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Sales Communication
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Crafting sales emails that get responses: A list of do-s and don’t-s

Published on
May 20, 2024

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Dear Sir,

I hope all is well. I am following up on my previous email about Acme. We provide a service that will increase your revenue.

Would you be open to a quick 15-minute call to see if there is potential for collaboration? Let me know your availability.

Best,

John

You spend hours every week writing emails like this, hoping for a response.  But the reality is, with only 23.9% of sales emails ever being opened, your efforts are often wasted. Generic messages that offer no clear value are a surefire way to end up ignored.

So, what is the solution? Enter the art of crafting sales emails that stand out in a crowded inbox and get responses. It is about getting attention with the one message that makes them stop scrolling and think, “You have got me hooked.”

How to write a sales email?

You want your sales emails to get noticed and get replies. That sounds simple, but we all know it is not that easy. Your reader is swamped with messages asking for their attention. Why should they pause for yours? 

The answer is in the details. Let us look at a few essentials that you should include in all your sales emails to get quick responses from your prospects:

1. Subject line that gets opened

When it comes to the subject line of your sales email copy, a dash of personalization can make prospects feel special. In fact, personalized subject lines are twice as likely to be opened, with an open rate of 35.69%

Stir up a little curiosity, or flash your value proposition. Sample sales email subject lines like "Exclusive offer for [name]" or "Solve [problem] in 24 hours" can make prospects click on them immediately. 

2. A strong opening line

Your subject line got them to open, but now you need to keep them reading.  A strong opening line shows that this email is relevant and worth their time. Here is how to nail it:

Personalization pays off

Generic openers get ignored.  Mention a recent company win, a challenge they have spoken publicly about, or even a relevant industry news item. This shows you have done your homework.

❌ Generic opener

“I hope this email finds you well.”

✅ Personalized opener

“Congratulations on your recent expansion! I would love to discuss how [solution] can support your growth in [specific new market].”

Focus on the pain point

Are they struggling with lead generation, customer churn, or inefficient processes?  Highlight their pain to pique their interest.

❌ Vague opener

“Are you interested in [generic solution category]?”

✅ Pain-point opener

“Tired of wasting time on unqualified leads?  Let us talk about how [solution] can help you focus on prospects ready to buy.”

Offer immediate value

Can you share a quick tip, surprising statistic, or relevant case study?  This gives them a reason to keep reading.

❌ Self-focused opener

“Our product has great features…”

✅ Value-focused opener

“Did you know that companies using [solution type] see an average 15% increase in customer satisfaction?”

Your opening should be one, maybe two sentences at most. Long openers are the shortest way to lose your prospect’s attention. A thought-provoking question related to their goals or challenges can spark curiosity as well. Experiment to see what openings get the best response rates in your industry.

3. It is all about them, not you

This is where many sales emails trip and fall. It becomes a monologue about how great the product or service is, forgetting that the prospect might not care yet. 

Instead, make the email a mirror reflecting their needs and desires and showing how you can help fulfill them. 

Let us look at an example:

❌ Self-focused email snippet

"Our award-winning software has the best features in the industry, including X, Y, and Z. It is easy to use and integrates seamlessly with your existing tools…"

✅ Prospect-focused email snippet

"I understand you are looking to streamline [challenge]. With our software, teams like yours have been able to [highlight benefits directly related to that challenge]. Would you be open to a quick 15-minute call to see if it might be a good fit?"

While writing a sales email body, acknowledge their key pain point, goal, or recent development related to their business. This builds rapport. Mention a relevant success story, case study, or positive client testimonial to build credibility. 

Do not just list features- explain how your solution will directly solve their problem or help them achieve their desired outcome. Use metrics if possible. For instance, "save your team 20% in operational costs."

4. Keep it simple

Ever read something so full of jargon and buzzwords that it feels like decoding an ancient script? Do not be that email. Use clear, concise language that even your grandma could understand. If she cannot get what you are selling, it is time to get back to the drawing board.

❌ Jargon-heavy version

"Our solution leverages cutting-edge AI algorithms to optimize your lead generation workflow, maximizing ROI and driving bottom-line growth."

✅ Simple version

"Our tool helps you find more potential customers and close more deals. Have more time to focus on what you do best."

5. A clear call to action

Finally, be clear about what you want them to do next. Do not leave your prospects at a crossroads without a sign. Whether scheduling a call, replying with questions, or simply clicking on a link, make the next steps as easy as possible. 

❌ Vague CTA

  • “Let me know if you are interested.”
  • “Let us know if you have any questions.”

✅ Specific CTA

Here are some ways you can go about it, depending on what you are offering:

  • "Would you be open to scheduling a 15-minute call on [date/time options] to discuss this further?"
  • "I would love to show you how this could work specifically for your team. Are you free for a quick demo on [date/time options]?"

