Why Email Opens Fail as a Prospect Engagement Metric

Lidia Vijga

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How often do you proudly share the number of email opens from your latest cold outreach or marketing campaign? While high email open rates seem impressive, this popular metric fails to reveal meaningful prospect engagement. In truth, email open rate is a vanity metric that provides little value.

This article will uncover why tech savvy sales and marketing teams are now ditching open rate as their north star. You’ll learn proven strategies for measuring sales engagement that provides actionable insights into prospect interest and behavior. With some thoughtful adjustments to your analytics approach, you’ll be empowered to make smarter sales and marketing decisions that drive revenue.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Email click-through rate only shows whether a prospect clicked a link in an email. It does not provide insight into their actual interest level or engagement with sales collateral. High click-through rates can be misleading if prospects are not truly engaged.
  • Apple Mail users can hide their IP addresses and locations when opening emails. This prevents sales reps from seeing email opens, resulting in inaccurate data about sales engagement.
  • Just because an email is opened does not mean the prospect actually read or engaged with it. There may be other stakeholders who viewed shared sales collateral. Prospects may skim emails without interest.
  • Page-by-page PDF analytics showing how prospects interact with sales collateral provides more granular data. This includes pages viewed, time spent, and sharing with other stakeholders.
  • Prospects can be categorized into high, medium, and low priority buckets based on their level of engagement with sales documents and presentations.
  • Video emails allow sales reps to add a personal touch and showcase enthusiasm. This can increase open rates, click-throughs, and drive more sales engagement.
  • Prospects who go dark may still be highly engaged based on their team viewing proposals and sales collateral many times. This signals active buying interest.
  • Prospects who share sales collateral with their team indicate interest in collaborating and gaining buy-in from decision makers.
  • Solid metrics on prospect interest levels in services/products enables more precise quote and pricing decisions.
  • DeckLinks captures real-time analytics on prospect interactions with PDFs to provide actionable sales insights.

Why click-through rate and email opens is not enough to accurately measure prospect engagement?

Merely measuring an email click-through rate and email opens does not give sufficient insight into prospect engagement levels. These metrics can be extremely misleading.

To gauge a prospect’s interest, you need granular document analytics to track their engagement with sales collateral and presentations you share.

Have you ever been excited to see that your email has been opened only to find out later that the prospect isn’t actually interested in what you have to say? All sales reps have done it. They’d follow up with this “engaged prospect” multiple times just to realize later that their valuable time and energy has gone down the drain.

Although it helps to see when and if an email has been opened, however, that doesn’t signal that the prospect is engaged. There could have been other stakeholders and decision-makers who viewed the sales collateral after the initial email opening. Your sales collateral could’ve been downloaded and shared with somebody else on the team. They might’ve even looked at it. Maybe even had a discussion. Or they might’ve opened it, skimmed through it, and then closed it. At most what you can see is that they clicked on it.

You are left in the dark. Putting it another way, it’s like throwing something into a black box. To be able to prioritize a prospect and ensure you are spending time wisely, sales reps need more information than just whether or not a prospect opened an email and clicked a link.

High click-through rates and email opens do not always indicate engaged prospects.

FEATURED POST

Tired of boring PDFs that get ignored? Learn how innovative teams use interactive PDFs to gain buyer engagement and accelerate sales cycle.

How Apple's Mail Privacy Protection affects email prospecting?

apple mail privacy protection

Apple Mail users have the option (that is turned on by default) to prevent email senders from seeing their IP addresses when they open an email. It also conceals the user’s location, which was previously visible to the sender. This feature stops email senders from being able to see if a user opened their emails. As a result, sales reps and marketers that rely on email opens to track engagement making their decision based on inaccurate data.

If you want to learn more about this topic, be sure to read our article on Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection.

How to measure prospect engagement beyond email click-through rate and email opens?

Tracking email click-through rate and email opens is a great start to any sales engagement strategy. However, they usually only reveal prospect behavior within the confines of the email.

You want to be able to see past the email and into the company you’re prospecting.

Even if your click-through and email open rates are high, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your prospects are engaged. There could be a number of reasons why they’re clicking on your emails, but that doesn’t mean they’re interested in what you have to say or offer.

