How to write a sales email?
Some time ago, The Economist Group and Peppercomm released a report that surveyed about 500 business executives and 500 marketing experts with a goal outline key differences in their content expectations and understanding of the content strategy. According to the report:
75% of the business executives would be more likely to respond to an email that suggests a business idea than to a message that simply promotes a product;
71% of business owners don’t like to receive a direct sales pitch and would choose informative emails over salesy ones;
61% of business executives value unique content that provides a fresh perspective on their vertical or workflow;
85% of business executives are more comfortable with well-structured text instead of video or audio content.
Since our work often involves redesigning marketing email templates into proper B2B ones, we can confirm that this information remains relevant nowadays.
Low visibility and Open Rate are common results of confusing B2C marketing strategy with B2B content development. Due to this, compiling a comprehensive tutorial for writing effective sales emails has been on our minds for a while.
As you seem, it ultimately took shape.
Feel free to bookmark for your B2B development needs: and never hesitate to suggest new topics or send us an ask!
With that said, let’s get started!
What’s a B2B email?
Before you ask “How to write a sales email?”, you have to be sure you understand the difference between a B2B sales email and a B2C promotion email.
This is the key to solid content development and tone-setting. Also, it’s is the only way to finally sort out the following long-time questions:
“Am I supposed to speak with my B2B customers the same way as with my B2C buyers? Should I be formal and highly eloquent? Should my emails be salesy or more neutral?”
When you compare those two types of emails side-by-side, the difference is easy to notice:
Now let’s talk more about each of these B2B features and see what makes them so important.
While B2C email marketing uses a personal and relatable tone to capture their readers’ attention, B2B emails aim to communicate the main value of the service or product to the customer as promptly as possible. Therefore, you should introduce your benefits in the clearest way possible. If your B2B services cover more than one vertical, it would also be a good idea to create several value propositions that are based and structured according to the needs of your prospects’ industry.
Now, there is one thing that you should always keep in mind when crafting a B2B email.
Professional DOESN’T mean inhuman
It doesn’t mean long, overtly eloquent, and highly formal messages that look like an average business template tutorial you can find on the Internet.
It doesn’t mean very brief and stiff emails that make an instruction to a TV set look like a novel.
After all, you’re reaching out to the living, breathing people and they would appreciate it if your emails recognized them as such. Therefore, in a successful B2B communication professional = respectful.
When you reach out to your prospects, you respect their time. You make the most out of every word and sentence. Your tone is polite, your language is sprinkled with professional wit to liven up the conversation.
Basically, a good B2B email is like a professional handshake: firm, genuine, and not lingering longer than it should.
At work, your B2B prospects’ attention revolves around data, results, and employee management. They have deadlines to meet, budget brackets to keep in mind, and plans to build so bright and stylish templates, and other common B2C marketing methods are a distraction to them.
This is why you don’t leave your recipients hanging and waste their time with flashy, but meaningless sentences or memes.
Don't use memes in B2B emails.
Choose facts over sentiments and introduce the value of your service and assets as promptly as possible.
While highly effective in B2C, appeal to emotion needs some specific adjustments to work out in B2B email templates. When things come to business, your recipients don’t want to be amazed, surprised, or intimidated.
They want to be understood and assured. This is an entirely different level of subtle empathy that is commonly shared between fellow professionals.
It is important to create and nurture that connection, one email at a time.
Industry pain points
Emotional triggers are used in B2C email marketing to differentiate a brand product from a range of similar products and make it memorable to its readers. However, in B2B, everything is measured in experience and expertise. Your recipients don’t want to work with someone who can tell the most touching story. Their ideal B2B provider knows the specifics of their vertical, can swiftly identify its most challenging areas, and is familiar with their target audience - and doesn’t need many sentences to convey their competence.
Since your B2B emails are intended for a certain title, don’t be afraid to be more specific. Use industrial jargon instead of simpler synonyms. Describe your product with informative technical words, and avoid colorful, yet generic expressions. Apply case studies and stats to drive your point home. Your recipients want to be confident in their choices, and the best way to secure that confidence is to prove your professionalism with facts and numbers.
