Google and Yahoo announced that they aim to reduce the amount of spam emails received by their users and improve email security.
Any bulk email sender will be subject to strict new requirements to avoid experiencing email deliverability issues.
Google will begin enforcing the new requirements on February 1st, 2024, while Yahoo will enforce theirs in Q1 of 2024.
These restrictions will change the way many organizations think about outbound prospecting.
How is "bulk sender" defined
A bulk sender is defined by Google and Yahoo as an organization sending 5,000 or more messages a day to any gmail or yahoo email address.
The daily threshold pertains to all emails originating from your entire organization, regardless of the platform or method used to send them.
This includes email marketing platforms like Hubspot or Mailchimp, sales sequencing tools like Outreach or SalesLoft, or emails from your application like password reset emails, newsletters, or product announcements.
What does this mean for bulk email senders?
You want to be careful to make sure your organization is not being flagged as spam. Once marked as spam it takes time for your email domain to normalize and your messages landing in the inbox again.
When do people mark your emails as spam?
- When you aren't emailing the right person
- You're sending irrelevant emails
- You aren't kind in your communication
- The email you sent was clearly AI-generated
- You added the prospect to a multi-step automated email cadence (which auto-followed up five times with no response)
What are the risks of not following these requirements?
Starting February 1st, 2024, if a bulk-sending organization has an abuse complaint rate of 0.3% or higher, Google and Yahoo will automatically block all messages coming from that organization.
That's only 15 emails getting flagged before the hammer is dropped.
Globally, Gmail is the number one free-email service, usually making up between 40-60% of subscribers on a B2C sender's list worldwide, and a top three B2B mailbox provider. Yahoo is also among the top three for global representation on a B2C sender's list.
By not adhering to their new email guidelines you can expect your engagement metrics to begin dropping as your emails land in spam folders more and more.
Because Gmail and Yahoo's reputation-ranking system for senders is also based on subscriber engagement and your engagement has plummeted, it will create a snowball effect.
You'll begin to see open rates plummet, conversions plummet, and eventually, be unable to reliably deliver email from your domain.
Mailbox providers hold all the cards. It's how it's always been.
Why is Google and Yahoo doing this?
Google noted that their AI-powered defenses stop more than 99.9% of spam, phishing and malware from reaching inboxes and block nearly 15 billion unwanted emails daily.
"But now, nearly 20 years after Gmail launched, the threats we face are more complex and pressing than ever." -Google
The short answer is they want inboxes safer and more spam-free.
One thing is certain, email prospecting has already become saturated and buyers are getting numbed to anything that doesn't stand out. Now with ChatGPT, it's become even more difficult to distinguish a personalized email from one that AI generated.
Because of contact database tools like ZoomInfo and Apollo and email prospecting platforms like Outreach and Salesloft, any sales team can add thousands of prospects to email sequences with a few clicks.
Buyers are getting 20-30 "do you want to buy?" emails daily that they unsubscribe from or mark as spam.
It's a massive drain for everyone involved.
Successful sales teams are going to be those that can stand out from the crowd and create an incredible customer relationship.
How should sales teams be thinking about this?
I don't see these updates as anything but a good thing for sellers and customers. Totally agree that those who might be affected could be worried, but it's also an opportunity to improve processes and build better relationships with prospects.
If you're doing outbound the right way, you've got nothing to worry about. "Right" meaning adding value, thoughtful, contextual, human, relevant, and so on.
Sales leaders may need to reduce the autonomy they give to reps and have greater control over the outbound rules.
Reps will need to be more intentional with their outreach rather than carpet-bombing their ICP market with bulk email sequences.
Hopefully, in the future, when emails land in buyers' inboxes they'll be relevant and targeted towards actual need, which creates a better overall buyer experience.
Imagine seeing 1-2 emails daily from a seller helping you solve a problem you have today.
That would completely change the lens through which buyers view salespeople.
The Future of Outbound Outreach
Building effective outbound sales will come down to two things:
- Is the company you're targeting in-market (ready to buy)?
- Does the company have a favorable outlook on your brand?
As we've talked about in How the B2B SaaS Funnel Has Changed, nowadays, buyers do the majority of their research before even talking to a salesperson.
Building a strong brand in your buyers' mind around the problem you solve will play an important role when it comes time for the buyer to evaluate solutions.
Especially in B2B SaaS there are so many solutions out there it becomes difficult to parse through the noise.
Things like G2 reviews, awards, household brand case studies, and thought leader product endorsements matter.
If you know when prospects are in-market for your product AND they have developed a strong liking to your brand, then you don't need AI-generated copy and mass emails. You just need to find these people and say "what's up."
How Warmly Helps Sales Teams Thrive
Warmly is "warm leads" platform that helps you discover companies in-market for your product AND companies and people who have engaged with your brand. The platform synthesizes metadata across your sales and marketing techstack to arrive at an "Account Intent Signal Score."
When the score reaches a threshold, we help you autonomously outreach to the buyers at these companies who would find your product most relevant. And we take an omnichannel approach across email, LinkedIn, and website chat to reach them.
You can still use your favorite sequencing tools like Outreach, Apollo, SalesLoft or HubSpot. But now you're sending emails more responsibly and, with "fewer bullets in the chamber," more strategically to prospects that have the highest likelihood of converting.
Introducing a "warm outreach" process reduces the risk of over-sending mass emails AND being marked as spam for your entire email domain.
This announcement from Google and Yahoo, coming in the year's final quarter, offers an opportunity to put an outreach plan in place that sets your sales team up for success in the years to come.
Sales reps need a platform to help them outreach effectively without burning through your domain.
You can try Warmly for free here.