LeadSeek Blog

Writing Outstanding Sales Emails

The concept of effective communication and its effect on sales success is nothing new to any sales department.  The foundation of any successful sales person’s strategy must be to communicate value, gain trust, explain complex situations and products, and differentiate your company from competitors.  Nowhere is this more important than in a sales email.  There is a very small window of time in which to gain the reader’s attention and motivate them to take further action to engage with you and your company.  Here are a few strategies that we use to make our emails more effective.

Knowing your audience

This is the first step in thinking about how to write your email.  The factors that will catch the eye of an accountant, for example, are not necessarily the same as those that will motivate a CFO to learn more about you.  Begin by thinking about your current customers.  When those customers were still prospects, what were the factors that motivated them to engage with your company?  What makes your company attractive to C-Level employees vs. mid-level managers?

If you’re not sure, ask them!  A quick customer survey is a great way to learn what sets your company apart from your competitors, as well as the different factors that make you appealing in different levels and departments of your customers’ companies.

Let them hear it straight from the horse’s mouth

You know that your business offers a valuable product/service, but your prospects are hearing the exact same thing from each of your competitors.  How do you set yourself apart in the eyes of your target base?  An extremely effective way is to leverage the testimony of your existing happy customers.  Hearing from your customers what problems your company was able to solve and the reasons they originally chose you over your competitors allows your prospects to see the value you provide in a unique way.

It is a common business practice to keep track of what others in the same industry are doing to make them successful.  If you have a large, high-profile customer you can reach a large number of prospects that will be interested in what strategies that company is implementing.  Even if your business focuses on smaller or local businesses, you can leverage that customer’s testimony to gain more customers in the same area, revenue group, and industry.  Your prospects will find it extremely valuable to see what other businesses just like theirs are doing and why.  Even simply stating the size of your large customer base tells your prospects that you provide something that is useful to a large number of people and you’re worth learning more about.

Small steps

Once you’ve caught the attention of the reader, it’s tempting to jump straight to the end of the process and try to get them to buy right away.  It’s best to avoid that temptation and ask for a small step from the prospect.  The reader is much more likely to, say, reply to an email to learn more than they are to immediately commit to a purchase.

Keeping your “ask” small and easy will ensure that more people will take the next step to engage with you.  Ask a question that defines the value you add and that the prospect is likely to say yes to, but try to make it as specific as possible.  For example, if you provide commercial fleet tracking, ask the prospect if they would be interested in saving on fuel costs.  Most companies with a fleet will be enthusiastic enough about that prospect to reply and begin conversations with you.

Introduce yourself

It can be easy to forget that there’s a person on the other end of an email.  Make sure to include an introductory line at the beginning of your emails explaining who you are and why you are reaching out to the reader.  Not only does that straight-forward approach inspire trust, it also shows your prospect that you are professional, honest, and value their time.  You will immediately be personally engaged with your prospect.

Pain points

Most businesses subscribe to the philosophy of if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.  Even if your prospects are aware that they have a problem, they may not know how to solve it.  Using emotional terms to relate to the prospect, telling them you understand their problem, and offering a solution to make their lives easier (or make them look good to their boss) is a powerful thing.  Often people are afraid of change or of making the wrong decision, which allows these problems to perpetuate.

That’s where you come in to point out the cost of leaving the problem unsolved, motivate them to overcome this fear of change, and wait for them to choose the company that understands their challenges and offers an easy solution (that’s you!).

Include a specific reason

The “call to action” at the end of the email is one of the most important aspects of your message.  You can provide an interesting and engaging email, but if you don’t inspire the reader to take further action, all is for naught.  Luckily, this can be simple.

Provide the prospect with a specific reason why they should take the next step.  If your goal is to set up a conversation, rather than simply asking for a discussion, include a simple explanation as to what benefits this discussion will provide to the prospect.  For example, rather than “I’d like to set up a call to discuss your fleet management”, try “I’d like to set up a call to discuss how we have helped other companies like yours reduce their fuel costs by 40%.”

Leave it up to the reader

Make sure to include language that reminds the reader that the decision to engage further rests with them.  People don’t like to feel that they’re being coerced or forced into engaging.  Simply including a sentence like “if you think it would make sense to set up a call” or “let me know if you think your business could benefit from this service” ensures the prospect that you know that they know what’s best for their own business.

