Sales emails do not have to be complex, nor do they have to be particularly lengthy – in fact, the most successful campaigns tend to be those that cut to the chase. They’re quick, concise and tailored to the recipient.
After all, the key decision-makers that salespeople target are unlikely to have the time to read a detailed, novel-like email. This rings particularly true if the content isn’t relevant to their specific needs and pain points. You must grab their attention and pique their interest in just a few short sentences, a skill that is much easier said than done.
Sales emails have long been part of every salesperson’s toolbox, but it’s a skill that can take time to be developed. Creating compelling email campaigns may be the goal, but they can simply be taken as spam if not created correctly.
In this episode of the B2B Revenue Acceleration podcast, our host Aurelien Mottier (Co-Founder and CEO of Operatix) is joined by Ollie Whitfield (Growth Marketer at VanillaSoft). They discuss how best to go about creating compelling sales emails, including best practices for structure, language and eye-catching subject lines.
The Dos and Don’ts of Sales Emails
As with many things in sales and marketing, there is often great debate as to what is the ‘ideal’. After all, there is a multitude of variables that can affect how you may approach a sales email, including the person you’re attempting to engage with and the market you’re in.
Based on Ollie’s expertise, however, he recommends the following tips:
- Keep it short and sweet: while some prospects may enjoy a longer email, the first touchpoint should be kept concise.
- Never send just one email: it can be disheartening when your sales emails are ignored, but sending a follow-up email is vital in getting your foot in the door.
- Try something new on the second attempt: this is particularly important if the first email doesn’t receive a response. A new approach and content could make all the difference when it comes to appealing to a prospect. For example, including video content in the follow-up email or another type of resource.
- Avoid using bullet points in your sales emails: Ollie finds that using bullet points means wasting your information, summarising it all too quickly when it could be explored further in follow-up emails.
- Provide useful information – rather than pushing a sale, provide resources that will engage and interest your prospect. This proves that you have a solution that can provide value, rather than them simply having to take their word for it.
- Don’t ‘blast’ emails: while it may be tempting to send out bulk emails to any slightly relevant contacts, properly qualifying who you’re emailing is essential. This may be more time-consuming, but it will provide much more value.
It can take some experimenting until you figure out what your ICP reacts best to, which is why making your follow-up emails different is important. People tend to stick to what they know, but what produces a response from one prospect may not resonate with the other.
“You’re never gonna just send one or leave. Try something and for your next one do it differently. Mix it up. So you could have a short one, a long one. Then the next one could have a video.”
Ollie Whitfield, Growth Marketer at VanillaSoft
Structuring Sales Emails
When creating a framework for your sales emails, avoid creating a basic template that you can reuse over and over again. You want to make the prospect aware of why you’re contacting them, and provide them with useful resources that benefit them.
Ollie recommends using the ‘4T’ framework by sales trainer Josh Braun. This allows you to personalise your emails and summarising them in four stages:
- Trigger event
- Third-party validation
- Teach me
- Tell me
Using a framework like this allows you to personalise each email while keeping in conscience, impactful and effective. It allows you to adjust your tone, approach and the content you provide when necessary, which is much more engaging than a templated sales email.
“The point of a framework is not to tell you how to write, it’s to tell you kind of what to write but in a way that will actually work better than you just throwing something. It helps you be conscious and not unconsciously just throwing something up on a page.”Ollie Whitfield
A successful response rate tends to vary anywhere from 20 – 25%, but results like this only comes from carefully crafted sales emails. Using a personalisable framework will save time without coming across as a quick ‘copy and paste’ job, most of which are regarded as spam and deleted. Ensure to keep track of results so you can measure more accurately, as this will allow you to understand what techniques engage your prospects and which have less success.
Clickable Subject Lines
A subject line is the first part of the email your prospect will see, so its importance should not be overlooked when writing a sales email. It’s now very common to see salespeople adding ‘FW:’ or ‘RE:’ into their subject line to make it appear that you’ve conversed before. While this may work in terms of getting a prospect to open the email, it is duping them and starting the relationship off on the wrong foot.
When Ollie did an analysis on subject lines, he found that those that used just four words had the best opening rate. Having a shorter subject line allows for more preview text to appear, which is often far more effective than having a lengthy subject line.
Another point was regarding personalisation. Nobody wants to read an email that reads as if a robot wrote it, or that it was a mass send-out, so those that are tailored to your prospect are undoubtedly going to be more successful. Do some research into their background and business – the effort will go a long way.