How to Nail Your Next Sales Email (With Examples and Templates)
Are you sending tens of sales emails each day but receiving just a few responses? Wondering if it really works and whether the hype over sales email is real?
Honestly, I’ve been there myself. Sending bulk sales emails was the first thing I knew that would jump start my career. Using sales emails I was able to connect with people, pitch my services to them, and finally found gigs that literally started my career. Sales emails have been my go-to strategy for lead generation for a few products I’ve helped promote.
In this article, I’m going to explain what sales emails are and how you can perfect your sales emails to get the responses you desire.
Introduction to Sales Email
Sales emails are sent to people with the goal of selling them a product. Although sales emails could be warm emails, or those sent to sales-ready leads, the term is typically associated with cold emailing where you approach people who don’t know you and have not been contacted by you before. So in this article, the focus is more on cold sales emails.
I will be covering all aspects of sales email including
- Who Should Be Sending
- Is it effective
- Target Audience
- Components of a “Killer Email”
- 3 Proven Examples and Templates
- When to Send the Follow Up Emails
Who Should Use Sales Email?
Anyone with a product to sell. From newbie copywriters to multi-million-dollar corporate businesses, everyone can take advantage of sales emails. The important thing here is having a viable product and sending the right sales message to the right people.
So, in order to be successful at sending sales emails, your job is two-fold:
Do Sales Emails Work?
Obviously, you shouldn’t fall for the negative hype against emails. Email is still a very popular communication method, especially in the B2B area. There are over 4.037 billion email users. This figure is predicted to reach 4.481 billion by 2024. The following graph shows the number of emails received and sent worldwide. The trend has been growing consistently for some years now, and is expected to grow to more than 347 billion by 2023.
There are many reasons why emails are still popular in the age of social media and chatbots. Compared to other communication methods, emails provide better spam filters and offer a comfortable space for reviewing and responding to communications at your own pace. As a salesperson, you could receive a response from an email you sent months ago and still consider it a fruitful sales conversation. People still prefer the comfort of emails to the urgency of social media and chat services.
Email is especially great for sales communication for the reason I just mentioned: it’s less urgent and allows people to review and respond at their own pace.
This makes the conversation less sales-y and more trustworthy. All salespeople know that trust is the single-most desired feature in a sales conversation.
Sales emails could be your main marketing strategy if you’re just starting out. When Nathan Barry wanted to grow his new startup, ConvertKit, he relied mostly on sales emails (as a direct sales strategy). He was able to grow his startup from $1,300 to $725,000 MRR.
A lot of solopreneurs rely on cold emailing to find clients too. Here’s what Laura Lopuch writes for CopyHackers:
“Cold emails can – and do – work.
How do I know?
Because I used 328 of ’em to launch my business and grow it 1400% in 4 months. My aggressive cold email campaign had a 56% open rate and a top-notch positive reply rate of 9%.
One of those cold emails brought in nearly $20k in revenue for me. Not a shabby start to my freelance business.
Thanks to cold emails, I’ve connected with New York Times bestselling authors like Lisa Scottoline, Chris Guillebeau and Matt Kempes. Thanks to cold emails, I ended up working with Selena Soo (Ramit Sethi’s star student and successful publicity coach) for nearly a year. And my cold emails are consistently forwarded to the hiring person on a team.”
If you had ever sent cold emails consistently, you’d know that the 56% open rate and the positive reply rate of 9% is way above normal. Typically, you should be happy to get a 4% response rate whatsoever.
Related Article: Improve response rate with these quick email templates
- Finding out the right people to send emails to (sales prospecting).
- Fine-tuning different parts of your emails to have the most impact.
Let’s dive into each one of these.
Whom to Send Your Sales Email to? (Sales Prospecting)
Most sales emails guides start off with the components of a “killer sales email”. What they’re missing out here is a more important process in sales communication called “sales prospecting”.
If you can do the sales prospecting process the right way, chances are that you wouldn’t need most of the meticulous sales email composition techniques. A prospect in desperate need of your offer would not really care if you had an attention-grabbing subject line, addressed them with the first name, or if you paid them a compliment first, etc. All they would care about is how your offer eases their pain and saves them from the hell they’re in.
