Why are prospects ignoring your emails?
Hopefully, you’ve already ruled out the obvious answers.
- Your email is too long.
- Your email reads like a marketing brochure.
- Your email is clearly a blast to hundreds or thousands of people.
Assuming you’re not making any of these obvious mistakes, here are the five reasons prospects breeze right past your emails in 2017.
1) Your prospect has never heard of your company before.
If your business is completely foreign to your prospect, they’ll automatically be skeptical of your email. They’ve never heard of you or your product, so what are you doing in their inbox?
But that doesn’t mean you’re completely out of luck if your company brand is unknown. Turn it into an advantage by tapping into the buyer’s curiosity. An interesting or unexpected subject line will grab their attention and get them to open the email.
The key to an intriguing subject line: It should either be vague or hyper-specific. Anything that splits the difference isn’t compelling enough.
Vague: “Idea for your team”
Hyper-specific: “How you and [prospect’s coworker] can see [X result]”
Alternatively, try getting a referral. You’ll have instant credibility if someone your prospect knows introduces you. Please note, “a referral” doesn’t equal going on LinkedIn, finding a common connection, and mentioning that person’s name in your subject line.
You don’t know whether they actually know the buyer, let alone if the two have a good relationship.
What you can do: Use LinkedIn to find mutual connections, ask one for an introduction (with a prewritten “intro” email, so all they have to do is copy and paste), and repeat until someone says yes.
2) Your email isn’t relevant.
Brand recognition can definitely help, but it won’t close deals for you. Far more important? Your product helps the customer solve a problem they’re actually dealing with.
Unless your email talks about an issue the buyer is aware of, they’ll quickly dismiss it as irrelevant and move on with their day.
Identifying that problem before the connect call is much easier when they’re an inbound lead. Look at the pages on your site they visited, then infer their goals.
If they’re not an inbound lead, browse their company LinkedIn page, blog, social media accounts, and so on to understand their position in the market, strategy, and offering. What challenges have your similar clients dealt with? Address the most common in your email.
3) They’ve already solved the issue.
Imagine you bought a new dishwasher last week. If you get an email about the latest dishwashers to arrive in stock, are you going to open it? Probably not.
The same effect happens when you reach out to a buyer who recently purchased a product similar to yours. Even if they’re not completely satisfied, they’re likely going to focus on brand-new problems -- until their current solution is clearly not working.
You can get around this obstacle in two ways.
First, get to prospects earlier in their buying journey. Stop using the same trigger events as every other salesperson in your space -- figure out which (usually smaller) trigger events precede those. For example, if you currently target companies who just raised a round, start targeting companies who are in the process of getting funding. You’ll be able to build relationships before your prospects are even on your competition’s radar.
Second, play the long game. The buyer might have signed a contract one month ago, but if you can stay in contact with them over the next 10 months, you’ve got a real shot of winning their business. Figure out when they’re up for renewal, put that date in your CRM. Then periodically check in -- ideally, adding value each time.
4) Your email isn’t creative or memorable.
When your prospect is having a long, busy, draining day, it’s not just your email she’s ignoring. She’s probably not responding to -- or even opening -- many more.
To cut through the noise, you need to be a little creative. HubSpot reps often use funny GIFs or memes to add some personality to their messages. Other salespeople have been successful using prospecting videos.
While these tactics aren’t enough by themselves to earn a response, they can be the tipping point if the buyer is interested but overwhelmed with other work.
5) Your email asks for the wrong thing.
Every sales email should end with a CTA or recap of what will happen next. However, if prospects aren’t responding, it may be because you’re using the wrong CTA or recommended next step.
For example, if you’re hoping to get a buyer on the phone, asking for 30 minutes of their time will seem too much. They’re probably going to say no.
But asking for five minutes is dangerous too. Prospects know from experience most “five-minute calls” end up taking at least 15, so you’ll sound disingenuous.
Tailor the size of your request to your stage in the sales process. As the conversation continues, your requests should be increasingly larger.
For example, in your first email you might ask a simple yes or no question, like “Is this a problem you’re currently focused on at [prospect’s company]?”
Then in an email following up after the demo, you might close with, “Thanks for agreeing to connect me to your manager -- I think she’ll be interested in our reporting options. Can you please connect us sometime today or tomorrow?”
As buyers evolve, salespeople have to evolve too. The sales emails you sent two years ago won’t work on your prospects today. Avoid these mistakes to get responses.