What do you do to make your sales emails more persuasive?
Drop us a line and let us know your ideas or get more ideas from us!

Making the Most of Your Data

Increase Engagement and Email Performance

One size does not fit all in the email marketing world. Tailoring your message to the specific needs or wants of a certain group of people in your database increases the relevance of your messaging and boosts your response rates. The key is finding the pieces of data that tie groups of people together and place them into a common bucket. It could be the size of their business, their department, title or persona, industry, etc.

Used the correct way, email is the best channel there is for tailoring your messaging to a specific segment. It’s the most customizable channel, and still the most preferred channel for B2B buyers and decision-makers. Start thinking about why your customers tend to choose your company in the first place. How does that differ depending on who you begin conversations with within a company?

For example, if you sell transportation software, does a Fleet Manager begin engaging with your company for different reasons than, say, a CFO? Probably. So what are those factors? Make a list for each group and begin building your messaging around that list. We can then segment the database to make sure that the correct people are receiving the most relevant and enticing messaging tailored specifically to them.

Strategically segmenting your database also comes into play when considering where to concentrate your efforts. Who are your most loyal customers? What do they have in common? Let’s use that data to go out and find more people who share those characteristics and use our list of commonalities that we just discussed to reach out to those people. Start with what works and expand on those principles.

Want to learn more about how to craft your messaging to begin conversations with your future customers? Drop us a line and let’s talk.

Step by Step: How to Create Strategy-Based Email Campaigns

It is universally agreed among the B2B world that email remains the most effective and preferred method of communicating with current and potential vendors.  Many people receive hundreds of emails every day and only a few of them actually stand out enough to be opened and read.  But not to worry!  Follow these steps to create effective and memorable emails.

 

Step 1:  Define the end goal

Email can be used to accomplish several of your business and marketing goals.  It could be simply an introduction, a request for a meeting, or to share an article, case study, or other piece of marketing material.  Before you begin writing your email, decide what you’re looking to get out of this specific effort.  Do you have a current special promotion or discount to promote?  Maybe a new feature or additional offering?  The main goal of your campaign will be the foundation that you build the messaging around.

Step 2:  Write the Content

Once you’ve defined your goal(s), you can begin writing your message.  The end goal will define the attention-getting aspect of the message, such as your current promotion.  Now that you have their attention, what normally makes your company stand out from the competition – the reason that companies ultimately choose your product or services?  Think about pain points that you address with your client base.  What problem is your target base looking to solve?  How do you address that problem?  The content of the message will be what inspires that person to take further action to engage with you.

Step 3:  Personalize and Segment 

This is the step where you decide who that well-crafted email should be delivered to.  Different types of messages and offers appeal to different types of people within an organization based on their job duties, communication preferences, and schedules.  Maintenance Managers may be more likely to open one type of email at a certain time of day, while Finance Managers may be entirely different.  Use the best practices that your sales team already lives by.  Time of day when the people in your target segment are normally less busy, pain points that are specific to their department or level, even factors like level of familiarity/casualness can be important factors in making sure your message gets across as intended.

 

These simple rules are a high-level look at how to get started on the path toward creating custom messaging that conveys your company’s purpose and personality.  To learn more about how LeadSeek utilizes these principles to create effective messaging and campaigns for our clients, click here to drop us a line!

How to Write an Effective Subject Line

Differentiating your email from the hundreds of other emails in your target contact’s inbox is an evolving science that sometimes seems to grow more difficult every day as your prospects not only receive more emails but also become more selective as far as which emails they open and which will grab their attention or pique their interest.  Not to worry.  Use these simple steps to make your emails stand out from the crowd.

The subject line of an email is the primary reason that a prospect will open your communication.  Email remains the main channel for business to business communication, and the subject line is the key to making sure that your business is using that channel effectively.

The fact that your subject line needs to be unique is nothing new, but how to come up with those unique subject lines?

 

Popular References

Since one of the goals of any email marketing campaign is to gain the attention of the largest amount of people possible, why not piggy back on something that has already gained wide popularity in pop culture?  Not only will that attract the eye of your prospect, it’s also friendly, often funny, and will appeal to your prospect’s better side by suggesting a shared interest right off the bat.

