7 Terrible Sales Email Subject Lines You’ve Probably Used This Week

Imagine you’ve spent 10 years writing the next great novel. Your editor loves it and the early reviews are great, but once it’s published, no one buys it. Turns out, your cover sucked.

Unless you’re a writer, this situation might sound pretty unfamiliar. But something similar happens to salespeople on a daily basis. They invest time and energy into crafting the right message or personalizing a template, but their prospect never reads a single word. Why? The email’s subject line was awful.

If you want prospects to actually open your messages, it’s crucial to write an effective email subject line. Below are seven subject lines you should avoid and how to make them better.

7 Terrible Sales Email Subject Lines to Stop Using Today

1) “How can [company name] help you?”

Put yourself in your prospect’s shoes. You’re scrolling through your inbox, trying to separate the important messages from the ones you can ignore. When you see this email, are you going to pause so you can ponder all the ways some random company could help you? Probably not.

Try instead: “Are you struggling with [challenge]?”

Naming one of your prospect’s current challenges immediately grabs their attention. Let’s say your subject line is, “Are you struggling with demand forecasting?” Since that issue is actually top-of-mind for the warehouse manager you emailed, she won’t hesitate to click “open.”

2) “Just checking in”

When your prospect doesn’t respond for a while, you might be tempted to send them a message with this subject line. But “checking in,” “touching base,” and “following up” emails are, frankly, the worst. Not only are they completely devoid of value, but they’re the digital equivalent of a fly buzzing in someone’s ear. Don’t be surprised when your prospect swats you away.

Try instead: “Any luck with [goal]?”

This subject line lets you build on your first email without implying the prospect has neglected you. For instance, if you’d previously sent them a PDF on tech recruiting tips, your next email could be titled, “Any luck recruiting engineers?” You’ll put yourself back on their radar while simultaneously adding value.

3) Referral from [mutual connection]

Referrals give you trust, credibility, and influence with prospects before you’ve ever met — they’re a major advantage. But this subject line (or any other that includes the word “referral”) instantly lessens the impact of an introduction.

That’s because “referral” is a term almost exclusively used by salespeople and marketers. You’ll immediately remind the prospect this is a business interaction, not a normal introduction. Your prospects will see you as the traditional salesperson thinking of their quota, rather than a trusted consultant trying to help them.

Try instead: “[Mutual connection] said we should talk”

This subject line feels more natural. In fact, you’d probably say something similar if you were introducing yourself to a friend of a friend in person. As a result, your prospect is likely to see you in a friendly light.

4) “14 Ways to Drive Recurring Revenue”

It might seem quick and easy to simply copy and paste the title of the PDF, link, or presentation you’re sending into the email’s subject line.

And sure, this approach will save you a couple seconds. On the downside, it’ll also destroy the chance your prospect will open your email.

After all, the average person receives 14 marketing emails per day (and that doesn’t include the newsletters and promotions they actually signed up for). If your email looks like yet another marketing message, they’re almost guaranteed to give it the same treatment — ignoring it.

Try Instead: “Some ideas on driving recurring revenue”

You want your email to sound like it’s coming from a human, not a robot. With that in mind, write the subject line as though you were discussing the topic with a friend.

5) “Five-second question for you”

If you want your prospects to open your email, use this subject line. Mentioning a question will intrigue them, and promising it’ll be quick will seal the deal.

However, if you want your prospects to respond to your email, opt for a different line. Let’s be real: When’s the last time you ever asked a prospect a question they could answer in five seconds? Probably never. Once people realize responding will take far longer than you’ve promised, they’ll immediately leave. Plus, since you’ve lost credibility, getting them to open the next email will be insanely difficult.

Try instead: “Hi [name], [question]?”

Including your question in the subject line lets the prospect decide upfront how long it’ll take to answer. And they’ll still have a reason to open the message. After all, they’ll be curious to know why you’re asking.

6) “Meeting Request”

To be fair, this subject line doesn’t pull any punches about what the sender wants. But that’s far outweighed by how rude it sounds. Imagine a stranger walked up to you and said, “Give me an hour of your time,” without first explaining why that’ll benefit you. You’d assume they were joking — or worse, that they have no idea how normal people interact.

You can now see why this subject line fails harder than a belly flop.

Try Instead: “[Prospect’s name] — do you have 10 minutes for a conversation?”

A little respect goes a long way. As HubSpot managing editor Emma Brudner points out, “Putting your ask right in the subject line can set your sales email apart from all the rest.” However, unlike the first subject line, this one asks nicely.

7) “Re: [title of previous email]”

Adding “Re:” to the subject line of the last email you sent the prospect so it looks like you’re continuing a conversation, rather than attempting to spark one, isn’t just bad karma. It’s also an ill-advised way to start the relationship. When the buyer realizes they’ve been tricked, they’ll feel silly — and to make that feeling go away, they will ignore your email. 

Try instead: “Hoping to help with X”

Positioning yourself as a potential advisor has the opposite effect. Instead of sowing suspicion, you’re cultivating trust. Your chances of getting a response will increase dramatically.

Choosing a good subject line can feel like a disproportional amount of work for just 40 to 70 characters. But put in the time to avoid a tired and overused subject line — you’ll be rewarded by a higher open rate and thus, more responses.

HubSpot Free Sales Training

Source: 7 Terrible Sales Email Subject Lines You’ve Probably Used This Week
blog.hubspot.com/sales

The Type of Message That Can Revive Stalled Deals in Under 15 Minutes

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You may be feeling like you have tried everything in the sales book to reconnect with clients or stay in touch over long sales cycles. But have you ever thought about sending them a personal video?

Video content has an innate ability to grab our interest. In fact, including video in an email can boost click-through rates by 28%. These videos don’t need to be highly produced — think of them as video voicemails. They are professional in that you want to represent yourself well, but your personality should come through.

Here are the four main elements of a great sales video.

1) An Engaging Reason for Reaching Out

Less is always more. Here are three interesting themes that’ll keep your video under 45 seconds:

  1. Pay them a compliment: If the prospect or their company has posted something they’re excited about or proud of, congratulate them and give some follow-up thoughts.
  2. Provide sort of value to the client: Describe the content you’re sending to them and why you thought they’d find it helpful.
  3. Share news: Give them an update that’s important or relevant to their business.

You can also keep it light. One of our reps revived an old pipeline deal that was about to sign with a competitor when he sent a comical 15-second video with the email subject line “Hail Mary.” The video began with him catching a football and asking the client if we were still on their “roster.” The client loved it, and we ended up getting the deal.

2) A Strong Call-to-Action

Consider your objective before you create a video. Are you trying to get your prospect’s attention, schedule a call or meeting, reengage them after they’ve gone dark, or show them a compelling benefit of your product?

Once you’ve clarified your goal, structure your video and call-to-action around it.

For example, your CTA for reengaging them might be:

“We haven’t connected in a few weeks, but I have an idea for your upcoming [event, campaign, goal]. Respond to this email if you want to schedule a quick five-minute call.”

3) A Welcoming Set-Up

Keep your videos to 30 seconds or shorter when reconnecting with a client or sending a quick note saying hello. Remember to relax, smile, look directly into the camera, and use a plain, non-distracting background.