So I would say finding the right people to send a sales email to is more important than the composition itself. Here’s how you can do sales prospecting the right way.
1) Decide who would be the decision-maker
You definitely know who is your prospect. You can make a list of them and start pitching your product. The point here is you need to contact the decision-maker of a section or department that deals with your product.
Large companies have different departments, directors, managers, etc. If you’re targeting large companies, figure out which department is related to your product. If your product is a sales tool, you need to contact the sales department of that company. A marketing-related product may have to be routed to the marketing department of a company.
After that, you need to figure out who’s in charge of purchasing new tools in that department. Typically, the directors and managers have a say here.
If you’re trying to sell to a startup that doesn’t have different departments yet, you can target individuals. Typically, managers (a marketing manager, PR manager, content manager, etc.) or directors are responsible for finding and acquiring specific tools. In smaller startups CEOs are the decision-makers.
As a rule of thumb, you can guess the decision-maker based on the company’s size
Once you’ve identified who’s responsible for purchasing your product, you need to find their email addresses.
The first step is to check out the company’s website for any contact information. Some companies have a page (“about us” or “our team” page) that introduces the team members. You can probably find any roles there alongside their contact info. This is the “leadership” page of Freshworks’ website.
If you didn’t find any information on a company’s website, you can head over to the LinkedIn page of the company. Typically, different roles and employees of that company are listed on their LinkedIn page.
If you couldn’t find the email address of the people you’re looking for on the company’s page or their LinkedIn page, you can search whether they have a personal website and see if you can find the emails there.
To save yourself from the hassle of going through this process, you can use a tool such as Hunter, or any other email finders. ZeroBounce’s free email verifier is also a great help here.
2) Find out who has a buying intent
To increase the chance of getting positive responses, you can reach out to prospects who’ve shown a sign of buying intent.
There are some ways to find out whether a prospect has buying intent:
- They’re your competitors’ customers: Your competitors’ customers are the first audience you should go after. Chances are they could be your customers as well. Nathan Barry used to send emails to Mailchimp users and offer his platform, ConvertKit, as a better solution.
- They interact with your content: When a person or a company finds your content interesting, you know they might potentially be the right fit to reach out to and offer your product. The most common way to know if a person interacts with your content is through social media. Do they comment on your posts, share your content, or mention your name? If they’re interested in your content, they might as well be interested in your product.
- They interact with your competitors: If some people interact with your competitors on social media, it might be a sign that they’re interested in their product. Since you and your competitors have the same audience, it might also be a good sign that they’re interested in your product as well. Be on the watch for people who interact with your competitors’ content and reach out to them to convert them before others do.
- They talk about a relevant topic: Again, this one is mostly related to social media. If someone talks about a specific topic related to your product on social media, it might be a sign that they’re interested in your product. Use a social media monitoring tool to track some of the money keywords in your industry on social media. Be sure to track your competitors’ or your own brand’s name. About 96% of people don’t address your brand directly (using @). They simply mention your brand name. Your brand’s mentions are actually considered one of your social media KPIs according to ContentStudio.
- They’re your current customers’ referrals: One of the best ways to find new customers is to be referred to by your current customers. Chatra explains that loyal customers, also called promoters, “will talk about their amazing experiences with your product, support team, and your brand as a whole to all of their friends”. Ask your current customers if they know anyone who would benefit from your product and reach out to them with a personalized sales email. To incentivise your customers to refer you to others, you can reward them through a referral program.
Components of a “Killer Sales Email”
Let’s talk about how to actually compose a “killer sales email”.
But before we do, I would like to emphasize a few things about these components:
- No sales email template is going to help you win customers if you haven’t done prospecting well.
- None of these components or templates is set in stone. They might not work for your audience. So the best tip here is “know your audience” and come up with your own templates.
- I believe none of these components function separately. So the function of the “introduction,” which is to establish a personal connection, might be achieved by the “body” or the “ending”. It really depends on how well the sales email is crafted rather than how many components it contains. As you will see in the next section, my favorite sales email is actually composed of a few sentences.