In today’s digital world, pop culture has never been more popular so to speak.  We live in a world of widespread common entertainment interests to a degree like never before.  Do your favorite movies, TV shows, or songs contain any quotes, titles, or lyrics that might apply to the goal of your communication or just your business in general?  You may even get great ideas to craft a message around from brainstorming those references.

 

What’s trending?

Social media is a great way to attract attention to your brand.  It’s also a great way to gauge popularity of keywords that you can then use in your subject line.  Connect that subject line with your Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn posts for an integrated approach to a campaign to increase visibility and engagement with your prospect base.

 

What’s in it for me?

At the end of the day, your business is all about your customers.  When your customers sign on with you, what are the first benefits they receive?  What types of returns initially draw customers to your brand?  What types of problems do you solve for your customers?

Answering these questions with a brief subject line will entice your prospects to open your email and engage further with you to get to the bottom of what you can provide and why they should choose your company over your competitors to provide it.  You’ll also create an initial impression of trust with your prospect base, and show that you value their time, by letting them know right away your purpose in contacting them.

 

Humor Me

Similar to references to pop culture, a little light humor is an effective way to gain attention and to break the ice with your prospect base.  Humor is a wonderful tool for making friendly first impressions and connecting with people on a personal level.  It will ease the tension of initial contact and lay a foundation of friendly interactions going forward.   People love to laugh, and if your subject line is funny, they’ll open your email to see what else you have to say.

 

What’s the Point?

If all else fails, the most important thing to remember is to be descriptive in your subject line.  You want to be sure that the prospects that are in the market for your services or are most interested in the information you have to share can quickly and easily tell that your email contains an offer for those services or that exact information they need.

To learn more about how LeadSeek can help your business’s message reach and be read by the right people in your target market, visit our contact us page and shoot us an email or give us a call at (800) 497-5312.

The Path to Growth Starts with Marketing

Let’s be honest – especially in sales departments, marketing is often misunderstood and its importance understated.  But once we break down the marketing machine it’s not only simple and understandable, it’s easy to see how it is the crucial foundation to any successful sales team.

Marketing’s first responsibility is to gain the trust of the customer base.  We can do that in a simple and straightforward manner by just keeping a few points in mind.

 

The Big Picture

Predictably, the first step in the process of building a successful marketing machine is to make a plan.  The specific goal of each of our marketing efforts will be the driver of all of the decisions we make next – messaging, timing, offer, etc.  But where to start?

First, we’ll need to think about the company’s best customers – the type of customers you’d like to get more of.  Who do sales people normally begin speaking with when engaging a new prospect of that type?  Then we look for more people that fit as many of the criteria of that ideal prospect as possible and make sure they’re aware of the business, what we offer, and how to get in touch.

In order to build a strong and happy customer base, any business will need to strictly define the niche in which they can excel.  Especially with small businesses, targeting leads outside of the ideal more often than not simply leads to problems for both the business and the customer.  At the very least, the valuable time and effort of the sales team is wasted on conversations that will not lead to sales, and at worst, your company will gain customers that are not satisfied (and tell their colleagues about that dissatisfaction), or lose that trust that’s so important to build with the base.

Next, to craft the message we’re using to get in touch with those people, we’ll need to think about what makes the company stand out.

In a typical sales conversation that leads to a closed sale, what are the conversation turners, the hooks that cause the customer to engage with us, become interested in our product or service, and ultimately choose our company to meet a need?  What makes customers decide to go with your company?  What does your company do better than other companies in your niche?

Do you have any current special offers?  You know your company is great and you work hard to satisfy your customers’ every need, but how do you get people to sign on with you so you can prove it?  Free trials, discounts, coupons, etc. are a great way to gain their attention and a powerful foundation for a well-crafted marketing message.

We put those factors into simple, short, straightforward messaging so that the customer base is aware of exactly why we’re contacting them and making it easy to engage.  That’s one way that we build trust.  It begins as early as our first contact.

