7 Email Personalization Best Practices You Need to Know

If you have ever received an email starting with “Hey, bro?” followed by a flamboyant sales proposal? It’s just one of many examples of poorly thought out emails that sales representatives are guilty of. Heather R. Morgan, founder and CEO of Salesfolk, spoke to XANT’s Gabe Larsen, about some of the email personalization best practices that any salesman needs to know.

Research shows time and again that open rates for emails with a personalized message trump those of bland, impersonal messages. The open rate for e-mails with a personalized message was 18.8%, as compared to 13.1%  without any personalization in 2016.

Heather Morgan made a list of the email personalization tactics that are guaranteed to get you a response from cold prospects in the XANT webinar: “How to Personalize Account-Based Sales Emails to Engage your Best Prospects”.

Cadence: How many emails are you typically sending?

Most sales representatives will send around 4 to 5 emails as part of an account-based sales campaign, shows Heather Mogan. However, the response rate increases if sales reps send 8 to 10 emails, according to research.

“Eight emails is actually the number of emails that you should send if you want to maximize your odds of getting a response. There might be some exceptions this, but we tested more than 100,000 different emails, to different contacts. We found that on average about a third of total responses come from emails five through eight,” showed Heather Morgan.

Email Personalization Best Practices

Everyone’s inbox is chalk full of email from vendors on any given day. Email personalization techniques can help you stand out in the crowd.

Personalizing email based on prospect title function, level of decision power, company size or persona, these are all useful tactics you can try. Looking at a company’s status like Initial Public Offerings (IPO’s), achievements, opening of new offices or other changes they have recently made can also be helpful. These can provide a conversation starter and help get your foot in the door.

Avoid Getting Creepy – Or Inappropriate

Knowing a lot about your personas and any prospects so that you can produce targeted emails is important. However, not all personalization is effective, shows Heather Morgan. Mentioning too many details might make you sound like a stalker, and relevancy is also crucial.

“It depends on who you’re selling to, and what you’re selling. There’s a lot of times when mentioning their favorite football team for our audience might be appropriate, and another audience would just think that was stupid. Or maybe they don’t even like sports, and you’re making an assumption there, because they live in a city, but they’re actually developers, and they don’t care about sports,” adds Heather.

Email Follow-up Strategy and Persistence

Persistence is a key trait for high-performing sales representatives, shows Heather. She adds that most sales reps give up too soon after initial contact. However, persistence doesn’t mean pestering your prospects with the same content over and over.

“Persistence is trying different things, so that you are not sending eight emails that just say, “Hey, I’m following up.” That gets redundant, and repetitive pretty quickly,” explains Heather.

Focus on The Problem You are Solving

Another email personalization best practice is focusing on the exact problem that your product solves for a prospect. For account-based sales, different content based on personas is vital to success. Your product will solve different problems for each of the decision-makers on that particular account.

“It obviously depends on what you’re selling, but a number of times, it might actually take at least five decision-makers to move your deal forward. But that number isn’t exact. You need to reach out to more people. […] You shouldn’t just be sending five decision-makers the same email at the same exact time to get through on that account. If you do, you actually might blow the deal if those messages aren’t very targeted,” shows Heather.

Know Who’s Your First Target

Knowing precisely what the problem is for your prospect and how your product solves it is one aspect that can further help with personalizing email outreach campaigns. This is because the pain point will most likely decide who your first target is.

“I like to think about the order in which you should contact people in terms of probability and velocity. In terms of deciding this order, I like to think: Who is most likely to respond to me, and be a really strong advocate?,” shows Heather.

“Whoever has the strongest pain point, especially if they are a decision-maker, go for them. That’s probably your best bet,” recommends Heather Morgan.

Testing and Perfecting Your Email Pitch

To maximize productivity and efficiency, it’s always a good idea to test every aspect of your pitch. Try to conduct tests with every one of your personalized emails, shows the Salesfolk CEO.

“You can look at your numbers to see who you’re getting the best positive response for each from, and also who is responding the quickest to the emails in your sequence. […] You can do that by creating different campaigns, and comparing different titles, or buyer personas. […] But if you don’t get responses, you might also want to try altering your pitch,” she adds.

Learn More Best Practices In Our Webinar

This article was just a sample. The XANT webinar with Heather Morgan is a treasure trove of email personalization best practices. Watch the entire webinar and learn:

  • What the best days of the week are to send cold emails
  • How to send out 8 or 10 emails to the same prospects without increasing your unsubscribe rate
  • Targeting the right people with the right message, at the right time – and the tools to help you get there
  • How to write a killer subject line – and what’s the ideal length of an email
  • Ways to avoid internal spam filters and what are the common mistakes of email marketing
  • How to pair email and phone calls for the perfect outreach strategy




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