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Christian Banach

As VP, Group Account Director, Christian leads Catapult's team of Sales Directors and is focused on helping generate new business opportunities for our advertising and marketing agency clients.

The Best Days & Times to Send Sales Emails to Prospects

You’ve targeted your ideal prospect and written a personalized and compelling email – but to win new business from senior marketing decision makers you need the prospect to open and reply to your message.

The day and time your email is sent has a major impact on your success. Several studies confirm the best days and times to send emails, but these have primarily focused on B2C emails and have used only open rates to make their recommendations.

This 2014 Yesware study of 500,000 emails, on the other hand, explicitly measures B2B sales emails and bases day and time recommendations on response rates.

Best Day to Send a Cold Email

Many people believe that Mondays are better days to send sales emails since prospects are back in the office. Fridays are believed to be poor, since many decision makers are thought to be on the golf course or at their beach house.

Yesware’s research says otherwise and found replies to be equal across each weekday. This is great news for sales reps that have been cramming their outreach into four weekdays.

As a consultant and sales director at Catapult New Business, I set up sales cadences with six email touch points. The first four messages and the sixth (and final message) are sent on weekdays.

But, I experiment with the fifth message and send it on a weekend. Absurd? This same Yesware study found that weekend emails are 10% more likely to be opened over weekday emails, likely because 80% fewer marketing emails are sent on weekends.

Best Time of Day to Send a Cold Email

Does time of day matter when sending out cold sales emails? Absolutely. The aforementioned Yesware study found that the best times to send cold emails were:

• early mornings (between 6 and 7 a.m.)
• evenings (around 8 p.m.)

Reply rates during these times were around 45%.

I have a two-pronged outreach approach that includes both emails and phone calls. Many people wait to check their voicemails until right before heading home from the office. So I send the voicemail follow up email around 8 p.m., giving the prospect more time to check and hear the voice message I left. When it comes to introduction emails, (ones not following up a voicemail) I send in the early morning.

Keep in mind that each situation is different; if you’re not receiving responses from morning and evening emails, try after-lunch and even later evening emails. Because many senior decision makers tend to work very early or very late, it’s not uncommon for them to respond outside of “regular” hours.

Useful Tools for Scheduling Emails

Good news: Sending emails at specific times does not mean getting up super early or staying up late. Today’s sales development platforms and tools allow you to schedule your emails in advance.

SalesLoft is an excellent example of a program that gives you the ability to set up a multi-touch sales cadence and schedule your emails to go out at specifically designated times.

The added benefit of using such a platform is that you can send your emails at optimal times based on your prospect’s time zone.

Measuring Your Success

An email campaign, like any other campaign, demands careful measurement of results to determine what’s working and what’s not. When looking at results, however, do so in terms of your reply rate—not the number of people whom simply open your emails.

Unfortunately, open rates can be quite misleading. Your tracking tool might record an open when your prospect hasn’t actually opened the message and vice versa.

A better way to measure your outreach success is to use your replies as the metric. To calculate, take the total number of positive replies and divide by the total number of messages sent. Keep in mind; a 50% open rate with a 1% reply rate will lead to fewer opportunities than a 5% open rate with a 10% reply rate.

Key Takeaways

As you can see, there’s a lot to keep in mind when it comes to writing a sales email and deciding when to send it for the best chances of receiving a response. But you can increase your chances for success by:

• Experimenting with “off hour” weekday and weekend emails
• Using tools like SalesLoft to set up a sales cadence and schedule your emails; and
• Measuring success by tracking replies – not opens

These three tactics will help determine areas for improvement and change your sales email strategy as needed. After all, no two prospects are going to be exactly the same.


Author Bio

Christian Banach is an advertising agency new business consultant and sales director at Catapult New Business. You can connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Building Blocks of an Effective Cold Sales Email

Despite all the attention around inbound marketing, outbound sales emails remain one of the most effective tools for complex business transactions, including selling marketing services.

A report from The Radicati Group, Inc. finds that the average business professional receives 88 emails per day. So how does an agency new business person break through and get noticed in a crowded inbox?

I send hundreds of cold sales emails each week as a consultant and sales director at Catapult New Business, and I’ve developed a format that will make your messages stand out and get more responses from senior marketing decision makers.

Paragraph 1 — Entice With a Question

The first line of the cold sales email is the most important. With many email programs including a preview of the message, it’s imperative that the first line pique the prospect’s interest. It needs to be relevant and personal.

