Writing sales emails scares most people. Like your voice vaulting up a pitch when you speak to a baby or puppy, many of us change the way we speak when we put it in writing.

Bad emails are causing chaos for SaaS B2B businesses who rely on Sales Development Reps (SDRs) to generate pipeline by starting conversations through an outbound sales process.

Here is a real life example of an effective coaching strategy.

Results will vary depending on the volume, persona, value proposition and many other factors - but focusing on making it valuable for the customer will always help improve your SDR team’s writing.

Coach Your Team To Write Better Emails

"Best Sales Email Template"

Start by putting yourself in the mind of the recipient. As a leader, you receive dozens of emails and LinkedIn messages that follow the same generic format: “I noticed on LinkedIn… We work with companies like {biggest companies in my customer list X, Y, Z}, are you free for a 15 min meeting?”.

These templates don’t work anymore. And nobody wants more meetings. They want to speak with an expert that can help solve their problems.

The best performing teams follow a proven framework that focuses on relevance instead of personalization.

Tools

There are great tools out there that help you find content and snippets to automatically add into the email - but first make sure you know how to write them one-at-a-time before investing in a machine that could scale failure.

Last week, an awesome student of sales who has been an SDR for about a year reached out to me with this email.

The Email

Hi Dan,
Hope your week's off to a great start. I'm reaching out because I'm currently targeting Gap and was unsure about these emails I'm sending out to some top marketing personas:

[Subject: Gap & AR

Hi Maggie,
I read that Gap was experimenting with AR. We have great use cases for global retail and AR tech, so this would be a prime opportunity to apply both of these models.

Here's an interesting article I read on how Zara is using AR to increase customer engagement. Does this look like something you're working on?

Sean]

 

The Perfect Sales Email

As a sales coach, mentor, or peer, when giving someone feedback it is important to be a great listener. The goal is to help Sean learn how to improve on writing his next email. The best coaches are empathetic and focus on frameworks, not on copy-pasting specific phrases.

Even though Sean’s original email feels off, realize the intent is correct, but the execution falls short. This is an amazing place to start with a few small tweaks he can turn this into something great.

What feedback would you give Sean?

Let’s first focus on the good:

  • Email is short and to the point
  • Subject line is short, and makes it about the customer
  • The message is relevant to initiatives that the customer is focusing on, which demonstrates the sales professional did research

Where he could improve:

  • Convert “I”-statements to “You”-statements. There is a 3:1 ratio of “I”/”We” to “You”
  • Avoid pitching (esp. In second sentence) - instead share a relevant story/use case
  • Help the receiver get value immediately by summarizing the article, highlighting the key takeaway or sharing a unique insight

10 minute Coaching

Writing can easily fall into the Parkinson’s Law where the work expands to fill the time… give yourself max 10 minutes total: research (3 mins), re-write (5 mins), and review (2 mins) before sending back. Use a simple framework (like Winning By Design’s RRR) to help structure and simplify the task.

 

RRR Email Framework

The key to writing a great email is to keep it short, relevant and valuable to the recipient. Writing a great sales email follows a simple structure:

RRR Email Framework

Let’s apply this to Sean’s earlier email.
Note: - keeping the subject line short and non-spammy is important, but out of scope for this post.

RRR Email Framework

Response to Sean including an example sales email:

Hi Sean, thanks for sending. Here’s three ways I could see improving this email.

  1. The best place for improvement is in the first sentence - we need to make it more relevant by referencing research or something relevant to her in particular.
  2. Your second sentence immediately starts with "We have great use-cases" (which is an I-statement/pitch) - instead make it about her or people you help like her. A nice way to test for this is to ask yourself if your opener passes the "so what?" test.
  3. The reward (article) on Zara isn't appropriate to share with Gap since it's specifically about Zara fans, and not about industry trends… this could result in aggravating your customer. Here's an article I found with a quick google search on gap+AR that is better but older (jan 2017) https://www.engadget.com/2017/01/30/gap-augmented-reality-dressing-rooms/

Here’s a draft of how to convert your original into a killer email:
~~~~

Subject: Your AR initiative at Gap

Hi Maggie,
Congrats on the 1 year Gap-anniversary last month, as well as the announcement that Gap is experimenting with AR.

Other marketing leaders, like yourself, have found adding technology can help compliment digital shopping at brick and mortar stores, specifically in helping customers use technology to help customers see how clothes fit. Using data from your global stores is key to helping drive revenue - {check out paragraph 3 in this article to learn more}.

Is this one of your current initiatives?

Sean

 

Here are 3 ways to help your SDRs scale their best emails:

  1. Once you nail an email to 1 person that feels relevant, you can scale this up by sending a similar email to other people like Maggie.
  2. Always research your customers prior to sending.
  3. Prospects don’t owe you anything, and remember you are asking something from them out of nowhere… make sure you give before you take

Sean now can apply this framework to other emails.

Conclusion

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking there is a silver-bullet email template that will get you a meeting every time… do the work to earn a conversation with your potential customer.

Spending 1 hour writing 10 targeted emails will outperform spending 10 minutes sending out 100 for any sales team doing non-transactional sales.

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Thanks for making it to the end of the post. I love helping sales professionals apply best practices. Please follow or connect with me on LinkedIn to get notified of future posts.

If you want to learn faster, a more structured approach is available through our online course offered monthly. Find out more on the Winning By Design Sales Academy.

Please share your comments and insights below.

Dan Smith

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