Writing the Best Prospecting Emails for that Sales Win

February 2, 2023

There are thousands of sales reps like you who are vying to get your prospect’s attention

whether you can make your emails stand out in your prospect’s inbox and get them to respond.

Email Prospecting is the act of reaching out via email to potential customers (prospects) with the aim to make a connection and convert them into your customers.

Email prospecting is a sales channel that directly targets potential buyers in specific markets and specific types of individual roles in that market.

This process drives a predictable revenue trend, can be easily measured, and validated for success, tested, and optimized and allows prospects to respond in their own time. Personalization is driven higher than another platform. Google ads might be good for the masses, but prospecting by your sales team through email is the best way to provide a higher ROI.

A core attribute of any sales and marketing strategy, prospecting emails using an automated email platform like Critical Impact unleashed the power you need for those wins – jumping pain points other sales efforts such as phone calls create.

So let’s look at some key considerations to pay attention to before you start your prospecting campaign.

Adhere to spam laws

We can’t emphasize it enough that you need to understand the markets you are sending prospecting emails to. Take the time to understand what country and region spam laws are in force.

If you neglect to do so, you might find yourself being prevented from future emails or worse, having your provider remove or suspend your account due to contract rule violations. We are not trying to be scary here, but make sure you are playing by the rules and your peace of mind will be fulfilled.

Wikipedia has an excellent list of email spam legislation sorted by country to get you started.

Target the right people

Now it might seem a bit obvious that of course when you are writing a prospective email, that you want it to go the right person, but who is that person? What do they do as a job title? Do they have buying power or direct access to decision makers and able to influence the purchase of your product or service?

This key point (well all the points here are key but this one gets missed the most) before you even start your email campaign is to understand who it is that you want to target and in what industry. After all you don’t want to try to waste time selling a product to someone who lives in an area that you cannot ship to. Likewise selling a service to a foreign language market that your service does not work in also is a waste of time and energy.

Like any campaign, start by identifying the market. USA and Canada? Ok then what industries in that region? Janitorial services? OK let’s go with that. Now at this point you have segmented your audience, you are going to want to find out the companies you want to target and the individuals in those companies.

Whether you use a qualified business email list service or scan the web and LinkedIn, you want to make sure you target the right person (and only one person in that company) to send your email to.

The contact might be someone (in our janitorial services example) who heads up procurement or operations. Think about who in a company is going to be the best person to open, read, and reply or click to your prospecting email, based on the role.

Craft your subject line carefully

What is the first thing you, yourself look at when you open your mail? I would bet dollars to donuts it’s the subject line. Afterall, you want to determine if it is from work, a response, or a sales email. Its this last one that we want to make sure that gets open when we send prospective emails.

So how do we make sure it gets opened? Open rates are a real pain point for sales professionals.

The rule of thumb is either keep it under four words or if needed to be longer, 8-10 words. Shorter is better though. Make sure your subject line can create a connection between you and your recipient.

A mutual connection that will be strong enough initially for them to open that email. After all your email’s main mission upon delivery is to get a good open rate.

Posing a question such as ‘Can we connect?’ or an urgent line like ‘Special rates for new subscribers only this week” will work to pique interest and get those cold call email open rates up.

Personalization in the subject line such as adding someone’s first name to the subject line of your email marketing campaigns can increase open rates by 20%, conversion rates by 31%, and reduce unsubscribe rates by 17%.*

*See What toothpicks have to do with marketing measurement strategies.

Personalize your message

Keeping on the train of thought of personalization of the subject line, be sure to include personalization in your email with the recipients first name, perhaps last name (depending on the market as some such as financial or educational markets are more formal), the company/organization name are important. Creating these fields in your dynamically created email message really help.

Salutations to the recipients first name and pointing out benefits of your offering to their company and naming that company in the email body will get your prospects attention.

Short and sweet copy but be clear

Short is sweet. Keep the email to a few lines and don’t have run on sentences. It’s about snacks not a turkey dinner when it comes to copy. Being concise about why you are emailing, what you offer and what you expect from them are as important as highlighting WHY they need your product or service.

Only ask for one thing – be it to contact you, go to a link or get back with a yes or no answer if they are interested. On that point if you ask about interest, state if they are interested in the offer “at this time”.

You can then take that to be they are getting back to you and actually have an interest but you can save that contact to follow up in another separate campaign in 60 to 90 days with a reconnecting email.

No matter what – be clear and to the point. That cannot be emphasized enough!

Identify who you represent

Signing off on your email, you have to make sure that you provide validation as a credible service or product offering. Include your name, title, company name and web address, email and phone number as well as the physical address of your company.

This last part in some cases is required for anti-spam laws. It also give those who are a bit more curious and vigilant to look you up on Google Maps Street View to see if that location is not just a mail box location but a valid business address.

You may choose to include a graphic linking to your website but remember a lot of folks do not have images load by default. So if you do, make sure you give an alt attribute to those outgoing sales emails.

Give a few options to respond to you

When the prospect is nearing the decision point to contact or reach back to your sales team’s email, provide them with a couple of ways to reach you. Use no more than two. Here are some ideas for you:

  • Simply stating – “Just email me by just responding to this email. A quick yes or no to express interest is all you need to do”
  • Taking advantage of an online booking calendar with a line such as “book a time that best fits your availability on my calendar”
  • Provide a web link to a more information form or a ‘book now’ link.

Offering a choice of options is good for some prospects and bad for others. The best thing to do is to test this and see what behaviour it induces in your target market.

Send you’re emails at the right time

Depending on the market you are sending to, the timing of your email cadence is important but will vary. Research more on what markets perform best when. Tourism probably is better for winter based on warm locations and financial markets may perform best on Thursdays at noon.

These metrics are changing a lot, especially in the post pandemic workplace. With that in mind we just want to make sure you do due diligence on this rather than providing a lot of data that can be right today but steer you wrong tomorrow.

Split your lists with A/B tests

Segment your lists! For example – we have a list of 1000 emails. Take 100 and use that for A. Take another 100 and use that for B (see 10% each). A and B might differ in subject line, body, send times or another metric you want to test.

Once you see which one performs the best send the remaining third list of 800 out. If there is no real difference between the two then go with the one that numerically (rather than statistically) performs the best.

There is no reason not to test. The reason to test is to make your cold call email cadence stronger! Be that closer with testing!

Time your follow-up emails

Sending one email and just being happy with that is really not the way to play the game in the 2020s. Create an email cadence and try to stick with it. What do we mean by that? Well in a sense it is a waterfall of emails.

If you send out your first email on the first of the month, then a follow up email should be three or four days later. A third and forth email should also be spaced apart in the same manner. A good series is three or four.

Make sure each successive email is clear on what is being offered and that you increase the urgency as the email series unfolds. You can manage this through automation or more directly through a drip campaign.

So, is that it?

Of course, there is more to cold call emailing, but these points will help you with a good head start. We don’t want to write a whole sales course outline here, but hope this article helps.

Until next time, keep those emails rolling!

– Jim

Jim Gibbs

Jim Gibbs, Senior Account Executive at Critical Impact

Jim Gibbs is Critical Impact’s Growth Channel team lead and has been selling and closing for a long time. Jim is known to be able to sell bottled water to fish.