Here are the most important sales email components:
Sales email component #1- Subject:
Subject is the title of your email and it’s basically the first thing people see from your email in their inboxes. So, obviously, you need to spend a little time optimizing it.
It’s a common practice to make email subject lines attention-grabbing, but I’d like to mention that an attention-grabbing subject line is a double-edged sword. Attention-grabbing subject lines are basically two sorts:
- smart but irrelevant and unfulfilling
- interesting, relevant, and fulfilling
The first type is also known as “click-bait”. It tricks you into opening the email but immediately gets revealed once you realize it was only a fake promise. In this sense, click-bait subject lines have a negative effect on your campaign’s performance.
Click-bait subject lines could be of any kind. They could be deceptive about the whole message of the email: they could fake a previous email conversation (the notorious “Re” type email), or create a sense of fake urgency, etc. Here are a few examples from my own inbox:
- Confirm your purchase (what purchase?)
- Re: your invite (the blatant “Re” type that creates a fake previous conversation)
- Want my website? (actually trying to sell his lousy website theme through an affiliate link)
Each of these subject lines could demolish any trust between the sender and the receiver — not a smart first move for a sales email whose main function is to build trust.
Contrary to the click-bait subject lines, interesting, relevant, and fulfilling subject lines could have a strong effect on the legitimacy and trustworthiness of your whole sales email. To have a good subject line, you can follow these tips:
- You don’t need to be clever. A clever subject line is a bonus but you don’t always need to come up with a clever one. A clever subject line might imply something you did not intend if it’s not well planned out.
- Describe what’s in the email. An honest description of what’s in the email is always a good choice of the subject line. It’s concise and to-the-point, and never implies anything wrong unintentionally. “How this sales CRM beats Hubspot” seems to be a clever but honest subject line for a sales email that positions a sales CRM against HubSpot.
- Be relevant. By now, you should have understood that being relevant is key to the success of your sales email. To come up with a relevant subject line you should do your homework in researching your recipient well. Any specific problems they’re facing at the moment? Any recent achievements? Any projects they’re working on? Using this information in your subject line could increase the chances of being seen and opened. “A few words on your [project/article/achievement, etc.]”, and “Here’s how [name of their business] could generate more leads” are a couple of examples.
- Use the hottest news: Hot industry news circulates quite fast in your niche. Everybody has heard about them and might find them interesting. Mentioning them in your subject line could be a great idea.
- Mention who introduced you. This goes a long way. Use “I know you through [name]” in your subject line and increase the chances of getting your email opened. Your current customers are ideal for referring you to the people they know.
Sales email component #2- Body:
Body of your email is where you offer your solution and elicit a response.
To have the most effect, your email body could be divided into some parts:
This is the beginning of your email. Needless to say, an intriguing introduction captures readers’ attention and gets them to continue to the main parts of your email’s body.
Contrary to what many people think, I personally don’t think introductions are actually a place for introducing yourself (although that might be a good strategy for your audience).
Introductions are ideal for establishing a personal connection with the recipient.
How did you get to know them? What makes them the right fit for you? Why should they trust you? These are some of the questions you need to answer in your introduction.
Introduction is the part where you show your recipient that you actually know them and care about them. That you’ve spent time to research their pain points, achievements, needs, etc.
- Send a tailored message: Congratulate them on their recent achievements. Consume their content and see what they’re obsessed with. You can always grab people’s attention by mentioning what they’re obsessed with. The introduction I use for my bulk emails is typically “[company name] is an amazing company. Great blog too — congrats!”. I mention their blog because I’m promoting an SEO tool.
- Show them you’re not a stranger. Being referred to your recipient by someone they know and trust could be a good way of showing you’re actually a friend rather than a stranger. If you have the opportunity, ask the person you know for an introduction. If not, you can use this line: “Jacob and I have been long-time friends. We’ve been collaborating on [a recent project]. I thought our work might be interesting for you as well . . .”