We also recommend starting with their name: “Hey, [name]!” or “Hope you’re having a great day so far, [name].” This makes your video feel more personalized and friendly.

4) Good (Enough) Quality

Your video doesn’t need to be Hollywood-worthy, but it should be easy to watch.

Use your webcam or a cellphone and a tripod. Tripods for cell phones are important because they let you shoot your video in landscape mode at eye level.

If you’re using your webcam, make sure it’s high enough to avoid the “chin” shot.

Lastly, use an editing tool to cut out the dead time at the beginning and end of your recording. If you’re shooting on your iPhone or Android, you can trim right on your phone.

Apple users can use iMovie; Windows 10 users can trim right in Photos after shooting the video using the Camera app.

We also recommend downloading a teleprompter app (like this one for Android or this one for Apple, both free) if you’re more comfortable following a script.

Our sales reps share their personal video clips in our owncloud-based video hosting solution, 2Win! Bridge. This software lets them upload videos quickly and host them in a non-distracting environment.

Sending your prospect a personalized video is a great way to revive a stalled deal. It might make more time to create one than write an email, but the results will pay for themselves.

HubSpot Free Sales Training

Source: The Type of Message That Can Revive Stalled Deals in Under 15 Minutes
blog.hubspot.com/sales

23 Follow-Up Sales Email Templates to Send Instead of "Just Checking In"

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Salespeople shouldn’t send “just checking in” emails for one very simple reason: They don’t work. Buyers feel like the rep is virtually poking them, making them reluctant to answer. Not only do “checking in” messages rarely garner responses, they can even turn prospects against their senders.

But reps still need a way to get in touch with buyers who’ve gone dark. Enter these 23 email templates.

These “just checking in” alternatives simultaneously add value to the prospect while putting the salesperson back on her radar. She’ll want to restart the sales conversation — so it’s a win-win.

If they never responded:

1) Send them a short piece of actionable advice.

Template:

 

Hi [prospect]

You likely deal with [business pain], so I thought I’d share a quick tip many of my clients have found helpful: [1-2 sentence actionable piece of advice].

I have a few more ideas around [improving X]. Let me know if you’re interested in hearing them.

Best,

[Your name]
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Example:

 

Hi Sofra,

You likely deal with customer no-shows, so I thought I’d share a quick tip many of my clients have found helpful: Ask for credit cards to hold reservations. This helped Coi halve their no-show rate.

I have a few more ideas around mitigating canceled tables. Let me know if you’re interested in hearing them.

Best,

Jamie

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2) Send over a longer how-to guide and offer to follow up in person if they want.

Template:

 

Hi [prospect],

Do you [deal with X/want to improve Y]? Here’s an ebook about [dealing with X/improving Y].

There’s a lot of invaluable advice in there — you might find [specific tip or section] especially helpful. If you’d like to discuss these pointers or anything else around [topic], let’s set up a call.

Best,

[Your name]

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Example:

 

Hi Jordan,

Would you like to your new salespeople to get off ramp faster? Here’s an ebook about shortening ramp time.

There’s a lot of invaluable advice in here — check out page 30 for an in-depth training cadence. If you’d like to discuss these pointers or anything else around sales hiring and training, let’s set up a call.

Best,

Cara

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3) Point out a weakness in their business that should be fixed.

Template:

 

Hi [prospect],

[Company] sounds like it’s doing well — just stumbled across this quote on [Glassdoor/Yelp/Angie’s List/other third-party review site) from one of your [employees/customers]:

[1-2 sentence quote].

[Company] would be even stronger if you [fixed X]. Would you like to follow up about this on a call?

Best,

[Your name]

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Example:

 

Hi Oleana,

Trusthealth sounds like it’s doing well — just stumbled across this quote on Glassdoor from one of your employees: “This is the best, most supportive office I’ve ever experienced.”

Your company might be even stronger if you offered employee mentorship programs, which typically increase individual retention by 23%. Would you like to follow up about this on a call?

Best,

Kendall

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4) Share an article relevant to their industry or profession.

Template:

 

Hey [prospect],

Since you work in [X role or industry], you might be interested in this article about [X role or industry]. The author makes an interesting point about [detail of article].

Have you considered any changes related to [topic of article]?

Best,

[Your name]

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Example:

 

Hey Colum,

Since you work in home security, you might be interested in this New York Times article about new “smart security” systems. The author makes an interesting point about property owners’ increasing vulnerability to hackers.

Has your firm considered any changes related to hacking?

Best,

Claire

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5) Respond to a social message, then follow up with more resources.

Template:

 

Hey [prospect],

Great post on [social network] about [topic]. Your comment about X was particularly astute — [additional comment].

Here are a couple resources about [topic] you might find interesting:

  • Link 1
  • Link 2
[Connection between resources and value salesperson can offer].

Let me know what you think,

[Your name]

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Example:

 

Hey Annette,

Great post on LinkedIn about banking software. Your comment about fraud detection was particularly astute.

Here are a couple resources about online financial programs you might find interesting:

  • Link 1
  • Link 2

They cover several unique strategies for preventing cybercrime.

Let me know what you think,

Mark

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6) Answer one of their questions on an online forum, then follow up with more resources.

Template:

 

Hi [prospect],

Great [social network] question about X. [1-2 sentence answer]. (Make sure you link to the post, especially if it’s more than one day old.)

Here are a couple resources about X that will also help:

  • Link 1
  • Link 2

Let me know if you’d like to discuss this on a call,

[Your name]

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Example:

 

Hi Tim,

Great Twitter question about finding freelancers. Many of the startups I work with hire college students to freelance for them — the students get experience, and the companies get good content at an affordable rate.

Here are a couple other sites you might find useful:

  • Upwork (a freelance marketplace)
  • Inbound.org (an online community with many active freelancers)

Let me know if you’d like to discuss this or get a few more suggestions on a call.

Sydney

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7) Reference a relevant blog post they just published.

Template:

 

Hey [prospect],

Excellent post on [topic]. Your [comment/suggestion/insight] on X stood out for [reason].

Have you considered writing about Y as a follow-up post?

Best,

[Your name]

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Example:

 

Hey Dave,

Excellent post on the state’s real estate market. Your argument that restaurants are driving the local retail landscape was particularly persuasive — most investors aren’t looking carefully enough at those stats.

Have you considered writing about the generational shift into cities as a follow-up post?

Best,

Sarek

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8) Send them a blog post your company has just published.

Template:

 

Hi [prospect],

You [previously downloaded or read X piece of content/likely deal with Y problem/belong to Z industry], so you might get value from this blog post my company just published: [title].

If you’re in a rush and can’t read it all, [tip, section X] seems like it’d be particularly useful for [company].

Best,

[Your name]

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Example:

 

Hi Amanda,

You previously downloaded our guide to designing an intranet, so you might get value from this blog post my company just published containing interviews with the winners of Nielsen’s 10 Best Intranets of 2016 awards.

If you’re in a rush and can’t read it all, example #4 seems like it’d be particularly useful for Cloudius, since it features another energy firm.

Best,

Julian

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9) Recommend an event in their area.

Template:

 

Hi [prospect],

What are you doing on [date]? Noticed [event] will be taking place in your area — it seems like a great fit for you because [value of event].

