“I’m in sales. Don’t bother me about the ins and outs of email marketing.”
You might want to rethink that.
And if you avoid reading posts with the words “email marketing” in the headline, beware. You’re probably missing important revenue-generating tips.
Because here’s the thing: the best sales reps—the ones who excel in today’s new selling environment—also know a lot about email marketing.
They’re not just “renaissance men” or jacks-of-all-trades. They understand that the specific elements of effective emails apply to other parts of the sales process. Then they use those elements to get better at their job.
Here are the four basic ways a solid understanding of email marketing can make you a better sales rep:
1. Successful Email Tactics Work on the Phone, Too
In a world filled with hyper-specialists, it may seem weird to say this, but it’s true—sales and marketing both boil down to the exact same thing:
Selling more stuff.
And prospective buyers respond the same whether cues are presented to them in an email or on the phone.
The medium still matters, obviously. And because email is a written medium, the strategies for success may be easier to see and internalize:
- Speak to your prospect’s problems and priorities
- Get to the point
- Use a unique voice or point-of-view
- Understand what you want your prospects to do, and steer them toward that objective
- Offer something of value
If you take time to learn what makes an email effective, your next sales conversation will be more effective, too.
2. Understanding Email Helps Tailor Your Sales Strategy for Your Prospect
One great thing about effective email marketing is what it tells you about your prospect.
When your prospect opens and clicks the link in an email, you begin to learn more about her. For starters, you know your specific message resonated with her. And that tells you more about her problems or priorities.
In addition, the nature of your email offer suggests where your prospect is in the decision-making process.
If she downloaded a white paper or “how-to” guide, she’s probably just starting to become aware of a problem she has, and is in the early stages of exploring a possible solution.
If she signed up for a free trial, she may be a lot closer to buying.
Obviously, that’s information you can use to tailor your sales strategy to your prospect’s specific circumstances.
Which means it’s not enough to know that your latest email offer is generally about cold calling.
You’re in a much better position as a sales rep if you know the specific message that caught your prospect’s eye, and the specific offer that prompted action.
3. It Improves Your Emails
What’s the difference between the marketing emails you send to hundreds of prospects and the personalized emails you send to individual colleagues and prospects?
Actually, not much.
Your “offer” might be different, and you’re attempting to engage a specific person you know instead of a group of people you don’t know, but the same principles apply.
Learning about the elements of an effective marketing email can make your one-off emails a lot more successful. Here are a few:
- Write in short sentences and paragraphs. (How many times have you received an email with long, dense paragraphs without cringing and reaching for the delete button?)
- Get to the point. (Seriously, man. You have a ton of email to get through—you don’t have time to try and figure out what the sender wants you to do.)
- Don’t ask for more than one thing. (When you send an email with a bunch of questions, how often do you get a response to all of them? I’m gonna go with pretty much never.)
- Don’t send unnecessary emails. (The more emails you get from a specific company—or from an eager beaver colleague or sales rep—the less you’re likely to pay attention to any given one. And you’re cool to delete them, because you’ll probably just get another one in five minutes.)
4. Better Writing Leads to Better Talking
Putting words down on paper (or typing them on a computer screen) forces you to think harder and be more careful about the specific words you use and how you use them.
Imagine if we all put as much thought into what we say as we do into what we write—or if we could review and edit what we said before someone heard it.
Conversations would be a lot more productive, more professional, and (from a sales standpoint) more effective.
So… why not try it? Use the same lessons that make you a good writer to improve your sales conversations.
Speak clearly, and in the active voice. Eliminate unnecessary words.
Use simple language that your prospect understands. Avoid business jargon or big words that you think will impress your prospect (they won’t).
Learn when to talk—and when to stop. Your prospect doesn’t want to read an email that’s too long and dense, and she doesn’t want to listen to a one-sided sales pitch.
Most importantly, think about what you want to say before you say it. Create and refine general scripts or outlines to guide your cold calls and appointments.
Constantly work to “edit” your writing and your speaking to be as clear and direct as possible.
If you do, you’ll see your prospects reading what you wrote, listening to what you say, and being receptive to what you have to offer.