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  • Writer's picturePeter Cools

Mistakes to avoid in B2B email prospecting

Email prospecting in B2B is an effective strategy for identifying new potential customers and boosting turnover. This approach consists of sending personalized and targeted emails to qualified prospects using tools such as CRMs, LinkedIn, or even social media platforms. However, it is important to note that B2B prospecting by email is not infallible; it can be complex and requires careful navigation to maximize the chances of success while respecting the principles of ethical marketing. In this guide, we'll look at the four most common mistakes made in B2B email prospecting and provide you with tips to avoid them. You will learn how to refine your prospecting strategy, improve your response rate and retain your customers more effectively.

Do not personalize your emails

One of the most common mistakes in B2B email prospecting is not personalizing your emails. Indeed, sending generic and impersonal messages to your prospects is the best way to scare them away. According to a study, 74% of B2B buyers are frustrated by emails that are not tailored to their needs. How to avoid this error? Here are three tips for personalizing your emails and increasing your chances of conversion.

Risk of appearing generic and impersonal

If you don't personalize your emails, you risk appearing generic and impersonal to your prospects. Your messages will be buried in the mass of emails they receive every day, and they will have no desire to open them, read them, or respond to you. On the contrary, they will have the impression that you do not know them, that you are not interested in them, and that you do not provide them with any value. You will lose their trust and interest, and you will reduce your chances of converting them into customers.

Importance of Database Segmentation

To personalize your emails, it is essential to segment your database. Segmentation involves dividing your contacts into homogeneous groups, based on criteria such as industry, company size, position, maturity level, needs, interests, etc. Segmentation allows you to target your prospects with more precision, and send them messages adapted to their profile and their situation. You will be able to talk to them about their problems, their objectives, and your solutions, using appropriate language and convincing arguments.

Using smart automation tools

To personalize your emails, it is also recommended to use smart automation tools. These tools allow you to create personalized email sending scenarios, based on the behavior and reactions of your prospects. For example, you can send a follow-up email to a prospect who opened your first email, but who did not click on your link. You can also send a sales proposal email to a prospect who has visited your website or downloaded your white paper. These tools help you save time, optimize your response rate, and create a relationship of trust with your prospects.

Ignoring GDPR rules and recipient consent

To avoid compromising your brand image and exposing yourself to legal risks, it is crucial not to neglect the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the recipient's consent when B2B email prospecting. The GDPR protects the personal data of EU citizens and applies to any company processing this information, including business email addresses. To meet these standards, here are three key tips.

Legal consequences of non-compliant prospecting

Ignoring GDPR can cost you, with fines of up to €20 million or 4% of your global annual turnover. Companies must inform recipients about the use of data, obtain clear consent, ensure data security, and guarantee their rights of access and deletion, among other things. Compliance with the GDPR protects you against these serious consequences.

Obtain and manage consent proactively

A key to complying with GDPR is actively obtaining and managing consent. This must be a voluntary, well-informed, specific and proven decision. You can collect this consent by explicitly inviting prospects to subscribe to your list, or by offering quality content in exchange for their email, while allowing them to easily unsubscribe.

Practice respectful and ethical prospecting

Adopting a respectful and ethical approach is fundamental. This involves valuing the rights and preferences of your prospects throughout the prospecting process, maintaining the quality and relevance of your data, and respecting the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) which reinforces the GDPR. Such an approach guarantees effective and compliant prospecting.

Underestimating the importance of follow-up

One of the common mistakes in B2B email prospecting is downplaying the importance of follow-up. This process, also known as follow-up, consists of recontacting your prospects after sending a first email. Essential in the conversion process, follow-up helps you stay in touch, strengthen your relationships and encourage action. A study reveals that 80% of sales require at least five follow-ups after first contact. Here are three tips for effective follow-up while avoiding being intrusive during your B2B email prospecting.

Follow-up: a key element of conversion

Failing to follow up can result in losing leads and erasing your initial efforts. Typically, prospects don't buy immediately after the first email. They require time to evaluate, compare offers and make a decision. Follow-up plays a crucial role in keeping you top-of-mind, reminding them of your added value, and encouraging them to take action. According to research, 50% of sales are closed by the salesperson who follows first. So, follow-up is vital to turn your prospects into customers.

Recovery strategies without being intrusive

It is crucial that your follow-up is seen as rewarding and non-intrusive. The goal is not to harass your prospects with unwanted messages, but rather to provide them with value and show your interest in their satisfaction. To do this, you can adopt various strategies: send a post-first contact thank you email, offer relevant content or an exclusive promotion, ask for feedback or recommendations, follow up following a current event, etc. This helps build a relationship of trust and arouse the interest of your prospects.

Measure and analyze interactions to adjust the strategy

An essential part of effective follow-up is the ability to measure and analyze interactions with your prospects. It is important to know which emails captured attention, which were opened, read or generated a response, as well as to identify the most responsive prospects. This analysis allows you to refine your follow-up strategy according to the level of maturity, needs and preferences of your prospects. Using automation tools can also be useful for personalizing your emails based on prospect behavior and improving your conversion rate.


B2B email marketing is proving to be a formidable strategy for attracting new customers and propelling your business to new heights. However, this approach has its share of challenges and must respect certain standards. To excel in your B2B email prospecting process, make sure to avoid these three common pitfalls: the lack of personalization of your messages, non-compliance with the general data protection regulation (GDPR) as well as ignorance of recipient consent, and neglect of the crucial importance of regular monitoring. By overcoming these obstacles, you will be able to design targeted, engaging and compliant emails that will capture your prospects' attention, pique their interest and drive action. This will help improve your conversion rate and solidify customer loyalty.

To deepen your knowledge of B2B email prospecting and explore tools and tips to refine your strategy, we strongly invite you to download our free guide, entitled “The secrets of B2B email prospecting”. You will discover sound advice, inspiring case studies and best practices to boost your performance. Click the link below and get your copy of the guide now.

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