How to research prospects for email outreach

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4 mins, 44 secs read time

It’s easy to get into a research rabbit hole when figuring out how to effectively personalize your email outreach to prospects.

You might come across questions such as: How much time should I spend researching and personalizing an email? What information should I include in my email outreach that will resonate with the prospect and stand out? When should I give up and just send a generic email instead? And, how can I make the prospecting and research process more efficient?

These are all great questions to consider, especially when you’re trying to optimize your workflow while creating engaging outreach emails.

Since the research and personalization process can be time-consuming, here are some prospecting and research tips to help you save time while creating thoughtful and personalized emails that engage prospects — starting with the professional networking site, LinkedIn.

LinkedIn Activity

  • Prospects who are active on LinkedIn
    If a prospect is actively posting and sharing content on LinkedIn, you’ll want to use this for personalizing your email outreach. Look at their blog posts, articles, relevant accomplishments, etc.

    If they’re not actively creating or sharing their own content, you can take a closer look at the type of content they’re engaging with in the Activity section of their profile. All the content they’re liking or commenting on is displayed there, ready to give you more insights into what kind of content will resonate with them.
  • Prospects who aren’t active on LinkedIn
    For prospects who aren’t active on LinkedIn, the next best step is checking their company’s LinkedIn page to see the kind of content being shared there. Look for blog posts, press releases or company awards that are being featured on the company’s feed that you can incorporate into your prospect outreach.


Relevant information on LinkedIn

  1. Current position and company
    One of the first things you see on a LinkedIn profile is their current role and company. This gives you insight into their current role and company as well as the amount of time they’ve been there.

    If they recently joined the company, you may want to hold off reaching out to them until at least a year since they’re likely getting settled into their current role. After a year, you can reach out to them to see if they’re interested in exploring other opportunities.
  2. LinkedIn connections
    It’s generally a good sign when the prospect has multiple LinkedIn connections since this (usually!) indicates an authentic profile. Having a lot of connections is also a sign of trust from other people.

    To gauge the legitimacy of a profile, a good baseline is at least 50 connections. If a prospect has 50 or more connections, it’s likely safe to say they can be considered for the job opportunity.
  3. Previous role descriptions
    As you look through their profile, you should also take a look at their previous roles and companies. This information might be crucial since it not only gives you an idea of their overall experience, but you can also assess what their responsibilities were, what the size of the company was and verify that they actually worked at the company.

    Descriptions are vital since not all titles across each company share the same responsibilities. For instance, a Content Marketer might work on blog and editorial content at one company, but in another, they might focus on video and webinar content.
  4. Look for evidence that they’d be a great addition to your company
    As you browse through the prospect’s profile and their accomplishments, try to tie this information to how they’d be amazing in your company’s open role.

    It’s helpful to take note of where their current and past positions overlap in skills and whether their overall experience aligns with the job you’re hiring for.

    Additionally, looking through other sections of their LinkedIn profile can help you gauge their interests and ambitions and how your company can help advance them – valuable info for your outreach.
  5. Examples of work or projects
    Most people highlight projects they’ve worked on or awards and recognition they’ve received on their profile.

    Examples of their work could be links to their website, an online portfolio, published articles or a personal blog. It’s helpful to see examples of a prospect's work and accomplishments to get a better understanding of their background and what they’re capable of.


Alternative resources to LinkedIn

While most people have an active LinkedIn presence, you might run into prospects who don’t have an account with the platform. In this case, a smart next step is to check their company website or their personal website if either one is mentioned on their profile.

  • Company website
    Visiting the company website or doing a quick Google search of their company is a great way to find company-related news that you can highlight in your tailored prospect outreach. Search for website content or recent press releases that are relevant to the job opportunity so your outreach is more engaging and effective.
  • Personal website
    While not every prospect has a personal website or blog, people in sales, technology and marketing usually do.

    If they have a website or blog, you can browse through to see if there’s any relevant work they’ve done that you found intriguing and can include in your email outreach. This will show the thoughtful time you spent researching them – your efforts will be appreciated!


These strategies should help you streamline the prospect researching process since you now know what information to look for and how to incorporate it into your email outreach. Keep this checklist handy the next time you source prospects to help you save time and optimize your sourcing workflow.

Learn more about Greenhouse Recruiting and Sourcing Automation by connecting with a member of our team today.

Jennifer Vu

Jennifer Vu

is Content Marketing Manager – Sourcing, at Greenhouse. Prior to joining Greenhouse, Jenn worked on content creation and product development focused on sourcing during her time at Interseller. When she’s not whipping up a new blog post, she enjoys reading and refining her culinary skills. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

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