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7 Factors That Limit Your Ability to Personalize Cold Messaging

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The more research you can put into each lead, the better your cold emails will perform.

However, your personalization strategy is limited by the scale you want to achieve.

Every second spent personalizing emails reduces the sales prospecting volume you can deliver.

When you’re dealing with a small group of accounts, it’s easy to prioritize your time on research for personalization. It gets much harder to do this for thousands of leads.

How do you balance the amount of time you spend personalizing emails with the number of leads you need to reach your outbound sales goals?

Effective outbound personalization is about productively using your time to make customizations that improve your sales outcomes with cold email.

To help shed light on cold messaging personalization, here are 7 factors that can limit your personalization strategy.

Factor 1: Target Market Size

Outbound sales is a race to connect with qualified buyers before your competitors, which requires a good understanding of the buyers in your target market.

While personalization makes perfect sense for a market with 50 accounts, it’s much harder to personalize effectively for a market with tens of thousands of buyers.

The size of your target markets will dictate your outreach strategy, so it’s important to ensure the time you spend on outbound personalization makes sense for your market.

With a clear number of reachable companies and contacts in mind, you’ll have a much better sense of how you need to approach cold email personalization.

Factor 2: Outbound Deal Values

Unless you’re targeting a niche or small market, you’ll likely have thousands of potential companies available.

How much time should you spend on each lead?

You should consider deal sizes when outbound prospecting because every second targeting leads and personalizing emails will increase customer acquisition costs (CAC).

To ensure your personalization strategy is sustainable, you need clarity on the amount of time you can reasonably spend personalizing emails while still being profitable.

Factor 3: Deal-Making Complexity

A single email can impact an entire sale, which is why you need to consider the complexity of your sales process when targeting contacts and personalizing emails.

With enterprise-level or technical solutions, closing outbound sales often means multiple contacts, many touchpoints, and a longer sales cycle.

For deals that are easier to qualify and close, less work is required to create opportunities and close outbound sales.

To make the biggest impact with personalization, be aware of the buying process and deal stakeholders you need to navigate in order to win the sale.

Factor 4: Market Positioning

How you stack up against competitors has a significant impact on your outbound sales outcomes and indicates how much personalization you need to stick out from the crowd.

When buyers have many unique choices, it’s harder to generate results because you have to differentiate your brand to rise above the noise.

If you can find a unique thing to share about your brand, you’ll be able to stand out of the inbox and create success without relying on too much personalization.

To make sure your emails stay competitive, you should reflect on how your solution compares to competitors and identify how they’re connecting with buyers successfully.

Factor 5: Conversion Rates v.s. Volume

The purpose of a personalization strategy is to increase the conversions you can consistently achieve with your cold messaging.

However, the more time you spend on each buyer, the less total buyers you can reach.

If you choose to invest in cold email personalization, you need to make sure the time you spend personalizing makes sense for the sending volume you can produce.

Otherwise, the extra time you invest in personalizing each lead might not create high enough conversions to offset a lower sending volume.

For example, a campaign sending to 1,000 buyers per month would generate 20 opportunities at a 2% conversion rate. A strategy to send 250 personalized emails per month would need a conversion rate of 8% to produce the same number of leads.

The balance between conversion rate and sending volume is tricky, so you should regularly review your performance to ensure personalization is creating value.

Factor 6: Research Costs

Regardless of external factors, any personalization strategy requires a process or solution for efficiently finding the information you want to use for personalizing emails.

Every second spent researching a personalization variable is a second you can’t spend on other personalization. Every second spent on one buyer is a second you can’t spend on another.

Time management and efficiency is critical to the success of your personalization strategy because most companies have limited time, team members, and resources to personalize.

If you don’t pay attention to how much time you spend on cold email personalization, it’s easy to fall behind and struggle to sustain your outbound sales prospecting activities.

To ensure you can generate the sending volume and conversion rates you need, create a clear action plan that team members can use to collect personalization efficiently.

Factor 7: Repeatability

Email personalization comes in a variety of different, creative forms.

However, not all personalization is efficient or sustainable to use in your cold emails.

For example, a blog post your buyer published is common personalization. If only 20 out of every 500 buyers post about your specific topic, it’d be inefficient and time-consuming to find.

Rather than being as specific or creative as possible, focus on finding personalization that can be repeatable and create consistent results.


Cold email personalization is an effective way to generate more sales opportunities, but the best strategy and approach will differ from company to company.

Many external and internal factors will impact how you should personalize, so it’s essential that companies are constantly aware of their unique selling situation.

With the right personalization strategy, you’ll have a predictable process for connecting with qualified buyers before your competitors while generating higher conversions.

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