How to Write Better Prospecting Emails
Customers have been conditioned to ignore prospecting emails.
Therefore, the seller’s challenge is to draft a message that is powerful enough to break through the customer’s filter. Doing so means taking a new approach.
Sellers need to move beyond conventional template strategies characterized by broad messaging that does not resonate with the prospect. The email must speak directly to the reader. The ideas must be relevant. The communication must be succinct.
Here, we offer a clear set of practices for writing better prospecting emails. These simple concepts can be applied to every message. The result is a more compelling email that encourages the customer to go further.
Email Prospecting Best Practices
Open with the Most Compelling Idea
The first sentence must capture the reader’s attention. Doing so means positioning the most compelling idea first.
An idea becomes compelling when it speaks to the specifics of the reader’s world. This can be accomplished in several ways. The seller might use the first sentence to clearly identify a problem in the customer’s setting. Doing so proves that the seller understands the prospect’s needs. Or the seller might use the first sentence to articulate an emerging trend in the customer’s environment. Again, this signals that the seller “gets” the reader.
Prioritize for Simplicity and Originality
The seller should achieve two goals with every email: deliver an original idea in simple language. The majority of prospecting emails do not do this. Therefore, committing to these two practices is a reliable way to ensure the email stands out from most others.
Developing an original idea means understanding how a differentiated feature of the solution connects to the customer’s business. Delivering this idea in simple language means using as few words as possible. It means avoiding common metaphors, jargon, and excessive data.
Create a Chain Reaction
Think of the email as a chain reaction. Each sentence should lead to the next. The result is content that pulls the reader through to the end.
The seller can accomplish this effect by ensuring that each sentence requires a follow-up. For example, a sentence may end in a question. This prompts the prospect to continue reading for the answer. Or a sentence may end with a signal that an important takeaway follows. One way to do this is by stating that there are “three key steps to consider.” The seller may choose to end a sentence with a contrary point of view. This creates anticipation as the prospect reads on to understand the seller’s justification for that point of view.
Each sentence should push the reader into the next one.
Avoid Marketing Speak
Marketing speak has a way of creeping into prospecting emails. This can happen without even the seller being aware.
A defining characteristic of marketing speak is writing that puts the product or service above the customer. The seller needs to prove they understand the problem before they can advocate for a solution. Marketing speak tends to jump the crucial first step of placing the focus on the customer. Sellers should also avoid lofty descriptors like “best in class,” “ultimate,” and “advanced.”
Example of an Ineffective Prospecting Email
Consider the below example of an ineffective prospecting email. In this example, the B2B seller is writing to an IT professional in the medical industry. The seller is positioning the value of their data encryption and data warehousing technology called Connexa.
By now you’ve probably heard of Connexa, our data encryption and warehousing technology which is an indispensable part of the IT architecture in some of the largest medical institutions.
Our cutting-edge solution has created a tectonic shift in the landscape of data accessibility and privacy. We store, access, and protect data so businesses can move at the speed of modern healthcare while knowing their data will never become a vulnerability.
Competing solutions require long lead times, expensive hardware, and constant troubleshooting. With Connexa customers can be up and running in as little as 90 days. As a result, patient data can be retrieved at the pace and in the configuration professionals need to make decisions. Our multi-cloud approach offers elastic pricing to suit any level of need. We bring an unparalleled degree of accessibility to structured, unstructured, and geospatial data.
Clinicians need a way to streamline their data reporting and retrieval so they can refocus on the patient. Connexa is the way to do it.
Let’s talk this week.
What Went Wrong?
- The opening is presumptuous and puts the solution first instead of the customer
- Words like “cutting edge, tectonic,” and “indispensable” are all marketing speak.
- The sentences and paragraphs feel disconnected from one another
- The most important idea doesn’t appear until the fourth paragraph
- The seller has not proven that they understand the customer
- Many of the sentences are long
- The CTA is aggressive
Example of an Effective Prospecting Email
Now consider this revised messaging:
Congratulations on the recent expansion of the West lake Hospital network!
We understand that with growth comes new challenges for clinicians who need a way to streamline their data reporting and retrieval. In doing so they can refocus on the patient.
Connexa can help.
We enable clinicians to store and access data faster. As a result, clinicians can spend more time improving health outcomes for patients.
With Connexa hospitals benefit from quick implementation, elastic pricing, and customized data configuration.
Why it Works
- The most important idea now appears earlier in the email
- The email cites specifics about the prospect
- The sentences are shorter
- The value of the solution is tied directly to the prospect’s world
- All marketing speak has been removed
- The three key differentiators are expressed in one sentence
- The CTA is not aggressive
Checklist for More Effective Email Prospecting
Use this checklist to improve the quality and effectiveness of your email prospecting efforts.
- Cite information that proves you understand the customer’s specific needs
- Keep the sentences short and the email concise
- Express the most compelling idea in the first or second sentence
- Articulate only the benefits that are relevant to the customer
- Use the active voice
- Avoid all marketing speak
- Write sentences that naturally lead into one another
- Focus on the solution characteristics that are truly differentiated
- Avoid an aggressive call to action
- Limit any data or numbers so the reader is not overwhelmed
Effective prospecting emails are written one at a time. Each must acknowledge the specifics of the reader’s world. As a result, the value of the solution can be placed in the context of the prospect’s setting.
White Paper: Business Writing for Sales Professionals
Help your sellers deliver written communications that appeal to the reader’s sense of practicality.Download
Get industry insights and stay up to date, subscribe to our newsletter.
Joining our community gives you access to weekly thought leadership to help guide your planning for a training initiative, inform your sales strategy, and most importantly, improve your team's performance.