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When we asked ZoomInfo’s Andy Lyon to tell us the story of how he successfully closed an eight-figure deal, he had a lot of things to say: Tips on overcoming common roadblocks, wisdom about the art of persistence, and meaningful insights that apply to life inside and outside of sales.

But the very first step, he insisted, was creative outreach.

Once he and his team identified their ideal prospect, they did some research and found that one of his first jobs was at an apple orchard. Appropriately, they titled their subject line, “Cherries, Apples, and Data.”

Sure enough, he responded.

When it comes to prospecting emails, the importance of that first outreach cannot be underestimated. How do you stick out from the crowd enough to a) avoid immediate deletion, b) score an open, and c) evoke a meaningful response?

While it’s true that not every cold prospecting email can be personalized to that degree, they can at least be made less impersonal by following a few simple guidelines.

How to Personalize Your Prospecting Emails

1. Get rid of any spammy content

Would you open an email with the subject line, “Guess what we have in store for you!!” from an unknown sender?

Yeah, me neither. 

Getting rid of spammy content doesn’t just apply to subject lines, though. It also means avoiding:

  1. Pictures
  2. Hyperlinks
  3. Exclamation points
  4. All caps

To keep your emails as short, crisp, and clean as possible, avoid these inflammatory signifiers and stick to the basics: a simple introduction.

2. Meaningful CTA’s > Booking a meeting

While booking a meeting is the end goal, it may be jumping the gun. Instead of asking for time on a prospect’s calendar too early, consider substituting it for a meaningful Call to Action.

CTA’s that might pique your prospect’s interest could include:

  • Registering for a relevant webinar
  • Downloading a persona-based piece of content (like an ebook, blog post, or podcast episode)
  • Visiting a landing page on your company’s website

If you provide your prospect with something of value upfront, you give them the chance to 1) explore your product or service on their own and 2) establish rapport before taking that next step in the sales cycle.

3. Take advantage of your company name

If someone opted into your company’s emails, they will most likely have a more positive affiliation with your brand than an unknown sender. For this reason, keep the domain name the same in your marketing emails. Take advantage of the brand and reputation your company has built and use it to stick out in your prospect’s inbox.

4. Use as many variables as possible

The more information you can learn about your prospects, the more you can personalize your outreach. Consider asking the following questions:

  • Geography: Where is your prospect located?
  • Industry: What industry are they in?
  • Size: How big is their company? What about their department?
  • Revenue: How much money does the company make yearly?
  • Technology: What technology does your prospect use?

If you can find out specific details about your prospect–a process that can be streamlined and scaled with B2B intelligence tools–you can incorporate them into your initial outreach, distinguishing your cold but personalized email from all the other impersonal ones in their inbox.

5. Stick to your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)

The best response rate comes from reaching out to the best prospects, which is why it’s essential to not just adhere to your Ideal Customer Profile, but to maintain it.

Using filters like the ones mentioned above–plus more complex factors like OrgCharts–can help you build out your ICP, but what good does having an ICP do if the market changes (which it does, constantly)?

Luckily, using a B2B intelligence tool can ensure that when there are updates in the market, your ICP updates along with it, keeping your outreach fresh, relevant, and as personalized as possible.

About the author

Stephanie Tonneson

Stephanie Tonneson is a Content Marketing Coordinator at ZoomInfo, the leading B2B contact database and sales intelligence solution for go-to-market teams.

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