sales

How to Write an Introduction Email for B2B Sales

February 20, 2017

In B2B sales, the "introduction email" has become the new cold call. Used correctly, sending highly targeted email to business prospects can be a great way to begin a business relationship for B2B sales. Sending an introduction email can be done by finding a prospect's email address on their company's website or through using the paid InMail service on LinkedIn.com.

In this blog post we discuss how to correctly use an introduction email to make a good first impression with a person you want to begin a business relationship with.

First, you need to learn the art of how to write an effective email subject line. When writing the subject line, consider using the person's first name as doing so will immediately grab their attention. The subject line also needs to be specific to their business and not spammy. A great subject line congratulates the person on either an award they have won or positive news that has happened at their company.

For example, you can congratulate a person on a new product their company has launched, such as, "Bill - congratulations on the XYZ Widget you just launched".  If the person is in sales, such as the VP of Sales, and their company has had a record sales quarter, you can congratulate them in the email subject line saying something like, "Steve - congratulations on your record sales quarter."  Emails that have subject lines where you are congratulating a person get opened and read. Email subject lines that are spammy where you are trying to immediately sell something are seen as being spam and are often immediately deleted without being opened and read.

Another example of using a compliment in the email subject line are, "Mike, you have an impressive LinkedIn profile" or, "Carrie your skills are amazing - I'd like to talk to you" or "Sarah, I've been following your success and I'd like to talk with you". The objective here is to be authentic, genuine, and to NOT sound creepy or like you are trying to sell them something. Understand that you are simply trying to build a friendly business relationship--and you are not trying to immediately sell them something. Just as with dating, you don't walk up to a stranger and immediately ask him or her to marry you. You first introduce yourself, compliment them on something, and begin a friendly conversation to get to know one another. The same goes for business. You don't contact a stranger and immediately start trying to sell them something. That is considered rude and very annoying, so don't do it.

Start by making a list of business prospects you want to get to know

The first thing you want to do is brainstorm on what companies most need the product or service your company sells. Try to create a list of 100 companies. Then, determine the job titles of the people at each company who would be the main contact for buying the type of product or service you sell. Note that it is better to start at higher level positions, such as C-level and upper management.

Your next step is to find the names and email addresses of the people who are in those job titles at those companies. There are many ways to do this:

  • The first way is to go to Google and do a search for the company and job title, such as: microsoft.com +"director of marketing".  This will give you a starting point of pages to visit that may list the person's name who holds that job title. You may even find the person's email address or a link to email that person. However, there is a chance that the information you find may be old and the person is no longer working at that company.
  • The second way is to simply call the company and ask the telephone receptionist for the name of the person who currently holds the job title you want to reach. At this point you may want to ask if you could have that person's email address. The receptionist will probably say no, but you may get lucky and get it.
  • The third way is to sign up for a Linkedin.com premium business account which allows you to purchase InMail credits so you can send messages through LinkedIn to the people you want to contact. With LinkedIn you can perform advanced searches by company name and job title to find the people who hold those job titles as the companies you are targeting. If you already know the person's name who holds the job title, then you can simply do a LinkedIn search for that company name and the person's name. As LinkedIn is the world's largest business social network, purchasing a premium InMail business account will be your best tool for quickly and easily finding and contacting prospects at the companies you want to target.

Things NOT to say in your introductory email

When writing your introductory email, there are some things you should never say.  You want to stay away from typical openings that immediately flag you as a person trying to sell them something. So, don't say things like:

"Hi, my company offers..."

"Hi, does your company need xyz widgets? We sell them at the lowest price..."

"Hi, we help companies do xyz and I would like 10 minutes of your time..."

Your prospect is not going to purchase what you are offering in that first introductory email you send to them so STOP trying to sell. Your introductory email is simply for starting a friendly relationship by complimenting them on something. As a way to generate interest in your product or service, under your name in the signature section of your email, include some text about your product or service, the number one benefit it offers, and a link to more information on your company website.

The next thing to do is send the person a second email a few days later. You may have to write 6 to 8 e-mails in consecutive order to get their attention. All of these emails should be friendly emails where you are sharing information that may be of value to them. Again, compliment them when you can about exciting news that is happening at their company. A simple way to stay informed about news that is happening at their company is to go to Google News and search for their company name. Then, scroll down to the bottom of the page and you will see a button that says, "create alert." Click on that button to create a Google alert that automatically emails you whenever a new news item is found about that company. 

How to Write a Great Introduction Email

A major mistake people make when writing their introduction email is they include too much information about themselves. The people you are contacting are busy and they don't have time to read your life story. And, the truth is, they don't care about you or your life story. In sales everything should be focused on your prospect instead of on you. This means that your emails should rarely have "I" or "me" but should be concerned with "you" or "your."

Keep Your Introduction Email Short and Sweet

Your introductory email should not be longer than 3-4 sentences and it should not take more than 1 minute to read from beginning to end. Break down your email into a couple of short sentences. Again, your email should be focused on giving the person you are contacting a compliment about work they have done or good news about their company. 

Here is an example of a congratulatory introduction email that works well for contacting people through LinkedIn:


Hi name,

I just read on xyz.com that your company won an award for the best technology product of 2016 for mid size hospitals. Congratulations! That is an amazing accomplishment. 

I also work in the healthcare technology industry and I would very much like to connect with you on LinkedIn. As I often meet with buyers in your market, I may be able to send some business your way.

Once again, congratulations on winning the award!

John Doe, VP of Business Development
JPR Industries, Inc. "We help healthcare technology firms do X"
www.jpr123abc.com
(123) 456-7890
j.do@jpr123abc.com


In summary, use an introduction email as your first step in building a business relationship with a prospect at a company you want to sell to. Keep the content of your introductory email about congratulating or complimenting the prospect so you come across as a friendly business colleague who they like and they will want to build a business relationship.

Here is another article you may enjoy:  How to write a business proposal.

 

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