• Charles Comenos

How to Write an Impactful B2B Sales Emails


Table of Contents


Part 1 – Understand Your Prospect and Segment Your Email List


Part 2 – Craft a Headline That Gets Opened


Part 3 – Writing Effective Body Copy

Pro Tip – Advanced Personalization with “Mail Merge”




Email outreach has many benefits, it’s inexpensive, straightforward, easily measurable, and has the potential to generate new business immediately. That's why, at the ripe age of 50 years old, email still offers one of the highest ROI of any B2B marketing channel.


But as we all know, most of the sales and prospecting emails that you receive are so tone-deaf or self-centered, that it’s almost laughable. “Did they actually expect a response from an email like that?” You might ask yourself while clicking the delete button, or worse, the “report spam” button.


Here's how to write sales emails that your sales can use to drive pipeline and win new contracts.


Part 1 – Understand Your Prospect and Segment Your Email List

This is an article about copywriting but you can’t start writing effective sales email cycle unless you have a clear sense of who exactly you’re writing for. The best way to achieve that ultra-targeted email outreach is through careful buyer persona research and list segmentation.


A proper buyer persona study will help you go beyond the perfunctory customer profile and determine what exactly gets your prospect to consider your solution, how they go about evaluating competing solutions, and how they choose one vendor over the competition.


There are many resources on buyer persona research available on the Internet, but I’m a fan of Adele Rivera’s Buyer Persona Institute, which has a comprehensive system for developing buyer personas.


Have a list that you think might of gone cold? There may be hope.


Part 2 – Craft a Headline That Gets Opened


As a sales and marketing professional, you know that the headline is the most important part of your email. Six to ten words (or about 41 characters) is all you have to make a positive impression and get the email opened, or all your entire effort is for naught.


A good place to start developing any headline is with the most basic, concise version that you can. Good digital copywriting is about being as to the point as possible; economy is crucial!


47% of email recipients decide to open your email based on the subject line, 69% of people decide to report an email as spam based on just the subject line. - Optinmonster

For this example, let’s say you work at a marketing analytics firm and you’re reaching out to marketing directors in the SaaS space, in order to help them gained deeper insights into their marketing performance. Here’s what some good starting headline could look like:


A New Marketing Analytics Solution with Advanced Cohort and Conversion Prediction Analytics


This is obviously a mess, for a variety of reasons. Let’s start with the basics, it’s entirely focused on the features of the product and not the benefits. While in B2B marketing there's more room for talking about features than in B2C, here it doesn’t quite feel right.


By focusing on the benefits, this is what we end up with.


A New Marketing Analytics Solution that Provides Faster and More Accurate Insights


While this is better focused on the value that the solution provides, it still doesn’t focus on the receiver enough. This grotesque misstep is common among inexperienced email copywriters.


The simplest way to remedy that problems is to just add a personalized mention.


Empowering {Company} with Faster and More Accurate Marketing Analytics


That’s not terrible! Even if you stopped here, you’d probably be doing at least 2x better in terms of open rate than if you used the first headline. But it’s still a bit wordy. According to sources like Campaign Monitor, the optimal length for a sales email headline is between 6 to 10 words, or 41 characters, so let’s try shortening it.


While we’re shortening, we can also draw on our buyer persona data to help us choose our features and benefits will most appeal to our prospects, as opposed to the ones which we think are the most important.


Maybe your buyer personas research found that the reason your SaaS prospects invest in marketing analytics is primarily because they wants to optimize their monthly recurring revenue.


Optimizing {Company}’s MRR with Improved Marketing Analytics


Getting closer. Let's make further optimizations to help create a stronger human connection. While this isn’t applicable in all cases, many people would sooner open something that is even more approachable, like this:


Want to Increase Your MRR with Better Analytics, {FirstName}?


There’s a good chance that a marketing director who cares about his performance and job security would at least open that email out of curiosity. After all, what if there’s something inside that will help him do his job better? That's worth a few seconds of his or her time.


Of course, the only way to know which of the headlines works best for your case is to A/B test. You’re A/B testing already, right?




Part 3 – Writing Effective Body Copy

You’ve gotten the prospect to open your email. That's the first major hurdle, but let's try not to drop the ball. Statistically, only a small percentage of the folks who opened our email will respond for more information or take the action that you want.


To optimize the chance of that happening, we need perfect body copy. Here's our rough draft.


Hello {FirstName},


I’m really excited to talk to you today about <product>, the latest version of your new analytics platform.


In addition to advanced cohort analytics, data mining, cluster analytics, and advanced data visualizations, it also has machine learning capabilities. The price tag is highly competitive too.


Let me know if you’d like me to walk you through it.


Best Regards, Frank


What a mess. But it brings us to the first point regarding your email’s body copy: you must consider the desired next steps before you start writing. Everything in the email is going to be built around pointing to the call to action (CTA), which could be a meeting link, a white paper, an eBook, or something else of value.


