Why do some sales reps manage to engage prospects using email, while others keep struggling? Is there a magic formula that can help getting higher response rate from sales emails? Apparently, there is. Persistence in following up and sending multiple emails, clear subject lines, and concise emails can go a long way towards getting a high response rate. Even small things like including your headshot in your signature can help you get more responses.
To analyze what makes a perfect sales email, Implisit analyzed over 250 thousand emails from over 300 companies that were sent by sales reps to prospects. We analyzed subsequent email attempts until the rep received a response from the prospect, or until he or she decided to stop emailing. Thus, we were able to see how many emails were sent before getting a response and determine best practices for each email attempt in the thread.
Furthermore, Implisit used sophisticated algorithms in order to analyze the content of the emails. We analyzed subject lines to find the optimal number of words and to see how components like pricing or other information in the subject line changes response rate. We also analyzed the body of the email to study the ideal length, as well as whether using specific jargon like marketing language, or including case studies or even signatures matters.
Results show that there are a few simple rules of thumb that can increase the performance of your email outreach. Here are the top 5 insights that we discovered.
When we looked at the thread of email attempts that was sent by the sales rep to a prospect, we found that the first attempt is the most effective. Typically, 12.5% of first attempts get a response from prospects.
However, it is still effective to send follow-up emails. If the first attempt did not get an answer, the second email is likely to get a response at the rate of 8.6% and if the second email did not get an answer, the third email is likely to generate a 3.1% response rate. Overall, after three attempts, you are almost 25% likely to get a reply. However, this figure would not go much higher if you keep trying with a fourth, fifth and sixth email attempt, so you should probably stop at three attempts.
Common intuition suggests short subject lines. However, we discovered that longer subject lines work better, specifically when it comes to the first email in a thread. Subject lines with 10 words or more tend to get 46% response rate, as compared to just 24% to subject lines with 10 words or less. This difference is especially prevalent in the first email. In the second, third email, or higher, shorter and longer subject lines tend to have similar performance.
Short emails, with fewer than 100 words in the body, tend to perform better in the first and second attempts. On the third, fourth, and fifth attempts, performance tends to be similar across email length. However, after the sixth attempt, it is better to send a longer email, which increases response rate to almost 19%.
It’s a well-known best practice to personalize emails. Now there is proof that personalization does work. Adding a signature and, specifically, a signature with your headshot boosts email response rate. Other tactics that may boost responses is mentioning a case study in the subject line and attaching a PDF.
One of the best ways to increase the likelihood of getting a reply for your sales emails is to reach out to leads as quickly as possible. We found that leads that are less than one week old are most likely to reply. Overall, it is best to hit leads while they are fresh to maximize your likelihood of getting a response.
While sales emails are an art, there is also science that you can apply in order to maximize your likelihood to get a response. We found that being persistent and sending more than one email, keeping your initial emails brief, but subject lines longer will boost your overall conversion rate. In addition, reach out to leads as quickly as possible and include your email signature. These are the takeaways from analyzing 250 thousand emails. Just follow them and start getting more responses today!