Do you make these mistakes with sales emails?

What does a good sales email look like? Well, it needs to be targeted, relevant and invite the reader to respond to find out more. Unfortunately as often as not the ones I receive are either too long, unclear what they are offering or just not relevant.

Here’s one I really had to share with the world – this is a genuine email I received last week. This one actually made me laugh out loud for how poor it is as a sales generation piece. I have changed the names of the sender and the company to spare their blushes.

From: James Smith
Sent: 05 December 2012 13:05
To: Kirby, Roisin
Subject: I would like to connect with you

Hi Edmund, Trust you are well

I realise you are busy so I have not called you directly.

I would however like to connect with you and your team to tell you a little more about our company, why we are different and how we can help.

The key to our success is the technology behind our services. Our goal is to replace costly traditional call centre data cleaning programmes with technology driven services that save our clients time and money.

We work with over 2,000 companies globally including A, B & C keeping their email marketing data clean and deliverable.

Our clients regularly see time and cost savings of 70%+ over traditional call centre models.

I would like to present to your data or marketing team, do you think there might be an opportunity here?

You can connect with me on LinkedIn here (link) and find out more about us.

John Smith

Managing Director

Ok, so who spotted the first schoolboy mistake? Yes, my name is not Edmund. You know that because you emailed me John.

The subject line of any email is THE most important part. Just like blog titles, they are there to entice the user to open the email and find out more. The subject line of ‘I would like to connect with you’ comes across as self-serving and a bit over-personal. I don’t know who you are and you would like to connect with me? What’s in it for me?

‘I realise you are busy’ is a fairly safe assumption, but is used in this case as an excuse for not having phoned me before the email approach.

The body of the email is all about John’s company, and only a little bit about what they can do for me. It shouts ME ME ME and makes the reader think that John is only interested sales for his company, not genuinely interested in what he can do for mine.

The targeting of this email is also poor. I do not have a call centre in my current role, therefore these services really are not of interest to me. I am not sure what the source of John’s data is (LinkedIn perhaps?), but there should be much more filtering of data before hitting the ‘send’ button. Every email delivered to the wrong person not only costs money (depending on your mail server) but also serves to damage your brand.

The call to action, inviting me to connect with John on LinkedIn requires me to actively seek him out and read through his profile. This is asking the recipient to do too much work to get in touch with you. Why not provide a URL to a specific, relevant case study online and promise to follow up with a phone call? You know my name, where I work, so it should not be too difficult to get hold of me via our switchboard.

Finally, the ‘blessings’ at the end of the email does not come across as a professional sign off from one business person to another.

Give him his dues, John did include his company contact details and social media links at the foot of his email.

So what should John do differently next time?

  1. Research his prospect list thoroughly so that he only targets relevant prospects. Less is more.
  2. Spend a bit more time composing/tailoring his template email for each recipient (or at least get their name right!)
  3. Start by reminding me how we know each other or where you found my details.
  4. Demonstrate some understanding of their industry and challenges they face. That illustrates that some research has been done, rather than being one in a thousand emails John sent that day.
  5. Illustrate how his company can help solve those problems. Either through a short paragraph of text or a link to an online case study that is relevant.
  6. Make it easy for me to respond
  7. Include a professional sign off to the email, including your contact details.
  8. Follow up with a phone call to see if you can generate my interest in your offer.

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Filed under Marketing, Sales

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