Bulk sending 101: Your guide to safe, effective personalized email prospecting

Posted January 17, 2024

By Angela Garinger

VP of Global Sales Development at Outreach

Recently, Google and Yahoo have announced new rules for bulk email senders in 2024. Rest assured, this is not the death of email. But it is time to retire the outdated, poor-performing "spray and pray" tactics once and for all.

The good news: Outreach has been helping customers send more targeted, personalized emails for nearly a decade. And these changes are nothing we can’t handle. Whether you’re a long-time Outreach user, new to the platform, or using another sales engagement solution — we’ve got your back. 

We recently gathered Outreach’s top experts to walk through these changes, answer questions, and show you how Outreach can be your most effective tool to protect your email sends. 

Register to watch the full recording on-demand and get a copy of the deck — or keep reading to get a recap of the conversation.

What’s changing? 

These requirements apply to “bulk senders,” defined as an organization that sends 5,000 or more emails per day. This includes manual emails, marketing emails, automated notifications and sales engagement.

There are three key areas that both Google and Yahoo are highlighting in their requirements: authentication, unsubscribe links, and spam rate threshold: 

  • Authentication: Bulk senders have to strongly authenticate their emails and ensure that the sender's identity is verified. Which will help close some of the security security loopholes that could be exploited. These changes are typically managed by your IT or engineering departments.
  • Unsubscribe links: Bulk senders will now need to offer Gmail and Yahoo recipients, the ability to unsubscribe from commercial emails with a single click, and they'll also be required to process unsubscribe requests quickly, so typically within two days.
  • Spam rate threshold: Google and Yahoo will begin to block messages from bulk-sending organizations with a spam complaint rate of 0.3% or higher. 

For a more tactical approach, review our email deliverability best practices checklist — our customer success team is continually updating this page to ensure our recommendations align with the latest news.

Why now and what does this mean for me?

Google and Yahoo are making the changes to reduce spam and increase security for their users. In other words, email providers are enforcing the best practices that Outreach has been preaching for years. 

We view this as a net-positive change for our industry. Outreach users who send targeted, personalized messages consistently see higher engagement and conversion rates. These changes encourage sellers to finally retire ineffective “spray and pray” tactics and instead engage more strategically with potential buyers and current customers.

Google recently clarified that policy only applies to personal Gmails, not Google Workspace. Regardless, these are policies that we recommend every organization adopt as best practices. 

In the short term, these changes will have the most immediate impact on B2C sellers. That said, we recommend that B2B sellers take action now to prepare — and improve your overall email deliverability. 

What do I need to do?

1. Content audit 

Rawan argues that auditing your content is the single most important action you can take for deliverability.

Sharpen your focus, hone in on who your persona is, and then align your messaging accordingly.
Rawan Missouri, Senior Customer Success Engineer at Outreach

Remember: the goal isn’t to send the goal isn't to send fewer emails. The goal is to send more targeted emails, relevant emails to the right audience. Organizations should focus on sending the right message at the right time. Within the Outreach platform, users can look at your sequence performance reports to understand what’s working well and what’s not.  

2. Email authentication 

There are also key technical considerations to review with your IT team. Email authentication is a technical standard that lets you verify that you are who you say you are so you aren’t flagged as spam or a spoof. All emails must be authenticated using SPF, DKIM, and DMARC. 

Share our checklist with your IT team to make sure you have the proper email authentication tools and systems set in place. 

3. Unsubscribe links

Bulk senders are required to offer Gmail and Yahoo recipients the ability to unsubscribe from commercial emails with a single click and must process unsubscription requests within two days. This simplifies the process of opting out of unwanted emails.

In Outreach, you can control this in your org-level settings, as well as your sequence rulesets. 

4. Understand your current sending reputation 

Customers can view and manage their organization’s sending reputation and abuse complaints for the Google network with Google Postmaster

5. For B2B users: Audit your contact database for personal emails

We strongly recommend that B2B senders audit their contact database and remove any personal Gmail addresses associated with B2B contacts, unless directed to use the personal email by the customer. This will reduce the risk of unnecessary spam complaints leading to Google enforcement.

What does good look like? 

Check your organization’s sending limits 

Outreach has a sending limit of 5,000 emails per week. This limit is only applicable to emails sent from the Outreach Platform, using Outreach Everywhere, or using the Outreach Sales Engagement Add-In for Outlook. We recommend adding additional limits around the number of emails a domain can be sent in one day.

Sequence throttles also help limit bulk email sends and prevent prospects from receiving similar messaging in a 24-hour window. This acts as a drip-release, sending content every rolling 24 hours, so that your reps’ workflows won’t be impacted but you can control the total output.

Vary content for auto emails

Consider varying email subject lines and the first paragraph of the email, even when volume is low, Varying the first paragraph of the email. You can also use A/B testing to apply these variations to your automated emails. This is a great way to personalize your outbound sales messages at scale. Your goal should be to find content that is effective and cycle through content that is unsuccessful. 

Make sure that the person, group, or committee deciding on your content decisions are qualified and aligned on how your reps should be selling. Typically, the best mix includes leadership that has visibility into organizational initiatives and goals, management that understands the reality of a reps day to day, and creators who have the bandwidth to build out the messaging within the system.

Ultimately, we want our reps focused on using content and not spending hours trying to create the perfect email.
Dan Herd, RVP, Customer Success at Outreach

Account-based selling and persona-based messaging and personalization 

We’re strong advocates for persona-based sales engagement. ABS has the highest ROI go-to-market strategy, driving close to a 75% increase in ACV on average, and over 150% in LTV. For every five accounts targeted, a new opportunity in a target account is created — that’s a 20% increase in opportunity rate.

Account-based sales treats a group of selected accounts as a market of one.

This approach naturally lends itself to personalization and we all know that the more personalized you can get in your content the better the engagement — and more conversions. 

Focus high-touch efforts on "above the line" personas — prospects with the most decision-making power within an organization.

Once you define your personas, create high-touch sequences for high-touch personas, and low-touch sequences for below-the-line personas. These sequences could include:

High touch tactics: manual emails, phone calls, social touches. Consider longer step intervals and heavy customization layered with thought partnership and ABM. Aim for 8-12 touches over 3-4 weeks. 

Low touch tactics: some manual emails and personalization earlier in the sequence, phone calls, and social touches. Consider fewer steps, shorter intervals, and heavier automation. Aim for 12-15 touches over 4+ weeks.

Multi-channel content strategy

Don’t underestimate the value of a phone call. In addition to email, multi-channel touchpoints increase your chances of landing with prospects. Regardless of the persona, pepper in different types of touchpoints throughout your sequence to increase your chances of connecting with your prospect. 

A multi-channel approach helps you stay competitive. Our teams have had a lot of recent success experimenting with LinkedIn video and voicemail drops.

While it’s important to have a mix of manual and automated emails, consider adding calls and social touches to your sequences as well. IBM research shows that 84% of C-level and VP executives use social media to inform their buying decisions.

Remember: We’re here for you

While these changes might seem scary, we don’t think they’re anything to fear. Our most successful customers don’t use Outreach to “spray and pray,” Instead, they use Outreach to design and execute their revenue strategy.

If you’re an Outreach customer and concerned about how these changes might affect your business, reach out to Outreach Support or one of our many partners. We’re always here to help!


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