When selling to businesses, sales emails and letters are an effective way to pique corporate interest in your product. They aren’t as pushy as sales calls or as time consuming as presentations. They give corporate decision-makers a tantalizing glimpse into what your product might offer them, while also laying the foundations for what could grow to be a valuable business relationship.
The problem is that business decision-makers and CEOs are busy people with limited time to spend shuffling through sales letters and emails. As a result, despite their successful history, many B2B (or business-to-business) sales letters and emails go unopened, or get trashed after a mere glimpse.
So, what’s a salesperson to do? How can we beat the mighty trash bin, and actually have a shot at selling to our corporate leads?
The secret to successfully using sales letters and emails in your B2B sales strategy is simple: You need quality content and expert presentation. Use the steps laid out in this blog post to write winning sales letters your peers will wish they had sent.
- Format Your Letter
- Write the Subject Line or Heading
- Address Your Reader
- Write the Opening Line
- Write the Body Copy
- Closing Copy
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If you’d like all of these tips in a printable guide, download your copy of Writing For Customers – containing templates and tips for credible customer communications when drafting apologies, thank you letters, sales and marketing letters and more.
Format Your Letter
When formatting your sales letter or email for correspondence with business executives, it’s important to be as clean and professional as possible.
B2B sales letters should follow a standard formal layout. Put your name and company’s address in the upper left-hand corner, followed by the date and the recipient’s name and company address. Follow that with your optional heading and your salutation. Together, this should look like so:
5678 Berry Drive
Bearville, CA 11111
March 1st, 2018Jane Doe1234 Mulberry Lane
Hometown, CA 00000
Subject: I’d like to offer you a partnership
Dear Ms. Jane Doe,Not all beers are created equal.
My company, Big Bear Breweries, knows that. And we believe that Orchid Orchards does too.
Big Bear Breweries is a Bearville-based brewery and distributor of craft and artisanal beers. We have worked in partnership with large brands such as Chopp City, Infinity IPA, and Colorado Beer. Our goal is to connect consumers with quality beers and ciders at an accessible price.
Orchid Orchard’s products are everything that we look for in our partners – high quality, trendy, and well-branded. I’d like to formally invite you to take part in our mission and to become a partner of Big Bear Breweries. A partnership with us would result in band exposure, increased sales, and can as much as double your revenue. There’s no downside or catch – we care as much about promoting the well-being of our partners as we do our customers.
I’d love to discuss options with you. You can reach me at any time at firstname.lastname@example.org, on my cell (999) 333-1111, or mail me at the address listed above.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Co-Founder of Big Bear Breweries
Just as sales letters to corporate decision-makers and CEOs should be formatted like regular letters, B2B sales emails should be formatted like regular emails. Layout-wise, this might look something like the example below:
In both letters and emails to corporate decision-makers, it’s important to use this simple, non-commercial format to give your correspondence a more personal feel. By avoiding busy stationary and marketing templates, your letter will give the impression of two people connecting, rather than that of a salesperson trying to mass-convert leads.
Try and keep your B2B sales letter to a page, max. This will help you keep the letter clear, concise, and compelling, without threatening to take up too much of your lead’s time.
- B2B sales emails should be brief, like the example above. Keep sentences short and easy to read.
- Include your logo or corporate signature in your sales letter or email for a subtle on-brand touch.
Write the Subject Line or Heading
The main parts of a B2B sales letter or email are the following:
- Subject Line or Heading
- Opening Line (Hook)
- Body Copy
- Closing Copy
- Sign-off (and Optional Post-Script)
These elements are similar to what makes up a B2C sales letter or email. Still, they will be crafted distinctly when selling to a corporate decision-maker.
When writing your subject line or heading in a B2B sales letter or email, make sure that it is intriguing and relevant to your proposal. Think about how busy CEOs and business executives are – as unfortunate as it may be, your email or sales letter will be competing with much more pressing matters. That means that if you want your correspondence to be read, you must make good use of your subject line or heading.
Here are some example subject lines or headings that appeal to corporate decision-makers:
- I’d like to work with you. – This example works as a letter’s heading or an email’s subject line. By vaguely stating your objective up front, your recipient will be more inclined to hear you out, should this intention intrigue them.
- A solution that works for both of us. – “How?” the reader asks. This example heading or subject line gives the recipient a peek into the sender’s proposal and offers a bit of mystery that entices them to read on.
- David, can I have a word? – This example works well as an email subject line. People are naturally drawn to their name, and CEOs and business decision-makers are no different. This is a subject line that won’t go unnoticed.
- Are you who I should be talking to? – This email subject line appeals to its reader’s curiosity. It sparks the question, “Am I?” and leads the reader into the email ready to solve a problem.