In order to gauge whether or not your prospects are truly engaged, you need to look at other factors such as how many times they’ve opened your sales collateral, what pages they’ve viewed, and how long they’ve stayed on each page, whether or not they’ve shared it with somebody else on the team. If you’re seeing high levels of engagement with your sales materials, then you know you’re on the right track. DeckLinks’s sales collateral engagement analytics can help you accomplish that!

Custom branding
Showcase your brand.
Video narrations
Easily video-narrate sales presentations or proposals when needed (otherwise video is optional). Redo slide if you made a mistake. Use built-in teleprompter to record longer videos.

Data rooms
Attach any supporting files and links. Make it easy for your prospects and clients to find the right information quickly.

Company profiles
Create company profiles with custom banners and info-packages tailored to different industries.
Contact details
Show your contact info easily accessible by your prospects and clients.
Custom CTAs
Add custom CTAs to drive prospects or clients to your calendar, sign up form, etc.
Engagement analytics
See how prospects and clients interact with your PDFs.

Feedback and Reactions
Collect feedback from prospects and clients. Feedback and reactions are not publicly visible.
Share PDFs
Share any existing PDF presentations and documents.
Live links
Share with a single link. Update files even after sharing your link. Get notified when your PDF is viewed. Turn off access anytime.

DeckLinks icon

4x Sales Content Engagement

Record and share Video PDF presentations and proposals and WOW your prospects and clients with the most personal customer experience. Access engagement analytics. Learn more.

For example, you’ve shared a PDF presentation about your product with a prospect, who then forwarded the email attachment to their manager. If they hadn’t told you that they’d forwarded your email, how would you know? When would you follow-up and how?

If you had used DeckLinks, you’d have been notified when your sales collateral was opened by another individual, who is more likely to be the actual decision-maker. Knowing who the key stakeholders are can help you accelerate the sales cycle and allows you to follow up more effectively and strategically.

DeckLinks’ real-time engagement analytics provides a level of insight into prospects’ engagement that feels like magic and it is something that every sales rep and business developer has to experience!

Page-by-page analytics is an invaluable tool for understanding how prospects engage with sales collateral.

It enables sales reps to see who is viewing their presentations or proposals, and how much time each prospect spends on each slide. This allows them to identify which parts of their PDF prospects focus on the most, helping them follow better and be more strategic on the follow-up calls.

If you know exactly what parts of your presentation caught their attention and which parts didn’t resonate at all, then you’ll have an easier time understanding your prospect. By understanding which parts of your presentation engaged your prospect and which fell flat, you’ll be able to better understand prospects’ needs. There’s no more guessing about when and how to follow-up and what should you focus on during your next call.

The DeckLinks’ client-facing user interface is similar to a microsite or web page. A trackable link allows your clients and prospects to view your presentations and documents on any device without having to log in or download anything.

You will be able to see how prospects view and interact with your sales collateral, whether they are simple one-pagers or long PDF presentations.

If you want to learn more about PDF documents tracking, be sure to read our article.

How to prioritize prospects using document analytics?

With DeckLinks, you’re able to get engagement analytics about your prospects so that you can prioritize the ones that are showing signs of high engagement and avoid or spend less time on those who show minimal or no interest in the information that you are sharing.

DeckLinks provides you with actionable insights in real-time available at your fingertips to help you make more informed decisions.

Here is how you can prioritize prospects with DeckLinks based on their engagement with your emails and sales collateral:

High priority prospect:

Prospects who have gone through your presentations more than once and have shared them with other team members.

Medium priority prospect:

Prospects who have engaged with and read your presentations at least once but have never shared them with anybody else.

Low priority prospect:

Prospects who have opened and perhaps even read your emails or even responded but have never opened your presentation.

Prioritizing prospects this way will help you be more strategic with your sales engagement strategy.

Video Emails - The Ultimate Guide

Learn best practices for recording and sending video emails that engage viewers and prompt action. Read the article.

Make strategic decisions based on prospect engagement data

If a prospect suggests that they are interested, but they are clearly in your ‘Low priority bucket’, they may not be as enthusiastic as they claim.

