4 B2B Email Prospecting Tips For Higher Conversions
Cold calls and emails form the quintessential first step for any outbound sales process. But thanks to the many ineptitude salespeople you may have come across in life, these methods of out-reach are often frowned upon among prospects and consumers. A study of nearly 700,000 salespeople conducted by Kurlan & Associates, a sales training consulting firm, found that nearly three-fourths of the people working in sales simply cannot execute. “For lack of a better word, they suck”, is the conclusion drawn out in the study.
As someone who launched his business with no prior experience in the cold outreach process, there have been several lessons learned on the job. If you or your sales team has been dealing with outbound email inquiries, these following tips should help you refine your strategies and see better conversions.
Avoid Manipulative Subject Lines
It is indeed disheartening when you track your email open rates and notice that only a fraction of the people you reached out to actually opened their emails. The pressure of results often force salespeople to deploy deceptive techniques, and one of the most common ways to get a foot in the door of the prospect is by using deceptive subject lines. According to Simon Grabowski, the CEO of GetResponse, one of the leading email marketing firms, such subject lines not only ruin your reputation, but also have an impact on the email deliverability and affect your email account. Here are some popular subject lines that are known to kill the senders' credibility.
“You have (1) new Facebook message…”
“I just sent you $X,XXX.XX”
"Your PayPal Account Status"
FW: [something], or RE: [something]
While a significant majority of cold-emailing salespeople may not resort to the above strategies, there is still a sizeable amount of manipulation that exists in the outreach process. For instance, I work with marketing agencies in the lead generation process and here are a few subject lines that made me lose credibility in the initial days:
New client for <business name>
Exploring partnership with <business name>
Personal note to <recipient name> from a follower
While you may manage to raise your email open rates through these manipulative strategies, this does not have any impact on the conversion rates whatsoever.
Thanks to content marketing and professional social networks, a lot of business decision makers have their thoughts and opinions put up online. A simple Google search about your recipient or their company should provide you with lots of interesting and valuable data about the person and the company. Make use of this information to craft a personalized email. Sure, at this rate, you may not be able to reach out to hundreds every hour. But the open rates, engagement and final conversion rates are grossly higher. Additionally, since the recipient engagement rates are better, your email deliverability improves too. Cold emailing is not a numbers' game, and should not be one.
Here is an email I sent to a prospect recently – take a look at the response to see why personalized emailing works.
An ideal cold email is made of three distinct parts:
Introduction – where you personalize content relating to the recipient
What you do or why you emailed the person
Call to action
Each of these parts need to be not more than a sentence or two at length (shorter emails are always better than verbose walls of text). Among these parts, the shortest yet the most critical section is the “call to action” that you conclude your email with. The objective of your email should never be to sell your product. Instead, it is to get a foot in the door of the prospect and take them to the next level of discussion – a free online demo, a phone call or an appointment.
Craft your call-to-action in such a way that the recipient can answer your email with a simple 'yes' or 'no'. Here are some good and bad examples for email calls-to-action:
Shall I send across some free samples?
Can we have a quick chat tomorrow to see how your business could benefit from this?
Can I meet you at your office tomorrow morning for a quick discussion?
- Can you specify your business requirements so we will craft a special package for you?
Please advice on the next step forward.
Can you suggest areas where we could work together?
Persistent Follow Ups
Cold emailing is incomplete without follow-ups. According to some estimates, it takes as many as five follow-ups for prospects to respond. The trouble with following up however is that no matter how genuine your initial email may seem, it ends up appearing spammy through persistent follow-up. So how do you reach back to your prospects without appearing like a creep? The trick is in having something new to say each time. For instance, let us assume you sell a CRM software, and these are the various value propositions you offer to customers:
Helps clients manage customer relationships
Free demo available to customers
Free trial for 14 days
Promotional 20% discount for the first month
Do not clutter your first email with all of this information. Instead, you could only talk about the value proposition and end your email with a call to action about a free demo. This way, you could use the other propositions like free trial and promotional coupons during follow-ups. This makes your emails less spammy and more effective.
Another point to remember while sending follow-ups is to make it as easy as possible for the recipient to respond. Do not assume that the prospect will take the efforts to go through the thread to know who you are and what you are proposing. Instead, always make it a point to include your business proposition in each of your follow-ups. Using the same CRM example, here is how a potential third follow-up could look like
It's Anand from <business-name>. As mentioned earlier, we help business owners manage their customer relationship information in a safe and secure online environment.
We are currently giving away 100 promotional coupons at a 20% discount on all our subscription plans to new users.
Shall I hold one coupon for you? Please reply asap.
Such a follow-up email provides a unique value that the earlier mails did not provide. This makes them less spammy and more valuable in the eyes of the prospect. Also, by creating a sense of urgency, it is possible to get a 'yes' or 'no' from the customer faster – it is always better to get a negative response from the customer than no response at all.
Cold emailing is an art that one learns over time and with experience. However, this is nothing that cannot be mastered. Keep experimenting and testing conversions for different styles and you are likely to hit a sweet-spot that resonates with prospects in your industry.