Here’s the link to the website if you want to check it out: [link].

Best,

[Your name]

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Example:

 

Hi Jon,

What are you doing on October 3? Noticed there’s an IT professionals meetup on that day in Framingham — it seems like a great opportunity to network and potentially recruit more folks for Kerchief.

Here’s the link to the website if you want to check it out: [link].

Best,

Harold

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10) Invite them to an upcoming webinar or educational event your company is hosting.

Template:

 

Hi [prospect],

Last time we spoke, you mentioned you’re currently focused on [improving X/solving Y/refining Z]. Would you like to attend the [webinar/event] that [rep’s company] is hosting? The speakers, [name] and [name], will be delving into [topic 1 and topic 2].

It’s taking place on [date] — here’s the link to sign up.

I hope to see you there.

Best,

[Your name]

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Example:

 

Hi June,

Last time we spoke, you mentioned you’re currently focused on incorporating iPads into the classroom. Would you like to attend the webinar that CurrentFront is hosting? The speakers, Hakan Staff from Harvard University and Sheila Thomas from Yale University, will be delving into tech-based learning models.

It’s taking place on January 14 — here’s the link to sign up.

I hope to see you there.

Best,

Yusef

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11) Send them a book, podcast, newsletter, or publication recommendation.

Template:

 

Hey [prospect],

Judging by your [LinkedIn/Twitter/other social network] account, you’ve got a great eye for industry content. The [article/ebook/podcast] you posted about X was especially useful.

Have you heard of [related publication/book/newsletter/podcast]? If you liked X, you’ll probably enjoy Y. I recommend starting with [issue/chapter/edition/episode] Z: [linked].

Let me know what you think,

[Your name]

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Example:

 

Hey Terry,

Judging by your LinkedIn account, you’ve got a great eye for industry content. The podcast you posted about the rise of consumer loyalty programs was especially useful.

Have you heard of the Blue Matter podcast? If you like Shop It To Me, you’ll probably enjoy Blue Matter. I recommend starting with the episode on in-store promotions.

Let me know what you think,

Darcy

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12) Bring up a common challenge your buyers face and ask if they’re experiencing it.

Template:

 

Hi [prospect],

The clients I work with are often face [business challenge]. Has [company] experienced anything similar?

If so, I have several ideas that might help — like [tip #1]. If you’d like to hear more, I’m free for a call on [date and time] or [date or time].

Best,

[Your name]

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Example:

 

Hi Hayle,

The clients I work with are often struggling to find creative, low-cost ways of engaging with their local communities. Has Shake Advertising experienced anything similar?

If so, I have several ideas that might help — like organizing an employee volunteer program. If you’d like to hear more, I’m free for a call on Thursday at 4 p.m. or Friday at 10:30 a.m.

Best,

Claire

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13) Bump your email to the top of their inbox using the “buried email” technique.

Template:

 

Hi [prospect],

Just wanted to follow up in case this email got buried.

Thanks,

[Your name]

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Example:

 

Hi Rania,

Just want to follow up in case this email got buried.

Thanks,

Jeff

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14) Ask if they’re still interested in achieving X goal, then provide a suggestion for how to get there.

Template:

 

Hey [prospect],

Are you still interested in achieving X goal? [Customer] saw [results] by trying [suggestion]. Might be worth a try for [prospect’s company].

If you’d like to know exactly how [customer] did it, we can set up a call on [date and time] or [date and time].

Best,

[Your name]

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Example:

 

Hey Susan,

Are you still interested in decreasing employee absenteeism? Full Trade raised team-wide attendance by 5% in three months by tying performance pay to attendance. Might be worth a try for Beeline.

If you’d like to know the specifics of Full Trade’s program, we can set up a call on Tuesday at 11 a.m. or Wednesday at 4 p.m.

Best,

Gary

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15) Call attention to something their competitor is doing well and ask how they plan to address it.

Template:

 

Hi [prospect],

I saw that [competitor] has been doing well in [X area] lately. Do you have any plans in place for addressing it?

I have some ideas — if you want to hear them, let’s schedule a call.

Best,

[Your name]

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Example:

 

Hi Sean,

Gladup has been aggressively hiring new developers. The last time we spoke, you mentioned that you’re also trying to grow your team — do you have any plans in place for remaining competitive in the Chicago area?

I have some ideas — if you want to hear them, let’s schedule a call.

Best,

Sarah

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16) Send a breakup email to close the loop.

Template:

 

Hi [prospect],

I haven’t heard back from you, so you must be busy or no longer interested in [achieving X]. Mind if I close your file?

Thanks,

[Your name]

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Example:

 

Hi Liam,

I haven’t heard back from you, so you must be busy or no longer interested in expanding to the San Jose area. Mind if I close your file?

Thanks,

Kevin

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If a trigger event has occurred:

1) Congratulate a potential decision maker on a promotion.

Template:

 

Hi [prospect],

Congratulations on your promotion to [role]. You’ve done some impressive things in your tenure at [company] — including [achievement 1] and [achievement 2] — so it’s well-deserved.

Have you put any thought into how you’ll achieve [business goal]? I have a few suggestions.

Best,

[Your name]

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Example:

 

Hi Emily,

Congratulations on your promotion to editor-in-chief. You’ve done some impressive things in your tenure at Fantasia — including raising print circulation and rolling out a virtual reality program — so it’s well-deserved.

Have you put any thought into how you’ll find VR specialists? I have a few suggestions.

Best,

Andy

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2) Reach out to a decision maker after a blocker leaves the company.

Template:

 

Hi [prospect],

In [month, year], we talked about your difficulties with [pain point], and how [offering] could help [achieve specific goal] over [specific timeframe].

I know there’s been a few changes at [prospect’s company] since then — are you interested in doubling down on [goal] again?

Best,

[Your name]

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Example:

 

Hi Jody,

In February, we talked about your difficulties with inefficient driver routes, and how the MPH software could help reduce team mileage by 30% and improve worker retention by 5% in 6 months.

I know there’s been a few changes at Jantam since then — are you interested in doubling down on this efficiency again?

Best,

Todd

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3) Reach out to a new C-level executive.

Template:

 

Hi [prospect],

Congratulations on your new role at [new company]. At your old company you made [X innovative move] that really helped [Y metric]. When I previously spoke with someone at your company, they were doing things [X way] — how are you thinking about this strategy?

Best,

[Your name]

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Example:

 

Hi Sheryl,

Congratulations on your new role at Waypointer. At your old company you completely revamped the mid-market strategy — doubling your revenue from that channel. When I previously spoke with someone at your company, they were focusing on enterprise deals. How are you thinking about Beanery’s mid-market approach going forward?

Best,

Jose

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4) Congratulate them on a funding round.

Template:

 

Hey [prospect],

Since the last time [we talked, I reached out], you’ve closed a/an $X round of funding. Congratulations! This is probably one of the busiest periods of your company’s life — have you thought about how you’ll [accomplish X goal]?

If that’s on your agenda, let’s set up a quick call. I have a few ideas that may help.

