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13 Tips for Email Prospecting Success

blog author
Written by Mike Schultz
President, RAIN Group

Email is an essential part of the prospecting process. In fact:

  • 77% of buyers have responded favorably to an email from a new provider in the last 12 months
  • 31% of sellers say sending 1-to-1 emails manually after doing research and customizing the message is very/extremely effective (this ranks in the top 5 most effective prospecting tactics)
  • 80% of buyers prefer to be contacted by sellers via email

Infographic: 30 Must-Know Sales Prospecting Stats

So, what can you do to get more of your buyers to accept meetings via email?

Below we outline 13 email prospecting tips to help you do just that. (Note: It takes more than 1 or 2 emails to break through and secure a meeting. On average, it takes 8 touches to break through and typically these touches include a mix of media.)

13 Email Prospecting Tips

  1. Lead with referrals. Seek out referrals from your contacts. If you don't have a mutual contact, create them as you sell to reach the right person. For example, the Executive Assistant to the President can be an excellent resource for internal referrals. He or she might send you to the right person. Once they do, say something like: "John Smith recommended we get in touch…"
  2. Customize your messages. Don't be a robot. Write something that proves the email wasn't sent automatically. 31% of buyers say sending customized emails is effective, and only 5% say sending bulk email is.

    Be human and share personal details or inject humor. Avoid phrasing that looks cookie-cutter and cut the generic pleasantries and marketing jargon.

  3. Be buyer-centric. In addition to customization, focus on buyer impact over your features. Invert your writing to lead with "you" instead of "I." Why is this of importance to the buyer?

    Craft a compelling value proposition for the meeting and deliver it in your email.

  4. Keep it short. The majority of emails are now read on mobile devices. Long emails with big blocks of text get deleted immediately. Give your email a chance for success by keeping it short and sweet. A good rule of thumb is to keep it between 50-125 words.
  5. Keep it simple. Ditch the nice images and templates (these look like marketing emails). Use simple words, short sentences, and lots of paragraph breaks. This makes it easy for buyers to scan and understand quickly.
  6. Use bullets. People look at lists with bullets more often than those without. Bullets draw the eye towards them and capture attention. Put your most important points at the top and bottom of the bulleted list.
  7. Use the rule of 3. Give people 3 bullets, 3 choices, 3 adjectives describing your impact, etc. Clustering in groups of 3 makes ideas stick. More than 3 choices can be confusing and lead to decision paralysis.
  8. Use numerals. Digits catch the reader's eye. Instead of writing out numbers, use numerals (e.g., seventy-five percent becomes 75%).
  9. Ask questions. Emails that ask 1-3 questions are 50% more likely to get a response. Inquire when the prospect is available to meet. Ask what they're doing to address a specific business problem. Find out if they're interested in research that will change their approach to a business challenge. Questions boost responses.
  10. Give them a choice. Give recipients an out. Remind them it's ultimately their choice whether they respond or not. For example, "Your feedback on this research would be very helpful, but you're free to just share it with your team." Giving them an out can surprisingly increase response rates.
  11. Use their name. Put the recipient's name in the subject line and use their name more than once in the body of the email. People's eyes are automatically drawn to their name in print.
  12. Copy stakeholders. Don't put additional recipients in the "To:" field; put them in the "CC:" field. Get in the habit of asking prospects, "Is there anyone else I should copy on the email?"
  13. Clarify your CTA. Make sure what you're asking for (your call-to-action) is crystal clear. Don't ask prospects to let you know what they thought of the video you linked to and to find a time to discuss your latest research and to schedule a demo and to introduce you to their colleague in IT.

    Keep it to one ask per email.

Email plays a vital role in your prospecting efforts. Follow the tips listed above and you'll start securing more meetings with buyers and increase your sales results.

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Topics: Sales Prospecting