February 26th, 2015 | by
4 min read

6 Actionable Steps to Improve Your Email Prospecting Prowess

I spent a snow day a couple of weeks ago deleting unread marketing emails. For hours. Most of these emails I deleted almost instantaneously.  Most of them I had discarded mentally when they first arrived by just looking at the subject or the first line of the message.

While email prospecting is certainly a vital tool for business growth, if done incorrectly it can be the source of an incredible amount of wasted time – for the sender and the receiver. Email prospecting at its best is a highly effective way to introduce good prospects to your company, and further to introduce them to offers that are relevant to them. When you reach out, your message should be well-targeted and crafted to speak to the current needs of the right contact. If your email prospecting is not hitting these marks, you are wasting your time (and theirs).

Let’s talk about how you can maximize your email prospecting results by taking 6 simple steps.

1.) Focus your efforts on your best targets. Intelligent email prospecting does NOT involve “spray and pray.” Sales intelligence tools enable you to segment your targeted account list by a wide variety of criteria including location, industry, size, technologies installed and others – allowing you to create a highly targeted list for your prospecting efforts. Don’t just blast out your message to everyone –focus in on the companies with whom you are most likely to make a connection. Take the time to identify which companies and contacts are the BEST fit for your solution.

If you are unsure of which companies you should target, consider your past successes – why did those companies purchase your solution? What size company is buying your solution? Where are they located? Search for and select companies with similar criteria and even plan to leverage your past success in the messaging to maximize the impact of your email.

2.) Identify the right contact. Once you’ve identified a good fit company, don’t waste your prospecting time reaching out to the wrong contact. Take a moment or two to review the prospect company’s organizational chart in your sales intelligence solution or look up the employees on the company’s leadership webpage to identify exactly who within the organization is responsible for the technology or job function that your solution covers. Who will best be served by your solution? Who has the decision making power? Taking this step consistently will show that you respect the prospect’s time as well as increase the response rate of every message.

 Sending communications with the disclaimer that you hope that the recipient will forward it to the correct person is sloppy and unprofessional – especially when the insight you need to find the right person is easily accessed directly within your Salesforce instance. Don’t cross your fingers that your email will eventually be forwarded to the right person; send it to them yourself.

3.) Time your outreach carefully. By following a company in your sales intelligence solution’s trigger stream or managing their online mentions, you’ll know if there is a current event that will increase their receptiveness to your solution – such as a change in leadership, a relocation or a new spending initiative. It is better to knock on a door when you know that they are waiting to answer, right? Additionally, studies show that there are specific times of day and days of the week when prospecting emails have higher rates of success.  Paying attention to details like these will improve the performance of your prospecting efforts tremendously.

4.) Hook them at ‘hello’. Subject lines are a critical element in successful email prospecting. Various tactics have been proven to work – among them are: using a personal approach and creating suspense. An email subject line that is tremendously successful is simply “Re:” – who would have known? Our CEO, Henry Schuck, explores subject line strategies in more detail during our monthly Getting Into the IT Decision Maker’s Inbox webinar.

5.) Get to the point. Right away. If the value you will bring isn’t visible inside the inbox preview pane, then your message is going to be deleted more often than not. Even if the solution is perfect for the prospect, the prospecting email is not the place for pleasantries or fluff. Show that you understand that their time is valuable by creating a compelling message that will draw them in from the first glance. Your current understanding of their situation from the company profile and scoops will enable you to speak intelligently about their needs and your solution. Brief is always better – think of this more like speed dating than an in-depth get-to-know you.

Give the prospect a first impression and ask for a meeting later in the week to discuss how you can help them. Give them a specific time (or times) that you’d like to meet – don’t waste time going back and forth about scheduling. Tom – let’s get on a call Tuesday at 10am, or Wednesday at 12pm and I can show you how we can help you solve your current problems. If Tom is free – all he needs to respond with is a simple YES.

6.) Don’t show your hand too soon. The introductory email is not the place for product brochures or even a one-paragraph overview. You want the prospect to be curious about the details of your company and your solution. If you’ve done a really great job, they will look you up.

Remember, prospects don’t want you to waste their time – but you don’t want to waste yours either. There is nothing worse than dodging emails and calls from a sales rep who just has not done their homework and does not have anything of value to offer. And from the sales rep’s perspective, do you want to waste your time responding to emails from or scheduling a demo with someone who has no purchasing or influence power? Use the resources available to you – Salesforce-integrated company profiles, organizational charts and Scoops – and focus your time on revenue-generating activities.

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About the author


Lisa has a background in international business and over 15 years of technology marketing and she helps to develop strategies to enable a successful sales effort.