Best,

[Your name]

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Example:

 

Hey Vincent,

Since the last time I reached out, you’ve closed a $5M round of funding. Congratulations! This is probably one of the busiest periods of your company’s life — have you thought about how you’ll scale your onboarding process?

If that’s on your agenda, let’s set up a quick call. I have a few ideas that may help.

Best,

Simon

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5) Ask whether newly created positions relevant to your product reflect new company initiatives.

Template:

 

Hi [prospect],

Congratulations on the creation of [role related to your product]. Usually this means [business goal] is now a priority.

I thought you might be interested in finding out how we helped [similar company] get going quickly in their new direction – without any of the typical glitches.

If you’d like to learn more, let’s set up a quick call. How does [date and time] look on your calendar?

Best,

[Your name]

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Example:

 

Hi Rafael,

Congratulations on the creation of a branded content role. Usually this means securing corporate partnerships is now a priority.

I thought you might be interested in finding out how we helped May Media establish guidelines and price points while generating interest with their target partners.

If you’d like to learn more, let’s set up a quick call. How does July 30th at 2:30 p.m. look on your calendar?

Best,

Gina

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If you lost the deal:

1) Check how things are going a month after implementing a competitor’s product.

Template:

 

Hey [prospect],

It’s been a month since you signed on with [competitor]. How are things going?

Best,

[Your name]

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Example:

 

Hey Shawn,

It’s been a month since you signed on with Toejam. How are things going?

Best,

Huck

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2) Check how things are going as their contract with a competitor is winding down.

Template:

 

Hi [prospect],

Last time we chatted, you mentioned your contract with [competitor] is winding down in [month]. How’s everything going with [product]?

Also, I came across a [blog post/ebook/guide] on [topic] you might find helpful: [link].

Looking forward to hearing from you,

[Your name]

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Example:

 

Hi Ethan,

Last time we chatted, you mentioned your contract with Banyan is winding down in June. How’s everything going with their platform?

Also, I came across a post on Google Chrome keyboard shortcuts your team might like — know you guys are big Chrome fans [link].

Looking forward to hearing from you,

Shruthi

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Salespeople often default to the standard “touching base” message because they’re in a rush. With these follow-up templates, writing a thoughtful, personalized, helpful email takes mere minutes — with potentially enormous payoff.

HubSpot Free Sales Training

Source: 23 Follow-Up Sales Email Templates to Send Instead of "Just Checking In"
blog.hubspot.com/sales

17 Email Subject Lines Sales Reps Swear By & Why They Work So Well

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While many people agonize over their email copy and then slap a hastily written subject line on two seconds before hitting “send,” sales reps know that the situation should actually be reversed.

After all, there’s no point in crafting a beautiful message if buyers don’t even open it. And what prompts the all-important open? The subject line.

Find out your industry's email open rate benchmark and start being better than  average. Now.

But with only a tiny bit of real estate to work with, there’s no room for mistakes. With this in mind, we took to Reddit’s Sales channel to round up sales email subject lines vouched for by real sales reps. Instead of reinventing the wheel with your messages, use these subject lines knowing that they’ve been tried, tested, and verified to work by reps around the world.

Interested to learn why these subject lines do the trick? We’ve also included the logic behind each for your knowledge.

1) “I hope all is well”

The Reddit user who suggested this subject line says that “it gets a lot of reads from decision makers who are tired of people trying to serve their own self interests.” Demonstrating genuine concern for the email recipient is refreshing.

Why it works: In a study, Ferrazi Greenlight found that reps who focused primarily on building relationships rather than generating transactions were more successful in the long run. Prioritizing the relationship from the very beginning will separate your message from the scores of other hard sales pitches.

2) [Personal tidbit about the buyer]

The more you can personalize your email subject line to the person at the other end of the “send” button, the better. According to Ali Powell, principle account executive at HubSpot, the secret to writing a phenomenal sales email subject line is to make it something about them — that couldn’t apply to anyone else. 

Why it works: People prefer personal over pretty. Consider the fact that plain text emails soundly beat beautifully designed HTML emails in a series of A/B tests. Why? They look like one-to-one messages. So even though the subject line “love that you’re in a band” doesn’t look as sophisticated as “Technology For the Future,” it’s a lot more appealing to your buyer who moonlights as a drummer and controls the tech budget purse strings for her company by day.   

3) “Your annual goal”

The essential nugget in this subject line is “your.” Pair “your” with any goal or problem the prospect might be experiencing, and you’ve got a hyper-relevant email subject line. And if you can’t nail down an issue unfolding at the buyer’s company? As the redditor who vouched for this subject lines points out, “then you’re just spamming an advertisement.”

Why it works: It’s a well-known anecdotal fact that most people prefer talking about themselves than listening to others, but we now have the science to back this up. Research from Harvard shows that when people talk about themselves, areas of the brain pertaining to motivation and reward spring into action. 

4) “Quick question”

Curiosity didn’t just kill the cat, it also made the buyer click. This subject line is a favorite among redditors.

Why it works: According to curiosity-drive theory, people find uncertainty unsettling. Conversely, clearing up areas of uncertainty is mentally satisfying. Teasing the email recipient with a “quick question” without telling them what it is prompts prospects to open your message and alleviate the ambiguity.

5) “One more thing”

What could it be? The prospect will have to open your email to find out.

Why it works: Similar to “quick question,” this subject line plays on the buyer’s curiosity. They must either read your email … or live with the unease of not knowing what you’re offering.

6) “[Name] referred me to you”

Smart reps know that referrals are as good as gold in sales. According to NoMoreColdCalling.com, referred prospects have a whopping 50% close rate. If you’ve been introduced to a prospect by someone they trust, make it clear in the subject line that it’s referral.

Why it works: Referral sales expert Bill Cates notes that salespeople who get referred to new prospects “borrow trust” from the referral source. This means that instead of coming in cold, the relationship between the rep and the prospect automatically becomes warmer thanks to the relationship between the referred prospect and the referral source. 

7) “Contacting you at [Referral]’s suggestion”

Different phrasing, same idea. 

Why it works: Think of a referral as social proof on steroids. The closer the prospect is to the referrer, the better.

8) “You are not alone”

Generally, prospects only have visibility into their own organization while salespeople enjoy a broader vantage point that spans countless buyers and customers. One Reddit user pointed out that this subject line provides a good opening to an email containing a case study or testimonial from an organization similar to the prospects’.

Why it works: Who likes to be alone? The mere fact that other people have done or are doing something is often enough to sway opinions and drive action, thanks to the bandwagon effect.

9) “Good morning, [Name]”

According to Laurie Puhn, 94% of couples who greet each other with “Good morning!” each day report they have an “excellent” relationship. Granted, you probably don’t want to date your prospect, but you do want to forge a strong bond with them. A simple salutation might be just what the doctor ordered.

Why it works: In a world where fewer and fewer people greet each other when they get into the office, a simple “good morning” is a humanizing differentiator for your email. 

10) “[Name], we can help you [goal]”

Would a rose by any other name smell as sweet? To be honest, I really don’t care as long as you use my name in conversation. Inserting a prospect’s name into your email’s subject line emphasizes that the message is just for them.

Why it works: Not only has research shown that people respond positively to hearing their names, the phenomenon of implicit egotism holds that our name-based preferences extend to the cities we choose to live in, and what occupations we pursue. 