- I can increase Lamps Inc.’s revenue by 15% in 15 minutes – This B2B heading or subject line is based on the sales email template that got a company 16 new B2B customers. This example has an interesting proposal that says, “Here’s what I can do for you.” It’s personalized with the recipient’s company name, which shows that the sender took the time to research the company. It’s exact and to the point, while also telling the reader that reading on won’t take up much of their time.
With the right amount of mystery, precision, and personalization, your audience won’t be able to help but read on.
For more inspiration on catchy email subject lines or headings, check out our blog post: How to Write Powerful B2C Sales Letters and Emails, with 7 Real-Life Examples.
- For emails, personalize the subject lines of valuable leads.
- For letters, use a heading that gives your reader a preview of your proposal and tempts them to read on. Although headings are not necessary for B2B sales letters, they can be an asset if you use them well.
Address Your Reader
When engaging with a prospective B2B client or any other kind of high-level lead, always address them by name for the most personalized experience. Remember, these sales are driven by relationships, and you want to make your reader feel important.
Depending on your intended reader’s corporate position, you can address them in any of the following ways:
- Dear Taylor,
- Dear Mr./Mrs./Ms./Dr. Taylor Smith,
- Mr./Mrs./Ms./Dr. Smith
Do some research on the corporate decision-maker that you are addressing to make sure you are using the correct title. This research will also help you decide how colloquial you want to be with this person.
If you aren’t sure of your reader’s title or name, you can address them as “Dear Sir or Madam” to be safe.
- Sales emails tend to lean towards first name correspondence. Letters tend to lean towards a more formal greeting.
Write the Opening Line
In our blog post about B2C sales emails and letters, we referred to the opening line of a sales letter as the “hook,” based on its function: to hook your reader in. B2B sales letters and emails also need a hook, or a catchy opening line.
For example, check out this powerful opening line for a B2B sales email from Heather R. Morgan, founder of SalesFolk:
“I have an idea that I can explain in 10 minutes that can get [company] its next 100 best customers.”
Like the last subject line that we examined, this opening line is attractive and direct. Its offer is compelling but vague, which keeps the reader’s eyes moving forward through the email, and sets the reader up for follow-up contact to discuss the idea.
Seventy percent of business decision-makers buy a product to solve a problem while only 30 percent buy to gain something. Another option for hooking your prospective B2B clients is to open with the business pains they might be having (or a statistic about those business pains), and then tell them how you can solve that problem. That might look something like this:
“Twenty-five percent of CEOs are dyslexic, but many don’t want to talk about it.”
This opening line intrigues the reader with an interesting statistic, while both introducing the problem and relating to the audience.
Here are some other ideas for opening your B2B sales letter or email, aside from addressing business pains, potential gains, and using interesting statistics:
- Comment on a recent event, or your reader’s recent activity (“Congratulations for___!” “I saw you did ___,” “Recently, ____” )
- Share a mutual connection (“____recommended I that I reach out to you…”)
- Share your opinion on something relevant (“I liked the ___ you posted, I thought it was ____,” )
- Share a relevant quote or truism (“a penny saved is a penny earned…”)
- The opening line of a B2B sales emails or letters may be directly related to – or an expansion on – the subject line or heading.
- When hooking your B2B audience, think about what sort of opening line will be most interesting or useful to them. If you were in their shoes, what sort of hook would keep you reading?
Write the Body Copy
In B2B sales letters and emails, the body of your correspondence should be succinct. It shouldn’t be too long, or it will risk being too cumbersome for your corporate reader. However, it shouldn’t be too short either, or it will risk being too vague and uninteresting.
Here are the elements that might be present in the body of a B2B sales letter or email:
1. Introduce the Seller
In the body of the sales letter or email, you may briefly introduce yourself as the seller. Questions that you might want to answer include the following:
- Who are you?
- What does your business do?
- What is your mission?
- What makes you the right person/organization to deliver this service?
Remember that even when telling a little bit about who you are, you must make it relevant to the buyer. Sales letters and emails that end up being too “me, me, me,” fail to persuade readers to act. What about who you are will be useful to the customer?
2. Prove Your Credibility
Once your reader knows what you do, it’s time to prove how well you do it. What experience do you have providing the product or service that you are offering? What previous customers can you mention to establish credibility with your buyer?
If you’re new to the market, say so – you can twist novelty into something that goes in your favor. Do you offer any guarantees or trial periods you can reference so that they know it will be safe to test your product out? Does your newness make you affordable? Up-and-coming? Modern?
Remember that part of proving your credibility is showing your buyer that you’ve researched their company, and understand their needs. Expert knowledge of your lead’s business, the service you’re providing, and quantifiable evidence all make for a great argument in your favor.
3. Introduce Your Proposal or Offer
What are you proposing your prospective customer? What do you have to offer?
