What is Sales Email Tracking Software?
Sales email tracking software places a tiny 1x1 image pixel in sent messages (not visible to the naked eye). This pixel provides information to the sender about when and where an email is opened, how many times it is opened, on what type of device, etc. Basic email tracking tools track individual emails and alert users when an email is opened. The resulting intelligence is similar to “read receipts” (available through Gmail), except that sales email tracking software requires no action on the part of the recipient—and often the recipient is unaware that any tracking has taken place.
More advanced tools integrate with users’ CRM systems and allow users to automate follow-up messages and schedule emails to send later. Also, they may be able to track recipients’ engagement with email attachments, links, and presentations. Some tools also report on aggregate email tracking results and analyze trends or make recommendations. When attached to a contact or account CRM record, sales email tracking results may provide activity-based sales intelligence around prospects’ interests and engagement history.
In general, sales email tracking software is very easy to use. However, because the software uses an image pixel as the basis for tracking, if recipients have images blocked, require image display permissions, or are using plain-text email, the sender will not be able to track activity on that email. Also, users have reported issues with the accuracy of email tracking; though this is a concern across the category, many still feel that email tracking tools are a valuable asset for sales. Note that tracking forwarded and copied emails is another pain point for the category as a whole.
Email Tracking & Privacy: Are All Emails Tracked?
Users can choose whether to track an email—not all emails have to be tracked—but products handle this choice differently. The most rudimentary sales email tracking software requires users to add the provider’s name to the email address to any email they want to track, routing the email through the provider’s server. This is the case with GetNotify, DidTheyReadIt, and WhoReadMe. (Note that users of these services sometimes have issues with deliverability.)
With most of the leading products, which are email client apps or browser extensions, users push a button or check a box to determine tracking. Some email tracking products are opt-in, while others are opt-out. For example, with HubSpot's email tracking tool there is a checkbox at the top of every email, and users can click to un-check the box if they do not want the email to be tracked. Like Sidekick, Yesware also uses a tracking checkbox, but users must proactively check the box to track an email (the default is not to track).
Although email tracking has raised privacy/security concerns in the consumer marketplace, tools like docTrackr pair tracking with security features like email encryption, remote destruction, and attachment printing oversight.
Sales Email Tracking vs. Email Marketing & Marketing Automation
There are key differences between sales email tracking software and email marketing/marketing automation tools (which also allow users to do things like schedule emails, use email templates, track prospect engagement, etc.). Dimensions where sales and marketing email tools commonly differ:
Email creation: Whereas users send marketing emails through the email marketing or MA platform, sales email tracking tools live in users’ inboxes. The leading sales email tracking tools work through the email clients (usually Gmail or Outlook) that salespeople already use, rather than through the vendor’s server.
Adoption by individual users: While platforms like marketing automation are likely to be adopted organization or at least team-wide, sales email tracking tools are usually adopted by individual salespeople. Accordingly, pricing for most paid plans is per user per month.
Type of email, templates, & personalization: Marketing emails are typically one-to-many communications, whereas sales communications are more often one-to-one and need to personal and specific. Although some marketing email tools have advanced/automated personalization features, sales email personalization is often more manual.
Cadence & campaigns: Sales email tracking tools may support sorting emails and optionally scheduled phone calls where an autodialer is present through desired cadences which in turn may be sorted into various campaigns. But generally, the cadence is the focus, with the goal of maintaining well-timed lead touches, avoiding dropped leads, and progressing leads through the steps of a cadence without fail. Additionally, emails may be scheduled and fired in bulk, though usually with reference to a manual trigger fired by an individual salesperson.
Autodialer & lead tracking: Because email tracking tools emphasize feedback for an individual business development rep or salesperson, many tools now include autodialers to bring lead management and outreach under one umbrella. Calls may also be organized into cadences and optimized (or at least presented to the salesperson in a logical sequence) to maximize efficiency and ensure daily outreach benchmarks are met. Sales actions may be managed from the lead view or a view of the cadence, allowing sales and business development representatives to send emails or also make phone calls via the autodialer, and also allow them to judge their progress to completion accurately and from an easy to manage to console.
