Whether you’re new to B2B sales or a veteran, you’ve no doubt had questions. Leads that suddenly go cold, prospects engaging but not buying, and not enough fresh leads are areas of concern for any sales professional.

Through our conversations with partners, customers, industry experts and our own research, we’ve uncovered some of the top sales questions that stump even the most experienced salespeople.

In the first of this four-part blog series, we’re looking at a common sales stumbling block: Personalization.

Question #1: How do I write a killer subject line that will be opened?

Writing a cold sales email is tough, but writing a subject line is even tougher. The subject line is your email’s first impression. If it doesn’t generate interest in the recipient, she won’t click it, and all that sales copy you painstakingly wrote will be shuffled into her trash.

The best sales subject lines are:

  • Short and to the point: If it’s too long, it may bore your recipient (or get cut off in their inbox)
  • Localized (not personalized): MailChimp suggests including a recipient’s city in the subject line if possible. If not, personalize with their first or last name.
  • Creative
  • Informative, but leaves them wanting more. After all, you want them to open the email!

If you’re stuck on your subject line, HubSpot has a fantastic list of 23 sales email subject lines that get prospects to open, read and respond for some inspiration.

Question #2: How much personalization should I incorporate into my sales emails?

The answer to this question is a little vague: Some, but not too much.

Too much personalization will scare a prospect off, and make you sound “creepy” or “sleazy”. If, for instance, you know that your prospect downloaded two of your whitepapers and engaged with one of your competitor’s blog posts in the past week, you don’t need to mention the specifics – most people don’t like businesses knowing about their every move online. Instead, try mentioning that you know they are interested in your industry’s content, and perhaps reference a recent, related tweet they sent (since Twitter is public, this information will not be seen to be as “creepy”).

Using first and last names, place of work, job title and other related information is also effective when reaching out via email.

Question #3: Should I personalize each message, or send a mass email?

Sending a personalized, hand-crafted email to every prospect would be nice, but it is nearly impossible to scale. Instead, try finding a balance between mass emailing your list and extreme personalization.

To personalize at scale, we recommend creating several template emails. Within each email, you can leave blank fields to be personalized. Each template should speak to a broad persona, such as a job title or account you are targeting. Then, you can personalize the various blank fields to ensure each recipient receives a unique email.

PersistIQ has a great Cold Email Generator tool that you can use to create personalized sales emails at scale.

Question #4: If I personalize the first message I send, should I continue to personalize all follow-ups?

Short answer: Yes! Continue to use your prospects’ names and any contextual information that will be helpful for them to understand why you are following up.

Stay tuned for next week’s post, where we’ll answer common questions about targeting the right prospects.