- Highlight any commonalities: People bond better when they feel they have common ground. See if you can find anything common between you and the recipient. This intro might work for you: “As a fellow entrepreneur I understand the difficulties concerning [your area of expertise]. In fact, I struggled with it so much I built my own platform for solving the issue. . . “
2- Main body:
After you established a personal connection with the recipient in the introduction part, it’s time to offer your solution in the main body of your sales email.
The main body does not necessarily need to be extra long. A few sentences will do the trick. Remember that the goal is to get people curious about your offer and elicit a response from them. So you don’t need to bore your readers by explaining all the terms and conditions of your offer.
- Focus on how you can help them solve their problems: Your sales pitch is about them rather than you. Frame your message in a way that makes it clear it’s a solution engineered to solve their specific problem. Rather than talking about yourself, talk about how they can benefit from your offer. If you want to go the extra step and prepare a business proposal for your recipient, you can use these templates.
- Validate yourself: Another important component of your sales email is showing why you’re qualified to offer your solution. Mention your previous success stories, high-profile clients you had, any great numbers, etc.
- Keep it short. People are busy these days. Avoid explaining too much and cut to the chase as soon as you can. Remember that sales emails should always be about getting a response. You can always explain everything in future communications.
- Give them a reason to respond. Most of the emails I receive have the assumption that I owe them something already and should respond to their emails in any circumstances. As a matter of fact, the opposite is true. Don’t expect people to get back to you if you don’t give them a compelling reason.
- Talk about one simple benefit. Instead of giving too many choices and benefits in your emails, focus on one simple benefit for your recipient.
Check out this sales email body example:
I’m reaching out to offer [your offer + how it functions + benefits such as “A platform that sifts through social media to find leads with strong buying intent.”].
Our platform [include a social proof such as “Is used by companies such as [Name] and has delivered over 3 million leads.”].
Interested in a free demo of how our platform [include a core benefit such as “Could get you more leads [Name]?”]?
A good way to know what to talk about in the body of your sales email is finding out the issues and problems your current customers are having. Ask your sales team about it. Platforms such as SurveyAnyplace and LeadQuizzes could help you a lot in finding valuable information about your audience.
The ending is rather an important part of your sales email.
This is the part where you literally ask for a response and give them a reason to do so. It’s a good idea to finish your sales email with a simple “yes or no” question. You need to avoid asking complicated questions that need complicated responses.
Here are some of the examples you can use in your emails:
- “Is this a problem for you? I’d be happy to help solve it”. Assuming that you have focused on one specific problem that your recipient might be facing, you can ask them to confirm if they have the problem.
- “Interested in a demo of how we can [explain a benefit]?” People would love to get a demo of your product before actually paying for it. Make sure they know they can have access to your demo in the blink of an eye.
- “Would you be interested in a quick phone call on how we can [explain the benefit]?” Some people are interested in hearing the details of your proposal through a phone call. Just give them the option.
Sales email component #3-signature
You really need to keep your signature simple.
- Sign with your name.
- Include a link to your LinkedIn profile.
- Include a link to your website.
- Do not include long and unusual URLs. Use a link shortener to send branded links.
- Do not ask for a subscription.
3 Proven Examples of Sales Email (with Templates)
Here are some of the best sales email examples and templates. To begin with, let’s take a look at two of my favorite sales emails.
1- FullStory’s super personalized pitch
Do you remember we talked about relevance and personalization in sales emails? And how you should do your homework in researching all the relevant info you can get from your recipient?
Also remember when I said there are no perfect sales email templates you can follow and simply kill it?
Well, FullStory sent a successful sales email that neglects basically all other sales email components except personalization. This is the email FullStory sent to Kyle Racki, the CEO of Proposify. Check it out here:
Subject: Magic Goggles
Kyle, I wanted to give you a quick shout to introduce you to FullStory, a new tool that helps companies understand customer experiences like never before. The easiest way to get a feel for FullStory is to check out the 30-second demo of me interacting with your site:
FullStory session playback for Proposify
Want the FullStory? You can take it for a two-week free trial or shoot me a message if you have any questions. Happy Watching!
This is basically one of the shortest sales emails I’ve seen. It’s successful (you know it because Kyle Racki wrote a whole blog post on it) because it’s super relevant and personalized: it’s got a recorded session of what FullStory can do for the recipient’s own website Proposify. You can, obviously, guess how surprised Kyle was to see his own website and logo in a sales email.
