10 Tips to Create Effective Outbound Prospecting Emails

Convincing strangers to give you 30 minutes of their time is a challenge; convincing strangers that are not actively looking for your product, may not have heard of your company, or even be aware of their own business obstacles, on the other hand, can be impossible. And yet, this is a circumstance shared by most of your sales reps.
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Convincing strangers to give you 30 minutes of their time is a challenge; convincing strangers that are not actively looking for your product, may not have heard of your company, or even be aware of their own business obstacles, on the other hand, can be impossible. And yet, this is a circumstance shared by most of your sales reps.

To complicate matters further, the sheer volume of unsolicited emails landing in buyers’ inboxes every day is overwhelming. According to TOPO, only 24% of sales emails are even opened. 

Breaking through the noise and earning a prospect’s attention is harder than ever, while simultaneously being one of the most critical challenges to overcome.

The stakes are high; closed deals often start with cold prospects. From your initial touchpoint through your nurture campaign, you need to utilize best practices consistently to see conversion.  

Here are 10 tips you can utilize to increase the likelihood you’ll earn that critical half-hour:

  1. You’re not selling a product or service, you’re selling a meeting.

The goal of an outbound prospecting email isn’t to get someone to buy your product or service, but to convince them to take a meeting to learn more. They don’t need to be ready to buy. Heck, they may not even be aware that they have a problem. But a well-crafted email can earn you a shot at a discovery call that can turn into a qualified opportunity.

  1. It’s a trailer, not a feature film.

An effective trailer isn’t designed to provide a summary of the whole movie, but to create enough interest to get you to the theater (remember when that was a thing?). Likewise, the purpose of a prospecting email is to generate curiosity and entice your audience to ask, “How can you help me?”.  You don’t have to tell them what your product is or how your service works, you just need to get them thinking about the results it can deliver.

  1. Nobody cares about you, your company, or your product.

That may sound a little harsh, but it’s the unfortunate reality of cold outbound prospecting. Telling your prospects about your company and your product isn’t what earns you a meeting. Instead, talk to them about the things they care about: their objectives, challenges, pains, and desires. Effective prospecting emails are customer-centric and problem-oriented. 

  1. Brevity matters.

Because inboxes are more crowded than ever – and your prospects are busier than ever – your outbound prospecting emails need to be short and sweet. You’ve got fewer than 150 words to capture attention, generate interest, and convince your prospect to give you 30 minutes of their precious time. Write in tight, impactful bursts and eliminate the fluff. Don’t waste words introducing yourself (your signature block will do that) or with disingenuous banter (“I hope you are doing well in these challenging times”). Just get to the point and do it quickly.

  1. People want to buy from subject matter experts who can help them solve problems.

If you’re doing outbound prospecting it’s a good bet you’re not selling a commodity, competing strictly on price, or executing a transactional sale. You’re a solution seller managing a complex sale. Your buyers want to know that you understand their priorities and challenges, that you can help them solve problems, achieve their objectives, and realize their aspirations. Your prospecting emails are an opportunity to demonstrate your awareness of the things that matter to your prospects, as well as your subject matter expertise. Build credibility to earn a seat at the table.

  1. People like stories, but they’ve learned to ignore outlandish ROI claims.

You know all those unsolicited emails crowding your prospects’ inboxes and competing for their attention? They’re all full of promises to deliver 10X growth, 15X savings, and 20X productivity gains. And prospects have heard them so many times that they’ve learned to tune them out entirely. Instead, try a compelling customer story that illustrates how you’ve helped solve problems or achieve objectives just like the ones that matter to them.

  1. Personalize emails without sacrificing the need to communicate at scale.

It would be great to be able to personalize every outbound email with deep research on each prospect, but that’s not a practical strategy. Achieving pipeline targets requires engaging more prospects than that approach allows. Instead, personalize by tailoring value propositions to buyer personas, sharing customer success stories relevant to the prospect’s industry and market segment, and reserving hyper-personalized emails for later stages of engagement and only those prospects who have opened prior emails. 

  1. Add value by sharing case studies, blog posts, white papers, and short videos. 

You only have 150 words or fewer to grab your prospects’ attention and make your case for taking a meeting. Supplement your emails with links (never attachments) to supporting collateral, such as case studies from similar customers, industry reports and white papers to demonstrate subject matter expertise, and short videos (short being the operative word – nobody wants a link to your hour-long webinar in a cold outbound email).

  1. Adopt a multi-touch strategy to win through persistence. 

If you think one or two outbound emails is going to get the job done, you’re in the wrong line of work. According to TOPO’s 2019 Sales Development Benchmark Report, it may take more than 18 touches to win a meeting from an outbound engagement. Don’t try to cram all the reasons a prospect should take a meeting into a single email. Instead, think of each email as an episode in a serialized narrative. Let your story unfold over the course of the engagement, and earn sustained attention by sharing unique information with each touch.

  1. Adopt a multi-channel strategy because email alone won’t get it done.

You know what’s more personal than even the most hyper-personalized email? A phone call.

Want to show your prospects they’re more than just an email address on a list? Like and comment on their LinkedIn posts.

Email is only one weapon in your outbound prospecting arsenal. If you’re not including phone calls and LinkedIn engagement in the 18+ touches it takes to win a meeting, you’re leaving a lot of money on the table. 

Emails alone won’t get the job done, but they’re critical elements of a successful outbound prospecting strategy. Done well, they’ll give your prospects something to think about, provide context for phone conversations, and demonstrate the kind of understanding and expertise that makes you the kind of seller customers want to buy from.

To learn more about crafting your conversion engine, click here

How to Create A World Class Conversion Engine

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About Sapper Consulting

Sapper's sales prospecting team becomes a natural extension of your existing sales efforts, helping you find new leads that are a great fit for your business.

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