Guest Column | December 31, 2019

Are You A Salesperson Or A Human Being? Learn The Difference

By Jay Valentine,


When you are a decision maker for a tech company, even a small one, you become both a customer and a seller.

You are taking your technology to a new market, so you are in a sales mode.

You are a prospect for about every service, so you become the leading edge of someone’s sales funnel, a lead, a mark. Take your pick.

It is a fascinating situation to take calls from B2B salespeople, to be a victim of Account Based Marketing or other ridiculous new name for interruption marketing.

I generally answer all emails and take many of the subsequent calls. Never know what one will learn. One certainly learns the art of selling in the B2B space is atrocious for both the customer and the poor person being driven to sell in these human-less ways.

Let’s journey down the sales funnel and review some of what a buyer gets every day:

“Your company has been selected as one of the top tech firms. Our magazine wants to do a story on you. Let’s have a chat about interviewing you. Your contribution is only $2,200.”

Really? Is there anyone who would fall for this? Well, it came from Silicon Valley Review.

“I am a student at the University of Houston. I am doing a project on sales. Can you give me some advice?” 

Sure, who would not take that call.

On the call, one learns the “exercise” is about having the responder, doing a kindness, take a meeting with the university program selling sales methodology. Scam.

“I see you and I have common friends on LinkedIn. Let’s connect and maybe strategize sometime.”  OK, I always connect. But I know that within 2 days I will get the email:

“Thanks for connecting. We deliver high quality leads to businesses just like yours. I am sending you a calendar request for a chat tomorrow at 10:00.”

As day follows night, the email for automated sales leads, a franchising opportunity or a real estate deal follows that stranger’s connection on LinkedIn.

Welcome to social media marketing. LinkedIn is salespeople selling to other salespeople and posting clichés. I expect nothing and am never disappointed.

People, nobody is succeeding with this junk messaging. Human beings hate being accosted by strangers on email, the phone, social media. They hate it even more when it is so transparently self-serving.

Once this madness was limited to the domain of B2B tech sales. Now it is everywhere.

Want to price out a nice Ford F250 pickup truck?

Build that truck to your specification on the Ford site. Then put in your zip code and phone. Before you get up from your chair, even at 10:00 PM, you will have several phone calls from F250 sales reps.

They will call you, email you, set up calendar meetings, set up in person meetings, none of which you have accepted. You get calls from dealer after dealer setting up visits. You get calls from the receptionist telling you they are so sorry “you never showed up when you said you would be here” but, no problem, they have set up another time to visit.

This is the madness of selling today. It is everywhere. It is failing universally. It is not moving the needle.


Let’s go back to the University of Houston student.

When it became apparent I had zero interest in her boss’s sales methodology, I asked her how her calling was going. Now came the real insight from a young lady starting out.

She said making these calls was “creepy.”  She hated it because the people she was calling felt she was not being completely forthright.

She said, “This is not how humans talk to each other, it how salespeople are taught to talk to prospects.”

That said it all.

A young kid, just starting out, learning the ropes and looking to have a career in sales finds more truth than all these ancient sales training gurus, Sherpas, ninjas on LinkedIn.

This sales and marketing madness, SPAM programs, cold calling, sales funnels, account-based marketing, lead scoring is not how humans talk to each other.

And that, dear reader, is why B2B selling today is universally failing.

About The Author

Jay Valentine is the CEO of, bringing disruptive tech products to market without venture capital and the VP of Sales for portfolio company Cloud-Sliver.