Why Your Sales Email Sequence Isn’t Working

The best way to illustrate why your sales email sequence isn’t working is with an example from my inbox.

EmailThe best way to illustrate why your sales email sequence isn’t working is with an example from my inbox. Does this look familiar to you? I’ve disguised the name of the company to protect the innocent.

Email Sequence Touch No. 1

Subject: Quick question

Hi Jeff,

I’d like to introduce ABC, software that helps businesses discover growth opportunities while avoiding risks. ABC helps coaches and their clients discern the “story behind the numbers” that every business’ finances reveal.

Our coaching partners use ABC to offer additional value to businesses like THIS COMPANY and THATCOMPANY, pinpointing where problems might lurk, or where profitable opportunities might appear … based on data, not intuition.

I’d love to answer your questions, but if you’d prefer to learn on your own, here’s a link to ABC to learn more, or you can book an personal online tour.

Talk soon!

This “first touch” sales email doesn’t work because the:

  • subject line is a lie — the contents don’t contain a quick question!
  • first sentence wants to introduce me to a product (thanks for alerting me so I can delete it!)
  • problem this sender solves is way too generic (growth and reduce risks)
  • sender spends the entire time talking about themselves, not me
  • pushes information about the sender at me and encourages a website visit, rather than asking me a question!

Persistence is vital to success. Thus, a sequence of email messages and voicemail scripts is necessary. This is — and always will be — part of effective sales practices.

Need to set meetings? These days, it’s taking an average of seven touches in a sales cadence to yield an invitation for discussion. My clients report (on average) email No. 4 is where they generate the most response.

However, most sales email sequences don’t work because they:

  • are push-oriented (rather than pull, curiosity-focused)
  • contain an unsubscribe link (always a tip-off that this is NOT personalized)
  • are trying to “add value” rather than provoke a reaction
  • are not being complimented with calls and direct mail

Email Sequence Touch No. 2

Back to my example of typical sales email sequences — and why they fail sellers.

Hi Jeff,

It’s likely that your clients rely on you to advise them. ABC is a tool that helps business coaches with clients like THISCOMPANY to:

  • Increase revenue by modeling cash flow alongside longer term sales projections
  • Manage capital and avoid shortfalls by tracking invoices and bills
  • Track the break-even point by quickly building a powerful, repeating budget
  • Rapidly compile and compare “what if” scenarios to make solid operational decisions

I’d love to walk you through the benefits of ABC for your clients (or for yourself!) in a quick online tour you can schedule at your convenience.
– Phil

This email doesn’t work because the sender:

  • shows me, immediately, “this message is unpersonalized”
  • continues to talk about himself
  • guesses about me rather than proves he’s researched my business
  • keeps “loving” the opportunity to sell me (Phil is desperate)

If you want to fail, this is the way forward. Push. Most of what is causing failure in this case is this element of push, rather than pull. The other element missing is personalization.

Not that fake personalization (“I noticed on your LinkedIn profile that you’re my target customer”). Actual knowledge. For example, Phil should stop guessing that my clients rely on me to advise them and take the 5 seconds to say, “Jeff, your clients rely on advice from you to use email more effectively when prospecting. I noticed you work with ABC Client. I also help financial services customers.”

Make this email real to me. Stop cutting and pasting templates. Start talking to me. Use a template but customize it! Take a few seconds to research me, Phil. Prove to me you’re not a machine.

Author: Jeff Molander

Jeff Molander is the authority on making social media sell. He co-founded what became the Google Affiliate Network and Performics Inc., where he built the sales team. Today, he is the authority on effective prospecting communications techniques as founder of Communications Edge Inc. (formerly Molander & Associates Inc.) He's been in sales for over 2 decades. He is author of the first social selling book, Off the Hook Marketing: How to Make Social Media Sell for You.Jeff is a sales communications coach and creator of the Spark Selling technique—a means to spark more conversations with customers "from cold," speeding them toward qualification.

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