At the most recent M3AAWG conference, our delivery team attended a focus group on client vetting and how a proper plan can decrease the chance of delivery issues. James Koons of dotmailer reported that their users have a 92% less chance of having delivery issues if they’re properly vetted during the sales process.

These “delivery issues” are any results that weren’t anticipated or deemed favorable in terms of inbox placement or user engagement. Here at SendGrid, we absolutely agree. Over the past few months, we’ve increased the involvement of our Delivery Team in discussions with the prospects of our sales team.

What We’ve Learned

The SendGrid Delivery Team has found that major mailbox providers are quick to punish and very slow to forgive. This means that inexperienced senders can often impact their email program in negative ways for a long period of time with just a few mistakes.  

Since we now know that we need to focus on the “long game,” we’ve started informing our new sales reps and, in turn, their prospects. We’re also getting better at preparing all customers to send the right way from the start. This will ensure the best chance at avoiding delivery issues and helping realize the full long-term potential email programs are meant to have.

Our customer vetting discussions now include a few key areas of focus:

AuthenticationWe want to make sure the sender is willing to properly sign their messages with SPF, DKIM, and possibly able to enforce DMARC in order to show mailbox providers that they’re in control of their mail and can be trusted.  

Collection PracticesWe confirm the details of how a prospect starts the relationship with their recipients. How do they state that they will use the email address and what expectations are set before the first email message is sent?

Sunsetting Policy:  We check to see, primarily, if the prospect has a sunset policy. We know that there are many ways to manage an email program, but there should be some plan around how long a recipient stays on the email list after they’re added. The customer should have a plan around when the address is removed from the standard distribution.

Warm-Up Plan: We make sure the prospect has a plan in place. Improper warm up, like sending too much volume too quickly, is the most definite way to give a sending domain or IP a poor sending reputation.  

Covering these details helps to ensure that the prospective customer is planning to give proper attention to what’s in the headers or “behind the curtain” of the email content and that they have a plan to send the right message, to the right person, at the right time, with at the right frequency…the cornerstone of any successful email program.

To learn more about how to get your email delivered to the major ISPs, download our guide The ABCs of ISPs. The guide will teach you more about domain and IP reputation, how to use metrics and analytics to your advantage, and what ISPs are looking for when they determine if your email gets delivered or not.



Jacob Hansen
Jacob comes from a background in technical account management and delivery analysis for the last six years, and has been with SendGrid's Deliverability Consultant team for the last two years. He enjoys spreading knowledge to help the email community send more "wanted email" and to help senders realize their full potential. Originally from Nebraska, but living in Colorado long enough for it to feel like home, Jacob enjoys a lot of what the Denver restaurant, bar, brewery and music scenes have to offer.