5 Ways to Help Your Reps Write Better Emails

by | Aug 23, 2016 | Employers, Sales practice, training

Managers tell us all the time that writing is one of the biggest pain points for them with new reps. While we can collectively blame the education system, we must recognize the way millennials communicate differently given the advances in technology. They haven’t had the experience or opportunity to write formally and understand the importance in grammar, structure, and even tonality.

So while this new generation of workers may not be able to write effectively in the beginning, it’s our responsibility as managers to help them get better and learn the importance of writing correctly. Below are 5 tips to start this process. 

Tip #1

Writing gets better with reading. Have your reps constantly reading blogs and books. As they continue to read they will get better. My go to daily readings include:

Tip #2

Have them read their emails out loud so that they can hear what they are writing. As a CEO I still do this, especially if I’m tired and struggling to pull my thoughts together and want to ensure that what I write is readable.

Tip #3

The mobile BCC check. Simplifying and humanizing emails is the best approach for connecting with a prospect. We all know that, but why don’t our reps write that way? Get them to BCC themselves and timestamp their emails for a future date when they are relaxed. Have them read their email on their phone. Ask them to be honest and ask themselves if they would ever open or respond to their own email.

Tip #4

Tonality. Check the background of your prospect. Use LinkedIn to help answer these questions: Are they formal or not? When they respond is it one line or more comprehensive? Teach your reps to follow the customer’s cadence in writing. This allows your SDR to start to relate and build a relationship even before they speak with the prospect.

Tip #5 

Collaborate with the Marketing Team. Run your emails by marketing or a content specialist. You can usually count on having at least one grammar whiz in your marketing department. This not only helps assure you don’t end up with any phonetic spellings of common phrases (think “could of” vs. “could have”), but regular meetings also keep your sales and marketing messaging aligned.

Summary

We can’t debate the importance of writing, especially with the trend of email messages being more effective than solely cold-calling. We also can’t control the shift in the way we communicate using various tools like Slack or SnapChat. What we can do is point out the importance of effective writing. Writing correctly is not only about getting the sale but is also about building credibility and strengthening your network. As a manager, when was the last time you connected with someone who wrote an email that was grammatically incorrect, sloppy, or clearly not proof-read?

By Sasanka Atapattu

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Eddie McDonald

    Great article Sasanka! The learning curve for writing well versed emails is rather unpredictable in my experience so far. We can’t only blame modern education systems, as all sales professionals should have a sense of accountability to improve their own skill set. Tips 2, 3, and 5 are common practices I encourage here at my company. Just reading out loud alone can drastically improve an employees understanding of how their writing represents them as professionals, and even give them insight into the tonality of their messaging.

    Another important tip I always encourage is “responding in kind”. Often, I see young professionals get a positive first response, only to go down the path of “email overkill”. An example of “email overkill” is an over the top lengthy email, (although possibly well written grammatically), that drives a potential business opportunity away with conflicting next steps and messaging. The prospect sets the tone of conversation with the first reply. What reps should actively try to understand, is the tone and style of that message. If they reflect that understanding in their next response, they create a fluent conversation to drive meetings or other next steps.

    The first message is key, but creating a consistency is as well.

    ~Ed

    Reply
  2. Sebastien

    Love this! I’m also picking up on the trend of making connections via e-mail rather than cold calls. It helps to have the conversation digitally first. You can d/q non-qualified leads, and really make a connection before you ever end up speaking. We have a rule where I’m working now. It goes “Would your roommate open and read this?” I think, a lot of the time, we can get caught up presenting our value and trying to book meetings so much that our e-mails can lose the human touch. Asking if a peer would read the e-mail is a great test to see if a real person would respond well to it. It also helps to run the e-mail by someone who works in the department you are trying to reach! Ex) Hubspot employees asking their marketing team if they would open their e-mails.

    Reply
    • LaunchSource

      Sebastien, I love your “roommate rule”! Thats one thing we are always working on here. In the end you’re talking to another person. They probably have a sense of humor, and they probably don’t love being pitched to in an email. I like to keep it short and sweet. There’s a great company called Drift that has really nice marketing emails that I try to emulate. I suggest checking them out if you haven’t!
      -Chris, the Launchsource Marketing Guy

      Reply
  3. Brandon Ray

    Great read, Sasanka!

    #2 is a big one, and one that I think all SDR leaders should make sure their teams are following – lots of times, things that sound great in writing often sound choppy when read allowed – I think having SDRs read aloud any email before they send it out is absolutely integral, and I’m glad you brought it up in the article!

    Reply

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