Alternatively, you may not hear from another prospect for several weeks or even months. You’ve tried following up but no dice. But based on the document analytics you can see that they’ve given your materials to other people on their team. If you are seeing that all of those people have engaged with your presentation or proposal many times, you can be more confident that they are interested in what you have to offer. Moreover, they are most likely reviewing your proposal with other decision-makers.

This prospect still appears to be a high-priority lead, and thus is worth further pursuing.

Not only do increased prospect engagement insights help you prioritize leads, but they can also increase the accuracy of your sales forecasting.

Having data points that show how interested prospects are in a product or service will help you make better decisions when it comes to sending quotes and rate cards.

That level of insight is just not possible if you only track email click-through rate and email opens.

Interested? Try DeckLinks today,sign up for a FREE 14-day trial and see how your prospects engage with your sales collateral!

Custom branding
Showcase your brand.
Video narrations
Easily video-narrate sales presentations or proposals when needed (otherwise video is optional). Redo slide if you made a mistake. Use built-in teleprompter to record longer videos.

Data rooms
Attach any supporting files and links. Make it easy for your prospects and clients to find the right information quickly.

Company profiles
Create company profiles with custom banners and info-packages tailored to different industries.
Contact details
Show your contact info easily accessible by your prospects and clients.
Custom CTAs
Add custom CTAs to drive prospects or clients to your calendar, sign up form, etc.
Engagement analytics
See how prospects and clients interact with your PDFs.

Feedback and Reactions
Collect feedback from prospects and clients. Feedback and reactions are not publicly visible.
Share PDFs
Share any existing PDF presentations and documents.
Live links
Share with a single link. Update files even after sharing your link. Get notified when your PDF is viewed. Turn off access anytime.

DeckLinks icon

Reduce back and forth by over 50%

Create personalized client portals. Share the latest sales collateral with a single live-link. Ensure prospects and clients have easy access to the most up-to-date sales content. Learn more.

Revamp your sales tactics with our detailed guide on Advanced ChatGPT prompts for sales. Gain insights from real-world examples and bolster your sales strategy.

FAQs

Why are email opens a poor indicator of prospect engagement?

Email opens alone do not show true prospect engagement or interest. Many people open emails out of habit without reading them. Instead of email opens and email click rates, focus on conversion rates and usage of sales and marketing collateral, to gauge prospect engagement.

Apple users can now prevent senders seeing their IP address on email opens. This stops senders tracking if emails were opened, resulting in inaccurate engagement data. Relying just on email opens means sales reps make decisions based on flawed data.

Clicks, conversions like downloads, and usage of sales and marketing collateral indicate engagement better than opens. These metrics show the prospect took action beyond a passive open. Analyze email clicks and usage of sales and marketing collateral to better understand prospect engagement.

Look at usage of sales and marketing collateral through document analytics. See who views presentations, which pages they focus on, and time spent per page. This shows if prospects actually engaged with content sent.

Sales reps can prioritize prospects based on their level of engagement with sales and marketing collateral. For example, high priority if they viewed multiple times and shared, medium if viewed once, and low if never opened.

By seeing how interested prospects are through their sales and marketing collateral usage, sales reps can more accurately predict deal closing and avoid sending quotes to unengaged prospects.

Following up with prospects who don’t respond but actively view sales and marketing collateral shared. Also, not prioritizing those who express interest but barely engage with content sent.

By seeing what documents prospects engaged with, sales reps can tailor messaging to resonate better on calls. They see what resonated already.

Email clicks only show actions within the email itself. Prospects may click but not actually engage with sales or marketing collateral. Need usage analytics to see beyond the click.

By helping sales reps spend time on hot prospects, have strategic conversations, and accurately forecast deals based on interest levels shown through usage.

About the Author

Lidia Vijga is a seasoned professional with 10 years of first-hand experience in B2B sales and B2B marketing. She has a proven track record of driving growth for companies across various industries. Throughout her career, Lidia has led numerous successful sales campaigns and implemented innovative marketing strategies that have significantly increased revenue and reduced customer acquisition cost for her clients. Lidia regularly shares her insights and experiences on LinkedIn, webinars, and public speaking engagements. Lidia believes in the power of personal qualities such as kindness, empathy, and the willingness to understand others. She is committed to empowering client-facing teams with tools that enhance their talent instead of automating it, and she firmly believes that teams that show their human side grow companies much faster.

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