Longer buyer cycle
In B2C, it takes three steps to make a decision. A B2C client has to open an email, click the CTA button, go to the site, and make a purchase.
However, B2B decision-making involves more titles, stakeholders, and workflows.
Therefore, instead of three steps, there is a set of strategic campaigns that are designed to drip content into your recipients’ inbox for weeks before the deal can proceed to the closing stage. It is critical to maintain a strict schedule of sales follow-ups, keep reminding your B2B customers about your offers, and carefully nurture everyone who responds positively until they are ripe for a deal.
How to write a b2b sales email template
Now, when you know what defines a good B2B email, it’s time to find out how to write one.
- How do you inject all of the above-mentioned qualities into your short email?
- How to write sales emails without resorting to the cookie-cutter approach?
- How do you deliver your brand’s philosophy?
B2B sales emails that leave no room for doubt and open the doors of opportunity are built from essential elements:
- Subject line
- Pitch delivery
- Closing lines
Each of these plays a part in generating and gauging interest, so to write a persuasive email you should know them like the back of your hand.
In a good B2B communication your brand philosophy is right there, from the subject line at the top all the way through to the signature.
Subject lines for sales emails
B2B subject line sets things into motion if you manage to make it reflect your professionalism and credibility. To always remain on the good side of your recipients (and spam control systems), it’s enough to follow simple dos and don'ts of subject line building.
For instance, a subject line can be either overdone or underdone.
Overdone subject lines:
Have Each Word Capitalized To Attract Attention
Needless to say, your eyes start hurting from merely looking at such subject lines. Imagine how your prospects, who probably receive hundreds of heavily capitalized emails each day, should feel.
In addition to being overwhelming, capitalized subject lines also give off a highly impersonal vibe that makes recipients think that this email wasn’t meant for them personally.
Logically, their next conclusion is: “These guys probably don’t have the right solution for me”.
Field-tested Belkins' example:
Suggestions for [Vertical]
Regarding [value prop]
[ProspectCompany] and Your Company - Synergy
Knowing when to stop with the punchline
Punchlines are like salt: they can either make your offer very delicious or ruin it.
Moderation is the key. When your recipients rely on objectivity, facts, and professional tone, smart wordplay or catchphrases probably wouldn’t be welcome. Yes, even if they are really, really, really clever.
Your B2B prospects will appreciate communicating with a real, genuine person, not a foot-in-the-door salesman.
Field-tested Belkins' example:
[ProspectName], quick request
[ProspectCompany] [pain point]
New service from [YourCompanyName]
Exclamations !! No Points !!!!!
While we recommended against any punctuation marks at all (unless you’re asking a question in your subject line), exclamation points are a firm and certain NO.
First of all, exclamation marks are classified as spam triggers, so to the majority of email service providers, all emails with exclamation points belong in spam folders.
Second, even if such an email manages to bypass spam filters, the exclamation marks indicate an urgency that’s not welcome in B2B outreach.
Underdone subject lines:
Ignoring accuracy and grammar
In some way, typos and poor spelling attract attention. However, it’s not the kind of attention that you hope for. Moreover, they will completely ruin your further campaigns. After all, it makes little to no sense to trust a provider, who is unable to proofread their content, with your business.
Asking the wrong questions
In general, asking a question in your subject line is a fine ice-breaker as long as you do it right. Don’t ask random or eccentric questions just to provoke your prospects into opening emails and then throw a sales pitch at them. Be relevant and keep your subject line consistent with the purpose of your email and offer.
Field-tested Belkins' example:
[ProspectName], what do you think?
You or [ColleagueName]? (if asking for referral)
[CompanyName] plans for 2020?
Avoiding these mistakes will already improve your subject line crafting. To make truly killer subject lines, don’t forget to follow these simple tips:
Keep it short. People often check their emails via mobile phones and if your subject line doesn’t fit the screen, it’s a frustrating reading experience for your prospect.
Do your research. Featuring a piece of information that shows your knowledge of the prospect, their accomplishments, and activity (an event they attended, the presentation they gave, the award they won) will significantly increase your open rate.
