Button Text
Cold email

How to Teach SDRs to Write Better Cold Emails

Buyers expect better. Sales teams have to adapt. Here are a few ways to train SDRs to write better cold emails that your buyers respond to.

An older sales rep is talking to a younger sales rep in a lavender field, symbolizing the act of teaching about email.

If you've opened LinkedIn in the past year, you're aware that every sales team on the planet is hiring SDRs. Cash is cheap, and we're seeing founders take advantage.

Monster funding rounds mean big growth expectations. This inevitably means, "We have to hire. Fast."

For most, they've got a process down. They know how they're going to scale.

Sales does its outbound. It creates pipeline at a predictable rate. We add more sellers, and we can expect that predictable rate to continue to scale.

Email is Not a Volume Game

Here's the problem: Email isn't predictable anymore.

You can't just crank the volume knob like you used to.

LinkedIn has also created a rapidly evolving "fad market" for sellers. Tips and tricks are exchanged for likes and comments. Buyers are picking up on the trends.

As Chloe Stewart, CRO at Pilot .com, told us in a conversation:

I see right through a seller's "thoughts?" email. I immediately see through your 2020 playbook in action. My inner teenage rebellion kicks in and I don't engage with the "bump."

Buyers expect better. Sales teams have to adapt.

The problem is we're not equipped to adapt. Having skilled managers has never been more important.

The Old Way to Ramp Doesn't Work

We're keen for sales teams to move to a framework-driven approach. The ramp is the crucial moment for these frameworks to be introduced.

How we ramp reps on email today is... less than ideal.

  1. Here are some templates.
  2. Manage the replies that come back from them.
  3. If performance is good (your booked demos are above average), you can start to personalize and tweak.

The current "intentional" process isn't built for today's email (and job) environment.

There are two main issues: Your sellers lack ownership and understanding.

Instead of arguing the nuances of different ways you could set up email onboarding. These are the core elements I'd include in any email ramp program:

1. Give them the "why"

Explain your strategy for how you write emails. Do you tier accounts? Explain how email fits into the entire go-to-market strategy.

Show them the classic mistakes, and explain why they're a mistake. Too many reps take a cold call lesson and apply "I'm ___ with __." introductions in their cold emails. These things are easily avoided.

Take the time to walk them through effective emails. Break them down into their frameworks. Explain why you believe they work.

Explain that the goal is to start a dialogue. Everything is easier once the conversation starts.

2. Get them involved in the process

Review top/bottom performing emails. Asking them:

  • What do you notice is different?
  • What do you like? Dislike?

Explain the framework to the rep. Ask:

  • How else could we accomplish that?
  • What elements do you think we could add/remove?
  • Would you reorder them?

The point here is to get them involved in the creation process. Make them understand that they own their own pipeline.

3. Keep them from getting lost

You should help them get a process down. Talk to them about things like:

  • Time management (calendar blocking)
  • Building a personalization process
  • How to best use the technology you have
  • Outside technology they can pick up
  • Communities they can lean on the outside of your company (Thursday Night Sales, Pavilion, etc.)

This level of enablement keeps them from feeling lost. Lost is not the feeling you want them to have. It means their mental energy will be focused on the wrong tasks.

4. Give them the keys

If you don't, someone else will.

Give them assignments during their onboarding. Make them create new templates. Get them actively engaged as they learn.

Some ideas:

  • Have them build new versions of the templates you run
  • Have them find new personalization resources for your process
  • See if they can come up with a new way to segment a prospect list to help speed personalization
  • Have them build a new cadence
  • Have them run an A/B test and check in with them to help them optimize it

Your goal here is to get them to take ownership. This not only shows them that they're important. It shows them that you take their development seriously.

Those two things will be the top reasons they leave your company. As you know, other companies are currently offering up a lot of $$$ right now for reps.

You have to do more than pay well.

You want them to show you they can accelerate their career during their tour of duty at your company.

The other benefit of this approach is they're better suited to move into AE and manager roles.

If you ever need help with emails, hit us up. We're always happy to help.

About the Author