Reporting: Sales email tracking software reports on metrics for individual emails, like when and how many times an email was opened, and sometimes on aggregate metrics like what time of day emails are most often opened or which email templates have the highest engagement. Marketing email tools may report on similar details, but many go beyond basic tracking metrics with campaign attribution reporting and more advanced engagement analytics. Also, in terms of reporting (in)accuracy, marketers are generally more concerned with consistency—if the software makes errors, they should be consistent so that campaigns can be effectively compared—versus salespeople’s concern with the type of error—does the software say an email has been opened when it hasn’t been or does the software fail to notify me about an email that has been opened?
Integrations: CRM integration is important for both sales email tracking software and marketing email software (although not all products, especially basic products in either category, offer pre-built CRM integration). However, email marketing and marketing automation platforms may also integrate with CMSs, content marketing, account-based marketing, predictive sales analytics, web analytics, eCommerce, and kinds of other software.
Sales Email Tracking Software Features
Although some email tracking apps provide only basic metrics and require users to route emails through their servers, here are some of the additional features and capabilities provided by more robust solutions:
: The sales email tracking software works with the user’s Gmail account.
: The sales email tracking software works with the user’s Outlook account.
: Contact email activity is synced to Salesforce so that emails are logged within CRM records. Information from the CRM database (such as contact history) is available within the user’s email inbox in a sidebar.
: Provides accurate tracking for opens, reads, clickthroughs, etc.
: Users can track sales email content engagement at a more granular level, such as how long readers spent looking at attachments or particular slides in presentations.
: Users can set up and customize reusable email templates.
: Plan and organize campaigns around desired intervals including steps of various kinds (e.g. email alternating with a scheduled phone call).
: Automate progression of leads through cadences based on response rules (e.g. stop cadence if lead responds).
: Sort templates, plans, leads, or cadences into campaigns.
: Users can send semi-personalized mass emails using CSV spreadsheets and email templates.
: Includes A/B testing for sales email templates, subject lines, etc.
: Includes individual and/or team reports on sales email metrics.
: The tool makes recommendations about next steps, which template to use, etc. based on email engagement activity and other sales intelligence.
: Users can schedule emails to be sent later.
: Allows users to set up automatic follow-up messages.
: Users can resend emails to themselves (appear at top of inbox) or schedule reminders to follow up on certain emails.
Users can call a contact from within the context of an email/contact record via this tool.
Sales Email Tracking Tools Comparison
Before deciding to start using a free/freemium tool or purchase a paid email tracking solution, consider these important factors:
1. Scope of the tool: some vendors offer larger sales enablement software suites that have several features, including sales email tracking. Examples of these types of platforms include Outreach and Salesloft. On the other hand, sales email tracking point solutions like Cirrus Insight and Mailtrack focus specifically on sales email tracking and reporting on metrics like open rates and click-through rates. As you compare different tools, think about whether you’re in the market for a larger, more comprehensive sales enablement platform or a tool that narrowly focuses on email tracking.
2. Free vs. paid: free tools like Mailtrack and HubSpot’s free email tracking tool or vendors that offer a free version of their software like Streak are often ideal for freelancers and small businesses. However, paid tools often offer a greater number of features that would allow your team to track more email engagement metrics, create and save email templates, and allow users to either get rid of or replace vendor branding on emails.
Free Email Tracking Software
Some of the simple email and link tracking tools, like MailTrack, are available free. Other popular tools, including HubSpot's free email tracking tool, Yesware, and Streak, have a free plan with a limited number of emails that can be tracked per month and limited features available for free. Paid sales email tracking plans range from $7-$120 per user per month; most cost under $50. Many sales email tracking vendors offer a 14-30 day free trial.
Along with options for free and freemium tools (see above for more details), there are several paid tools to choose from. For tools like MailTrack and Streak that primarily offer sales email tracking features, pricing can start between $10 - $15 per user per month. Prices can range up to $130 per user per month, for enterprise-level plans. Some vendors also offer discounts for quarterly or annual billing cycles.
Sales enablement platforms like Outreach and Salesloft, on the other hand, typically don’t have public pricing information available on their website. If you’re interested in purchasing a more comprehensive sales enablement suite that has email tracking capabilities, reach out to the vendor specifically for a quote.