Customer testimonials can be the best source of this type of information.  Why did the customer choose you over other companies that provide the same product or service at around the same price, maybe even less?  If it was important enough to one person that they chose your company for that reason, chances are that it’s also important to someone else.  You will also build more trust with prospects when they hear from someone like themselves who is working with you and happy doing so.

 

Customers that Trust, Refer

It’s obviously no secret in the business world that referrals from happy customers produce some of the most powerful leads available.  That brings us back to trust.  Marketing plays a large role in gaining happy customers, maintaining their trust, and therefore leading to referrals which have the highest conversion rates of any leads.

There is no better way to differentiate yourself from others marketing their businesses than through direct, personalized contact with the correct people.  Rather than sending blanket campaigns with a generic message, we can craft the message down to the individual level where necessary.

 

Tried & True

You only get a few seconds to make a first impression, something sales has always known.  So let’s look at what works – what’s the elevator pitch the sales team defaults to?  Let’s start there to build a general introduction, and then dive deeper into each of the elements within that message that we use to get people intrigued, and craft individual messages around those and make sure the right people see them.

By focusing on quality rather than quantity, and by getting as specific as possible with the base, we quickly reach the correct people in an organization and bring their attention to the fact that we have exactly what they’ve been searching for.

 

Speak the Right Language

Some “traditional” marketing and advertising channels and methods such as print advertising, trade shows, and even cold calling, are becoming less effective with the increase of different channels available to customers.  With all the choices of communication methods available, customers expect to have the ability to interact with a company by whatever method is most convenient for them.

The best way to begin a conversation with a prospect and eventually learn exactly what they’re looking for is through direct conversation.  So how do we gain enough of the prospect’s trust that they will agree to take the time to engage with us in a meaningful conversation about their needs?  Through a well-executed and thoughtful schedule of repeated and consistent contact.

 

Implementing marketing systems that follow these basic strategies will allow your business to dramatically reduce the amount of time wasted pursuing leads that don’t turn into sales, and at the same time to dramatically increase the number of closed deals, turning into increased revenue, which is, after all, the whole point.

Adding Value with Every Email

As a sales person, you’ll end up sending a lot of emails that don’t get answered.  Your prospects, no matter who they are, receive a TON of email.  We all do.  How do you prioritize which emails to open and which to ignore?  Personally, I open those that provide value to me.

So, if you want your emails to be opened, it’s important to add value to each email.  Even if you’re just checking in with a customer or prospect, each touch is an opportunity to strengthen the relationship or pique interest in another of your offerings.  Here are a few ideas for things to add to your emails to boost your response rates:

  • Send them a piece of advice that addresses a problem you know they face
  • Send a white paper and offer to answer questions
  • Come up with a potential opportunity that you can help them with
  • Send an article with some latest industry news
  • Reference something they recently wrote or posted on social media
  • Answer a question they asked on social media or an online forum
  • Send one of your recent blogs
  • Find a local event and recommend a booth they check out
  • Invite them to attend a webinar
  • Send them one of your customers’ recent press releases that relates to your offering
  • Mention a common challenge/problem people in their industry face and how you address it
  • Ask if they’re still interested in solving one of their most pressing problems
  • Mention a mutual contact

Any reason you can come up with to reach out will at the very least improve your chances of getting a response and engaging your prospect.  The more personalized, the better.

How much is too much?

How to find the line between persistence and harassment.

As a sales person, it’s just a fact that you do need to be a little bit aggressive. It’s an unavoidable reality that you will be hung up on, you will receive unsubscribe requests, and you may even receive a few angry emails and less than friendly reactions to your phone calls. But at what point does necessary persistence turn unprofessional, or even cross the line into harassment?

Even though most sales people would agree that persistence is key to success in the sales world, most also fall far short of the ideal number of follow-ups (or “touches”) per prospect. Almost half of all sales people give up after one follow-up and the many more after two, when the average number of touches it takes to actually close a deal is seven!

The hard to find sweet spot is figuring out how to be persistent enough to not let deals needlessly fall through the cracks, but not come across as annoying, agressive, or desperate.

