Using Out of Office Emails to Prospect for Sales

Quick, what’s the most valuable email for sales contact building that you’re ignoring today, and that you intentionally ignore?

It’s this:


Why is the out of office email so valuable? For this simple reason alone: it tells you exactly who else in that company might be worth approaching who has a similar functional role. If you’re a sales professional, it handily identifies for you who the next person to contact is:


There’s a catch, however: in order to make use of this trick, you need to actually collect and read the out of office replies you get. If you’re using an address on your newsletters like “DONOTREPLY@WHATCOUNTS.COM”, you’re missing out on the opportunity to explore and learn more about your customers.

Let’s also be clear about this: we’re not talking about blindly mass-adding people to your mailing list. What I’m suggesting here is that if you’re a sales professional working to reach out on an individual basis to prospective customers, this gives you additional insight in that process. If the Director of Something is out of the office but tells you who their assistant is, it’s not permission to just spam the assistant. It is a way to reach out and ask the assistant for when the Director can be successfully contacted and do some exploratory questioning about how sales at that company or with that person works.

Tune in and listen to what your customers are giving you!

Christopher S. Penn
Director of Inbound Marketing, WhatCounts


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2 Responses to "Using Out of Office Emails to Prospect for Sales"
  1. Steve Henderson says:

    This is filed under Best Practices? While you are just adding these random email addresses to your mailing list, why not just write an app to pick up email addresses from websites?

    • Christopher S. Penn says:

      Hey Steve,

      Thanks for the comment. I’m going to amend the post to be more clear about what the intention is – that these are candidates for outreach, not blindly adding to a list.

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