True Crimes: Terrible Sales Email Tactics

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

You may have thought they took a break for the holidays, but sales criminals never rest. An inept sales rep has sent out yet another awful pitch, annoying a huge list of cold prospects. Different from past sales crime emails, this rep isn’t only insulting your intelligence – they’re also getting desperate for your attention. This bungling rep thinks that if they just throw a bunch of vague technology terms in an email, one of them is bound to catch your interest, right? Unfortunately for the rep, no – not at all.

What you’re about to see is an actual sales email that we’ve received in our own inbox, with names and pertinent details redacted. Prepare yourself – these sales crimes are real, and so are the ineffective sales reps who hit send. We hope that by analyzing the worst of the worst sales emails, you will never make these terrible sales mistakes yourself.

Some sales reps have no idea how to write a sales email. These are their stories.

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The Desperate Pitch

This email has one of the most unfortunate sentences we’ve ever seen in a cold email. Rather than offering a compelling value proposition and intriguing the prospect enough to respond, this email reeks of desperation.

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Not only does this email have a number of unfortunate typos, it also promises “amazing new business solutions” around data, something about assets, and something else about builds. The vague value proposition doesn’t really tell you much about what the company does, and it certainly doesn’t convince you that the solutions they’re offering are all that amazing.

[blockquote cite=”” align=”left”] This is the definition of a “spray and pray” sales tactic.[/blockquote]

However, the worst part of the email is clearly: “Let’s give it a shot and see what sticks.” See what sticks?!? This is the definition of a “spray and pray” sales tactic, where the rep is simply throwing everything at the prospect and hoping something, anything, attracts your attention. But with such a boring, vague value proposition, why on earth would any prospect be interested?

After this horrible email, the sales rep has some serious nerve to try to schedule a 20 minute call with prospects. Based on this email, the prospect knows next to nothing about the company, and has no real idea what the rep will be pitching to them on a call. The company does something with data, and something with mobile, but also something with navigation? The information in this email is just not very clear about what the company offers to customers. Why would anyone sign up for a call with a company they don’t know, to learn more about a product they don’t understand? Unfortunately for this ineffective rep, nothing in this email sticks other than an impression that this rep is terrible at cold emails.

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How to Improve the Pitch

Instead of trying to vaguely describe your business in a way that appeals to a huge (but likely indifferent) audience, a better way to appeal to prospects is by being more specific and personalized in every email. It’s certainly easier to send out non-specific, cold email blasts to a huge list of prospects, but that is not going to get the sales results you need. This sales rep probably got a few tepid responses to their email, but those few leads are extremely unlikely to turn into deals as they move down the funnel.

Instead of trying to appeal to a huge and unknown audience, you should do some research about your prospects before sending out an email. Look for companies that fit your business’ ideal customer profile, and then tailor an email to specifically to that company.

A better email would read something like this:

Hi Cara,

I saw on LinkedIn that InsightSquared recently released a new product around X capability, which got a lot of buzz in the industry. My company can help you map and analyze your customer data, to better understand how your business is growing and whether your newest product is gaining traction in the market.

If this sounds interesting to you, I’d be happy to set up a 20 minute call to give you a better understanding of our product, and how it can help your business grow.

Sales Rep

This email is more specific, much more personalized, and much more likely to get a response from the prospect. Though it will take you more time to research and write every email, the leads you do get from these personalized emails will be of much higher quality, a much better fit for your business, and much more likely to convert into Closed-Won deals. If you put in the work and don’t get desperate, you’ll see much better sales results.


Hopefully, now you will never receive or even think of sending out a cold email using such a terrible sales tactic in the future. Keep an eye out for the next edition of True Crimes: Cold Sales Emails for more lessons in perfecting your pitch.

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