11) [Referral name]

This is another one from Powell’s arsenal“Just put the full name of the person in the subject line and nothing else. I promise this works!” she writes. For example: “Jane Smith” or “John Doe.” It really doesn’t get any easier than that.

Why it works: We’ve already talked about the power of referrals, which is one reason this subject line is so potent. But there’s another reason — in a sea of emails labeled with verbs and adjectives, a person’s name (and one the recipient knows well at that) stands in stark contrast.

12) “Possible meeting [date] at [time]”

The user who added sales trainer’s Kate Kingston’s subject line to r/sales gave one additional tip as to how to use it: “Setting an appointment on the :45 is much less pressure than setting it on the :00 or even :30 because it appears that you will only take up 15 minutes of your decision maker’s time.”

Why it works: According to Copyblogger, “A specific headline conveys more valuable information to a potential reader, which acts to draw them magnetically into the content.” Although a subject line isn’t exactly a blog post title, the principles of specificity still apply, and can help boost your open rates.

13) “[Situation] at [Company]”

For example, “Sales Training at Business Inc.” or “HR Services at Organization Y.” Whatever it is that you sell, connect it with the company you’re prospecting into for a subject line one-two punch.

Why it works: Just like the prospect’s own name, buyers are also partial to the name of their company. When in doubt, personalize.

14) “Who is in charge of X at [Company]?”

Seeking an introduction to the right contact at the buyer’s organization? There’s nothing like getting right to your point in the subject line of the message.

Why it works: According to sales trainer Jeff Hoffman, approaching prospects like a curious student instead of a knowledgeable expert boosts engagement. Posing a question in your subject line asking for the prospect’s help paves the way for a conversation — the point of a prospecting email.

15) [blank]

Can’t think of a great subject line? One Reddit rep endorsed using a blank subject line every once in a while.

Why it works: Research from HubSpot Sales revealed that no subject line is the most powerful subject line of all. An analysis of 6.4 million emails showed that messages with a blank subject line were opened 8% more often than those with subject lines.

16) “Can I help?”

The age of Always Be Closing is dead — to be successful, salespeople must practice Always Be Helping. Use this subject line to tell the buyer you’re eager to add value.

Why it works: As soon as your prospect sees this in her inbox, she’ll wonder, Help with what? To find out, she will read your email. The well-written, personalized contents will prompt her to respond.

17) “This is a sales email”

 Another commenter on the Reddit thread said messages with this title are opened at a “very high” rate.

Why it works: Rather than trying to disguise the reason you’re reaching out, be honest –prospects appreciate when you don’t beat around the bush. You’ll earn instant trust, not to mention differentiate yourself from less straightforward sales reps.

What’s the subject line that you swear by? Share in the comments.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in December 2015 and has been updated for comprehensiveness and freshness.

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Source: blog.hubspot.com/sales

The Stupid Sales Email Technique I've Been Arguing About for 30 Years

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In the past 30 years, I’ve listened to a lot of smart sales leaders and experts tell me breakup emails are effective.

I respect these people deeply — but none of them have ever convinced me. If it were up to me, salespeople would never send breakup emails.

How Breakup Emails Work (In Theory)

Quick summary to make sure we’re on the same page: A rep sends a breakup email after she’s attempted to contact her prospect several times with no response. She writes, “I haven’t heard from you, so I assume this isn’t a priority. If you don’t answer, I’ll take you off my list.”

A very small percentage of buyers — maybe one or two — will reply apologetically:

“Sorry for not responding, I’ve been slammed. It’s not a good time right now, but maybe try me again next quarter.”

The salesperson responds, “No problem, I’m glad to hear from you. I’ll reach out in August.”

She puts that opportunity back in her pipeline for August. At this point, she’s feeling great about the breakup email. It worked — at least if you define success as getting a reply.

Yet when August rolls around and the rep tries to get the ball rolling again with the customer, he’s still not interested.

The Net Results of Breakup Emails

I see zero benefits to sending breakup emails.

You might get replies — in fact, reps always tell me they get their highest response rate from breakup emails — but you’re not actually closing deals.

During my first years in selling, I worked at a brokerage firm where the common practice was to leave customers voicemails in a grave tone:

“Hi David, it’s very important I hear back from by the end of the day. I can be reached at [number].”

The seriousness combined with the ambiguity almost always resulted in call-backs. But did those people become customers? No. As soon as they realized what the call was about, they hung up.

The end result of sending a breakup email versus not sending one is the same: No opportunity.

And there are significant downsides.

First, this approach makes you look desperate. You’re “breaking up” with someone who’s already breaking up with you. In addition, it makes the power dynamic even more imbalanced. The buyer wonders why you’re spending so much time and energy on them when they haven’t indicated any interest. They’ll decide your product isn’t valuable or your services aren’t in-demand.

Neediness is the nail in a salesperson’s coffin. Prospects won’t take you seriously, let alone buy your offering.

Second, you’re sabotaging yourself with the buyers who don’t respond. Let’s say you send 100 breakup emails over 12 months. Five to 15 prospects write back, “I’m sorry, call me later.”

That means 85% of your recipients are thinking something like, “Why won’t this person get the hint? Stop sending me sales emails.”

In time, many of these buyers will become better fits for your product — maybe they change jobs, get promoted, discover an emerging problem, or launch a new program or project. But because you’ve created a bad name for yourself, you probably won’t be their first (or even their fourth) choice.

Which brings me to my third point: Do you truly want to remove these prospects from your pipeline forever?

Of course not. You want to reach out again next quarter to see if their situation has changed. When buyers get your email a few months down the line, they’ll know your breakup email was just a bluff.

The Alternative to Sending Breakup Emails

During every sales training, I give reps the same message: The leads you’re working aren’t yours. They belong to your company. It’s an honor to care for the leads you’ve been provided with, so do it with dignity.

If you don’t want to poison your company’s reputation and ability to work with future customers, don’t send breakup emails.

You might be wondering what you should do instead.

I suggest nothing.

After several attempts with no response, put the buyer on a list of contacts you’ll try again on a future date.

I often find that when a rep reaches back out in several months, her prospect will say, “You tried to reach me earlier in the year — I’m sorry I never got back to you. We’ve had some changes since then. I’d like to learn more about your product.”

The salesperson can respond, “Don’t apologize. I email hundreds of people, so I don’t remember the ones I sent you. I’m glad we’re talking now.”

Not only does this reply put the buyer at ease, it also makes the rep seem confident, controlled, and credible.

Chasing a prospect is inherently risky: It puts your perceived authority and power in danger. There’s no way you should compound that loss with pushy tactics like sending a breakup email.

What do you think: Are you a believer in breakup emails? If you can show me one piece of data that this technique pays off, I might change my mind. Please leave your opinion in the comments so we can get a thoughtful discussion going.

Looking to go deeper into efficient and effective prospecting techniques? I’ll be in Boston on June 12, with our Why You? Why You Now?™ 1/2 prospecting workshop. Learn more.