Writing a good sales email does not have to be complicated. Focus on what your reader wants to hear, and say it in a clear, engaging way. And remember to ask them to take the next step. 

6. Use Social Proof

Do not just claim your solution is great- provide proof. Testimonials, case studies, and even well-known client logos add a layer of trust to your sales emails.

❌ Vague assertions

“Our product is the best on the market.”

✅ Backed by evidence

“[Well-known company] used our solution to double their close rate. Would you like to see similar results?”

Here are a few types of social proof to choose from:

  • Testimonials: A quote from a happy customer about how you solved their problem always helps.
  • Case studies: Brief success stories with numbers are a good idea. For example: “Company X boosted efficiency by 20% after using our software.”
  • Big-name clients: If you have worked with recognizable brands, a subtle logo drop shows credibility.

Social proof taps into the power of peer recommendation. It makes your prospect feel more confident that your solution works, reducing their risk of trying something new.

7. Create Urgency or Scarcity

Adding a little time pressure can be the push a hesitant prospect needs.  However, use this tactic strategically- overuse makes it seem gimmicky. Here is how to do it right:

❌  Fake urgency

“This offer will not last long!” (When there is no real deadline)

✅  Genuine incentive

“Sign up by [date] and receive a 10% early-bird discount.”

Offer discounts, bonuses, or free trials that expire create a fear of missing out. Capacity constraints like “I only have a few demo slots open next week” hints at exclusivity. An add-on like “The longer you wait to address [problem], the more [revenue lost/customer churn/etc.] it will cost you” helps highlight the cost-specific urgency.

Such time-bound pressures tap into our desire to make use of opportunities while they are available. It can help get over procrastination and push prospects closer to a decision.

8. Follow Up Strategically

Sending one sales email and giving up is a recipe for failure.  But do not just send generic follow-ups- make them tailored to the previous interaction to show you are truly invested.

❌ Vague follow-up

“Just checking in to see if you have had time to think about my proposal.”

✅ Personalized follow-up

“Following up on our conversation about [specific challenge].  Would you be available for a quick 10-minute call on [date/time] to discuss the next steps?”

Mention a specific pain point they discussed or a question they asked. Share a relevant article, case study, or even a quick tip related to their problem. Find a balance between staying on their radar and being annoying. Try different channels like email, phone, and LinkedIn.

Personalized follow-ups show that you listened to the prospect and are genuinely interested in helping them.  This builds trust and rapport, increasing your chances of success.

9. Respect Their Time

Nobody wants to read a novel in their inbox.  Get to the point quickly.  Long, rambling emails are likely to be ignored, or worse, marked as spam.

Focus on a single key benefit or ask. Do not overload them with information. Break up the text for readability. Remember, every sentence should be worthy of its place. Can you convey the same idea with fewer words? If so, that is the best way forward.

❌  Wordy email

Several paragraphs about features, company history, and so on.

✅ Concise email

“I understand you are looking to [pain point]. In under 15 minutes, I can show you how [your solution] can help. Are you free for a quick demo on [date/time options]?”

Busy prospects appreciate clear, direct communication.  Concise emails show that you value their time and make it easy for them to decide how to respond.

10. Proofread and Test Before Sending

Typos, broken links, or a formatting glitch can make you look unprofessional and hurt your credibility. A few extra minutes of care can prevent embarrassing missteps.

Typos happen to the best of us. Do not rely completely on spellcheck- read it aloud to catch awkward wording. Make sure links to demos, case studies, etc. work correctly. If possible, have a colleague review your email for clarity and any errors you might have missed.

❌  Sloppy email

“Hi [Wrong Name], I am excited to discuss how my [solution] can help you’re business!”

✅  Polished email

“Hi [Correct Name], I am eager to discuss how [your solution] can help your business achieve [specific goal].”

Even minor errors can create a negative impression. Taking time to polish your email shows attention to detail and professionalism.

