Your sales team must be able to write good emails. Good writing is often the difference between landing a new customer or losing one forever.
For many, good writing is something that is put on a pedestal. You are either good at it or you are not.
It is important to create a growth mind set across your team, where instead of having the point of view that you are either a good writer or not, they realise that writing skills are as essential today as speaking skills, and understand that anyone can improve.
It helps to start by familiarising employees with the writing process and then providing them with a structure or some templates for their writing.
Salespeople sending emails
If we are to consider the scenario of salespeople sending emails, the first step might be to discuss how to research and plan the email before the writing process begins. When you have something to say, it always makes the work of communication less daunting.
For instance, team members should have a sense of how quickly their email will be read and how crucial it will be that in the first few sentences their message appeals to the reader.
With this focus, they begin to think from the reader’s perspective which is a crucial point of good writing. Too often we lose this focus, instead thinking of our objectives, but a good writer must understand their audience and what motivates them.
A good practice in crafting a sales email is first to research the website of the company you are contacting, or if you are selling consumer goods, to think about the persona of the individual you are emailing. A persona is a profile you have made of that person describing their age, what they like, dislike, what their status is and their motivations.
Social media today provides a wealth of information on the motivations and responsibilities of many business people and individuals that your team may be contacting.
The second part of the planning stage is that your team should understand your companies value proposition or elevator pitch. This should describe the key benefits customers gain from using your services in just a few sentences. It should be weighed down by jargon or information about features; rather it should contain wording the appeals to the businesses strategic objectives.
Finally, in crafting an email the team should understand what next step they would like from the communication, and this should be thought through as precisely as possible. This will help for the call to action at the end.
For the writing stage, you first need to give your team members an idea of what a well-written email looks like and what a poorly written email looks like.
A well-written email should be concise enough to be read on a smartphone. It should have a good subject line that encourages the reader to open the email, just as a good headline encourages the reader to read a newspaper article.
The format of a good email should contain the following three areas:
1. Opening – the opening should show the reader that you understand them or their business, that you have done some research and that you might be in a position to offer them some timely advice. This section, which should be just a few sentences at most, should encourage the reader to continue reading.
2. Benefits – This section should outline what you think would be relevant to them. This is where you can insert your value proposition or elevator speech and tailor it to the business in question
3. Closing – The section of the email should contain your call to action that you had already planned. It should not be something demanding, rather something simple like to check out some information or agree on a particular date for a call.
By providing a structure like this, it gives your writers a roadmap upon which to tailor their emails and keeps them from straying outside of this.
Making the most of it
You can then build up an understanding of which emails are working best by analysing the data and finding the ones are generating most responses.
Good email templates can be shared across the team through a CRM or marketing automation system, which helps promote best practices.
The effect of improving writing skills on your sales team is that it boosts their authority, helping your business to leverage a more consultative selling approach.
In today’s digital age, writing is no longer something exclusive to an elite few. Publishing is now open to everyone and email, blogs and text on social media, are a big part of the channel of communication with the public in today’s business environment. There is a danger in the speed of this connection, so it is important for your brand to ensure that your team is prepared to put themselves above the competition by delivering thoughtful messaging.
The start is to realise that writing is now as necessary as speech and that rather than a skill for a chosen few, it is something we should all master.
Article by Sean O’Neill, images from Shutterstock. ⊕