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Automation in Sales Development: Finding Your Place on the Sincerity–Scale Sales Continuum

3 min read
Jun. 4, 2015

Let’s address the elephant in the sales development room. All SDRs, at some point in their week, send a handful of cold emails. When I was an SDR, I started almost every morning with an email template to new prospects that looked something like this:


My name is Leah and I’m with {{company}}. I’d love to talk to someone in your marketing department about working together on an upcoming project. I’ve heard so much about your company and I’d love to learn how we could serve as resources to each other in the future!

Would you be available for an in-person meeting sometime next week?



Short and sweet, right? I thought my process was working fine until I realized I was committing the number one automation faux pas: sending automated, cold emails without personalization.

There is nothing more awkward (or relationship ending) than reminding a prospect that they are just one of many in your list of touches that day.

But why is the balance between personalization and automation so delicate? In a culture riddled with mass communication, why is it still important to make a prospect feel as if they are the most important person you’ve reached out to that day? How do you determine the right balance between automated outreach and personalized touches… at scale?

There is no one size fits all answer! Determining the right balance of automation to personalization depends on the following criteria:

  1. Size of Market
    When you have a gigantic market, you don’t need to be as specific with your SDR process. The more limited your prospect universe, however, the more you’ll need to be direct with them through your messaging.
  2. Importance of Individual Prospect
    If there is a client you “must have,” then you need to do whatever you can to get them. This definitely includes personalization.
  3. Complexity of Deal
    For more complex purchases, you need to build stronger relationships with the buying committee. Using personalized outreach helps establish that relationship over time.

Once you’ve identified your prospect category, you can better streamline your process. But what’s the most efficient way to streamline the SDR process without losing personalization? Semi-Automate. 10% personalization in the first sentence, 75% template for the body, and 15% personalization at the end of emails.

Make sure it’s queued up so you can easily go from one template to the next and send in rapid fire. –Sean Kester

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Moral of the story: personalization versus automation in your outreach process isn’t as cut and dry as you’d think. Do your homework to determine the right balance for your cadence, and you’ll find that the level of personalization in each email will help you recognize what to expect in terms of response rate.

The biggest element of determining your position on the Sincerity–Scale sales continuum is having a set cadence for executing on a system, measuring the results, and improving the activity. With the right system, you don’t have to make such a stark tradeoff with sincerity and scale… you can have both.Kyle Porter