Find balance. Always remember that your emails are not blog posts or forum threads. You use them to reach out to an individual and invite them to respond. Your tone should be the best combination of tact, friendliness, and intrigue, to get your sales prospects interested rather than annoyed.
All these email subject-line techniques have been field-tested at Belkins, securing us an Open Rate over 50%
Cold email opening lines
Your opening lines are a major part of building credibility and trust. The impression they make will dictate the tone for the rest of your email. The quality of your introduction will define how many prospects would want to respond to your b2b introduction email.
At this point, don’t forget to refer to your target customer profile. It will give you a much-needed idea of how to greet your recipients properly and choose the most appropriate tone.
Opening lines should follow the subject line
If you scored with your subject line, make sure that the rest of the message can hold that interest. Your opening line must engage the reader and establish the reason for your making contact, in a way that will naturally justify your sales offer.
Your opening should be brief
A strong opening is probably just one or two sentences. Anything more and readers can miss the point, without which a segue into your sales pitch will be a lot more tenuous.
Your opening should feel credible
Right from the start, you must establish yourself as a professional with experience in your prospect’s business. You don’t need to attach certificates and diplomas, just demonstrate some honesty, knowledge, and a spark of creativity.
Mention similar companies you have worked with
(We work with an organization like [Company name]/I’m with [Company name])
Explain how you found your prospects’ company and why you decided to reach out to them
(You have been referred to us by [credible person]/We have found your company in [event/presentation/social/media] and decided to…)
Ask for directions
Let your recipient take initiative by providing you with directions or guiding you through their company network
(I’d appreciate if you referred me to the person responsible for [company function] at your company/Could you please refer me to the person who covers [industry pain points] at your company)
Keep in mind that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to the perfect email opening. As your range of B2B customers expands, so do their needs and the variety of communication styles.
Define the style that your current prospects favor the most and build your strategy from it!
Sales pitch emails
It takes more than one tutorial to explain how to write a sales pitch email – also there is no way we can show an ultimate example. The art of crafting a superior sales pitch should and will be covered by multiple sales email guides and articles at our blog because there is no way one tutorial can disclose such a complicated and multilayered subject.
For instance, the way you build your sales email vastly depends on its goal. Is it supposed to push your prospects towards scheduling a call? Is it designed to introduce your company? Is it supposed to secure a sale?
Since we will be speaking about each of these goals further, let’s outline the foundational elements of a sales pitch.
Keep building context from your opening lines. At this point, your recipient wants to learn more about you, discover what sets your company apart from the others, and be confident that you are the real thing. Handpick the most relevant information about your services and products and/or refer the names of your clients in the vertical.
Outline pain points and benefits
Use one sentence to describe the issue that your prospects are familiar with. Then, enlist your ways to solve it. Make it a bullet-point list for easier readability and don’t go overboard with descriptions and adjectives. Your task here is not to be forceful, but to speak with knowledge and expertise.
I decided to reach out to you because [one sentence describing benefits] that we developed for your vertical delivered such productive results as:
This is why I’d like to see if there is a good fit between your business and mine and I’m sure we can answer that question in a quick conversation. If you’re interested, please let me know when to call.
Show that you care
Your prospects are more likely to start a B2B relationship if they see that you’re ready to go the extra mile for them. You can demonstrate that by researching their brand, knowing the challenges they face, and writing a message that highlights the issues and recognizes their accomplishments. Of course, there is more to learning how to write a sales pitch and no-one claims to have nailed every type of marketing communication. The key is to never stop seeking new knowledge and working to improve.
Sales email closing lines
At this point, you resume the purpose of your email and encourage your prospects to take action. Therefore, your B2B closing lines will contain a call-to-action in 98% of cases.
If you see your emails get opened and receive a response, your CTA works right. If your emails get viewed, but things aren’t moving forward...well, let’s see what could go wrong.
Lack of clarity
There is a reason why YouTube content creators constantly remind their viewers to like and subscribe. No matter how clear and simple your cold email template b2b is, it still needs a closing statement suggesting the next step of the communication. Whether it is scheduling a call, offering a free trial, or a referral request, never hesitate to tell your prospects what you want.
