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December 29, 2020

Prospecting Response Rates Are Plummeting. Here’s Why.

GUEST: Kristina Jaramillo, President at Personal ABM

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Regardless of what you do, the last year’s been crazy — COVID, protests, election madness, strange Kubrick obelisks popping up…

But if you’re in sales, you can add another 2020 disaster to the list:

Plummeting prospecting response rates.

To find out why response rates have dropped off faster than murder-hornet news segments and how we can turn it around, I turn to Kristina Jaramillo, President at Personal ABM.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • Why response rates are plummeting
  • How to create an authentic personal brand
  • Why intentionality is key to stopping the response rate drop

Noise in the hood

In the second quarter of 2020, LinkedIn came out with a study saying 44% of organizations had seen a drop in responsiveness on social media, email, and other channels they used for prospecting.

In a year with so many apocalyptic omens to choose from, this was a bad one for salespeople.

So, the question is: Why?

Before you roll your eyes and say, “Obviously, it was the pandemic!” I would suggest, if you think about it, this can’t be the only explanation.

After all, so many people were at home, free to surf social networks whenever they wanted. Wouldn’t more people be responding?

It’s not the platforms, it’s the competition… and laziness. 

Everybody's just playing a numbers game. And when everyone plays that game, everyone loses.”

Kristina Jaramillo of Personal ABM

With everyone at home and the wholesale destruction of events, conferences, and tradeshows, every salesperson turned to digital channels like LinkedIn.

They all seemed to just play an aggressive numbers game that would put most college frat guys on the dating scene to shame.

And they generated a whole lot of noise.

The problem is, buyers still want to engage with experts to help them with their challenges — even if they are buying less.

They want to build relationships based on value. No matter what the channel, people still buy from people — not templates with their name inserted at the top… people.

No one likes 3rd-person people

The people who people like to buy from?

People they know, like, and trust. It’s Marketing 101.

You know who people don’t know, like, or trust?

Along with people who don’t do their homework and just play a numbers game... people really don’t like inauthentic people.

This means you actually need to possess a personality — a personality with a little more character than your corporate logo. This is something you can only benefit from, because if you ever change jobs, you need your own brand.

And you really need to do something about your LinkedIn profile. 

A lot of people hide behind their corporate brand and don't put themselves out there.”

Kristina Jaramillo of Personal ABM


The reason your profile is terrible — or maybe not yours, but so many salespeople — is because it is just a resume.

But isn’t that what LinkedIn is supposed to be?

No, LinkedIn is a social networking platform. You use it to network.

Outside of some political figures, very few people in this world like people who refer to themselves in the 3rd person and brag endlessly about their accomplishments.

If you meet that person at a party — well, before six-foot rules and the party-pooping of pandemic proportions — you don’t want to talk to them for very long, let alone buy anything they want to sell you.

So, you need to be your authentic self. You need to do your homework and talk about your prospect, not yourself.

Your LinkedIn profile should read like a human and not resume with a side-salad-sized semblance of sentience. 

Get attention with intention

If it sounds difficult to do this while remaining professional, that’s because it is.

But it doesn’t have to be too hard.

The key to remaining professional while staying true to yourself as a sentient human being with genuine human emotions is to get intentional. 

Everything you do has to be intentional. There has to be some strategy behind it.”

Kristina Jaramillo of Personal ABM

The numbers game doesn’t work because so many are playing it all at once is true, but it’s also because there is no real intention behind it.

If you’re spraying and praying, pressing send every single time you get the urge, you are not being intentional. You are being annoying.

You need to make sure you are targeting your ideal buyers with something strategically sound. Every syllable you mouth as you type needs to have a purpose before you mash the send button like a digital potato.

If you are in the habit of always asking yourself why you are saying something before you say it, then it’s no problem being your real self.

You are just being authentic with purpose.

In the end, in sales, creating human connection often is a purpose within itself, which means you are given license to be you.

But if you look for purpose in your profile choices, your communication, and your brand, then you — to go back to the party analogy — avoid being the poorly-dressed person ranting about themselves in the 3rd-person while refusing to define yourself by labels.

The only thing missing is this person drinking a can of PBR “ironically” and you have exactly the type of person people don’t respond to at parties.

The point is, however: Just make sure everything you are saying has the intended meaning, edit your posts, filter anything off-brand out.

Intentionality is how you cut through the noise — even in a year like 2020 where the noises become a cacophony.

This blogpost includes highlights of our podcast interview with Kristina Jaramillo, President at Personal ABM.

Subscribe to hear this episode and many more like it. For the entire interview, you can listen to The B2B Revenue Executive Experience. If you don’t use Apple Podcasts, we suggest this link.