An effective way to gain attention is to open your message by asking one or two questions about the challenges the prospect’s business faces. These questions should center on problems that your agency is uniquely qualified to solve.

Research the company, their industry and the prospect to identify these pain points. Then ask yourself: What changes are affecting their business? What is the impact of these issues are on their business? Why are they important to solve?

Always personalize the salutation with the prospect’s name and reference the company’s name. Although the entire message should not read like a generic copy-and-pasted template, this is especially true of the first paragraph.

Example:

Rick,

Considering your acquisition of Zeus Financial, is First Primary Bank facing challenges integrating customer experiences or looking to build even more profitable relationships with customers?

Paragraph 2 — Demonstrate Value

You’ve identified key problems. Now offer to solve them.

Be clear that you are not sending them an email looking to set up a generic capabilities call. Senior decision makers are too busy. Instead, inform them specifically of what you can offer and how you might be able to help. Compel them to get to know your agency better by offering solutions to problems that you already understand.

Remember this is about them, not you.

Agency business development consultant and author Peter Levitan says, “Give them something of value in return. In most cases, this might be a serious insight or a creative solution.”

While you may not yet have a full grasp of the nuances of their business, you’ve demonstrated that you’ve done your homework and understand the likely issues your prospect faces. You have a point of view and a viable answer to the questions you’ve already posed.

Example:

If you’re struggling with either one, or both, I’d like to share two insights that we’ve uncovered about the banking industry and how they might be impacting you.

Paragraph 3 — Demonstrate Capability

You’ve asked the right question and hinted at the answers you have. But who are you, anyway?

The third paragraph will demonstrate your bona fides. This is where you show what you’ve done.

Show the prospect the proof that you’ve done this before. To build trust and credibility, mention clients that you’ve worked with that are within the same business category or faced similar challenges.

This is not about name-dropping. You need to create the wedge. Illustrate the compelling outcomes achieved by other clients using the solutions you provide and can provide for the prospect too.

Instead of saying how awesome you are, make your point by having your clients talk about you. If someone else is saying something about you, it’s a third-party endorsement, which is much more credible.

Example:

Mid-sized financial services clients like Second Eastern Bank have told us that we’ve helped them to provide dramatically better online customer experiences that improved market share by 17% in less than 12 months.

Paragraph 4 — Disarm

Next, is your opportunity to disarm the prospect. Make it clear that you’re not trying to sell them per se but rather to see if your agency might be a good fit.

Since there will be objections, select one and prevent it before it’s had a chance to plant in your prospect’s mind.

Example:

We respect that you may have other agency relationships and that there might not be a fit right now, but we would like for you to know us better because a need could arise down the road.

Paragraph 5 — Call To Action

Complex sales, such as for marketing services, are likely to take months or even years before there’s real movement. You will not make the sale with this first email and your call to action should be to advance the relationship forward.

For ad agencies, the typical next step is to secure a scheduled phone call with the prospect. Should there be an expert or other relevant member of your team that can add value to the call, mention them.

Make this call to action very clear. Limit it to one call to action per message, and one possible link, and propose a timeframe for the call.

Example:

Might a brief chat the week of June 2nd with our Insights Director, John Smith, and I, be of interest?

Full sample

Below is the full example, based on the points described above.

Rick,

Considering your acquisition of Zeus Financial, is First Primary Bank facing challenges integrating customer experiences or looking to build even more profitable relationships with customers?

If you’re struggling with either one, or both, I’d like to share two insights that we’ve uncovered about the banking industry and how they might be impacting you.

Mid-sized financial services clients like Second Eastern Bank have told us that we’ve helped them to provide dramatically better online customer experiences that improved market share by 17% in less than 12 months.

We respect that you may have other agency relationships and that there might not be a fit right now, but we would like for you to know us better because a need could arise down the road.

Might a brief chat the week of June 2nd with our insights director, John Smith, and I, be of interest?

Cheers,

Christian

Conclusion

Writing an effective agency new business cold email requires careful planning and research. If you keep it personal, outline the prospect’s needs, offer potential solutions, demonstrate capability, overcome objections and make a straightforward call to action, your messages will have a greater chance of cutting through the clutter, getting more responses, and paving the way for more new business wins.


Author Bio

Christian Banach is an advertising agency new business consultant and sales director at Catapult New Business. You can connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter.