Matt Benati

Why and How You Should Analyze Email Marketing Auto-Replies

By: Matt Benati | July 5, 2016 | 

Why and How You Should Analyze Email Marketing Auto-Replies

As a B2B marketer, you likely rely on multiple channels to reach prospects, including email marketing, which is a simple, highly-effective way to reach thousands of people.

It is targeted messaging that results in better brand awareness, improved customer loyalty, and ultimately more sales…as long as it’s done well.

How Email Marketing Provides Invaluable Account Based Intelligence

Part of doing email marketing well is how you handle auto-replies to your email campaigns—from Out of Office to Left the Company auto-replies—because there is valuable account based intelligence in those often disregarded communications.

Savvy companies that employ account based marketing are learning that the hidden gems unearthed in auto-replies lead to better database management including segmentation, personalization of messaging, and the acquisition of new and enhanced leads.

Let’s take a closer look at the exact type of Account Based Intelligence that can be gleaned from these auto-reply examples.

Out of Office Auto-Reply

Most employees set an out of office auto-replies for times when they’re away.

The amount of information you can glean from each one varies, but some provide plenty of helpful details for the person trying to reach them.

Some things you can learn from an out of office email are:

  • Your contact’s return date
  • Your contact’s title
  • Your contact’s phone number or alternate number
  • A colleague’s name, be it an assistant, a manager, or someone on the same level as your contact
  • The colleague’s contact information

Using this information, you can:

  • Resend your marketing email or send a personal email timed for your contact’s return
  • Add the colleague’s information to your customer relationship management software
  • Send your marketing message to the colleague and personally reach out to introduce yourself
  • Enhance your contact’s lead with the information you gleaned

Change of Email Address Auto-Reply

According to Zoominfo, 37 percent of employees change their email address annually—usually due to marriage or divorce.

Another reason this occurs is because a company was acquired and existing employee emails are moved over to the new domain.

During the transition, an auto-reply is usually set up to notify people of the new email address and let them know when the old one will be disabled.

Some will even go into greater detail by providing the contact’s phone number and an introduction to the new parent company.

As a marketer, you don’t want to miss this auto-reply; if you do, the next thing you’ll get is a hard bounce, and if you don’t have a phone number for the contact, it’s the end of the line.

Left the Company Auto-Reply

While some marketers see a left the company auto-reply as the end of the road, it’s actually a veritable goldmine of information.

In fact, with a little research and persistence, a single left the company auto-reply can result in multiple opportunities for new accounts and fresh leads.

For example: Your lead, John, left the company:

  • Who replaced John? Find out your new contact is Bill and reach out to him as quickly as possible before your competitor does.
  • Where did Bill come from? Is his previous employer a potential account?
  • Where did John go? Follow him, congratulate him on the new role, and see if he is still a buyer for your product or service.
  • Who did John replace in his new role? Can you follow that person? Is he or she a buyer in their new role?


In the world of account based marketing, when a contact leaves the company, it’s called a trigger event.

This event that signals a significant change within your target account, and your sales team wins big when marketing captures these trigger events as early as possible.

Craig Elias, author of Shift! The Trigger Events that Turn Prospects into Customers, tells us that:

First in wins the sale 74 percent of the time.

In a recent video interview, Craig shared his excitement about identifying key trigger events from reply emails—well before other methods.

Analyzing reply emails is one of the most efficient ways to uncover account based intelligence and reveal these trigger events because people often put automated reply emails in place when they change companies or positions.

But just how realistic a feat is that?

The ROI For Mining Email Auto-Replies

It’s clear how valuable these auto-replies to your email marketing campaigns can be, but you might say to yourself, “it’s just not possible to manually read through them all.”

And this might be true, especially if you send multiple campaigns to thousands of people each month.

But let’s say you hired a couple marketing analysts at a cost of $90,000/year and you were able to review all of your replies.

If you have a list of 30,000 leads and send two campaign emails to that list per month, on average three percent will result in an auto-reply response.

That means 1,800 email responses to analyze each month for valuable account information, resulting in a 36 percent increase in leads and $540,000 in —a 500 percent return on your investment.

While this sounds great, it also means your two analysts are reviewing, on average, 45 email responses per day.

If they spend 10 minutes on each one (pulling information, updating your customer relationship management software) that means they spend every workday doing nothing else.

The margin for error, and burnout, is huge.

email marketing

Is There a Better Way?

While a 500 percent return on your investment is undoubtedly sound, what if you could make it 4,440 percent by spending significantly less on an automated solution instead?

The technology is here, and it’s available for around $1,000 per month.

An automated solution that mines your email marketing auto-replies has countless benefits:

  • Analyzes thousands of replies within minutes
  • Unearths valuable account based intelligence, allowing for segmentation and personalization of messaging
  • Identifies trigger events that require immediate action
  • Automatically schedules time-sensitive tasks in your customer relationship management software
  • Performs lead-to-account matching and applies new and enhanced data to the correct target account within yourcustomer relationship management software
  • Eliminates human error
  • Reduces time and resources spent manually analyzing emails
  • Increases leads and revenue

If you’re ready to take your account based marketing to the next level, mining your email marketing auto-replies is one of the simplest, most effective strategies with the biggest bang for your buck.

image credit: shutterstock

About Matt Benati

Matt Benati is the CEO and Co-founder of LeadGnome, an innovative Account Based Intelligence web service that mines email responses to deliver account-specific contacts, enhance existing leads, and provide actionable sales intelligence. Matt is a passionate believer that sales and marketing alignment, transparency, and communication optimize revenue generation, and he champions this philosophy in his teams and writings. He participates actively in the market-changing FlipMyFunnel, Account Based Marketing and Account Based Sales Development communities. Matt’s previous positions include VP Marketing at LogMeIn, VP Global Marketing at Attunity and senior roles at Netezza and IBM. You can follow Matt on Twitter at @mattbenati.