How to Write Effective Sales Emails

One of the prevailing themes of this blog is the notion that less is more. In the last post I went over how targeting less prospects yields more customers. And in this post I will argue that writing less email copy will yield more responses. 

You love your product, and that is your flaw because when you love something you can go on for hours and hours about how great it is, how it is going to change the world and why everyone needs it. But ain't nobody got time for that shit!

We live in a world of inboxes filled with junk mail and cold emails. It's been proven that the average marketer has 7 seconds of someone's attention before they are lost. And the people you are emailing are no different. They are busy people with a finger on the trigger that will kill your sales efforts: the archive button in Gmail. 

Aaron Ross offers a great example of what not to write in Predictable Revenue:
Subject: Improve sales effectiveness in Q2?
Chuck,
Are you continually challenged to project accurate revenue?
Do you know who your best reps are and what makes them successful?
Do you know which marketing activities your company engages in are generating closed deals?
You know there are some big deals in the pipeline, but can you easily generate a real-time report detailing their status?
Does this sound familiar? You face the same challenges as many other companies. Salesforce.com has proven to be successful at leading global companies such as Adobe Systems, AOL Time Warner Communications, Putnam Lovell, Dow Jones Newswires, Berlitz Global Net, Siemens, Microstrategy and Autodesk, to name a few.
Salesforce.com is a web-based CRM service that can be rapidly rolled out and is easy to use. Sales organizations use it to centralize and report on contacts, accounts, and historical activities and to track sales performance. Marketing can easily measure the ROI of individual projects. Salesforce.com makes it very easy to customize reports and gain visibility into your sales organization and individuals' performance to get a better handle on your business.
Could we schedule 20 minutes of time to discuss this? Or would someone else in your organization be a more appropriate contact?
Warm regards,
Aaron Ross

A lot of people new to sales think that their emails need to fully describe the product and problem it solves. So they write long emails with value props and tons of questions. But the reality is that they are only read by 10% of the people who receive them in their inbox. Long emails like this are a tax on your prospect's mind and they are the first thing in the inbox to be archived at 5:30pm.

So what type of emails should you write? Concise ones. Simple as that.

Your email should consist of three parts:

1. Personalize
In the first line of any cold email you should prove that you did your research and aren't just a spammer sending 1,000 emails at once. For example if they are a Y-Combinator backed company mention that. Say something like "Chris, I was taking a look at Y-Combinators list of founders and ran across your name."

2. Pique interest
The next paragraph (and I say paragraph with hesitation because I don't mean 11th grade essay length paragraphs), is where you must pique the prospects interest with your product's value prop. Use information from your ideal customer profile research to lead with the thing that the prospect will care about the most. If you are emailing a Sales Director who needs more leads in the pipeline, say something like "The product we've built at Acme helps growing sales teams like yours generate more leads by scraping Twitter for people talking about keywords you select."

3. Make one direct ask
The last paragraph is where you make your ask. Typically the ask is 15 or 20 minutes of their time. Say something like, "I'd love to show you our product and see if we can help your team crush this quarter's quota. Are you available this Thursday at 4pm?"

By writing concise emails that highlight one easy to understand value prop and ask a simple question, you should be able to increase the amount of people that read your emails by orders of magnitude, which should lead to much higher response rates. 

The key to writing great email copy is understanding that less is more.