhart's law.

Lack of Information

Laziness. Stupidity. Because they’re jerks! That’s probably the gut reaction people feel when they’ve been pitch slapped. Most people who are using their accounts to spray and pray simply don’t know there’s a better way.

It’s unlikely these people are intentionally trying to upset you. They’ve probably just watched one too many product explainer videos and truly believe they’ve found a marketing silver bullet strategy.

Develop a Social Setting Strategy Instead

The idea behind social selling is to leverage your social network to identify potential clients, build trusting connections, and ultimately achieve sales targets. This sales approach enables better lead generation and prospecting and the elimination of cold calling. Developing and maintaining relationships is simpler within a network that you and your consumers respect.

learning new things

Components of a Successful Social Selling strategy

1. Make a name for yourself as an expert.

Today’s B2B purchasers are picky, and they’ll only deal with companies they can trust. A solid professional brand indicates that you are a competitive force in your market. It leads to more prospect inquiries. It results in additional correspondence responses from prospects.

2. Concentrate on the right prospects.

Social selling allows you to interact with prospects more successfully than traditional sales. Over 76% of purchasers believe they’re ready to engage in a social media discussion, and finding prospects that fulfill your criteria – such as role, job function, or industry – has never been more accessible, thanks to LinkedIn.

3. Interact with findings and insights.

Position yourself as a subject-matter expert by sharing industry knowledge, reacting to news headlines, and developing your professional brand. Salespeople that connect with valuable insights and possibilities are praised by over 62 percent of B2B buyers. Salespeople may improve their thought leadership by keeping up with prospect news and identifying new contacts or decision-makers when accounts make key hires.

4. Developing trusted relationships.

Build rapport with prospects by sharing your insights and assisting them in getting relevant information. Have genuine conversations, focusing on the prospect’s needs first and selling second.

content services

The 10-4-2 Strategy by Joe Mullings

I love frameworks and Joe Mullings’s 10-4-2 Strategy: How to Connect with Industry Leaders on LinkedIn is one of my favorites! It’s a highly effective way to grow your business with the potential to outperform all channels. Below is Joe’s strategy blended with a few of my own pointers and changes.

Change Your Mindset

Stop advertising your services! People on LinkedIn are trying to learn. This process is going to take some time and will require a bit of trial and error. Don’t expect things to change overnight.

Find The Right People

Create a list of 20 prospects you are going to engage. You’ll need LinkedIn Sales Navigator or Apollo.io to help identify companies in your ICP and single out your buyer personas. The standard search options on LinkedIn in most cases aren’t precise enough.

Research

Is this person even active on LinkedIn? What can you find out about them on and off the platform? Find out as much as you can about your prospect. Use tools like SparkToro to see if you can get additional insights on what kind of content they prefer.

Follow

Press the follow button. Crazy right? Follow your list of prospects. Remember it’s quality over quantity. Over the next week, you’re going to be executing the 10-4-2 strategy.

Like x10

Over the next week, you’re going to Like approximately 10 posts shared by the people on your list.

Comment x4

Of those 10 posts, you’re going to add 4 Comments, make sure your comments add value not just a “thanks for sharing.”

Share x2

From the same 10 posts, Share 2 pieces of content that you found most insightful.

Connect

When you reach out to connect, you’re no longer a stranger. Use this to your advantage and send a personalized message to connect. That’s what I thought. Turns out the larger the company, the longer you’re going to need to continue the 10-4-2 strategy.

Continue

After 2-3 weeks of continuing to get on their radar on LinkedIn, you’re going to want to become a proactive poster on LinkedIn. Watch Joe Mullings explain this next part in his video below.

Adding Social Selling to your Go-to-Market Strategy

It’s no secret that pitching your idea to a group of people is one of the most difficult tasks you can do. A well-executed social setting strategy is an important part of any GMT strategy. One common mistake that companies make is to rely solely on one or two strategies for success. Usually, because of budget and resource constraints – we hear you!

We believe that a business of any size can get its marketing right. We developed a GTM checklist that can help businesses grow online. Even if you’re a bootstrap business or solopreneur. Check out our Go-to-Market Strategy checklist today.

LinkedIn Automation Disclaimer

The first thing to keep in mind when combating most types of LinkedIn automation is that you will almost certainly violate LinkedIn’s Terms of Service. Using a third-party tool to automate your LinkedIn activity is inherently dangerous. You’ll get a brief suspension if your activity is considered suspicious, and if you continue, you’ll be permanently banned (and getting a LinkedIn account shut down is notoriously tricky).

To keep safe, you must limit your participation (profile views, connection requests, messages, and endorsements) to a low amount each day. The LinkedIn automation landscape is also changing rapidly, so before using any of these tools, do your homework to ensure they’re still secure.

Author
Bryan Philips
Bryan Philips
I'm the Head of Marketing at In Motion. My job is to help your marketing get more leads, sales, and revenue by being a superhero with words. I love to travel, hike and learn new things. As a tech enthusiast, I enjoy learning how to use new software as much as possible.

Join our newsletter

Read more posts

StoryBrand Framework is an effective tool used for enhancing your marketing strategy. The framework will provide instant value communication to your ideal customers, thereby enhancing your business. StoryBrand helps businesses streamline their message by utilizing story-based approaches which place the client at the center of their hero's journey.
A buyer persona is a representation of your ideal customer or target audience. It's a marketing strategy that uses research, data, and consumer psychology to build a fictional model of the people who make your potential customers. This go-to-market strategy helps sales teams understand prospective customers and helps inform content marketing messages.