2- Sales email to Appsumo’s Noah Kagan
As a CEO of a famous Saas company, Noah Kagan receives lots of emails every day. He rarely opens them. This email is what made him so excited that he arranged a meeting with the sender:
Subject: How I lost your Sperry’s.. and apt. And why you should meet with me.
I kept bidding them up.. to $600. Then I stopped with 3 seconds left and the other person won.
I didn’t want the apartment. I was going to use it as an expensive excuse to get an App idea in front of you…and we wear the same size shoes. I have since bought a pair of Sperry’s..er Sperries? Size 11 – they fit!
Why you should meet with me:
- I’m the founder and CEO of Grav . I’ve been running this business for the past nine years. I started it when I was 24. I have 70 employees in Austin and operations in China. I love my business. It’s profitable and I’m really good at it. However, I want to do more.
- I’m Jewish – I hate playing that card, but.. what the fuck
- This App idea is disruptive. It’s not in my wheelhouse (glass), but I know a good idea when I see one – I get about 3 presentations a week from stoners about their pipe ideas.
- I have a wireframe ready so you can breeze through it quickly.
- The factory is really close to downtown – on St. Elmo just south of Ben White.
- Even if you hate me and my idea, you’ll love the **** factory – it’s insane.
This Wednesday 4/17 at 10 am (or earlier) would be a great time to come by (I know it’s short notice, but what if this is the best idea you’ve ever heard and I’m the coolest guy you’ve ever met?)
Feel free to bring anyone from Appsumo. I’m a huge fan.
Thanks for your time!
Why does this one work?
1- First off it’s extremely relevant to Noah. As Noah himself explains, David did his homework on Noah and used the info to get his attention.
2- Second, he shows Noah his eagerness to meet him (by spending money, paying him numerous compliments, etc.).
3- He lists many reasons why Noah should meet with him. Remember when I said give them a reason to get back to you? Why should they ever care?
4- Meeting David essentially means more money for Noah so basically the email is all about how Noah could benefit from this. The app idea could be a huge hit and a great success for Noah.
5- He mentioned a commonality between Noah and himself: they are both entrepreneurs, thus validating himself.
Interested in templates? I got your back here. Take a look at these.
This is a sales email you could send to a dream client who was introduced to you by one of their friends or someone they know.
Subject: I found you through [name]
Hi [prospect’s name],
When I first realized you’re a friend of [name], I got very excited. We’ve been [friends/collaborating on a project] recently.
I’m a big fan of your work at [company] and the way you [what they do] resonates well with how we do business.
Just so you know, we run a business that offers [your solution] which helps companies like yours to [your product’s benefits]. A lot of companies are losing [X] as a result of not having [the benefit you offer]. We’ve worked with [a big number of customers/famous companies/etc].
I’ve done research on your company and can estimate that we can deliver [results you can deliver, e.g. x 30% growth in number of incoming leads] for you.
Can I take 15 minutes of your time to explain how?
Keep up the great work.
(personal) Contact info
The subject line of this email is probably one of the most effective sales email subject lines, provided you’re not bluffing. The subject line works well because it makes you less of a stranger for the recipient through someone they know.
In the introduction part, I paid a compliment which should be quite a standard for all the cold emails you send. I introduced my product briefly and framed it as a help most companies should have because they’re missing out on something otherwise.
To validate myself, I mentioned the fact that we’ve worked with some high-profile companies. This is good social proof. And in the end, I mentioned that I’ve done my homework and specifically researched how we could help them achieve a particular goal. Kudos if you spend some time to prepare a general business proposal for them.
The final question is short, respectful, and shows that I value their time.
3– For sales prospecting solutions company
I wrote the following templates for a company that offers sales prospecting solutions.
This email contains a mind-blowing sales pitch — Really
Hi [Prospect name],
Not a good way to open an email, but my sales pitch is going to blow your mind in a minute.
