Why Busy Professionals Stop Replying to Cold Email

Andy Mowat
November 29, 2022

I deeply respect sales people who reach out to me.   It is a tough job calling and emailing and rarely getting a response. 

Early in my career I tried responding to every earnest message I received, even if just  to share feedback and explain why I wasn’t interested.   But I found, over time, that I would sometimes get burned when sales reps either:

  • Didn’t read my response
  • Used my reply as an excuse to keep selling.. .and keep selling

So, reluctantly, I stopped replying to cold email.  I started ignoring it altogether because it had become too difficult to do otherwise.  

I’m not alone.  Industry sources have shared with us that 1-2% of all cold sales emails are replied to and this rate is falling.   

Gated’s recent Inbox Intelligence Report shows that executives, in particular, receive 87 emails every day (after spam filters are applied).  And more than ⅓ of all U.S. professionals report having declared “email bankruptcy” or abandoned their inbox at some point. 

A clean business inbox seems out of reach.  Busy professionals everywhere are tuning out the noise.

An inbox management tool that enables you to be more responsive

I built Gated as a way to let quality cold email through, without being overwhelmed.  The vision I had was to prevent unwanted emails, so the valuable ones could reach me.  

With Gated, that’s simple; the solution asks unknown senders to make a  small donation to reach my inbox.   And when I first started using this solution, my relationship with cold sales emails changed immediately:

  • Virtually all irrelevant cold email was diverted  to my Gated folder.   The burden was on the salesperson to do the work to signal if an email was relevant - or not. 
  • Salespeople who donated showed a respect for my attention and were always thoughtful in their communication and response. 
  • My reply rate went up.  I now reply to every donation.  Why?  Because I value good communication with thoughtful people - and also because I can finally see those emails in my clean inbox. 

Across the thousands of people who use Gated, we see an average reply rate of more than 40%!

When asked, 77% of U.S. professionals responded that they believe there are relevant and interesting opportunities in cold email.  They just haven’t been able to see those opportunities. Until now.  

How can responsible sellers prove they value a prospect’s time and rise above inbox noise?

On social media, we’ve seen many sellers ask:  “How can everyone get Gated?”  because they realize that a human-centric email inbox will reduce the noise, and open the path for relationship-based selling.  

Though not everyone has Gated (yet), we love that responsible sellers are excited about our solution.  It’s possible for both sides of the equation to benefit when individuals have more control over their own attention and inboxes. 

To help responsible sales reps rise above the noise, we have partnered with top sales leaders and Gated users to develop a “Best Practices for Sales Email”.   Sales reps who agree to follow these best practices may include a link to them in their email signature - showing  their commitment to be respectful and responsible with their outbound emails.   

Gated's list of Best Practices for Sales Email - includes:  When you ask me to stop emailing, I will. I do research to understand you and your company in advance. I respect the channels you want to be contacted no - or not. I use clear subject lines. I am honest about how I obetained your email. I only send followups that have value for you. I will not add you to my company's mailing list.

How are sellers demonstrating their commitment to responsible selling?  Here is an example of how a seller is promoting Gated’s solution in their email signature - a sign of the shift toward a more focused future. 

Gated best practices footer for sales email, reads: I follow Gated's best practices for sales email. If you don't want to hear from me, just reply and I will stop. Protect yourself from irrelevant email, for free, with Gated.

Today, any sales rep can include the Rules of Engagement link in their outbound email; as long as they agree and live by the values.   Those who want to learn more about our Sender Best Practices, discover more about ‘What is Gated?”, or are passionate about our mission to improve email can reach out to me at any time - [email protected].

Read more at www.gated.com/best