May 18, 2018

The Best of Both Worlds: How to Achieve Personalized Sales Outreach at Scale

Written by
Sujan Patel
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It can seem like a catch-22.

You need to personalize your marketing and sales efforts in order to be successful in 2018 and beyond, but you also need to scale up those efforts to reach the largest possible audience, thereby sacrificing the personalization that you need to connect with that audience.

Or so you might believe.

Allow me to let you in on a little-known secret: it’s not true. You can achieve personalized sales outreach at scale.

In fact, not only can you, but it’s an essential element of success in the modern business world. Don’t bother, and your competition is going to pass you by.

According to the Customer 2020 report from Walker Consulting, the customer experience (CX) will be the key differentiator in the next couple of years. It’ll be more important than price and product themselves.

Truthfully, we’re there now. Consider:

Poor CX costs you revenue, sales, and reputation.

Good CX earns you more, generates loyalty, fosters advocacy, and enhances your reputation.

customer experience impact

And a huge part of delivering a spectacular customer experience is delivering a personalized customer experience.

Personalized Outreach on Overdrive

If you’re looking for personalized sales outreach at scale, then you’re looking at email.

A personalized email improves click-through rates by an average of 14 percent, and conversion rates by an average of 10 percent, according to The Aberdeen Group. Nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of marketers believe targeted personalization increases customer engagement. And personalized subject lines are 26 percent more likely to be opened.

In fact, when it comes to those subject lines, using the recipient’s name saw the highest average open rate at 46.21 percent and conversion/send rate at 3.71 percent.

subject line success

The takeaway? Use email. Personalize it.

Here’s how to get it done.

Email Marketing Solutions

If you’re not yet using email for marketing and sales outreach, you’re very late to the party. But that doesn’t mean you can’t start today. As they say, better late than never.

In looking for your email marketing solution, you need to find something with at least these two features:

  1. Merge/Personalization Tags
  2. Action-based Segmentation

Why? Because they make generating and sending personalized email quick, easy, and effective.

Merge Tags

Merge or personalization tags allow you to send personalized emails at scale. Drop a tag into your campaign, and your service provider does the rest. Tags can include names, opt-in dates, job titles, email addresses, cities, or any other information you know or have collected about your individual recipients.

using merge tags

You can add tags to both your subject line and email content itself, allowing you to craft personalized messages for everyone on your mailing list with one click.

Action-based Segmentation

The second feature you need is the ability to automatically break your list into smaller lists based on the behavior of each recipient.

In the past, you might have segmented your list based on basic demographics like gender, age, location, or industry. Nothing wrong with that – basic segmentation is better than no segmentation at all – but we can do better in 2018.

Action-based segmentation is the next logical step — segmenting your list based on what your recipients do or don’t do.

Knowing who your customers are is great, but knowing how they behave is even better.– Jon Miller, CEO at Engagio

Triggers might include clicking on a particular link, X number of opens in an email campaign, opting in to Offer A rather than Offer B, visiting a certain webpage two or more times, responding to a survey, filling in a form, downloading a piece of content, or ignoring your emails completely.

Email segmentation delivers an inherently personalized email experience for each customer on your list. They receive messages, offers, and content relevant to what they’ve been doing in their communication with you and your brand. And it works on every level. Compared to non-segmented email campaigns, segmentation delivers:

  • 14.31 percent higher open rates
  • 100.95 percent higher clicks
  • 9.37 percent fewer unsubscribes

But that’s not all. List segmentation increases everything you want increased, and decreases everything you don’t. How’s that for return-on-investment?

email list segementation

Find an email marketing solution with merge tags or fields and action-based segmentation, and you’re halfway to the finish line before the race has even started. It’s turnkey personalization. At scale.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator

It’s no secret that social media is a great source of data. Looking for leads and prospects? Look no further.

In the business world, the platform of choice is definitely LinkedIn: 500 million users, 250 million monthly active users, and 40 percent using it daily.

With the paid LinkedIn Sales Navigator upgrade, you have unparalleled access to those individuals and that data.

linkedin sales navigator

Target and find the right people and companies. Harness that data to personalize your email outreach. Close more deals.

Combine LinkedIn Navigator with a third-party tool like Dux-Soup, and you can collect that valuable data automatically.

Dux-Soup is a Chrome extension that allows you to search LinkedIn profiles based on your selected keyword or phrase and export the data to be used with your email provider.

Create a prospecting workflow that generates a steady stream of high-quality leads: collect the necessary data from LinkedIn using Dux-Soup, export it and upload to a compatible email solution like Mailshake, and you’ll not only automate your campaigns, but automate their personalization, too.

That’s email outreach done right.

Up Your Data Game

To add an extra dimension to your data collection, consider adding a chatbot to your website and/or social media profiles. Not only are they popular — many people prefer talking with them — but they can be a great way to engage and collect additional details from leads to be used for greater personalization as they move through your sales funnel.

Your chatbot can answer questions, of course, but they can also ask them.

What’s the feature a visitor is most excited about? What benefit is most appealing to them? What feature would they most like to see added? Whatever you need to know to truly segment and personalize, a chatbot can likely ask and get you the answers you need.

Try Botsify, Chatfuel, or ManyChat if you want to dip your toe in the chatbot pool.

Tips and Tricks

If you take only two pieces of cold email advice away from this post, make it these two:

  • Find the decision-makers at each company
  • Follow-up, follow-up, follow-up

Find the Right People

You can generally identify the decision-makers by job title. Once again, turn to LinkedIn profiles and search for the positions you believe need your product or service (or can approve its purchase and use).

A powerful outreach approach is the “trickle down” technique. Once you’ve identified your targets, identify those just above them in the company hierarchy.

Create a list. Draft your first email — using merge fields, of course — introducing your product and extolling the benefits to them. Then send them out.

If you’ve done your homework, you’ll likely get a response instructing you to contact Ms. So-and-So…who just happens to be your original target. You then have an in-house introduction to make your first cold email a warm one.

Include the name of the higher-up you contacted in each actual target’s details, and you can automatically drop that in via merge tags.


The follow-up message is crucial to email success. Why?

Because 70 percent of email chains stop after just one unanswered email. Be in the minority and keep going.

Because 30 percent respond to a first email, but 21 percent respond to the second, 13 percent to the fifth, and 7 percent to the tenth. Keep going, and you keep getting those coveted responses.


email opens each replyFortune favors the bold. Keep sending. Get the response you need and deserve.

Be bold.

Additional Tools

If you’re looking to maximize your impact while minimizing your effort, try adding a few of these weapons to your arsenal:

The digital revolution has delivered personalization to the masses – perhaps ironically – in a way that manual prospecting never could.

Personalize. Send. Follow up. Segment. Send again. And get that sale.

Sujan Patel is the co-founder of Web Profits, a growth marketing agency helping companies leverage the latest and greatest marketing strategy to fuel their businesses. In addition to running his marketing agency Sujan is also a partner at a handful of SaaS businesses such as & Mailshake. His SaaS companies help 10,000+ marketers scale their social media, mobile marketing and content marketing efforts.

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