If you have a complex product and want to entice a follow-up response, you can give a general proposal, but hold the specifics on the offer. Remember that B2B sales letters and emails generally are not a “one and done” affair. Lean towards cultivating an ongoing discussion with your prospective buyer, rather than trying to fit your entire product offering into a single written exchange.
4. Highlight Select Benefits
What are the benefits of your product or service? Sure, there are several, but you want to highlight the benefits that will be most relevant to your buyer, and let them know specifically what these benefits can do for them.
For example, instead of saying this:
“Our Chatbot is a new, popular, must-have feature.”
Try something like this:
“Our Chatbot is easy to set up, and can help you lower service costs and speed up handle time.”
By choosing the benefits that are most relevant to your reader, your prospective B2B customer will be able to more easily visualize what your product or service can actually do for their company.
5. Entice Action
Every sales letter and email needs a call-to-action phrase to inspire the reader to do what the writer is asking of them. Calls-to-action must be specific and easily completed. For sales letters and emails to corporate decision-makers, the call-to-action is generally a request for a follow-up exchange or meeting.
The call-to-action in B2B correspondence must not be pushy. You must entice action without demanding it – request action without insisting. Remember that for B2B correspondence, building a relationship with your reader comes first. That way, even if your reader doesn’t need your service this time, your sales letter or email might be the beginning of an effective a long-term correspondence. Here are some ideas for common B2B call-to-action phrases:
- Call me or email me at any time and we can discuss working together. – Asking your reader to contact you puts the ball in their court. “At any time,” shows that it will be easy for them to reach you, making attempting to contact sound you more enticing.
- I’d love to call you to review our options. When are you available this week? – Asking your reader when they are available acts as a call-to-action and establishes the expectation of a response. Asking to be the one to make the call shows assertiveness, and saying “this week” implies urgency without pushiness.
- To learn more about what our company has to offer, click here. – In sales emails, clicking on a link is an easy form of non-committal action that can result in greater learning about your product or service. Use different media such as videos or direct your reader to an easily navigable website page to keep them interested and informed. For the best results, use this call-to-action in conjunction with inviting your reader to contact you.
The most effective calls-to-action are specific, respectful and easy for the reader to complete.
When introducing yourself to the reader, keep it to a sentence or two, max.
Although your letter may be structured formally, keep the tone of your content conversational. Unless you’re writing to royalty, nobody wants to read a stuffy, overly proper letter.
The function of the body of the B2B sales letter or email isn’t to make a lengthy case for the product – it’s to establish knowledge of a product and interest in your proposal. By prompting follow-up contact, you and your B2B lead can eventually work together to decide which of your packages, products, services, and/or payment plans may be right for them.
Aim for a call-to-action that is assertive, and that meets both your prospective customer’s needs and your own.
Once you have finished with your body copy, wrap your B2B sales letter or email up. Make your call-to-action, thank your prospective customer for their time, add any final closing statements that might make your lead warm up to you.
Here are some examples of closing statements that you could make to your B2B recipient:
- We’d love to have you onboard. – This statement conveys enthusiasm and makes the recipient feel welcomed into a new corporate family.
- We look forward to going above and beyond for you. – This statement shows the sender’s intentions for a quality customer experience, and implies a great work ethic.
- Let me know if you need more information/assistance/would like an estimate, and I’ll be happy to provide it for you. – o This statement offers any additional assistance, while once again prompting the recipient to follow up.
- I am confident that our product will meet your needs. – This statement shows understanding of the reader’s needs, and a sureness that is quite convincing.
All of these closing statements show appreciation for the reader, and eagerness to begin a beautiful business relationship with them.
- Use a well-written closing statement to make your prospective B2B customer feel valued, show off your keenness to help them, and offer any last minute assistance.
Sign-off your sales letter or email respectfully. Here are some of the sign-offs you might use:
- My Best,
- Best Wishes,
- Best Regards,
- With Sincere Thanks,
Finish with your signature, typed name, and corporate position (this adds to your credibility). If applicable, you can add a relevant postscript.
Use a sign-off that is formal but that shows some warmth and compassion. This will help you give a respectful farewell without seeming too stiff or robotic. (According to Boomerang, response rates for emails with a slightly warmer tone were 15% higher than those with a neutral tone… just don’t go too crazy on the warmth.)
Put It All Together
To see how all of these elements work together, let’s take one last look at our “Big Bear Breweries” example from the beginning:
Sales letters can be a great supplement to other kinds of leads. And if written well, they can bring in thousands, millions – even billions of dollars in revenue.
We hope that you will use this step-by-step guide to writing B2B sales letters and emails to convert more leads, and take your B2B sales strategy to the next level.
For more on writing sales letters and emails, check out our blog post: Sales Tips and Tactics: How to Up Your Game When Selling to Customers.