But that’s not the only problem going, there’s a lot of “me” in this email, and it's lacking a strong sense urgency. By tackling those three things at one time, we’re much likely to get a prospect to engage with our email.


See what that looks like below:


Hello {FirstName},


I know company’s like {company} struggle to understand customer loyalty, which can have a negative impact on your MRR.


<product> helps SaaS firms like {company} better understand customers with cohort analytics, advanced data visualizations, and a proprietary machine learning technology that we’ve developed.


I’m confident we could help you in your role at {company}? If you want to learn more, we have some materials available here, or I can jump on a call and walk you through it.


Best Regards, Frank


Better, and its within our ideal length of 100 words or less. Can we do better? We sure can! There are several strategies that we can use to take it to the next level, namely deeper personalization and social proof. We can also try adding a sense of urgency to the body copy.


Hello {FirstName},


Is {company} struggling to increase clients loyalty and MRR?


We’ve developed Socrates to help SaaS marketers solve that problem. Recently, we helped {another company} achieve a deeper understanding of their customers’ behavior and reduce churn by 50% in just 3 months.


Interested in doing the same? I have some materials you can look at here. I’m also happy to jump on a call and talk you through how it works.


Best Regards, Frank


Not bad. While there’s always room for tweaking around the edges, a few punchy sentences with a clear value proposition, low-friction CTAs, and a concise structure that’s easily scannable is the best way to start.


Using a CTA button in your emails in place of a link increases click-through rates by 28%. (Campaign Monitor)


Part 4 - Design an Appropriate Follow-Up Cadence


So, the first email is looking good and you’re getting ready to send. Not so fast! What about the follow up emails? How many emails you’ll want to send and what types of emails you send will matter largely on your prospects and what you’re selling, but you’ll undoubtedly need more than you think you will.


Roughly 80% of your prospects will say “no” four times be fore they ultimately say yes, but 92% of sales reps give up after hearing “no” four times. (Mailshake)

So, the goal is persistent, but “professionally persistent.” Here are some tips to help you make sure you get the sequence of follow-up emails right.

  • Focus on providing new value at each stage of the follow-up

  • Reiterate and expand on the context of your outreach

  • Send at least 2 follow-up emails to all your cold leads, warm leads you can nurture until you die or they tell you "no."

  • Improve your personalization with manual responses to prospects that engaged the first email


Pro Tip – Advanced Personalization with “Mail Merge”


Let’s acknowledge one of the fundamental paradoxes of email outreach: The more personalized an email outreach campaign is, the more successful it’s going to be. At the same time, what makes email so attractive as a marketing channel is its ability to reach a wide audience with little time investment and expense.


The standard way to customize outreach email the mail merge has become stale, though. Here’s a quick and dirty way of going deeper into personalization without having to invest in expensive new email marketing software.


The concept is to create email merge fields, like {custom1} or {part1}, that contain sentences you’ve chosen for the prospect based on a single attribute of their business.


First, create a new Excel spreadsheet with two different sheets. On the first sheet, create the traditional column like “name,” “company,” and “email,” along with your custom headers. Populate the regular headers but leave the custom field blank (for now).


On the second sheet of the Excel Document, write a series of sentences for the custom fields that are designed to target each of the most common types of prospect in your list, differentiated by that chosen attribute.


For example, let’s say you’re a managed IT service provider who’s reaching out to you professional services firms, the merge field could be a specific sentence about either the size, specialization, or industry of the prospect.

Hello {FirstName},


Does {company} struggle to keep its technology stable, updated, and ahead of the latest IT trends?


My firm, ROI Technologies, has been helping companies the Dallas area take control of their IT for over two decades. {custom1}


Want to see how we help you transform technology into a source of competitive advantage? Read the white paper we just wrote here. If you want to ask me a question, schedule a quick meeting with me.


Best Regards, Frank


Here are some possible variables for {custom1} in this scenario:

  • We’re particularly happy with the reviews that small brokerage firms, like Apogee Capital and Excel Partners have given us.

  • We’re particularly proud of helping midsized companies like Brondus Capital achieve lasting PCI-DSS and FINRA compliance.

  • We’re particularly happy with the consistent five-star reviews we’ve received from clients like <company>, which you can see here.


Each of those options makes a much stronger case than a regular email, they're easily reused for different prospects in a targeted list, and they only take a moment to copy and paste from one sheet to another. Win!


And there you have it, all the fundamentals of email outreach. By following those steps, you and your SDRs should be on a clear path to better open and response rates. Have a question? Feel to reach out a www.hellobios.com.


About: Charles Comenos is a B2B copywriter and content marketer who's been gleefully helping technology companies grow for over a decade. Between long dog walks with his adopted Saluki pup, he writes on all topics digital marketing, including content development, conversion rate optimization, search engine optimization (SEO), and more.



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