Leaders are constantly looking for better ways to sell digitally. Phone calls. Video. Social selling. Automation. This list is endless.
In the fast-paced context of inside selling, email offers some certainty for sellers. Almost every single B2B prospect will rely on email in some way. That’s not likely to change soon, especially as hybrid and remote working increases across the globe. In fact, around the world, THREE HUNDRED BILLION emails were sent each day last year. According to Statista, this figure jumps by about 15 billion each year.
Right now (and likely for a long time still), email is crucial to your inside sales operations. It’s a goldmine for sellers seeking to get their name in front of decision-makers. It’s simple, unobtrusive, and still leaves room for creativity and engagement… when done right. In this article, we’ll look at five inside sales email strategies you can take to craft your next winning outreach campaign.
1. Keep it concise
No matter how well-crafted and researched your 700 word sales email is, your prospect won’t read it thoroughly – if at all. A decision-maker’s inbox moves incredibly fast. Most of your prospects – especially in Fortune 500 businesses – will skim-read their inbox. Even if the email is from a trusted sender.
The point is, you need to prove the value of your products or service early, clearly, and in as few words as possible. Remember: you’re not sending a marketing email, it’s a sales email. It’s important to make that distinction. At Harte Hanks, we’ve found cold emails between 125 – 250 words to be most effective.
This doesn’t just apply to the B2B sales industry either. When was the last time you, as a consumer, read a whole B2C email? It just doesn’t happen, it’s expected human behavior. Plus, when you consider 81% of emails today are read on mobile devices, the value in keeping it short gets even clearer. Your prospects will thank you when you prove the value faster.
- Use bullets to break-down your point
- Stick to important and relevant benefits
- Don’t explain everything at length
- Leave the technical details out
2. Personalize, but be efficient
Everyone understands the importance of making it personal. Personalized emails always perform better, no matter what industry or prospect. As humans, we crave interactions that feel authentic and real. When the person receiving feels there’s a human on the other end, they’re more likely to open your email and engage.
This shouldn’t be rocket science to any seller. The challenge is doing it the right way. Too often, sellers get personalization wrong by either not doing enough in-depth research and being ineffective, or doing too much and being inefficient. You need to find a working balance. You can’t justify spending 20 minutes on one email for one person, just like you wouldn’t spend two minutes on an email sent to 100 people.
With the right ICP, lead generation and messaging strategy, you should be able to personalize en-masse, as your prospects will always share some traits. Think: pain points, sector, industry for example. As a rule, we advise making sure 80% of your emails fit your general ICP with the remaining 20% being personalized to the recipient. Typically the introduction or Call-to-Action (CTA).
3. Treat emails as a component, not a stand-alone strategy
There’s more to inside selling than just writing emails. Approach email outreach as a component of your strategy; not the be-all and end-all. There are other factors in play that will contribute to closed-won.
There’s no use writing the best sales email while having a weak LinkedIn presence. If your prospect is interested in your offering or company, they have the right to do their own research. Make sure to update your other channels to be aligned with your strategy and messaging before you send an email.
Think about the positioning of your email in your overall omni-channel sales cadence. Is it coming before a cold call? Why? Is it two days after a LinkedIn outreach? Why? For the best return, it’s worth basing these decisions on data, not instinct. Think of it like building a wall, brick-by-brick. The pattern for your emails should either leverage, or provide direction, for the rest of your outreach.
4. Track everything
No matter what you do, how much time you spend designing your strategy, even if you’re the greatest copywriter ever: there’s no guarantee your email will work.
Every salesperson using cold email outreach needs to be tracking engagement through sales enablement tools. There’s a huge range of tracking tools available to gauge email impact – but you need to track it right. Just looking at open rates isn’t a foolproof way to determine success. Any good subject line will result in a high open rate. While that might make you look good to your manager, your metrics should deduct engagement type and the engagement level prospects have with your content. That way you can understand where to increase incentive and empowerment.
If your goal is to get replies, and response rates are low but clicks and opens are high, what you’re sharing is likely hitting the spot. But there is an emotional provocation to take: the value isn’t quite enough. Those are behavioral indicators you need to look for in your metrics, beyond just surface-level opens and clicks. Ask yourself: ‘What does this level of engagement mean for my prospect’s behavior?’.
It might be they engaged with one email because they found most value in the part of your offering you were pushing, or the approach suited their preferences and pain points. Email engagement data isn’t just quantitative. There are qualitative insights you can take, and action from every email sent. It just takes some analytical thinking.
5. Don't be afraid to experiment
There’s a huge amount of research and development work that goes into the modern sales email. That won’t always guarantee success. Email is hugely influenced by human behavior, which tends to throw some curveballs.
Don’t discount your email strategy because it hasn’t worked. It just didn’t work for that prospect. If you’re seeing limited success, it may be a sign to reconsider, but you should be fine-tuning your content at every turn anyway.
With broad, logical metric tracking, there are lessons to learn with every email sent. Bring the intelligence, your knowledge and research together to strengthen your initial email, based on your discoveries from the first attempt.
A strong email campaign is a continuous process. It’s constant improvement. Marketing experts conduct this analysis process all the time, editing content to get the best results they can. The same applies for sales. You need to maximize the areas of success, and improve areas of weakness for the best possible return. It doesn’t matter whether it’s your talk track, case study or assets.
Open. Respond. Buy. That’s often the end-goal for any good inside sales email cadence. Though there’s a lot more to it than a tested subject line and fancy email signature.
If you want to create a strong outbound email strategy for your team, put yourself in your sellers’ and sales prospects’ shoes. Understand how you can use historical data to drive performance forward. Look for moments to return to the drawing board. Conduct thorough testing before a team-wide rollout. That’s the only way to generate a consistent return on effort and reduce attrition from your sales reps.
At Harte Hanks we partner with sales teams who understand they have the potential to achieve more with their outbound sales strategies. Our sales process specialists can help you beat the challenges holding your teams back, and turn data and opinion into workable insights.