“To open, or not to open?”
That’s the question running through everyone’s mind each time they skim their inbox.
And if that someone is a potential customer, the answer to that question could become the difference in our paycheck. So, naturally, we want the answer to be “open.” Of course this leads to the next dilemma ...
“To respond, or not to respond?”
And the answer to this question also has the power to change the figures of our paycheck. So, naturally, we want the answer to be “respond.”
But, how do we get them to open and respond? That’s the question running through our minds, and the one that we’re about to answer. Below we break down the steps to writing and sending an effective sales email. We'll cover:
To write an effective sales email, we need five major components:
Let’s dive into each of these components. The suggestions below come from real results seen by our own sales team as well as expert insight from Jeff Hoffman's sales workshops.
Keep it short and enticing. And remember, the goal is to pique their interest, not to sound like a used car salesman. Try these examples that HubSpot sales reps use:
Mike, quick question for you
Jerry recommended I get in touch.
Ideas for [thing that's important to them]
Question about [recent trigger event].
Question about [goal they have].
Thoughts about [title of blog post].
Have you considered [thought / recommendation]?
We discovered a few more things about email subject lines when we conducted a study in 2014 using 6.4 million emails:
And we should avoid these “spammy” words at all costs:
State of the art
Take a subset of your prospect list, ensuring that it hits a minimum of 50-100 emails to achieve statistical significance, and split the list into two subgroups. Now send these subgroups an email with the same content, but different subject lines.
After collecting results, we should choose the subject line that yields a higher open rate to send to the rest of our list.
Hint: We should aim to achieve a minimum open rate of 30% to 50%.
DON’T begin with “Hi my name is …”
Instead, we should start by saying something about them, not us. Here are some examples our sales team has seen success with:
I noticed you ...
[Mutual connection] mentioned ...
Saw that we both ...
I loved your post on ...
Congratulations on ...
The body copy of our email should convey value by connecting us to our prospect. Avoid generic value props such as: “we help web marketing firms increase their lead generation by 400% and effortlessly prove ROI to their clients.”
Try asking a great question that aligns the research we’ve conducted with our prospect’s goals, like one of these:
How, if at all, would you like to improve your strategy?
Is [benefit to them] a priority for you right now?
Do you have unanswered questions about [topic]?
Are you after a lifestyle business, or world domination?
Are you alone on this?
Has it always been this way?
Would it be nice, or does it have to happen?
What would you do if you were me?
Was this all your idea?
Want more questions? Look at Rick Roberge’s list here.
A good closing at the end of our email will give our prospect a clear path to action. Try ending with one of these questions to prompt a definitive response:
What does your calendar look like to talk?
Have you given any additional thought to the proposal?
Let me know what makes sense as a next step, if any?
Do you have ten minutes to catch up tomorrow?
Does it make sense for us to talk? If not, who is the best person for me to talk to?
Do you have any more questions I can clear up?
Are you available for a 30 minute call on [date and time]?
Let me know if [business goal] is a priority for you now, or perhaps sometime in the future.
If you aren’t interested, do I have your permission to close your file?
The email signature should not be a distraction nor a source of cliché inspiration. Here are the email signature commandments to live by:
Keep it short, use either plain black and white text or subtle colors that align with the company’s branding.
Include a phone number as contact information. Note to self: an email address is completely redundant.
Include a link to view an online profile of choice like LinkedIn or Twitter.
Don’t copy and paste an image into the signature.
And please, please don’t use a corny quote.
Below we’ve included four sales email templates that have been big hits for HubSpot’s sales pros as well as other experts in the industry.
Hi [First Name]
I’ve worked with your peers in [industry or position] for X years now. One of the key challenges they struggle with is [challenge].
Over the past year we’ve helped Y companies to achieve [business goal], resulting in Z [revenue added, money saved, productivity increased].
If this issue resonates with you too, let’s schedule a quick call. I have some ideas that may help.
I work in [targeted industry] and I noticed that you recently [company action] at [company name].
From my experience, [business issue] usually becomes a priority when that happens. I thought you might be interested in learning how we helped [similar firm] succeed in their new direction without any hiccups.
If you’d like to chat, let’s set up a call. Are you free [days and times]? Let me know.
P.S. If you’re not the right person to speak with, who do you recommend I talk to?
Hi [First Name],
The article you shared on LinkedIn yesterday addresses a challenge that I’ve heard two other sales directors mention this week. I would love to hear your unique perspective on the issue.
We help sales execs improve their reps' success with tools that use a similar approach. Do you have 5 minutes to speak on Wednesday or Thursday afternoon this week?