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Source: The Stupid Sales Email Technique I've Been Arguing About for 30 Years
blog.hubspot.com/sales

The Brand-New Strategy for Increasing Email Open Rates by 5X

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Optimizing prospecting and sales emails is something you could probably dedicate the rest of your life to. You might even argue that that’s a good part of what you’ve been doing to this point. Because, if your sales team can’t stand out in the inbox, grab attention, and ignite a response from their prospects or accounts, how are they going to close a deal?

They’re probably not. Or, they’ll at least struggle a lot.

Which is why it’s exciting when a new tactic is uncovered that will significantly improve open, click-through, and response rates.

We’ve seen that happen with video.

Reps that use video in prospecting, relationship-building, and sales emails see 5x higher open rates and 8x higher open-to-reply rates. And they’re just getting started.

As sales leaders learn that video is the next generation of sales communication, they’re starting to ask not “Why should I be using video?” but “How should I be using video?”

Take a look at the videos you should use for reaching out to new prospects, keeping in touch with existing ones, and closing deals.

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Let’s delve into using video in the three main types of emails.

Using Video in Prospecting Emails

When you’re freshly reaching out to a new lead, it’s so important that you stand out and get noticed. Prospecting emails have to stick out in crowded inboxes. For BDR and SDR teams, the best opportunities to spice up those prospecting emails with video are:

  • Prospecting
  • Follow up
  • Account-based selling

The biggest things to keep in mind here are similar in nature to any other form of prospecting: You’re trying to capture attention with an audience that doesn’t really know you yet. You’ll want to focus your videos on:

  • Capturing attention: Use “video” in your email subject lines and include the thumbnail in the email body
  • Establishing credibility: Reps should give their prospects a reason to engage with them other than pulling out their checkbook right away
  • Making it personal: Top reps spend time learning about an individual and their business and then use this info to connect with leads individually

Try this template:

[Prospect], I made you a personal video

Hi [prospect],

As the [title] at [prospect’s company], I imagine you’re focused on improving [relevant item]. I put together a 45-second video explaining how [rep’s company] can [do X, improve Y, solve Z]. 

[Video]

Looking forward to sharing more best practices. How does [date and time] work
for an introductory call?

Best,
[Name]

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Using Video in Relationship-Building Emails

Sometimes, you already know your leads. You don’t need to introduce yourself and establish your position in the market: Your leads already know this information. But you do need to stay top-of-mind to keep building the relationship and be there when it comes time for them to make a decision. Focus your videos on:

  • Sharing marketing content
  • Using content from the web
  • Saying hello

Remember to:

  • Make the content hyper-relevant: Encourage your reps to keep their own, detailed notes on various leads and consume content in areas they’re familiar with.
  • Be approachable and encourage dialogue: Reps should give prospects a reason to respond so they can have a conversation, not a one-way broadcast.
  • Think about how your reps can help them: Their communication should be helpful and educational so they can build mutually beneficial relationships.

Try this template:

Check out this video, [prospect]

Hi [prospect],

Seeing your recent post [on LinkedIn, your blog, your company’s website], I thought you might find our recent report on [related topic] helpful.

Here’s the free download to [recent update, whitepaper, blog post]. I’ve put together a video summary here — there’s a particularly [interesting, relevant, valuable] point near the end.

[Video]

Hope you enjoy!
[Name]

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Using Video in Selling Emails

Continue to use video as leads get closer to the bottom of the funnel and are passed off to an account executive (AE). The most effective video types at this stage include:

  • Micro-demos
  • Follow up
  • Check-ins with existing customers
  • Breakup videos with prospects who have gone cold

In selling emails that are getting closer to the close, it’s important to:

  • Tie your company’s value prop to the prospect and their needs: Just like any sales pitch, they need your reps to do the heavy lifting for them. Videos should answer the question, “Why do they need your product and how can you help them?”
  • Be confident, but not pushy: Leads want to know that your team knows their stuff, but no one wants to be strong-armed into a deal.
  • Make it personal and connect one-to-one: People do deals with people. If your AEs can build camaraderie with their accounts, they’ll have the upper hand.

Try this template:

60-second video for [prospect’s company]

Hi [prospect],

With your role in [department, company], I thought it would be great to share
 [statistic on problem your company solves]. I wanted to send you a short 60-second video I created on how [rep’s company] can [your company value prop as it relates to the statistic above] this year. Take a minute to watch this video because:

[Video]

I’ll follow up after you’ve had the chance to watch the video. Looking
forward to sharing more details on how this can align to your 2017 big bets.

Best,
[Name]

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Check out Vidyard’s Video Selling Institute for more information on using video in sales.

Editor’s note: This post originally appeared on Vidyard and has been republished here with permission.

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Source: The Brand-New Strategy for Increasing Email Open Rates by 5X
blog.hubspot.com/sales

The Brand-New Breakup Email That Gets Responses Right Away

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The traditional breakup email doesn’t work as well as it used to. Prospects are tired of reps asking if they can close their file or if they haven’t responded because they’ve been eaten by a bear.

I haven’t responded to a single breakup email following the standard format for a couple months. However, I recently got one I replied to immediately. Read on to see what it said and why it worked, as well as a sales email template you can use with your own prospects.

The Breakup Email That Prompted Me to Respond Right Away

Some background: I’d had two calls with this salesperson about her tool. Although it seemed like a good fit, I decided the problem it solved wasn’t high-priority enough right now. 

Here’s the breakup email this rep sent me after I told her I wasn’t interested:

What would’ve changed your mind?

Hi Mike,

Thanks for letting me know. I’m sure you’ve got a lot going on, but if you have a minute, would you mind telling me which two or three things would’ve changed your mind?

I’m always trying to improve and would really appreciate the feedback.

Best,
Jordan

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I didn’t think twice before hitting “Reply.” And before you think, Sure, a response is good, but only if it leads to a sale” — I ended up buying.

Why This Breakup Email Works

Let’s break down why this email is so effective.

First, it plays upon my desire to help. Like most people, I like the boost of doing a good deed. It’s especially hard to reject a direct request when you know the person is trying to get better at their job.

Second, it’s simple. I knew I could help Jordan in under five minutes. The ease of fulfilling an ask is crucial.

Third, it felt genuine. I truly believe Jordan wanted my opinions and would incorporate them into her future conversations with prospects. And since she wasn’t trying to be clever or memorable, this message stood out from most of the other sales emails in my inbox. (I’m typically a fan of sending humorous emails to your prospects, but you need to know when to be serious.)

Fourth, and most importantly, it made me think about the product and why I’d walked away. I had trouble coming up with a valid reason for deciding against buying. The earlier reason — the pain point wasn’t pressing enough — no longer felt compelling once I’d typed it out.

Here’s the message I sent Jordan:

Re: What would’ve changed your mind?

Hey Jordan,

To be honest, I don’t think you should have done anything differently — I like [product]. I might have said no too soon. Want to hop on a call this afternoon to discuss?

Cheers,
Mike

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Breakup Email Template

To get the same kind of results, use this template:

[Prospect], quick favor

Hi [prospect name],

Thanks for taking the time to [talk to me about, consider, download a trial of] product X. I understand if it’s not a fit and [wish you the best with Y opportunity, hope you find a solution to Z problem].

I’m sure you’ve got a lot going on, but if you have a minute, would you mind telling me which two or three things would’ve changed your mind?