Common mistakes to avoid in sales emails

Sometimes, it is not what you are selling but how you are selling it. Here are some common slip-ups that might be sending your emails straight to the spam:

Do-s Don't-s
1 Be friendly and offer help without being overbearing. Do not be pushy or desperate in your approach.
2 Test your email for functioning links and correct personalization. Avoid sending emails with errors like broken links or generic placeholders.
3 Keep your emails concise, between 50 to 125 words. Do not send long, rambling emails that overwhelm the reader.
4 Include links to online resources instead of attachments. Do not attach files that may raise security concerns.
5 Personalize your emails based on the recipient’s industry, role, or past interactions. Do not blast the same generic email to every prospect.
6 Optimize your email for mobile devices. Do not ignore how your email displays on mobile screens.
7 Include a clear call to action (CTA). Do not leave your recipient wondering what to do next.
8 Make sure your email allows for direct replies. Avoid no-reply addresses that hinder communication.
9 Ask recipients to whitelist your email address. Do not risk your emails going to spam without taking preventative steps.
10 Schedule your emails to arrive during the recipient’s peak hours. Do not send emails at times when they are likely to be ignored.
11 Use A/B testing to optimize your email strategy. Do not rely on guesswork for your email strategy.
12 Be patient and consistent with follow-ups. Do not bombard your prospect with too many follow-ups.
13 Focus your message on solving the recipient’s problem. Do not overload your email with unnecessary information.

1. Being too pushy

Imagine meeting someone for the first time and they immediately ask you to lend them money. Awkward, right? That is how it feels when a sales email is too pushy. 

It is a fine line between being confident and coming off as desperate. You want to be the friendly neighbor offering a helpful hand, not the door-to-door salesperson who will not take no for an answer.

2. Not testing 

Nothing undermines your professionalism faster than a sales email with broken links, missing personalization, or the dreaded "Dear [INSERT FIRST NAME HERE]" mishap. 

Before hitting send, take a few extra minutes to double-check that all dynamic tags are functioning, links are working, and your formatting looks polished across different devices. This simple step can save you from embarrassment and ensure your prospects get the seamless experience they deserve.

3. Sending rambling emails

Ever get an email so long you need to take a break halfway through? That is a no-go in the sales world. In fact, the ideal sales email length is 50 and 125 words.

People are busy. They glance at emails during their morning commute or in between meetings. If your email reads like a novel, it is likely going to be saved for later (read: never). Get to the point, and make it snappy.

4. Attachment prospects will not open

Adding attachments to your emails can be a deal-breaker. People often hesitate to open attachments from unknown senders due to security concerns. 

Instead, consider including links to relevant online resources. This way, you provide the information without the risk, making it easier for the recipient to access and review.

5. Not personalizing 

Blasting out the same generic email to every prospect is a recipe for a high bounce rate and low engagement. Your audience is not one-size-fits-all- their needs, pain points, and priorities differ. 

Take the time to segment your email list based on factors like industry, role, or past interactions. Tailor your messaging to each segment, showing you understand their specific challenges and can offer relevant solutions. This personalized approach shows you are invested in solving their problems, not just pushing a product.

6. Ignoring mobile optimization

With more and more people reading emails on their phones, ignoring mobile optimization is a recipe for a poorly formatted, unreadable mess. Before sending, test how your email looks on different mobile devices. Keep subject lines short, paragraphs concise, and buttons easily tappable. Ensure images load fast and your message looks clean and professional, even on small screens. Mobile-friendly emails make a positive first impression and show prospects you respect their time and preferences.

6. Not adding any CTA 

A sales email without a clear call to action (CTA) is like sending a message without a purpose. Even if your email resonates with the prospect, they wonder how to follow up. 

Do not leave your prospects guessing. Include a focused CTA, whether it is scheduling a call, visiting a website, or simply replying to learn more. A clear next step turns interest into action and brings you one step closer to closing the deal.

7. Forgetting to add a direct reply option

Do not force your prospects to go through a maze of "no-reply" addresses and complicated contact forms. Make it easy for them to engage with you by making sure your sales emails can be directly replied to. 

A simple "Reply to this email" increases the chance of an immediate response. This sparks a genuine conversation and keeps the deal moving forward. It shows you are open to a dialogue and not just sending out automated promotions.

8. Not making sure your emails get whitelisted  

Even the best emails can accidentally end up in the spam folder. Do not let that happen to yours. Gently ask your prospect to add your email address to their contacts or to mark your message as "not spam." 

This tells their email program that your messages are safe and wanted, so they will reach the inbox where they belong.

9. Sending at the wrong time

Sending a perfectly written sales email at 3 AM might seem harmless, but it dramatically decreases its chances of being seen and acted upon. Consider your prospect's likely workday schedule and time zone. 

Use email schedulers and other similar sales productivity tools to ensure your messages arrive during peak engagement hours. Sending emails at the right time shows that you are considerate of their schedule and increases the chances of a timely response.

10. Not A/B testing

Do not rely on guesswork when it comes to your email campaigns. A/B testing allows you to try different subject lines, CTAs, or email body formats to see what resonates best with your audience. You can track open rates, click-throughs, conversions, and productivity metrics to optimize your emails for maximum impact. A/B testing removes the uncertainty from your email outreach efforts and helps you fine-tune your approach for better productive results.