I saw your recent announcement this week about [news]. It got me thinking… I found this article on [topic] that I think you could use as you and your team move forward.
Hope you find it helpful. Let me know if you’d like to chat more about it offline.
Best of luck,
A HubSpot Study
We conducted a study based on 10 months of over 20 million emails to find the ideal time to send an email.
First, we looked at the volume of email opens each day of the week to determine which day correlates with the highest email opens.
We found that Tuesday is the best day of the week to send an email with 20% higher opens than average. Monday and Wednesday tied for second with 18% higher email opens, followed by Thursday at 15% and Friday at 8%.
Next, we looked at timing to determine which time of day will give us the highest chance of receiving a response to our emails. 11 AM EST took the turns out to be the winner here.
Taking Saturday and Sunday out of the picture, we found the highest email opens on the weekday fall between 10 AM and 12 PM, with the peak of opens occurring at 11 AM.
Phew, the hardest part is over!
But, we’re not done yet. Not even close, in fact, considering that 80% of sales require five follow-ups [Source: Marketing Donut].
So what can we say if we see someone opening our emails? How do we build rapport and trust with our prospects?
We’ve outlined a 3-step strategy for what to do after we send that initial sales email in order to effectively follow up and engage with prospects:
If we see a prospect engaging with our emails on multiple occasions, opening them many times or clicking on links and attachments, we can use that as a measure of interest. The more interested a prospect, the higher probability we have of engaging with them.
Rather than follow up with contacts who haven’t engaged with our outreach, we can follow up naturally, at a time when they’re actually interested.
We can track and measure this engagement with HubSpot Sales Software which also allows us to easily personalize email templates and reports, create an automatically-logged call queue, learn how prospects engage with content through document sending/tracking, and follow up with highly targeted, timed emails through email automation.
Once we determine that a contact is engaging with our emails, we can act on the remainder of our strategy like in the example below:
[Salesperson]: "Hey Josh, this is Tim over at X Company ... am I catching you at an alright time?"
[Prospect]: "Wow, Tim, I was actually just reviewing the email you sent over earlier. Great timing."
[Salesperson]: “Excellent, I will be brief. I noticed you were checking out some of the information around the link I sent on improving your sales team performance. Wanted to circle back and see if there was anything you had questions on, or if there was further information I could point you towards that would be helpful …”
Take control of your sales process with HubSpot CRM, a flexible, intuitive solution for managing your prospects and sales pipeline.
Rather than follow up with prospects randomly, we can use trigger events to target highly relevant, personalized follow ups that prospects are more likely to respond to.
Trigger events include anything from product launches, going on vacation, a birthday, exceeding Q4 earnings expectations, or getting a yorkshire terrier puppy. .
Use these tools to keep track of trigger events:
We can use these to send us notifications whenever a prospect, their company, product, or industry buzz words are mentioned on the web.
This tool sends us notifications whenever our connections appear in the news or in articles on the web.
Find a LinkedIn group relevant to the prospect’s company or industry and use relevant resources, material, or information to follow up.
Sometimes we catch prospects at a bad time, whether they’re going on sabbatical for a month or simply focused on other priorities.
This doesn’t mean game over though. In fact, it’s a unique opportunity to demonstrate genuine value and prove that a relationship, at some point in the future, may be beneficial.
With that in mind here are five examples of how we can add value to prospects:
Share the company, product, or articles with others on social media or other mediums
Mention them in an article or offer to promote their content
Share a helpful article or book on a problem they’re encountering. Even better, buy and send the kindle version of the book to them.
Introduce them to someone they may find valuable such as a thought leader in their industry or a candidate for a role they are trying to hire
Provide them with insightful feedback on their product, company or content.
Open and respond.
That’s what our prospects will be doing now that we’ve covered the essentials to crafting a sales email.
You hang up, take off your headset, and enter meeting notes into your CRM. Another productive meeting with a prospect. But don’t forget to send that buyer a recap email before you move on to the next...Read more
You may have heard, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” That might be true in some aspects of life -- but over email, sweating the small stuff is exactly what you should be doing. Business email etiquette...Read more
If eyes are the gateway to the soul, a subject line is the gateway to an email. Everything a prospect needs to know about an email is in the six to eight words they see in their inbox: Do you seem...Read more
Most salespeople face the same persistent challenge: Their prospects lack urgency. There are a number of strategies -- both successful and unsuccessful -- reps use to overcome this inertia. Often,...Read more
Don’t end an email with “thank you in advance.” Many people find this phrase rude; after all, you’re assuming they’re going to do whatever you’ve requested -- essentially taking away their right to...Read more