Our top 9 email prospecting mistakes to avoid


It won’t surprise you that we – an email prospecting company  – think good prospecting is one of the most effective strategies in gaining new clients. 

It can drive leads much quicker than other marketing channels. It creates a reliable flow of leads. It scales well. It is cost-effective. 

It also drives high-quality leads: already qualified by the twin process of your audience building and their reply stating they want to know more. 

But even getting your B2B emails opened is notoriously difficult, with an average open rate of just 15.1%. That’s why mastering every aspect of your prospecting is essential. 

Getting it wrong can damage brand reputation, cause a lack of new prospects, and of course, waste time, budget and resources.

If you’re new to prospecting, it can be a daunting process. Which is why we’re here to walk you through some of the common email prospecting mistakes people make in B2B campaigns, in the hope of guiding you to a successful approach. 

Introducing our top prospecting mistakes to avoid…

Prospecting mistake #1: addressing the wrong person 

Let’s get the simple ones out of the way. You may think that this isn’t even worth mentioning, but whether you are launching a campaign, product, or brand, prospecting can be a pretty large job. During this stressful time, mistakes can be made. 

So, before you do anything, always double-check. Ensure your email, subject line, greeting and in-text references to their work all match up. This one simple mistake can be fatal, and lose you the client altogether before they’ve even read what you have to offer.

Of course, a good email prospecting platform will ensure the right name is always attached to the right email address.

Prospecting mistake #2: not personalising your emails

Almost as bad as addressing the wrong person, a common prospecting mistake is to write the perfect email – and then send it to everyone.

You need to show each prospective client that you are speaking to them, and specifically them. 

Make them feel special. Alter your approach per prospect. If you are manually prospecting a handful of contacts, this is easily done. If you are running a full-scale prospecting campaign, you’ll need a platform that can handle multiple, varied, and clever personalisation options.

Prospecting mistake #3: not ‘lead scoring’

Lead scoring is a pretty simple concept but it can have a real impact on your results. 

Lead scoring refers to the method of ranking your leads. You first establish which clients would be most beneficial to sign, based on their company size, industry, how well your solution fits their business needs. 

If you fail to lead score, you may ultimately waste time on prospecting clients that don’t align with your company. It also means that when those positive leads start coming through to the sales team, you already know which ones are the cream of the crop.

Prospecting mistake #4: ignoring buyer personas

A buyer persona is a semi-fictional account of your ideal client. Persona are normally based on existing clients, industry trends and market research. 

Creating a buyer persona can help focus your marketing to really connect with the people you want to reach. Some aspects of a persona will help you build a better mental picture of your audience.

Other aspects will really help you zero in on your potential customers in a practical way, and inform your audience building for prospecting. Industry, company size, job titles, locations, technology used, and annual revenue are all areas to focus on here. 

When it comes to avoiding prospecting mistakes, personas will help you target the right prospects and improve your chances of success and conversion rates.

Prospecting mistake #5: writing too much in your template

In the age of the infinite scroll, our attention spans are shorter than ever. There’s a limited amount of time that ayone will spend reading an email, let alone one they’ve received from a stranger.

War an peace is a classic novel. But I doubt anybody has read it through the medium of email.

While it’s tempting to outline every selling point of your solution, at this early stage of the relationship, you just need to arouse their interest and line up a call or meeting.

This applies for subject lines, too. Make them snappy and intriguing, and your prospect might just be interested enough to learn more.

Prospecting mistake #6: sending emails that are too formal

Getting your tone of voice right when prospecting is absolutely crucial. 

This links back to our previous point: your aim is to secure a meeting or call so you can discuss how your two businesses can benefit each other.

You want to keep it light and friendly. A more relaxed, informal tone will add to the personal feeling of the outreach, and make a reply more likely.

One of the things to bear in mind with a prospecting is you are trying to gain the trust and interest of a stranger in a short email. It’s no mean feat. 

An email from a cold, corporate company does not immediately inspire those feelings. So stay professional, but adopt a welcoming, approachable tone of voice to ensure prospects want to proceed.

Prospecting mistake #7: not including a call-to-action 

Your call to action (CTA) is one of the most important factors of a prospecting email. 

So, you’ve quickly outlined  why your product or service would be a great fit for their company. But… what next? How is the prospect supposed to know what steps to take if you don’t make this clear for them?

A call to action is a short and succinct, imperative statement or instruction, that tells your client how to proceed. Providing a CTA clearly shows the prospective client what you need from them, and makes this next process easy. 

They are far more likely to respond if your email ends with a detailed next step. Not just “Want to know more? Get in touch today!”, but “Call me on 01234 567 8910”, or adding a link to your online calendar showing your availability for meetings.

Prospecting mistake #8: not following up 

Has a week passed by and you haven’t heard anything back? Have you given up hope? Moved onto the next prospect? Not so fast!

Think about your own inbox. Unless you are one of those rare people who achieves inbox zero every day, threads can get lost, filed, or forgotten. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the prospect isn’t interested.

If you haven’t heard anything in a few days, send a quick follow-up to nudge the recipient. Something like five to seven working days is about right – but you can run tests to see what length of time gets the most replies.

These follow ups give the prospect a chance to investigate your company in case they were interested and were unable to find the time. It also highlights that you are interested in them, and are awaiting their response.

Prospecting mistake #9: ignoring the benefits of prospecting altogether

You may have a steady stream of clients or buyers keeping you busy. Congratulations! You rock. And you may therefore think that you don’t need to spend your precious time or resources on prospecting.

However, a diverse source of leads is crucial to a robust marketing machine. Change is always around the corner – whether it’s a pandemic that comes out of nowhere (hello 2020!), or a recession everyone can see coming (hello 2023!).

Your future self will thank you tenfold if you can ensure future stability with a new channel driving extra clients. It’s not worth running the risk. So, as the old saying goes – fail to prepare, prepare to fail. 

As you can see, there are many mistakes you can make when prospecting. 

Outbase makes prospecting simple. Build your email campaign in three easy steps – just define your audience, write your message, and schedule your emails.

With years of experience built into the platform, the tools you need to easily map your market and improve your email copy, and even the option of professionally written templates, Outbase helps you connect with businesses that want to speak to you.

Contact us today to see how Outbase can transform your prospecting and skyrocket your sales.

Written by:
Kit Smith SEO and Content Manager