Email prospecting can be a powerful tool for sales reps—when it’s used in the right way. Reps sometimes think they’re saving time with mass emails, but the reality is that sending unsolicited emails can backfire.
In addition to poor click-through rates, canned emails create distrust and can damage brand reputation and undermine future prospecting efforts.
Teach your salespeople better email prospecting methods that build trust right from the start with these prospecting tips.
6 Keys to Better Prospecting Emails
1. Focus on the Buyer
Help your reps develop the habit of looking at the world through the eyes of the buyer. Instead of focusing exclusively on what they want to accomplish with their emails, teach them to focus on what the buyer will get out of it.
Words like “you” and “your” should appear more often than words like “I” and “my.” The recipient should feel that the sender has their best interest in mind, rather than simply wanting to making a sale.
2. Keep It Short
We all have shorter attention spans these days, and that’s true for your prospects, too. Remind your sales reps to keep their prospecting emails short and simple. The goal of an email is to simply move the prospect to take the next step, whatever that might be.
A good rule of thumb is to keep emails to between one and three paragraphs, with one to three sentences per paragraph. Use bullet points when possible.
3. Don’t Ask for too Much Upfront
Sales reps who get overeager and ask for too much too early turn prospects off.
Reps should nurture potential leads and definitely keep the first contact low pressure. Coach your reps to research prospects ahead of time and send an article, whitepaper or E-book, or some other helpful resource that’s relevant to their challenge.
4. Include a Clear Call to Action
Each prospecting email should contain a simple, direct call to action, such as a request for a brief discovery call.
Help salespeople create urgency around the call to action when possible. For instance, identify immediate pain points that the call may alleviate, or reference a limited time offer that’s relevant to the prospect’s situation.
5. Get Creative with Subject Lines
Dull subject lines get passed over in a prospect’s crowded inbox.
The best email subject lines are creative, compelling, and informative without giving too much away. Have your reps experiment and record what works best for them. Here’s a list to get them started in the meantime.
6. Make It Personal
Marketing automation software makes it possible to add some level of personalization to sales prospecting emails. With a little bit of research your reps can go much further with their personalization and stand out from the crowd of automated sales emails.
Use the following tips to make a real connection and begin to build a relationship.
Create Genuine Connection in a Cold Email
Breaking through buyer resistance in cold emails is challenging, yet some salespeople consistently get high response rates. The secret lies in making a genuine connection right from the start.
Here are 6 tactics to teach your reps.
Refer to Their Recent News
Teach your reps to make it part of their routine to monitor news relevant to their prospect list (LinkedIn is a great place for this). Any time a prospect has an anniversary, gets a promotion, etc., is a great opportunity for your rep to congratulate them and open the line of communication.
News in the prospect’s industry or company can also be a great opportunity to reach out.
Mention a Common Interest
Train your reps to research potential leads on LinkedIn and other social platforms looking for common interests. Mentioning schools, sports teams, family, hobbies, and shared points of view can be a great way to connect.
Leverage Mutual Connections
Mentioning shared connections can be helpful in getting a foot in the door and establishing a relationship. Just make sure your reps are cautious not to overstate the relationship as that can potentially backfire.
If your rep knows the mutual connection well enough, encourage them to ask for a warm introduction before contacting the prospect.
Bring Up a Recent Social Interaction
First emails can be considered warm email prospecting if your rep has interacted with the potential buyer elsewhere. Encourage your salespeople to engage with prospects in social settings—through live networking events as well as on social platforms such as LinkedIn.
A simple comment on a prospect’s published content can be leveraged into a warm email conversation.
Touch Common Pain Points
Sometimes the only thing your rep knows about a prospect is their job role. In this case, teach them to lead the email with pain points commonly shared by people in that role.
If they can provide a helpful resource like a blog post or E-book, it might be enough to start a conversation.
Compliment the Prospect
Most people love a good compliment. Teach reps to look for things they genuinely admire, such as a well-designed website, a faster-than-average promotion timeline, or a well-written LinkedIn profile—and to mention their admiration in their emails.
Prospecting is an important part of sales, even though it can feel challenging to reps. Teach your salespeople to follow these tips for creating effective prospecting emails, and they’ll be well on their way to adding qualified leads to the pipeline.
Our online sales training platform, IMPACT-U®, gives participants a structured process to follow through every stage of the sales – including prospecting and pre-call planning.
Here’s a sneak peek of the planning exercises within the program:
"IMPACT-U provides both introduction to the IMPACT fundamentals and quality post-training reinforcement. Participants are challenged and pulled into the exercises with lots of interaction, and the level of learner engagement really makes it stick. Well done and a must for optimum IMPACT development."
Senior Manager, Aftermarket Training
Volvo Trucks North America