I’m always trying to improve and would really appreciate the feedback.

Best,
[Your name]

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Does this mean sending this message will automatically convert revive all of your lost deals? Of course not. But even if your prospect responds with some suggestions for making your presentation better or tells you why they went with the competitor, you’ll gain valuable intel on how to win next time.

Plus, you’ll make a name for yourself as a dedicated, thoughtful rep. That specific prospect might not buy from you, but you never know if they’ll refer their friend or come back to you when they start working at a new company.

Now it’s your turn. Do you respond to breakup emails? Why or why not? And what’s the best breakup email you’ve ever received (or written)?

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Source: The Brand-New Breakup Email That Gets Responses Right Away
blog.hubspot.com/sales

The 3-Step Process I Use to Get a 40% Email Response Rate

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In sales, there is something better than the freebies you get at every event: Warm introductions.

If you ask any C-level executive or above, they are 10 times more likely to respond to your email or phone call if you have been referred by a person they like, trust, or respect.

Most outreach emails with no context generate a 1-2% response rate.

I find that my warm referrals normally receive a 40% response rate, which is conservatively 20 to 40 times better than a standard email. The 10X number I quoted above is the bare minimum you should aim for when starting new relationships.

Despite the efficacy of this technique, why are our results consistently sub-par?

There are three primary reasons.

1) Over-reliance on sales automation platforms

The technology industry — just like the consumer market — is subject to repetitive cycles. A new product can improve the way organizations influence prospects in the short to medium-term, but as adoption increases, its unique benefit evaporates.

Technologies like e-signing and auto-dialing were all the rage; now they’re considered a standard part of the stack rather than a new edge over the competition. Sales automation platforms are the latest iteration of this trend.

In the right hands, these tools have utility. However, as sales leaders often neglect training and best practices because they’re besieged by other responsibilities, inexperienced sales development and account executives do more harm than good at 95% of the B2B companies I’ve come across.

A churn and burn approach — where sales reps send mediocre emails to hundreds of prospects at a time — creates a nightmare for future expansion when companies look to improve their growth curve.

Companies are forced to pull the emergency lifeline to the marketing department, who are tasked with resurrecting the firm’s brand reputation from the Silicon Valley graveyard.

By this point, referrals aren’t just impractical: They are unattainable.

2) Sales reps with malnourished networks

In this day and age — where the average tenure of an inside sales rep is 2.4 years — most individuals don’t have a book of business they can leverage as they move from organization to organization.

Furthermore, younger reps are not taught how to network. They approach networking opportunities in such an artificial way that decision makers can see the intent of a sale a mile away.

How many times have you been at an event and someone appears all too eager to start talking about their product in the first two minutes, instead of taking time to connect with you at a personal level?

3) Confusion over how to ask

Continuing the point above, reps simply don’t know how to ask for a referral.

Just as they don’t know the right way to cultivate their Rolodex over time to create genuine connections for future deals, it takes practice to perfect the art of sending the right email.

We often send requests asking for introductions out of the blue with no context and no subtlety.

Let me share my secret.

How to get introductions warmer than cookies

To foster warm introductions, here’s the three-step process I use.

First, I add each high-priority person I speak to into an email database. I send a personal update to this database approximately every three months. I want my contacts to think about me from time to time. In addition, in every email I invite them to share their news with me; I reply to every response personally.

When I do reach out with an ask, they feel like they know me more than ever and I know them — turning what’s normally a nuisance into an enjoyable task. A few rules for this include:

  1. Make sure this newsletter talks more about you and less about your business
  2. Only add people who you consider your personal advocates and friends, i.e. you have done business together long enough they feel personally connected to you
  3. Let people opt out easily. Holding subscribers against their will does more harm than good. In fact, everyone who unsubscribes is helping you. They are explicitly revealing that they aren’t as close to you as you believed.
  4. Use more visuals than text. Images, GIFs, and videos have a greater impact than words.

Second, I strive to be authentic when I meet people in person. I ask them about their interests, use genuine compliments, and position myself as a fun and engaging person. At the end of the conversation, I ask, “What is the best way to keep in touch so we don’t forget about [X agreement, Y topic for follow-up]?”

The final step is send emails that are likely to convert. I have five baseline criteria:

  1. Mention something relevant to them you read recently on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter, such as, “I saw you just moved to Austin, congratulations.”
  2. State the importance of the introduction to you and your career, such as, “This deal is make or break for me this quarter.”
  3. Ask what you can do in return and make some suggestions, such as, “I see one of your sales reps is trying to break into X account. Could I help in return with an intro? Is there anything else I could do for you?”
  4. Give them a pre-written template and invite them to make edits, such as, “I wrote an intro email which could be helpful — please feel free to use if convenient.”
  5. Thank them in advance. This adds an emotional trigger, influencing them to take action.

Here’s an actual email I sent, along with the response. For context, John is a marketing leader at his company, and I am requesting an intro to the VP of Sales.

 

John!

I have been reading what your CEO has been writing on LinkedIn, and I sense a bit of your magic touch — you will have to give me some advice as I’m lucky to get one or two likes on most of the things I share.

We haven’t spoken for a few weeks but forgive me over a quick beer next time we see each other.

I’m emailing you as I would greatly appreciate an introduction to [name], the current VP of Sales. Thanks in advance for your help here — it is really important to me given that I will be in the area in four weeks and would love to visit as I am seeing some companies very close to your Denver office.

Since you’re helping me, is there anything I can do in return? 

I have written a template below you can copy and paste — but please feel free to rewrite it in your own words.

Thanks again,
Dailius Wilson

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[Name],

Recently one of my friends, Dailius Wilson, reached out as he will be in the area in a few weeks, flying in from San Francisco. Given that he already works with [company #1], [company #2], and a couple of other firms in our space, I think it would be a good opportunity to get the low-down on how his company is helping them.

I have CC’d him in the email to you and included a brief elevator pitch below: 

You know how it is extremely difficult to give prospects early access to our references? Dailius’s company helps deflect 30% of reference requests by proactively bringing authentic third-party reviews to use instead of conventional reference calls. His company also helps [company #1] and [company #2] boost sales by assisting reps to write better prospecting messages with their technology.

Excited for you both to meet.
John

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Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, and feel free to contact me if you would like to see more of my most successful templates.

Editor’s note: This post originally appeared on LinkedIn and has been republished here with permission.

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Source: blog.hubspot.com/sales

Call or Email? 4 Tips to Determine When to Use Which in Sales

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The method of outreach sales reps use for a first connect makes a significant difference in response rates. Rather than deciding whether to call a new prospect or send an email based on personal preference, use the method your prospect will be most responsive to.

Which leads me to the question: Phone or email? While there are a few tips that can help you decide, sales reps should know that in the grand scheme of a sales engagement, it’s phone and email. However, I’m specifically addressing the first touch in this article, and since you shouldn’t issue an identical email and voicemail, you have to make a choice.

When deciding between trying a prospect by phone or sending an email, let the following four factors be your guide.

1) Time and Day of the Week

First, consult a calendar and a clock. Statistically, phone connect rates rise as the day progresses, and as the week progresses. In other words, a person is more likely to answer their phone later in the workday and the workweek.

