Best Practices for B2B Sales Emails

B2B companies have customers all over the globe, and more often than not, they only have one or two offices. This means one thing for a sales team. Lots and lots of emails.

Email is used as a means of communication during every part of the sales cycle. Whether it’s cold outreach or sending over a contract to close a deal, if you’re a salesperson, your email browser is going to stay open.

The problem with relying so heavily on email, and this is especially true for cold outreach, is everybody’s email inbox is constantly being bombarded with messages. I have a friend with 4,800 unread emails in her Gmail Inbox. If she doesn’t recognize your name on that email, you’ll have better luck reaching her by shouting in space.

She is far from the only one like this, too. That means in order to have successful sales emails in the B2B world, you need to create highly engaging and effective emails.

So how do you write highly engaging and effective emails?

The first thing to note is there is no perfect email. Sales emails are one of those things where perfection is the enemy of good. Spend an entire afternoon crafting the “perfect” email, and you’ll still wind up with plenty of rejections.

Don’t spend too much time on any one email. This is not to say you can be careless, there’s just no reason to agonize over every word. If you use a marketing automation tool, you can, of course, automate a lot of your emails. This can save you a ton of time and make it a little more forgivable if you want to spend a little time making an email just right since you’ll only need to write it once.


Next, and this is a little obvious, personalize all of your emails. In this day and age, personalizing emails isn’t going to blow anybody socks off. After all, it’s pretty easy to find somebody’s information on the internet.

In basketball, they say a game can’t be won in the first quarter, but it can be lost. This is a dumb aphorism; if a basketball game is won by one team, it is lost by the other. That’s how zero-sum games work, but I digress. The reason for bringing that up is it can be applied pretty effectively to personalized sales emails. You’ll likely never win a sale because of a personalized email; it’s just not special enough these days, but you might lose a few with a greeting like “dear sir or madam” (or another less anachronistic greeting). When a recipient sees their name on the first line, they’re simply less likely to throw your message in the trash.

Take personalization one step further by targeting information about your recipients. The earlier in the sales cycle you are, the less information you’ll have and the harder this will be, but do some digging. If you sell software and can learn what software tools a prospect uses, you can work that into your email. If the prospect went to the same college as you, mention it in the opening. A little personal nugget like that can be the difference between getting a response and getting ignored.

Appeal to emotion

When crafting the body of your email, think about appealing to emotion rather than facts or logic. It may sound counterintuitive, but facts and logic don’t do a whole lot in persuading someone to do something. On the other hand, emotion can go a long way.
So rather than citing the percentage of users that adopt your software tool within two months, explain how your solution will free them from some tedious task and give them more time. Obviously how you appeal to emotion will depend on what your product does and which problems it solves for potential customers, but you get the picture.

A great way to appeal to emotion is to tell a story. It’s unlikely you’ll be able to work a story into your email for reasons I’m about to cover, but it’s never a bad idea to attach a case study to your email that has some emotional gravity to it.

Get into that whole brevity thing, man

The last thing you need to do is keep it short. This one is as simple as it gets. Nobody wants to read a cold outreach email that rivals War and Peace in length. Get in, make your point, give them a clear call to action, and get out.

After the email

Once you’ve written your email, you’re not done. No matter how well-written it was, one won’t get the job done. You’re going to need to follow up, and you’re probably going to have to do it a lot. Use the same strategies in your follow-up that are listed above. You can also read a little more about follow-up tactics here.

Finally, there’s tracking. Email outreach can feel like throwing darts at an invisible dartboard. The only way you’re going to improve your email strategy is tracking what works and what doesn’t. Split test your emails, so you can see which strategies work best for your prospect base.

Email outreach is an iterative process, so the best thing you can do is make sure you’re continuing to improve.