Email is one of the easiest ways to cold call. Yes, I did mean to say cold call. Your team needs to continually adapt your cold calling to be effective, and email is one of those necessary adaptations.
But email guidelines are always changing. If you aren’t paying attention, suddenly email strategies you were using quite effectively no longer work.
You have to stay current to maintain high response rates.
What Makes Email an Effective Prospecting Strategy?
Think of it this way. Your salesperson can dash an email off at any time of day. They have 15 minutes free for some quick prospecting. What can they easily do in that time? Send an email or two.
They are prospecting in a different time zone and their prospects have left for the day. Your salesperson didn’t get all their hunting time in. What can they do quickly that could have an impact? Queue emails to send at exactly the time they want the next day.
Prospects can read emails at their leisure on any device. Decision makers may accept a meeting at 9:30 p.m. as easily as 9:30 a.m. They may dash off a quick reply for your sales rep to respond to in the morning.
There are no business-hour limitations on starting a conversation with email.
How Long Should Your Prospecting Email Be?
This is one of the most frequently asked questions about email.
The most effective prospecting emails are 99 words or less. That makes them a quick read. With one call to action, they’re easy for contacts to reply to in just a matter of minutes.
“Yes, I’ll meet.”
“No, next Thursday doesn’t work.”
How Many Cold Emails Do We Send?
Even at under 99 words, your reps may hear nothing in reply.
It takes nine or more attempts, mixing email, cold calling, LinkedIn and more to grab prospects’ attention. Your prospecting process should include a plan to reach out consistently, using multiple prospecting approaches over 30 days for the best odds of success.
I call this the Bloodhound Prospecting Strategy. Over the course of 30 days, you’re going to be like a bloodhound on the scent of your prospect, following up until you connect.
This means you’ll send multiple cold emails, attempting to find the best way to reach your prospect.
How Do SMB vs. Enterprise Companies Manage Cold Emails?
It’s critical that you know which type of decision maker you are targeting and guide your salesperson accordingly.
SMB executives may manage their own email.
Decision makers of successful SMB companies typically receive an average of 40–100 emails a day. That’s a lot of emails.
These executives are often spread thinly, managing more responsibilities than their enterprise peers. The smaller the organization, the more likely business owners are working in the business, balancing tactical effort with strategic decisions.
Frequently, they don’t have anyone managing their email. They read it themselves or ignore it.
SMB executives use multiple strategies to field prospecting emails and reduce their workload.
- Use rules
- Embrace clutter and junk mailboxes
- Employ spam filters
- Practice rapid deletion approaches
Enterprise executives often have staff who manage their emails.
Enterprise executives have distributed their jobs across managers, staff, assistants, and even other organizations.
When you email an enterprise executive, you can’t be sure they are the one who is reading it. The more generic your email, the greater the chance your target contact will never see it. Someone else will read and handle it.
When sending cold emails to enterprise executives, beware. They may never even see it enter their inbox.
Enterprise executives field prospecting emails differently than SMB executives:
While these decision makers may receive your rep’s email, they may:
- Have an executive assistant screen their email
- Forward the cold email to someone else to handle
- Delete it
7 Overlooked Email Prospecting Strategies
One single email template won’t work for every size account any more than it will work for every industry. Most reps spend time writing a perfect email but ignore seven additional opportunities to distinguish themselves.
- Subject line. Use the subject line as an opportunity to draw prospects into the content of the email. If you have SEO experience on staff, leverage it to come up with 8–10 prospecting subject lines that use keywords. SEO works because these are the keywords your contacts are using to search Google for hot topics at the top of their value curve.
- Salutation. Greet contacts warmly and, wherever possible, use their first name. There are exceptions for doctors, the miliary, and a few other titled roles, but for the most part, use their first name – and get it right. Forget about the formal colons and semicolons.
- Warm it up. Take a moment to warm up your email with a personalized comment at the start. This approach went away for a period, but now it’s back. People want more connection and personalization. Hi, Good morning, even Happy Saturday may be enough. For SMB executives, if you know more, use it. I’ve been known to write something like, “I hope you’re enjoying the crisp fall air. Here in Colorado the leaves are turning!” Yes, it has to align with the rest of the email, but you can feel how engaging it is. Pull contacts into the email with your warmth. This may be all it takes to get them to reply and tell you if the leaves are turning in their area.
- Closing. End with a direct call to action. Even if you stated it at the beginning, restate it simply as you wrap up the email. Lately, we’re seeing a higher response rate when we end with a question that implies a request for a response. If you’ve kept your email brief, it’s easy for a prospect to hit reply and write you back. Plus, they’ll be more inclined to do it if your email started with something fun and engaging.
- Signature. By the time reps reach the end of their email, all they want to do is hit send. Consider using the closing to extend the call to action or the trigger event in the value proposition. Have you noticed how I switch up the close in the emails when I send an invitation to a Coffee with Kendra webinar or a new blog post? Follow me and model them. It’s more interesting and personal to your prospect. It works.
- Tag line. Your salespeople have an excellent opportunity to add more content and another call to action using a tag line below their signature – as long as neither their signature nor the tag line is too long. Invite a prospect to read a related article or watch a video. Offer a link to an upcoming event or to connect on LinkedIn. Yes, there are prospects who do click these links. I clicked one just yesterday! Think about when you used one last, then add them to your team’s email signatures.
- P.S. When there is too much content for the email, but you really want to include it, add a P.S. With a postscript you can include up to two lines and it won’t get lost in the rest of the email. Hint: Don’t use both a tag line and a P.S., as it adds to the visual length of the email and turns contacts off from reading it.
Switch It Up
There is no one foolproof email that will get you in the door every time. Just as your prospects’ priorities change frequently, so does the email approach to reach them.
Switch up your strategies. If one isn’t working right now, give it a rest, then have your team try it again next quarter. Often a rest is all you need for your email to feel fresh again. That old saying, “What’s old is new again,” applies to email prospecting!
Create Email Templates
Once your salesperson has a set of emails that are effective, use them to create prospecting templates. Store them in your CRM or marketing platform where they are easily accessed. Now they’ll base emails that they can quickly adapt for each prospect.
Prospecting Email Resources
We’ve been email authorities since 1999, back when it was a new technology and salespeople were trying to figure how to use it for marketing and sales. I get a kick out of looking back on the PowerPoint presentations from my first conference email keynotes and seeing how tentative everyone was with using it as a sales strategy.
Now we have a plethora of resources to guide your team in mastering email:
- The Bloodhound Prospecting Strategy Guide. This guide outlines which cold call approaches to use, when to integrate email, and with what frequency to follow up to get a reply. Use it to define your company’s prospecting playbook.
- The Email Delete Barrier Checklist. When your reps are wondering if they’ve done everything they can to improve their cold email and get a reply, this fast checklist will help them quickly ID one last thing they could do.
- Email Prospecting training. A two-hour class that teaches sales staff how to write cold outreach prospecting emails that compel B2B prospects to read and respond. Salespeople see results within days of the class.
- How To Cold Call training. Your sales team learn when and how to cold call, incorporate cold emails, LinkedIn, calendar invitations, and more. They use multiple strategies to close first appointments, practicing on their own prospects.
- Loads of sales prospecting blogs. More tips, strategies, and approaches to gain access to your target prospects.
- The Email PowerProspecting ebook. The most downloaded free resource on our website, it’s 39 pages of tips, tricks, and examples to break past the delete barrier.
If your salesperson or team could use hands-on guidance to write more effective emails and improve their appointment setting rate, we can help. Contact us to schedule a quick consult or call us at +1-888-302-9685.
Editors’ Note: This post was originally published in July, 2019, and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.