Long gone are the days when generic email outreach would produce meaningful responses. Anyone who has been in sales more than a week quickly learns that in order to close more deals they need to invest heavily in their top of funnel activities. Top of funnel refers to the contact and conversations that happen early on in the sales funnel.
Keeping the top of the funnel active is both a function of outreach volume and response rate. Focusing purely on volume however is a race to the bottom. It’s hard to sustain quickly burning through prospect lists over the long run, especially if it leads to few meetings.
The best sales professionals do some kind of personalization in their outreach. Not only is it a great way to stand out from the noise of cold outreach, but it significantly improves the email response rate. The goal of personalization is to show the recipient that you intentionally reached out to them and to some extent did your homework.
Here are 4 types of personalization that can be added to any outreach email.
- Personal information - While it’s important not to cross the line by utilizing “creepy” information that may or may not be publicly available, there is plenty of personal information that is fair game. Referencing a person’s LinkedIn bio, career progression, received recommendations, alma mater or recreational activities are a great way to show that you took the time to learn about them.
Bonus: finding something the person recently posted about, participated in (e.g. speaker at an event) or promoted makes it even more newsworthy.
- Company information - Making comments that relate to information about the company where the prospect works is a great way to show that you did your research and understand who they are and what they do. Product information, the company’s value proposition or some unique selling point all work well.
- News - Referencing the latest updates related to the company in question is a great method for combining personalized information with “why now.” Using articles, press releases, fundraising news, or even blog posts creates an implicit impetus for the outreach beyond the sale. Bonus: news is also a great way to personalize reaching back out to someone as an update can be sufficient reason for reconnecting.
- Geography - If you’re struggling to find any of the above information you can always resort to information related where the prospect is based. It’s not the most personal and it’s not the most relevant, but it does show that you looked them up and connected the dots. Certain areas have strong sports team fandom, so referencing the main team in the area can be an easy people pleaser. Otherwise references to landmarks, famous food or even the weather can work as well.
Getting in the habit of adding personalized icebreakers to your cold outreach will generate a significant and positive ROI. The best personalization however combines personalized information with context and relevance. Nothing beats a short, personalized email that relates the information used to the need your product/service can address.
Suffice it to say, personalization is on a spectrum. The reality however is that the vast majority of people engaging in cold outbound aren’t personalizing their outreach. This means it takes very little effort to create better emails and get noticed by your recipient. Figure out what personalization works best for you and your sector and don’t be afraid to experiment.