I’m here to tell you about your [Challenge, such as “lead generation strategy”]. You’re part of a successful company, and it’s important to [your benefit such as “be able to find leads that show buying intent and are more easily converted.”].
You no longer need to [A difficult or confusing process like “Waste a lot of time and money reaching out to the cold leads that aren’t interested in your product.”].
Our platform [Insert solution your platform offers]. All you need to do is [expand on next steps like “Set some lead criteria based on your ideal point of contact.”].
Interested in a free demo of how our platform will earn you more qualified leads?
P.S. We’ve delivered over 3 million qualified leads to our clients such as LiquidWeb, HootSuite, and Salesforce.”
I learned the subject line from one of Ben Settle’s emails. It attempts to invoke readers’ curiosity. I mentioned what I thought to be one of their biggest problems and offered them my company’s solution. I ended the email with a question about their interest in a free demo.
Here’s another template for the same company:
Subject: [Mention a benefit such as “Get your sales team to produce more Leads”].
Hi [Prospect name],
Big fan of your writing. I’ve been enjoying your articles on [big publications] and I have to say I couldn’t agree more with you on [their idea]. I couldn’t help but reach out to you.
I checked out your company’s website and I noticed you’ve [something amazing they did such as “worked with amazing clients such as [name of their customers]”.
I’m reaching out to offer [your offer + how it functions + benefits such as “A platform that sifts through social media to find leads with strong buying intent.”]. Our platform can help you get more of the famous customers you’ve worked with.
Our platform [include a social proof such as “Is used by companies such as [Name] and has delivered over 3 million leads.”].
Interested in a free demo of how our platform [include a core benefit such as “Could get you more leads [Name]?”]?
This is a simple one. The subject line is simple yet it’s one that is relevant to the recipient. I’m starting the body with a compliment. I’m mentioning that I’ve taken time to go through their website and checked out the kind of customers they’ve worked with. I’m then offering them my sales prospecting platform which could probably get them more famous customers. Add your branding, slot your copy in and make a real impression.
4- The right time to send sales emails:
Timing of your sales emails is an important factor in their performance. Generally, you might want to avoid sending emails when people are busy doing something other than work (e.g. when they’re sleeping, eating, etc.).
So it’s a good idea to consider the time zones of the people you’re sending sales emails to before hitting send. Find out where they live and consider the following tips:
5- Following up
Typically, you’re sending tens of emails each day and finding the time zone and assigning different hours for each of your recipients might not be feasible. In many cases your emails are buried under a heavy load of other emails.
The best way to counteract this is sending follow up emails. You can send the follow up email at a different time than the original email to test what works for your recipient.
Follow up emails should be short and to the point. You don’t need to explain your proposal all over again. A simple polite reminder in a few sentences is enough. Check out the following follow up email:
Hi [ name],
A week ago, I sent you an email offering [Product + benefit].
I know you have a busy schedule, but I’m wondering if you have the time to see a demo of how [Deliver a benefit such as “… Our platform can get you qualified leads”]?
When to Send the Follow Up Emails?
You need to wait for at least a few days before sending your first follow up email. Sending too many follow up emails might seem a bit pushy and unpleasant to the recipient.
I’d say you should send your first email 5 days after the original email. Then send another email around 10 days after the first follow up, then around 2 weeks after the second follow up, etc.
Related Article: Follow up email strategy: How to craft a killer cold email sequence
Sending the Perfect Sales Email
Sending sales emails is one of those areas in digital marketing that demands a lot of testing. Right from the prospecting phase to following up, you need to take time to optimize your processes. Once you find the sweet spot, you can turn it into a replicable process.
Data from your sales team is very valuable for optimizing your sales emails. Ask your sales team: What are some of the most common questions and concerns of your customers? What features or benefits of your products are important to your customers? This information can help you compose subject lines or email bodies that resonate better with your audience. To make the collaboration process easier, you can take advantage of suitable project management tools. Using these tools, you can form a better connection between your outreach team and sales reps, and manage the process better.
Using a sales CRM like Freshsales can make the email outreach process much easier. With its built-in tools for prospecting, lead scoring, and email composition and management, you can easily automate many of your processes and get the best results from your sales emails.
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