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Sales Email Best Practices: What’s Working Right Now

3 min read
Updated Oct. 18, 2023
Published Feb. 12, 2019

Conventional wisdom for crafting sales prospecting emails is based almost purely on gut instinct. That isn’t a terrible start. Writing is an art, after all. However, adding a little structure in the form of sales email best practices will have a significant impact on email performance.

To add some science to the art, Salesloft deconstructed millions of emails to find out which best practices indeed lead to higher reply rates. This post provides a preview of our findings across subject lines, greetings, email bodies, and signatures.

To get the full set of 33 Best Practices, listen to our recent webinar, The Ultimate Guide to B2B Sales Email Optimization.

3 Tips for Better Subject Lines

  1. Craft subject lines no longer than 5 words. Research shows that subject lines with just one word outperform the average email by 87%.
    Craft sales email subject lines with 1 to 4 words

    Craft sales email subject lines with 1 to 4 words

  2. Avoid numbers in subject lines to avoid a 32% drop in response rates.
  3. If you are reaching out thanks to a referral, say so. Subject lines with the word “referred” have a whopping 536% higher reply rate compared to the average email.

3 Tips for Effective Greetings

  1. 2-word subject lines beat 1-word subject lines. So, use “Hey Jane,” rather than simply “Jane.”
    Better to start a sales email with “Hey Jane” than simply “Jane”

    Better to start with “Hey Jane” than simply “Jane”

  2. “Hey” is the best leading word in a subject line, commanding a 23% higher reply rate.
  3. If you don’t know the prospect’s first name, don’t overthink it. Just say “Hey there.”

3 Tips for Improved Email Bodies

  1. Personalize 20% of the content in the body of an email to enjoy a 2x higher reply rate.
    Sales email probability of replies proportion of personalization

    Sales email probability of replies proportion of personalization

  2. Keep emails to no more than 50 words to boost reply rates by over 40%.
  3. Avoid bullets. Emails with bullets suffer 37% lower reply rates.

3 Tips for Stronger Signatures

  1. The best signoff is… wait for it… “Best.”
  2. Avoid P.S. You would not use a P.S. with a colleague so don’t use it with a prospect.
  3. If legal (when you personalize emails, it often is), avoid opt-out links to gain a 38% boost in reply rates.

Two final observations as I reflect on the 12 tips I’ve shared today:

  1. First, sales professionals should simply craft emails the way they would to a colleague. Be succinct, pleasant, and personal.
  2. Second, these tips are what is working right now. I suspect some are more timeless, such as using short subject lines and email bodies. Others will come in and out of style. For example, “Hey” as a leading word. Hence, always be testing.

Again, this is just a taste of our 33 findings drawn from millions of sales emails. Learn the full set of email best practices in a recording of our recent webinar, The Ultimate Guide to B2B Sales Email Optimization.

The Ultimate Guide to B2B Sales Email Optimization
[ctt template=”3″ link=”D2dcP” via=”yes” nofollow=”yes”]Add some science to the art of sales emails. Find out which subject line, greeting, email body, and signature best practices lead to higher reply rates.[/ctt]