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6 minutes
January 31, 2024

Sales experts share tips to help GTM teams prepare for new Gmail spam rules

To help you adapt to Google's new SPAM rules, we talked with email deliverability experts from LeanData, CloudZero, and Inflection.io so your team can adapt your email strategy.
Anthony Mennie
Marketing Manager
Table of Contents

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Any day now, Google and Yahoo are slated to roll out new spam rules designed to protect user inboxes from unwanted and unhelpful messages.

While we at LeadIQ think this is a great move — it will ultimately end up improving the quality of the buying cycle for everyone — the new Google spam rules may cause some temporary pain when it comes to cold email deliverability for unprepared teams.

To help sellers like you adapt to the new rules, we recently hosted a webinar called The B2B Sales Guide to Surviving Google’s SPAM Update that featured three outbound experts:

The jam-packed webinar included a deep dive into new Gmail spam rules and how they impact sales emails, best practices you can use to increase cold email deliverability and dodge the dreaded spam folder, and tips you can share with your colleagues to prepare for changes and make sure everyone’s on the same page.

Don’t have time to watch the webinar in full? Don’t sweat it. 

We understand how busy sales reps and GTM teams are, so here’s a quick recap of some of the gems our expert panel dropped during the session.

Authenticate your domain & check your Google Postmaster data

Though these changes are initially rolling out across Gmail and Yahoo inboxes, Dave sees the new rules as the industry standard. 

To make sure your sales efforts don’t slow down once the new spam filtering rules are in place, he suggests taking the time to ensure your email domain is authenticated by implementing a Sender Policy Framework (SPF) and DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM).

Beyond that, sales teams need to ensure that all of their cadences include one-click unsubscribe buttons in the header of each message.

“Some platforms don’t even allow that yet, and they’re frantically adding that functionality,” he says.

While Google has since clarified that the new rules will initially impact the inbox experience for personal Gmail users — and won’t impact Google Workspace users just yet — B2B sales teams still need to be cognizant of the upcoming changes, which will eventually spill over to Google Workspace, Dave says.

“I’ve heard a lot of people say that they don’t do cold outbounds, they’re not affected, so they’re not worried about it,” Dave continues. “But really, you send a lot of Gmail; your recruiters and your applicant tracking system are sending Gmails.”

Under the new Gmail spam rules, organizations must keep their spam rates below 0.3%, and really 0.1%, Dave says. In his experience, far too many folks have no idea what their scores are, and they need to take immediate action to change that.

“Even if you’re not doing shady outbound, you really should go check out your Postmaster score because you might be over the limit and very, very quickly here need to make some changes.”

Pro tip: Dave suggests setting up subdomains for each of your heavy senders and adding them individually to Postmaster. You shouldn’t treat this as a workaround to the new rules, as Google is most likely counting spam rates against your root domain. But it is an effective “air traffic control” cover to monitor spam rates across tools and departments.

Implement best practices around cold outreach etiquette & personalization

In 2022, Kelsey’s team started getting locked out of their Google accounts.

“We used to be able to send thousands of thousands of emails with all basically the same copy with no problem, and now Google was cracking down and marking our emails as spam,” she says. “It got so bad at one point that our customer success reps were getting their emails to their customers blocked because Google has essentially said anything coming from this domain is spam.” 

As the world prepares for the new rules to roll out, this experience turned out to be a blessing in disguise of sorts, as it forced the team to readjust their approach — which ultimately allowed them to get ahead of the coming changes.

For example, her team implemented a policy where they could only create contacts in LeadIQ if they had a valid email. While there was initial pushback, the policy is just another tool in a series of checks and balances designed to increase deliverability.

“I think it’s very important for sales leaders to be very transparent with their team about the importance of taking ownership over deliverability — it’s a team sport,” Kelsey explains. “Every bounce adds to your spam, every bounce adds to bad deliverability.”

Hitting a prospect’s inbox is one thing. Making sure each message resonates is quite another. To this end, Kelsey encourages teams to prioritize personalization.

“Enlist the help of account executives, other sales leaders, the company, and bring in external support if you can to level up your team on what good personalization looks like,” she says. “Get really specific with your ICP — the types of accounts you need to be reaching out to. And persona training is just so critical these days. Understand your personas, what gets them hired, what gets them fired. Speak their language so that when you go to craft your messaging, your team can connect those dots on their own and not rely on automated messaging.”

Pro tip: Kelsey suggests including a post-script with valuable information in each email because of the way our eyes scan messages. At the same time, you need to avoid “trigger words” that set off spam filters — like a percent symbol. “Google doesn’t like that. Just telling you right now. If you haven’t, don’t put it in there,” she says.

Form a content committee to ensure you’re following best practices

About a year ago, Monica’s team created an outreach content committee in an effort to ensure that sales teams were following the right tactics and using the right strategies.

“Never allow there to be a single point of failure for why outbounding doesn’t work,” she says. “It’s not on just one person or one leader. It truly is a team effort. So I would say, lean in and be your own internal expert. If you’re a sales rep, if you’re an SDR or an AE, or even if you’re in enablement or marketing or ops, it is a great career ownership opportunity to be part of a committee like this.”

At LeanData, the contact committee — which concludes folks from all different teams — meets biweekly.

“We’re trying to understand what’s working, what isn’t, what’s performing, what pieces of content are really resonating with our ICP,” Monica continues. “And then how do we scale that? How do we make sure we’re using the data to drive our efforts?”

Additionally, the committee is tasked with reviewing, cleaning up, and creating new content.

“We’re soliciting feedback on content from the sales reps and maintaining the outbound messaging in a clean way,” she explains.

If you want to ensure your team’s outbound cadences are producing results, consider forming a committee of your own. 

“The outreach content committee has been great for us,” Monica says. “It brings in folks from different departments and also brings in different perspectives, which I think is so helpful.”

Pro tip: Always follow the data. If an SDR is having a ton of success on LinkedIn, figure out how to enable the rest of the team to build their own brands there, too.

Learn more tips & tricks to prepare for new Gmail spam rules

Since you’ve made it this far, chances are you’ve picked up some tips you can use to get your house in order before Google and Yahoo implement their new rules.

To learn even more strategies you can employ to better prepare for the rule changes, watch the webinar in its entirety.