We Are Not Anti-Sales

Ryan O'Hara
April 30, 2024
5 min read

Some of my old friends online think I'm now anti-sales because Pitchfire's Gmail Plugin sends sellers to a gate. That couldn't be further from the truth. Let me explain. Today I want to talk about The Attention Problem.

Want to know why our B2B economy is failing? Below is a quick diagram that maps it all out.

The Attention Problem
Today, outbound prospecting is less effective than it's ever been.

The Outbound Paradox is real.

The less prospects respond, the more sellers have to do to yield a response. The more prospecting a seller does, the less likely a buyer will respond to prospecting.

10 years ago you could send a targeted templated message to a potential buyer, and yield a 4-5% reply rate.Cold call connects used to float in around 11%. Today the average reply rate on a cold email is .7%.The average connect rate on a cold calls is less than 3%.It takes an average 220 activities in your sales engagement platform to yield a meeting with a prospect.But it's okay...let's bank on keeping things the same because that's the way it's always been, right?

Why do we keep seeing layoffs? Sure extending runway, inflation, and concerns of the market are a factor, but if a company is hitting their pipeline goal, do you think we would still cut the hand that's feeding us?It's not the sales rep. It's not the buyer. It's the system. The system is broken.

Recent studies suggest buyers spend 37 minutes a day in their inbox.

In 2019 Adobe did a similar study that says it used to be 3 hours.  Covid broke us. Sure personalization can boost up replies, but with AI, the novelty is starting to get moot.It's so bad, companies pay for chat software to communicate internally because email is chaos. So there goes cold email...We have PSAs from the US government telling you not to answer numbers unsaved on your phone because you can get scammed.  Most companies don't provide desk or soft phones anymore. GDPR and CCPA are destroying the amount of data we can buy to prospect.

The Call to Change

Friends keep asking me, "Why are you working on this still? You don't have funding. You have no salary? You could go get a good paycheck and stock options?"

I've watched salespeople first hand build empires with just their laptop, phone, and internet connection.

But we need to stop denying what's happening.

Buyers have no incentive to respond anymore. The channels we use for outbound are becoming obsolete. Marketing can't keep spending thousands to get meetings.

The average buyer makes less than $80k a year, and they are $90,000 in debt (excluding their mortgage). It's not some hot shot executive. It's normal people.

So why don't we just incentivize them directly? We know money motivates people.

A Lifeline for the B2B Economy

Sales super important in our B2B economy. When a sales person hits quota, it creates 3 jobs. So what's my point? I'm not trying to hurt sales with Pitchfire. I'm trying to save it. Everyone gets prospected. Their attention is invaluable. It's time to monetize it.

We aren't anti-sales. We're trying to save it.

Ryan O'Hara

Ryan O'Hara is the founder of Pitchfire. Prior to starting Pitchfire, he has been an early employee at several startups helping them with marketing and prospecting tactics including Dyn (Acquired by Oracle 2016) and LeadIQ (first GTM employee-Series B).

He's had prospecting and marketing campaigns featured in Fortune, Mashable, and TheNextWeb. Ryan specializes in go-to-market strategy, branding, business development, prospecting, and sales training. He also mentors two accelerators, The Iron Yard and The Alpha Loft.