In my humble opinion, the first, and most important step is to stop overthinking it. The most common mistake I see sales people make is to overthink how to best approach sales conversations. The most effective communication strategies are those that are natural and unforced. This applies to all interpersonal conversations, sales-related or not. So, before you even start diving down the rabbit hole of trying to iron out your communication strategy, whether it’s email, phone, or in-person, first let’s all take a deep breath and remember that sales conversations are not all that much different from everyday conversations with peers, coworkers, etc.

When your psyche is set to go and you’re ready to make a call or send an email, make sure you do your research (especially for phone calls). The key here, however, is to remember that you don’t need to have deep knowledge of every prospect’s business. Simply spending a little time browsing their website and maybe looking at their LinkedIn profile will give you a good idea of what sector they operate in and a little bit of their company culture. From social media you might glean a few conversation topics to keep in your back pocket. Maybe there’s something you have in common in your work histories, cities you’ve lived in, or topics you both follow. But don’t spend all day doing deep research into each prospect. Just prepare yourself for communications by finding key information that might be useful.

One of the most difficult things to master in sales conversations is tamping down your eagerness. People reflexively react negatively to salespeople that they perceive as “pushy”. If it seems like you’re trying too hard, the prospect is likely to feel like you have something to hide or you’re trying to coerce them into a bad purchase. Keep in mind that there are plenty of prospects out there for you. Be confident and calm. Present your wonderful offering to your prospect and then back off and let them make their own informed decision. Just be there to help them out with whatever they need to do so.

Remember that your goal when initially reaching out to prospects, even if you’ve begun a conversation with them already, is to get a response and have a conversation, not necessarily to get a sale. Remember not to jump the gun and just take things one step at a time. This also goes back to the point about being over-eager. If you keep small goals in mind, rather than trying to push the conversation to closing too quickly, you will put yourself and your prospects at ease, and everybody wins.

When in doubt, trust your common sense. Treat your prospects like people, not like sales goals. That will come through in your conduct with them, and it will be reflected in the relationships you build. Even if your prospect doesn’t buy right away, building a solid relationship is valuable to stay top of mind for the future, and you may even get some referrals out of it.

Inbound & Outbound Sales – What’s the difference?

Inbound sales strategy focuses on attracting interested prospects to your business by encouraging them to interact with your content until they’re ready to take the next step (hopefully with your organization).

As an example, say you provide software as a service for elementary schools. You call the superintendent of a school district and provide a case study detailing how your other schools have been helped by your solution.

Even if they never have reached out to you, it may be because they are unaware of the benefits your solution provides. Once your prospects are aware of the pain points you can address, they will often be interested to learn more.

Outbound is perfect for breaking into new untapped markets. The prospects out there who have never heard of you are unlikely to end up on your inbound marketing list, so it’s often best to simply reach out to them directly.

So, which one is better?The answer is that both have their place.

Setting up an infrastructure and getting momentum going with inbound can be time consuming and expensive. You need a website with a strong SEO ranking, compelling blog posts, and a social media presence that promotes your site to new audiences. You also need a sales team that is perfectly aligned with your ideal buyer journey, which can be the toughest part.

Once that’s all in place, however, if you do it right, you’ll have a system that generates a steady stream of inbound leads on auto-pilot. Those leads that come in will also be already interested in your offering, so it can be a much easier close.

Outbound can involve more labor in terms of outreach, but there is much less setup on the front end. The key is conducting proper research on your prospect market, identifying pain points that resonate with your prospects, and outlining a descriptive “pitch” that details how your solution addresses those pain points. Also remember to not give up! Converting a prospect, or even entering them into the funnel, can take more touches than you think. Remember that you’re starting from scratch.

There are positives and negatives to both approaches. Ultimately, it’s best to employ both strategies to make sure you’re reaching all the prospects that you can.

We focus on outbound (the one with more leg work). Contact us to learn more about how we can take that off your plate.

 

 

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The Buyers Have the Power

All the power in the sales process used to lie with salespeople. Then came the internet. Now your buyers have access to all the information they need prior to reaching out to any organizations like yours. In today’s business world, the power lies with the buyer. Inbound sales is forced to transform to meet that change head on.

Inbound sales strategy is essential for businesses of all sizes, sales cycles, and strategies, even those that rely heavily on outbound sales. Regardless of the origin of your leads, you’ll want to learn how to sell the way your empowered customers want to buy.