Too much pressure
Your first email may be asking too much from your prospects. Don’t make them think that they have no time or choice by asking them to make an investment right here, right now. Even if your service is relevant to their needs, you can’t be pushy. If your CTA asks the prospects to invest serious resources into an offer without considering all pros and cons first, it asks for too much. Therefore, your prospects will ignore you and move on to other emails.
Too many CTAs
Only one CTA per email – that’s the golden rule. Anything above that limit will confuse your recipients and send them mixed signals. In the end, the original purpose of your email will be lost. This is particularly relevant for cold outreach because nothing ruins first impressions than the sender who fails to deliver a point.
Lack of detail
Sometimes it is important to be extra peculiar about your CTA and explain what exactly you expect your recipients to do. If you leave connecting the dots to your clients, your chances of starting a B2B relationship plummet almost instantly.
If you can relate to any of these issues, worry not.
Here’s how you can improve your closing statement and make your call-to-action clear, friction-free, and compelling.
Always offer an easy way
Don’t make your prospects think you need a lengthy response. The more friction-free your email communication is, the more positive an image you will create for your brand. This is particularly relevant for those who wonder how to write a follow-up email without being a nuisance. For instance, we keep our follow-up emails as uncomplicated as possible… by unleashing a T-Rex.
Hello [Name], I sent you some emails regarding our services a while ago but haven’t had a reply. So may I assume one of the following (please advise):
You’re interested and you want to schedule a call
You’re not interested at all
You’re being chased by a T-Rex and can’t respond right now?
Whatever your answer is, please let me know. I’m getting worried!
Turns out, people love dinosaurs! Or, at least, they appreciate a good old Jurassic Park cameo. Anyway, we owe our pal T-Rex a steak for each lead he’s converted.
Feel free to try it! If your brand and specialization allow for some mischief, why hold back? As long as it fits well with your tone, you’re good to go.
Everybody likes being treated as an individual, and not a part of a mass. That includes your prospects. Each CTA and offer must sound unique and tailor-made. Do your best to indicate that your sales offer benefits your prospects first.
Our sales executive [Name] has experience in [Vertical], so he will walk you through each step of building your Ideal Customer Profile for your 30-day trial, and ensure that your test leads will be as relevant and data-accurate as possible. You will be able to process your leads the moment we send them to you. If that sounds good, just let me know the best time to call you and we can schedule an appointment.
This is basically the follow-up to the “Make things easier” rule. Sometimes it’s better to let your prospect choose from given options rather than ask them to make the suggestions. For instance, if you want to schedule a demo call with your prospect, it’s better to offer them a selection of time-slots from which they can choose, rather than have them look for the right time themselves because that can slow things down and kill motivation. By providing them with easy options, you relieve them of that extra work — and gently guide them towards a positive response.
Does next Monday at 11 am or Thursday at 10 am work for you?
Sales email signature
While seemingly minor, your email signature can be a powerful selling boost. Just because it serves as a placeholder for basic info, like name, phone, title, and corporate site link, there is no reason to think that your signature doesn’t have room for more interesting stuff.
Show how you work. Don’t wait until your prospects request a case study, include a link to a showcase of your workflow and tools. Demonstrate your problem-solving, right there – it’s a great way to generate trust, secure replies, and boost your selling chances.
Tell them something about yourself. Show a press release or article about your company, published by credible sources. It will illustrate your competence and the possibilities you offer. All you need to do is to add a short link to your signature.
Provide entertainment. If you have a YouTube channel with unique, informative educational content, link to that. Information hunger is real and your prospects will appreciate some food for thought.
Show expertise. If your company gives webinars, provide a link to the most relevant one, to inject more value into your offer and let your prospects see how much they can benefit from working with your knowledgeable team.
Is that it? Well, by now you are equipped with some useful ideas that should help you have some productive fun with your B2B emails.
Does it mean the lesson is over?
When it comes to B2B, there’s no such thing as too much insight.
We have much more to say about content development and the techniques you can use to add depth to your sales communications. In addition, we’ll certainly be talking about everything that happens after you click “Send”.
Thank you for reading and stay tuned!
Good luck will all your B2B endeavors.