Balancing time and value in personalization

Personalizing Cold Emails for Different Selling Situations

Balancing time and value in personalization

The number of touches you can consistently produce in a cold email campaign is limited by the amount of time you spend targeting leads and personalizing cold messaging.

This balance between volume and personalization is unique to each company and continuously changes as new competitors, strategies, and buyer behaviors emerge.

Even with automation and an efficient outbound sales prospecting system, you should regularly assess your personalization strategy to ensure you can consistently deliver the touches you need with the conversions you expect to hit your goals.

Market Size Defines Your Personalization Strategy

Before considering how much time to spend on targeting and personalization, it’s important to size up your target markets.

Your total addressable market (TAM) is the number of qualified accounts and contactable leads that are available for your outbound sales team.

Every second you spend personalizing cold emails for one account takes away time to send to another, so your personalization strategy should align with your market size.

Without an idea for the maximum number of potential customers available, it’s easy to spend too much or too little time on personalization.

For example, a company personalizing 1,000 emails per month in a market with 50,000 buyers would lose out on conversations with 76% of the market after one year.

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

Deal Values Limit Personalization

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?

Every second targeting leads and personalizing emails will increase customer acquisition costs (CAC), so you should consider deal sizes when outbound prospecting.

For companies with smaller deal sizes and profit margins, the costs of personalization can often become greater than the value generated by closing a customer.

To find the right personalization strategy, you should understand how the profitability of your business model changes based on the amount of time spent on each lead.

Conversion Rates v.s. Sending Volume

Regardless of market size or deal size, there is a direct relationship between the amount of time spent on personalization and the total number of touches you can make.

Personalization increases conversions, but it also limits your total sending volume.

If you spend too much time personalizing each email, the higher conversion rates you generate with personalization might not be enough to offset the lower sending volume.

For example, let’s say a company could increase conversions from 2% to 4% by personalizing emails. If personalization limited their sending volume from 1,000 to 250 emails in the first month, then they would have lost 10 potential conversions.

With clear expectations about the conversions you can realistically achieve with personalization, you’ll have an idea for the minimum sending volume you’ll need.

Market Positioning Matters

How you differentiate your product or service from competitors has a significant impact on how you should personalize cold messaging.

Unique or disruptive brands have a much easier time converting outbound sales than companies selling in overcrowded or undifferentiated markets.

When your market is crowded, it’s harder to be less personalized with mass emails because it takes more to rise above the noise and truly differentiate your company.

If you can find something unique about your brand to stand out in the inbox, then it’s much easier to achieve cold email at scale without additional effort or personalization.

To stay competitive, you should regularly reflect on how competitors or alternative solutions sell to potential buyers and how you compare to their approach.


There is no one answer on how to approach cold email personalization, because customer expectations, competitors, and strategies regularly evolve.

This constant change means your personalization strategy needs to align with how your buyers and market environment transforms.

With the right system for personalizing cold messaging for your situation, you can improve outbound sales outcomes while making it sustainable for your business.

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