How to Write a Cold Email: Why 99% of Cold Emails Sound Fishy to Prospects [Webinar]

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Featuring Heather Morgan, CEO of Salesfolk and Chris da Cunha, VP, Emerging Products at XANT July 23rd, 2015 at 11:00 a.m. PT

Why 99% of cold emails sound fishy to prospects

Cold Emails

When it comes to cold emails, there’s no substitute for knowing your audience’s needs and pain points. Sales organizations are under great pressure to scale and accelerate their sales revenue, leaving everyone searching for some type of “hack” that will magically triple their sales. Unfortunately, there’s still no substitute to having a clear understanding of the audience you’re going after.

While companies are continuing to invest in game-changing sales acceleration technology, they must still learn to better understand their buyers’ needs in order to see a greater lift in sales.

Taking shortcuts in sales prospecting is like tossing spaghetti at the wall and praying it sticks.

Most emails stink because those who wrote them put little thought or effort into understanding or researching their audience.

Just like fishing, you won’t have much luck if you bring the wrong bait.

Different kinds of bait attract different types of fish. Similarly, the VP Sales will not be allured by the same messaging used for a VP of Engineering.

It’s your job to research your prospects and figure out how you can hook them in before you send the first cold email. My cold email campaigns consistently get response rates between 10-25%+ because I always take the time to research my audience. If you can set aside a little bit of extra time to understand your buyer’s mindset, you can probably double or triple your response rates.

Know what kind of sales prospects you’re fishing for

Too many sales teams and sales reps are too eager to blast out a mail merge before taking the time to develop a clear buyer persona.

No matter how good your cold emails are, whether you’re reaching out to 5 cold leads or a database of 5000+, your campaign’s success is always limited by your list quality. Poor lists yield higher amounts of unqualified leads that will either not respond at all or lead to conversations with unqualified prospects, which are a waste of time.

If you want to close deals, you need to have conversations with decision makers who are actually ready to buy and can benefit from your product. If your list doesn’t contain these people, you’re already starting on the wrong foot.

The dangers of blasting cold emails blindly

Yes, sales is a numbers game that requires enough volume to fill your pipeline with opportunities, but spamming the internet in pursuit of setting appointments is not a wise or sustainable strategy.

It’s basic resource management: there is not an infinite supply of leads in the market, and if you spam with a high enough volume, you will quickly run out.

If you fish with dynamite, pretty soon all the fish in the lake are belly-up on the surface.

I’m not advocating that everyone start sending one-off individual emails again, but sending out large blasts of thoughtless emails to non-targeted lists wastes your lists and tarnishes your brand.

How to double your cold email response rate with “spearfishing”

Prospecting research takes time, but it gives you the tactical power of “spearfishing.”

Taking 20 minutes to refine your list and research your prospects can easily double your response rates from qualified leads.

Everytime I write a new email campaign, I carefully research the buyer persona I’m writing for. I usually start by visiting Linkedin and reviewing at least 5 people from the list I’m targeting. Everyone in my list, whether it’s 100 people or 10,000, should all have the same/similar roles, and therefore have similar desires, fears and measures of success.

I analyze how they describe themselves and their roles, what skills they have and review any recommendations they have given or received. I parse their profiles for keywords I can use in my email campaign, as well as their tone. As I research, I’m thinking about how my product/service might appeal to them.

After looking at a handful of profiles and reviewing my notes, I can see what these people have in common, which is the basis for my cold emails’ benefits and pain points.

The magic of “reverse engineering” your cold emails to become mass

I then choose one of the prospects I researched and write a few “practice” cold emails.

After that’s done I can “reverse engineer” these emails to become templates for anyone else with the same buyer persona.

My templates are a little more generic than the original emails, since I must remove any personal details which only apply to that specific person. However, the writing process for a single individual helps me use a conversational tone and gives me ideas for custom inserts I might want to include.

I always include a custom insert for the prospect’s first name, and include their company’s name at least twice. If the audience I’m trying to target is getting a lot of cold emails from other businesses, I might want to add additional custom inserts for further personalization.

All my prospecting research gives my cold emails an edge over everyone else who isn’t taking the time to be thoughtful about their prospects’ priorities. It shows both in the email copy itself and my 3x higher response rates.

Generic, canned emails are mindless. You won’t catch many fish if you go fishing with a bare hook and no bait, nor will your prospects respond to crummy, spammy cold emails.

If you’d like to learn how to write a cold email that hooks your prospects instead of annoying them, and how email engagement technology can give you extra insight into reeling your big fish in, join Chris da Cunha and myself at 11:00 a.m. PT on Thursday, July 23rd for a webinar about cold email best practices for inside sales.

Register for the webinar right here.

Image credit: Slashvee

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