Hitting Your Target: Making Your Prospecting Emails Resonate

You and your AE have worked together and identified target accounts to prospect. You’ve looked over your account lists and have found the perfect person to reach out to.

Hitting Your Target: Making Your Prospecting Emails Resonate

Published on August 23, 2018

August 23, 2018 • 14 Likes • 3 Comments

Eddy Morris


Sales Enablement Manager at Pluralsight




You and your AE have worked together and identified target accounts to prospect. You’ve looked over your account lists and have found the perfect person to reach out to. They meet your ideal customer profile, you are confident that your product or service is exactly what they need. And now it’s time to do a little more research to make sure that you can craft the perfect message and hit the bulls-eye. Naturally, you begin looking for a Trigger, but can’t find anything…sound familiar?

Using a Trigger to begin a prospecting message is one of the most effective ways to be relevant and personal – showing your prospect that you understand something about them and their business and that you can solve a pain or challenge for them (For more information on Triggers, see

Don’t “Bait-and-Switch” Your Prospects: Using Emails to Create Value

.) However, anybody who has engaged in strategic prospecting has probably experienced the scenario I’ve just described. This could be because you are prospecting into small or mid-sized orgs, private entities that don’t have information that is publicly available, or simply because you can’t find any compelling event that aligns to the value of your product or service.

So if you can’t find a trigger, what do you do?

Two effective ways to engage your prospect without a Trigger are to use prospect-generated content and what I call “Useful Information”. While these may not be as compelling as a trigger (you aren’t talking about something that’s happening

right now

), they can still be effective in increasing the relevancy and urgency of your message.

When possible, use prospect generated content – meaning something original or shared by your prospect. This could be an article they’ve shared or written on LinkedIn, a social media post, a quote from a press release or publication, or an address or presentation they’ve given. Using prospect-generated content may not be related to a specific change that is occurring, but because you are using the prospect’s own words you can trust that it’s important to them…and by quoting them you’re probably stroking their ego a little, which doesn’t hurt.

A great example is found in this email written by Workfront ADM Spencer Buswell:

Hey Lauren!

I loved your recent [talk] at the [X Conference]…the analogy you used hit home, as putting out fires in the workplace is exhausting and unfortunately part of every team’s day to day. You had some great insights into enterprise work management challenges, aligning and communicating, prioritizing projects, and then tracking and reporting those deliverables. I was curious how these challenges currently are affecting your teams at Company X, and I think it would be valuable to begin dialogue about Workfront…

The response Spencer received speaks to just how well using prospect-generated content works.

Hi Spencer,

This is by far the most impressive sales email I have ever received. Kudos…glad you enjoyed my talk and it resonated. Appreciate the feedback.

I’m avail. Fri. between 1:30-2:30 or Mon. btw. 3-4.

Let me know if either of those times work for you.

When you lack a Trigger or prospect-generated content, resort to “Useful Information:”. “Useful Information” is anything personal about a prospect that isn’t directly related to a compelling event taking place. Pieces of “Useful Information” that can be leveraged when prospecting include, but aren’t limited to the following:

Previous employer

Alma Mater

Professional organizations

Personal mission statements/goals

Volunteer work/organizations

Personal interests and hobbies

They key to successfully leveraging useful information is to make it as relevant as possible. Many times prospecting messages touch on the personal, but stop short of connecting it to the value you are offering. They get near the target, but miss the mark. For example, an email might begin it’s message like this:

Hi Joe,

I noticed that you previously worked at Company X before you began your current job at Company Y. Having worked for two great companies in your industry, I’m sure you…(insert something flattering about their experience followed by generic marketing message)



An email like this does a decent job of being personal – it is clear that Jessica is familiar with Joe and his work history. She even makes an attempt to incorporate that into her larger message. However, she needs to make the “useful information” in her email relevant as well. Compare that message to the one below:

Hi Joe,

In your time at company X you may have come across Workfront, a digital work automation platform that company X uses to accomplish (X,Y,Z). In your current role at company Y, you may be trying to accomplish similar goals and I’d like to how we’ve helped Company X and can help you see similar results…



In the second message, Jessica manages to be personal by discussing Joe’s previous job, but also makes it relevant by talking about the value her product has brought to that organization and how it can help Joe in his current role. She doesn’t just show that she knows something about him, but also uses that information to add value to her message.

There are dozens of different ways to try to connect with your prospects. Most salespeople understand the need to personalize their outreach, but stop short of making their message hit home. Anybody can look up a quick fact from a prospect’s LinkedIn profile, but those who are able to take that personal information and craft it into a message that speaks to a change or challenge their prospect is facing will have no problem cutting through chaff and resonate with their target audience.

Published By

Eddy Morris

Sales Enablement Manager at Pluralsight


Have you ever found that perfect prospect to reach out to but struggle to make your message resonate? Here’s how to make sure your prospecting message is on-point and will resonate with your target audience. #prospecting #messaging #email

Show more comments.
1 2 3