A/B testing for sales emails
Source

11. Inconsistency in follow-ups 

Finding the right timing for after-sales follow-up emails is hard. Send too many, and you will annoy your prospect. Wait too long, and they might forget about you. 

Be patient, but do not disappear. Try sending a few follow-ups over a few days. See how they respond, and then you can adjust from there. The goal is to stay on their mind without being a bother.

12. Providing too much information at once

Nobody likes being bombarded with too much information at once. Keep your sales emails short and focused on the most essential thing your prospect cares about- solving their problem. 

Think of sales communication as explaining a new idea to a friend. You start with the basics and let them ask for more details if they are interested. A straightforward email leaves them wanting more, not feeling overwhelmed.

You can craft more engaging and effective sales emails by avoiding these common mistakes. Keep your approach friendly and your message clear, and make it easy for recipients to take the next step. This way, you increase your chances of getting a response and moving closer to making a sale. Here is a list of sales email templates that have worked for us.

Tools for crafting compelling sales emails

Crafting the perfect sales email is more art than science. You have the personalization, the compelling value proposition, and everything's polished, but still, those open rates do not always deliver. Would it not be great to have a tool that gives you some more certainty and control? That is where these sales email tools step in.

1. Oliv

Oliv curates sales emails  and automates follow-ups effectively

Oliv analyzes your past successful emails. What subject lines got opened? Which phrases sparked replies? It helps you replicate what works and avoid what does not. 

Writing emails from scratch for each prospect is tedious. Oliv understands their interests based on past interactions and auto-generates drafts, saving you time while making sure your message resonates. 

Trying to follow up on a prospect who connected with you over call the first time? Oliv’s real-time call summary makes sure your email includes all the relevant bits from the conversation you had. If some specific pain points kept your prospect hooked on the call, Oliv curates the follow-up email keeping that in mind. 

Still, at the end of the day, Oliv is there to assist, not take over. Tweak drafts, change the wording, or add a personal touch- you have the final say to make sure your unique voice shines through.

2. Salesmate

Juggling multiple apps can hamper productivity. Salesmate lets you manage your entire sales email process right within your CRM. Get a jumpstart with Salesmate’s library of proven email templates, saving you the hassle of writing from scratch.

Automate your follow-ups with Sales Sequences. Reach prospects at the right time, even if you are busy with other tasks. Design personalized templates within the CRM and reuse them easily, maintaining a consistent brand look.

By integrating email into your core sales tools, Salesmate makes sending and tracking emails less of a hassle and more of a seamless part of your workflow.

Salesmate helps in automating sales emails

3. EngageBay

 EngageBay empowers you to craft and send targeted emails.

EngageBay gives you creative control and helps you send the right emails to the right people. Build visually appealing emails using a drag-and-drop interface. Add images, social share buttons, and more without needing coding knowledge.

Segment your customer database using filters like location, lead status, etc. This makes sure your emails reach the most relevant prospects. Automatically add contact details to your cold emails, making them feel less generic and building rapport.

See your email open rates, click-through rates, and more. Use this data to refine your approach for better results over time. 

4. HubSpot

HubSpot's assists in sending and designing sales emails

HubSpot’s email tools go beyond just sending and designing- they help you understand what works best and tailor your approach accordingly. Start with a template designed for your specific objective (lead nurturing, welcome emails, etc.), increasing your chance of success.

Its drag-and-drop builder lets you personalize layout, branding, and calls to action, making sure your emails stand out in the inbox. Automate email campaigns to reach prospects at the right time, regardless of where they are in the world.

HubSpot includes A/B test subject lines, content variations, and more. Its analytics tell you what resonates most, so you can keep refining your strategy.

5. Clearbit

Clearbit enhances sales email effectiveness with deep personalization

Personalization is key to sales email success.  Clearbit helps you go beyond basic contact info, giving you the insights you need to tailor your outreach. 

It pulls data like job titles, company information, social media links, and even location. This helps you understand your prospect’s role and potential pain points. Get accurate email addresses, so your messages reach the right inbox.

Clearbit’s data lets you personalize your emails, mentioning their company achievements, industry trends, or even their recent social media posts.

Ready to craft sales emails that get responses?

Sales emails can lead to successful closes, but getting them right takes more than just good intentions. By focusing on your prospect's needs, creating personalized content, and avoiding common pitfalls, you can make your emails stand out in a crowded inbox.

To recap, here is how to craft sales emails that work:

  • Personalize, show prospects you understand their challenges.
  • Keep it focused and clear. Avoid jargon and get straight to the point.
  • Make it actionable. Include a clear call to action that is easy to follow.
  • Test and refine. Experiment to see what resonates best with your audience.

Let Oliv help you get more out of your sales emails. Schedule a free demo to see how.

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