Why Are Prospects Opening My Emails, But Not Responding?

July 29, 2014 Sam Laber

Featured Image Source: Girl Woman Typing Writing Blogger Blogging by kaboompics CC0 Pixabay

By now, most sales teams are privy to technologies like Yesware, a service that sends reps a notification the instant a prospect opens their email. Like many others in the SaaS industry, I started my career as a sales development rep (SDR), writing about 50 ‘Yesware tracked’ emails a day in hopes of setting up a sales demo with a prospect on my list.

If you’re like me, you see Yesware as an invaluable sales intelligence tool but also an item of torture. On one hand, being notified every time a prospect opens an email will help you allocate time more efficiently by focusing on the most engaged leads. On the other hand, getting an email open alert not followed by a reply causes you to imagine a fairly unsavory situation on the other end filled with eye rolls, deep sighs and, at best, a light chuckle or two.

The best way to rid yourself of this terrible feeling? Write a better email. And why did that VP not reply to your email? Chances are it had something to do with these three issues:

1. Bad timing

Timing is probably the main reason why executives don’t reply to your email, so what are some signals that alert us to when a prospect is ready to buy? I’ll give you three.

New leadership

When someone new takes over, chances are they came in with an agenda. Wouldn’t it be great if your product was a part of that agenda? I used to keep a custom Google Alerts section that would track executive movement for my larger accounts. It also helps to browse through the company contacts on LinkedIn once a month to see if someone new has entered the mix.

Adding/Dropping technologies

Often times, companies will drop a technology and start trying alternatives when they are in the research phase of a project. At Datanyze, we have a slick tool called Alerts that notifies our customers each day when one of their target accounts adds or drops a competitive or complementary technology.

Traffic spike

Last week, we published an article on CYNK Technology’s unexpected stock increase and the subsequent rise of the site, Introbiz.com, in the Alexa website traffic rankings. If you have a service that helps websites accommodate more traffic, more leads, or more interactions, this can be a very useful signal.

2. Wrong person

Referrals can be useful, but most of the time, they lead to us being tossed around between departments for weeks on end. As Sweet Brown put it, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”. Here are a few tips to help you identify the perfect prospect:

Scour LinkedIn

Read their LinkedIn profile — look at the description, previous job history, projects, and what skills they are endorsed for. Having trouble seeing full LinkedIn profiles? Read this.

Talk to the secretary

Secretaries are often a great resource for high-level information if you know how to make the approach. If you assure them that you’re not trying to speak directly with an executive, they will usually be okay with answering a few questions, like: “Who is responsible for [security] projects?” or “Does John head up the team responsible for [increasing engagement on the website]?”.

Search Google & YouTube

For those tough-to-reach prospects, try doing a quick search on Google and YouTube to see what topics they like to engage with. Oftentimes, you’ll find that executive prospects have been featured in panels, interviews, blogs and case studies.

3. Bad data

Nothing is worse than receiving an outreach email that blatantly misses the mark. Personally, I find mistargeted emails even more frustrating than untargeted ones and thus, am even more likely to unsubscribe. Here are some tips to avoid bad data:

Hit the refresh button

Make sure your account list is always up to date with accurate contact notes, company profiles and activity history data. If you’re purchasing any of this data from a 3rd party, make sure they are able to sync the data in real-time. At Datanyze, we crawl over 17 million websites daily, looking for technologies that matter to our customers so they can be timely and relevant with their outreach efforts.

Use primary sources

We’ve all had that high school or college professor who insists upon using as many primary sources as possible when writing a research paper. Why? Because nothing is more accurate than the source. Along similar lines, the Datanyze product is actively scanning millions of websites in search of certain traces or ‘signatures’ that every website software leaves behind.

For example, if you view the HTML code for any WordPress site, you’ll find something like this: <meta name=”generator” content=”WordPress …” />. By finding and cataloging these signatures, Datanyze can determine not only which technologies a website is using, but also when they added or dropped them.


Getting prospects to respond is difficult, but it’s always important to put your best foot forward on every outreach attempt. Unfortunately, there is no catch-all phrase or secret ingredient that will make every prospect happily agree to your meeting request; however, with the right timing, research and data, you can always create an email that cuts through the noise.

Featured Image Source: Girl Woman Typing Writing Blogger Blogging by kaboompics CC0 Pixabay

About the Author

Sam Laber

Sam is the director of marketing at Datanyze. He's a big John Hughes fan who occasionally fills the DZ office with the sweet sweet sounds of 90s rock giant, Creed.

Follow on Twitter More Content by Sam Laber
Previous Article
How To Get A Meeting With Anyone
How To Get A Meeting With Anyone

Kyle Van Pelt is an Account Executive at Voxa, a workflow automation tool for Salesforce.com. From Beanie B...

Next Article
My Most Formidable Competitor
My Most Formidable Competitor

The following is a guest post by John Eaton, a sales professional with over 15 years of experience in SaaS....


Get new posts sent to your inbox!

You are now subscribed!
Error - something went wrong!