That said, I like to reserve 3 p.m. and later of the prospect’s local time as my prime calling hours. Same goes for Thursdays and Fridays — I block out large chunks of time on these days for cold calling.

But what if a prospect doesn’t pick up their phone in these timeframes? Leave a voicemail. Response rates to voicemails also increase later in the day since checking phone messages is something people often do before heading home for the evening. Calling late is a win-win.

On the other hand, the ideal timespan in which to send email is shorter but more frequent. While I draft connect emails throughout the day, I am careful to send them either 10 minutes before the hour or 10 minutes after the hour. These brief windows correspond with people leaving or going to meetings. What do they do with the few minutes they have to kill? Scroll through email on their smartphones. If you synch your email to be sent with the time your buyer is most likely to check their inbox, your message will pop up on top instead of being buried beneath others. 

2) The Ask

What’s your objective for this first outreach? To set up a meeting? Get some more information? Receive a referral? Figuring out your ask and categorizing it as “weak” or “strong” will help you determine whether to call or email.

Strong asks require commitment from the prospect to do something. I would label requests for meetings, conference calls, or product trials as strong closes. Weak asks seek straightforward information from the buyer — think a prompt for feedback or a referral.

Once you know your close and have determined if it’s strong or weak, it’s easy to choose between a call or an email. If you’re putting forth a strong close, pick up the phone. Because these asks require more from the prospect, salespeople need to employ their closing skills to secure a “yes.” And it’s far easier to persuade on a phone call, when a rep can respond to and smooth over objections in real time. 

But if the ask is weak, draft an email. Don’t take up the prospect’s time on the phone unnecessarily if your request can be fulfilled with a few short lines of text.

It’s interesting to note that most salespeople take the opposite approach — they ask buyers for meetings through emails and reserve simple questions for calls. Why? Because they’re afraid of being rejected on a strong ask over the phone.

Don’t let fear block your way to connecting with a buyer. Reverse this equation and watch your response rates climb.

3) The Level of the Prospect

Do individual contributors have assistants? Not usually. But do C-level executives? Almost always.

That’s why the higher up your prospect is in an organization, the more likely you are to reach a live person when you call. Since a live conversation with anyone — regardless of whether they’re the person you were trying to reach or not — trumps an email exchange, lean on the phone with buyers at the management level or above. Also, higher-level prospects are generally more comfortable on the phone, and less intimidated by sales calls.

But if individual contributors don’t answer their phones, no one else is going to pick up — and they’re not likely to return a call from an unknown number. In addition, lower-level professionals are often away from their desks — traveling, working in groups, participating in meetings, and so on. Therefore, a rep is much more likely to connect with a prospect at this level through an asynchronous channel such as email.

4) The Buyer Persona

Some buyer personas favor a different communication style than others. Their preference depends on multiple factors: Their age, the nature of their job, their industry, and more.

In general, millennials like communicating by email more than over phone. If you’re reaching out to a younger buyer, take this into account.

You might find professionals in customer-facing roles are more amenable to talking on the phone — because that’s what they’re used to. Those in internal jobs, however, may be more comfortable sending emails.

Lastly, those in more traditional industries are typically accustomed to phone calls.

Following Up

These four criteria make it much easier to choose between an email and a phone call for your first outreach. But what about subsequent touch points?

In my opinion, the beginning and the end of each sales engagement should be phone-heavy, since that’s where the strongest asks are — starting a relationship, and closing a deal. In between, reps should opt for email as a rule of thumb.

Want more sales tips? Check out my blog

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in February 2015 and has been updated for freshness and comprehensiveness. 

HubSpot CRM


Source: blog.hubspot.com/sales

7 Intriguing Questions to Include in Your Prospecting Email

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Ending your first email to a prospect with a question gets their mental gears turning, demonstrates your subject matter expertise, and helps kick off a meaningful conversation.

Perhaps most importantly, it makes your message memorable. The Zeigarnik effect states that people fixate on unfinished tasks — so leaving a question dangling in your prospect’s mind causes them to think about your email long after they’ve read it.

What should you ask buyers? Great question. These seven options will help you end prospecting emails on a strong note. 

If you’re more of a visual learner, click here to jump straight to the infographic we created with 24Slides.

7 Questions to Use in Prospecting Sales Emails

1) “Would you like to learn about the opportunity I think [prospect’s competitor] is missing out on?”

Nothing is more interesting than competitive intelligence. The buyer doesn’t know if you have real insights to offer — but they’ll want to get on the phone to find out.

Citing another player in your prospect’s space also proves you’re not spraying and praying, since this email could only apply to them.

2) “I see [prospect’s company] uses [X strategy]. Why?”

Not only will you learn valuable information about why the buyer is using a specific approach, you’ll also make them wonder if you know about a better way.

3) “I see [prospect’s company] isn’t investing in [Y area]. Why not?”

This question is a variation on #2. The response will tell you whether your prospect doesn’t know about the opportunity, is unsure how to capitalize on it, or doesn’t have the resources to do anything about it.

No matter the answer, you’re in a good position to help. Prove the opportunity is worth their time, help them create a plan, or show them how your product makes it far simpler to execute.

4) “Is [likely challenge or opportunity] a priority for [prospect’s boss]?”

Use LinkedIn to discover to whom your prospect reports (or to whom their boss reports). Do some digging to identify their top initiatives — maybe they wrote a blog post discussing their current focus, spoke at a webinar about their success in an area, or belong to a niche community.

Use this intel to craft your question. Your prospect will be eager to learn if you can help them impress their boss.

5) “Do you want to get on a call with [expert within your company] to discuss [prospect’s business focus]?”

Offer to connect your recipient with an internal expert. For example, if she works in Sales Operations, you might write:

“Our Sales Ops senior manager recently built a new lead scoring program from the ground up. Do you want to get on a call with him to discuss Clearize’s lead score strategy?”

You’ll immediately distinguish yourself from the other reps trying to win time on her calendar to talk about their product — unlike them, you’re adding value from the get-go.

Of course, you won’t be able to do this for every deal, so save it for important accounts and hard-to-reach prospects.

6) “Have you considered trying [X technique]?”

If you know of an easy fix for your prospect, suggest it in your first email. They’ll feel indebted to you for your help — which starts the relationship off on strong footing and makes them likelier to listen to your future suggestions.

Wondering what this might look like in practice? Suppose you sell an event hosting platform. Your prospect runs two-plus events per week, but you’ve noticed he doesn’t promote them beyond email. You might ask, “Have you considered advertising your webinars on Twitter? One of my clients doubled attendance with less than $500 of sponsored tweets.”

7) “Should I save a [seat, ticket] for you?”

My coworker received an email letting him know a webinar he may be interested in was nearly full. The salesperson asked if he’d like her to save him a seat.

Although my coworker wasn’t planning on attending, discovering how popular the webinar was changed his mind.

Use this question to incite the fear of missing out in your prospect. The offer doesn’t need to be about a webinar — you could ask if they’d like a spot saved in your organization’s networking event, online community, conference, workshop, and so on.

Once you’ve made the connection, you can learn more about the buyer’s needs and objections and craft an appropriate pitch.

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HubSpot CRM


Source: blog.hubspot.com/sales