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Natalie Davis

By Natalie Davis

Aug 26, 2015


Inbound Sales
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Inbound Sales

Why I Love Getting Terrible Sales Emails

Natalie Davis

By Natalie Davis

Aug 26, 2015

Why I Love Getting Terrible Sales Emails

why-i-love-getting-terrible-sales-emailsA few months back I offered to lend our sales team some help as we ramped up that department. During that time. I worked with a few other people on our team to learn the ins and outs of the sales department, as well as some best practices for contacting leads.

For some reason, I was hooked.

Connecting with leads, giving marketing advice, trying to hit quotas -  it was all fast paced and exciting.

This is where my love of sales emails began.

As we were drafting up emails to send to leads, it became exciting to see which ones performed well and strategize how we could make them even better. We’d research ideas online, tweak the templates we had, and try again; hoping for better and better results each time.

After a while, we realized that critiquing the sales emails that we received in our inboxes proved to be a useful activity.  We looked back to see the ones that we actually opened, the ones that were targeted really well, the ones that made us laugh, or better yet - made us buy.

I stopped discriminating after a while and started opening all of them, just to see what they had to say. Which is when I came across this particular email that I received from a guy named Steve.

After reading it and mentally noting all the places where the email went wrong, I thought I could build a relatable reference for anyone drafting their next sales email.

Tell Me How I Know You

Hi Natalie,

Hope you are doing great.

While I understand he’s trying to be nice, I’d save this intro for an old friend, or a lead you’ve spoken with before.

Since we’ve never had any form of interaction, it comes across forced and un-genuine.

If we’re starting from the very beginning, I’d recommend not sending a random email in the first place. I’m assuming Steve got my information from a purchased list, in which case he’s setting himself up for a lot of spam complaints, but perhaps I’m wrong.

If so, my next suggestion would be to actually tell me where you got my information:

  • “Jerry Smith mentioned that he’s worked with you before. He passed on your information to me because..”

  • “I noticed you downloaded our ‘Guide for Outsourcing Development Work’ last week...”

I’m much more likely to read further into an email when a connection has been established as opposed to thinking it’s coming from a complete stranger.

Use Personalization When Possible

I tried reaching you today. I am looking for company partnerships with organizations like yourselves that offer web/mobile development/Social media. My name is Steve and I work as Business Development Executive in [Company].

[Company] is an all-inclusive web and mobile development company. We build modern, responsive, mobile friendly websites, We design for search engine optimization and security. We also develop Mobile apps.

Following one of the tips from an article by Michael Pici from HubSpot,  “Start your email with something about them, not you.”

This intro is all about him, what he’s looking for, his company, their services, etc. By now I’ve already tuned out. Instead, try something more personal:

  • “I noticed that as the Director of Talent at IMPACT you’re highly involved in the hiring process. I poked around at your careers page and saw that you’re currently looking to hire a “Front-End Web Developer”. If you haven’t filled the role already or want to be prepared for future hiring needs…”

There’s no denying that this was written for me.  It not only mentions my title and my company, a specific responsibility of mine, and an actual job opening on our careers page, but it also conveniently leads into his services.

I’m front and center in this email, giving me a reason to keep reading. 

I have looked through your website and feel you do match our initial profiling.

One of the first things we learned in sales was to customize emails (and other forms of interactions) so it doesn’t come off “sale-sy”.

Right here, he has the opportunity to differentiate this email from every other one that he sent out.  In this instance, I’d suggest mentioning exactly what he found on our website that matches their profiling.

  • “I noticed that you’re a HubSpot Partner and build sites on their platform…”

  • “I took a look at some of the websites your team has worked on in the past. The one you did for [this client] is similar to a site we recently developed...”

Assuming I did make it this far in the email, this type of customization would at least show me that he’s spent time on our site and took the time to really determine why we’d be a fit for his company’s offerings.

Don’t Ask for too Much

And then, as if Emeril Lagasse was adding a bit of seasoning to this dish… BAM!

Would you be interested in outsourcing work to us?


Wow Steve, at least buy me coffee first! You’re moving pretty fast.

One sentence ago you’re introducing yourself and your company, and next you’re asking me to say I’ll work with you?

Typically, you’d want to nurture your leads to get from an introduction to a sale. Someone who just met you will take some time before they trust you enough to work with you.  This process could last days, weeks, months, even years depending on the length of your typical sales cycle.  

With each step of the lead nurturing, no matter which stage of your sales process, you’ll always want to provide enough value to leave the lead asking for the next step.

Take this for example:

  • “I noticed that you’re a HubSpot partner and build sites on their platform [That’s the set-up from above]. I actually work with a team of developers who specialize in building high-quality sites on the HubSpot COS, and at a minimal cost. This could help in the meantime while you’re trying to fill the Creative Lead position. [There’s the value!].”

Tell me how your services relate specifically back to me and my company and you’ll get my attention.

Stop Yourself from Rambling

I’m reaching out to see if your company has any overflow work you’d like to white label through us. Our teams specialize in web & mobile app development for all common platforms.

We currently work with quite a few agencies like yourselves in United States, UK and Europe as preferred contracting partners. In a nutshell, our partners service their clients and get the actual execution/production done by us.  We do sign a nondisclosure agreement (NDA) to safeguard their interests.

We believe in Security, Choice, Quality and Speed and therefore you are assured of results that meet the highest quality standards.

Are you still awake?

While it might be tempting to tell the lead everything about your company - specialties, other partners, more about your services, NDAs that you sign, company values, etc. -  it’s information overload! Keep the email short and to the point.

In this email, I’d cut out the three paragraphs above and move into the closing statements. After all, you’ve ideally just provided your value, now it’s time to tell them what to do next.

Prompt A Desired Action

In order for you to gauge the productivity/reliability and our expertise we can offer you a free trial 1 week with one of our resources to work on any task for you.

I will look forward to hear your confirmation.

Thanks & Regards,


This is the time to bring everything to a close and get the lead to act. This particular closing sentence has some grammatical issues, making it choppy to read. It’s also not exactly pushing the lead to act.

“Do you have time for a 10-minute call tomorrow to discuss this further?

Looking forward to hearing from you,”

Get right to the point and ask the lead to make a decision, and make it clear that you’re expecting a response. If you leave it too open-ended they won’t feel the need to respond and will probably forget all about your email.  

What did I miss?

I’d love to hear other suggestions! What could make this email better? Let me know your thoughts.

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