So, if inbound sales doesn’t indicate origin of the lead, what does it mean?

Inbound sales is a methodology based on personalization, helpfulness, and selling the way modern buyers want to buy. It focuses on the prospect’s pain points and presents the sales people as trusted consultants by adapting the sales process to the buyer.

It starts with attracting qualified leads through marketing. It could be email or social media outreach, video marketing, ads, or blogging – as long as it brings interested audiences to your sales team and allows them to begin conversations.

The next step is consultative sales. Connect with the prospects and learn as much as you can about the problem or challenge that brought them to you or prompted them to respond. You will find some leads during this process that aren’t a fit, and now is also the best time to find that out.

If there is a mutual fit, it’s time to dig a little deeper. What pain points can your company or solution address? How will you be able to improve this prospect’s life directly? Really focus on hammering home how you can help this person specifically in achieving their goals more easily. If you listen well, with genuine interest in helping them, the sales will follow easily for the right customers, and you can stop wasting your time on uninterested prospects or those that aren’t a fit.

Writing Effective Sales Emails

Sales and prospecting emails are all about catching your prospects at the right time, in the right situation, and in the right mood.  Many sales people swear by one tried and true template, and while that template may be well-tested and optimized to the fullest, it can still be beneficial to give a few different strategies a try to make sure you’re maximizing your chances of speaking to your whole base.  Here are a few different things to try out in your email strategy.

Personalized subject lines

We all know the subject line of your email is key because if the prospect doesn’t open your email, you could write the best sales email the world has ever seen, and it wouldn’t matter.  One proven way to catch a recipient’s eye is to put their name in the subject line.  This is simple and easy to do with most automation software products, and you should definitely consider it with one off emails.

Asking a question in the subject line

Another strategy is to intrigue your prospect into opening the email.  This is a great way to get a recipient’s attention at the beginning of the body of an email as well.  The main thing to keep in mind is that you want to communicate to your prospect that you can solve a problem they experience.  Asking a good question is a great way to let them know that you feel their pain and that you have the solution.  Some good examples we’ve come across are questions like “Would you like to spend less time on payroll?” or “How much money are you spending every month on energy?”.

Avoid certain words, especially in the subject

There are certain words that will heighten your chances of ending up in the spam folder, and even if you do end up in the inbox, you’ll probably turn your prospect off as soon as they read them.  Words like sale, exciting, state-of-the-art, discount, excellent, and free are trigger words on many email servers because they’re common “salesy” terms, and that’s the same reason they’ll turn your prospects off.  Avoid sounding like you’re selling something.  Instead, aim to inform and inquire.  There are plenty of prospects out there for you.  You’re not desperate, so don’t sound like you are.

Personalize your opening line

For whatever reason, the worst email opening lines are often the most popular among sales people.  While there’s nothing wrong with being straightforward about why you’re reaching out, simply announcing yourself and asking for interest is ineffective.  We have all balked initially at a sales pitch without even knowing what was being proposed.  That’s simply a common knee-jerk reaction.

But if you begin by asking an intriguing question, complimenting the reader on a piece of recent news related to both their business and yours, or reference a mutual connection, the reader might be more inclined to listen to (or read) what you have to say with a more open mind.

Keep Your Signature Short

The closing of your email is also crucial.  You’ve gotten your prospect to read (or at least skim) your message all the way through so you want to leave them with a good impression.

Email signatures are like business attire.  Simple and well-organized signatures give an impression of professionalism and class.  Too much flash or information overload will become more of a distraction and a big put-off.  Your email signature should have relevant contact information and feature your name and logo prominently (but not too large).  No one should ever have to scroll through your signature or stare at it for too long to figure out how to contact you.
There’s nothing wrong with putting a few social media icons in there but keep those and other external links to a minimum if you do that at all and make sure the icons are small and that they link to recent, relevant information.

Bottom line – keep your emails professional, straightforward, and customer-focused.  You’re not desperate and you don’t need to sell to people who wouldn’t benefit from your offering.  Focus on finding the right customers, rather than trying to look attractive to everybody.

We can help!  Drop us a line if you’d like to learn more about how LeadSeek can help design professional, effective emails for your business.