At the beginning of the pandemic, most companies were compelled to rethink their business development strategy to optimise their outreach efforts. Many switchboards were closed with no plan for reopening and as a result LinkedIn and emailing became more important options than ever. In a previous blog, we studied how to make the best use of LinkedIn so here, we will focus on the 5 best ways to improve your B2B cold emails to help you win work. Here’s how:
- Question whether email is the right approach
- Research your prospect
- Keep it short
- Intrigue them
- Finish with a clear call-to-action
1. Question whether email is the right approach
As it is during a call, it’s important that cold emails are part of any business development action plan, however, you must ensure that an email is the best outreach option and a timely one. For example, if the switchboard is open or if you have a direct number, would a call be more appropriate and more efficient? Have you tried calling your prospect at different times of the day before claiming that it is impossible to get hold of them? In any case, if emailing is your best lead generation option, bear in mind that the email must have a purpose. At Carbon Global, we prefer to be honest and transparent and tell our prospects that we have been trying to reach them: ‘If you have a missed call, that was me’ or ‘I have been trying to get hold of you on the phone’. This shows that you haven’t just been lazy and that you haven’t just sent out blanket emails to a target list. From here, you should make sure to personalise the email as much as possible.
2. Research your prospect
Tailoring your email to your prospect’s role, interests or needs can make a huge difference. If the email resonates with them, they are more likely to respond positively. Keep in mind that you are probably not the only one trying to reach out to your target audience and therefore, you must be able to stand out to pique their interest. For example, have a look at your prospect’s LinkedIn profile and go beyond the job title, see what their job description is and have a look at their ‘About’ section as you might find a gold nugget in there. Equally, having a Google search of their name to see if you can pick up any information elsewhere is also important. For example, at Carbon Global, when we do lead generation for our healthcare clients, we dig into prospect profiles to assess their therapy area and even better, the drug they are working on. With this information at hand, it is much easier to personalise an email. To make sure that our email stands out, we also put some of our prospect’s most relevant keywords in bold such as their drug name, etc. Keep it detailed but this does not mean that you should write a super long email…
3. Keep it short
Turning keywords bold does not suggest that you should write a very long email, it’s only to be eye-catching and prove the relevance of your email as they hover over that delete button. Your prospect probably receives dozens of emails every day so you don’t want yours to be ending up straight into the trash folder because it was off-putting at a first glance. On that note, you should also ensure that your subject is mysterious enough to encourage your receiver to open the email, we will come back to this in point 4. Also, take into account that many of us also check emails on our phones so subjects and texts will look longer and more overwhelming on a smaller device. As such, another tip would be to avoid any flowery language and to not waffle for too long, try to get to the point quickly. Read your email once or twice to see if you could cut down words or replace a sentence with a simpler point. However, don’t give it all away at once…
4. Intrigue them
At Carbon Global, our business development activities aim to set up meetings for our B2B customers. While our function is to schedule a cup of tea for them with a prospect, we want to make sure that our target contacts do not have all the information at hand before attending the meeting, whether that is virtually or face to face. Indeed, you want to give them enough reason to be intrigued about your product or service without giving it all away. If they have all the knowledge, they will hold off meeting you until they actually need you, meaning that you’re missing an opportunity to sell your personality and create a relationship that goes beyond the creds deck. For this reason, we often say that we, the business development team, are not best placed to go into deeper details and that our MD or CEO will be better placed to share a full overview of the business’ expertise and insights. We’re the GP, they’re the specialist.
5. Finish with a clear call-to-action
Once you have made sure that you’re writing with a purpose, that you know and understand your prospect, and that your email is concise and appealing, you should have figured out how you wish to close your B2B email. Do you want to set up a meeting? Are you asking for a referral? Or do you want to know more about their needs and challenges? Whatever the call-to-action is, try to make it difficult for the prospect to easily respond ‘no’. To do so, try open-ended questions to encourage a response that will help you gather the information you are seeking. Another reason to have a clear call-to-action is to ensure that your receiver quickly understands what is required from them and that they do not need to sit there deciphering your email, wasting their time. Hopefully, if everything is coherent, it should be quick and easy to respond to the email, which is ultimately, all that we want!
Strategic Operations Manager