It shouldn’t be a surprise that the business development team at Funnel Clarity follows the research and best practices taught in our training courses. This research involved analyzing more than 100,000 calls made by actual sellers calling on actual prospects. Among the many insights that this research provided was the importance of using multiple channels of communication.
One channel that many prospectors find particularly useful and comfortable is email. Our team prides itself on efficiently crafting effective emails. I can tell you first hand that there’s no greater feeling than getting a response from a prospect who compliments your email, and agrees to a meeting because of it.
There are three key aspects to a successful prospecting email. At the bottom of this post, I’ve written an example email to a recently promoted Director of Inside Sales, named John, at a fictitious company named companyABC. The email depicts these points in depth, but I also broke down each point one-by-one with excerpts from the email below.
- Make it unique
From the subject line, to the greeting, tone and length of the email, everything needs to be catered to the recipient. I shouldn’t have to tell you that mail merges and mass deliveries for prospecting are a bad idea.
Still, go beyond company, title and responsibilities; you need to show the prospect that you know what it’s like to be in their shoes. Spend 10 minutes before the email on researching recent successes or things you have in common. It’s important to demonstrate that you have gone the extra mile, and that you are worth their time.
In our email below, the first paragraph goes to great lengths to show that we’ve done our homework. This hypothetical example recently expanded to a new office location, and the email clearly reflects that:
I noticed a lot has evolved with companyABC over the past year: the new office, the addition of enterprise logos to your client base, and the growth of the inside sales team. Hope your first quarter in the new role has gone well.”
Finally, consider how the identity of the prospect can dictate other factors as well. If you are emailing other sales leaders, the tone can likely be somewhat casual. On the other hand, if your prospects work in a highly regulated market, your language and messaging will need to adjust accordingly. The same is true of cultural variables, such as prospects from other regions of the country or parts of the world.
- Make it relevant
After you get the prospect’s attention by connecting with them, you need to drive that connection home. Offer a thought provoking observation about their situation or the challenges they face.
Don’t be afraid to write a couple of lines here. A lot of BDRs are rightfully concerned about wasting prospects’ time. This can often lead to call reluctance and reliance on short emails. But if you have done the right research, this part of the email will come across as you providing value, rather than you trying to sell something.
In my email to John, the second paragraph offers empathy for the circumstances of his job. So far, the content of the email has only been about him, and he would be hard-pressed to deem this email irrelevant.
“When speaking with our start-up clients, front line managers often tell us how hectic their day-to-day can be. Between working with team members, hitting quarterly goals, and presenting numbers to the leadership team, managers often say they hardly have time to come up for air.”
- Create urgency and offer clear next steps
Lastly, and most importantly, you need to capitalize on the respect you have earned. Go for the time, but be extremely clear about the action you are asking of them. Is it to attend a full demo? A 30-minute discovery call? State that in plain language. Don’t be the BDR who asks for a 15-minute call and sends an invitation for a 45-minute screen share. The resulting sales cycle, if there is one, will not go well.
The last thing you want to be is deceptive. Most of your prospects can anticipate what you will ask for, but if you have followed the steps outlined above, you can approach that juncture in a professional and respectable manner.
The full example email can be seen below. Download the sales prospecting email eBook for more specific guidelines and examples, or get in touch to have a conversation about implementing these tactics at your organization.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October 2015 and has been updated for relevance and clarity.
Read the ebook:
Prospecting Emails: Perfected