B2B Marketing Blog

Written by Mezzanine Growth
on May 07, 2019

Anyone in sales has had the experience where you need to reach out and check in, but you have nothing to say other than, “Are you ready to buy yet?”  And what you really mean is, “Why haven’t I heard from you regarding our great meeting / proposal / conversation?”


One of the best pieces of advice to remember is to give something that the person will appreciate to get their attention in a very positive way. This doesn't have to be a gift card or other present. It could be a piece of content, perhaps something this prospect might have missed when it was new and your company's marketing team was initially running the campaigns to promote it.


What To Expect From Sales Emails did a study of 18 million emails and according to their study, Secrets of Email Prospecting: The When and How of Increased Open Rates, the following are some stats for sales people to remember when sending 1:1 emails: 

  • Expect an average 31% open rate.
  • Your open rate will jump to 35% when you send between 4 and 5pm and 77% when sent between 5 and 6pm.
  • Mondays are the best day to send email.
  • Wednesdays are the best day to send an email with an attachment.
  • Shorter subject lines of 103 words of 6-10 characters work best.
  • If you insert “FWD” before your subject line you will double your open rate.
  • Emails with attachments are 10x more likely to be opened.

The 1:1 email works best coming from the sales person. But what if every sales person in the organization had more than 1 prospect that had suddenly gone quiet?  This is a great opportunity to consult with sales to build a list of these prospects and put them on an email nurture campaign.


What To Expect From Marketing Emails

The situation described above is where marketing emails come in.  

An email nurture campaign is a series of emails that are sent on the basis of a lead's behavior, which deliver timely, targeted information that helps guide the lead through the buying process. 

Often these campaigns use the same content as a company's regular marketing, but they are highly targeted. Not every organization has a content library that is deep enough to support both sales and marketing regularly gifting content.  And that's where there is an opportunity to create a more informal type of content.


Informal Content To Extend The Life Of Your Content Library

Informal content helps extend the life of your content library by introducing new, timely and relevant content that doesn’t require the same high level of writing and design.  And perhaps you skip the formal marketing campaign with this content and save this informal content to help round out your nurture campaigns or at least your content library.

While a sales person could quickly craft this content, some ideas would be even better if they were deployed in partnership with marketing. 

A Few Great Informal Content Ideas:  

  • A top 3/5/7/10 list of your best advice gathered from your X years of experience.
  • A quick summary of top, recent or breaking news in your industry.
  • An anniversary celebration. The anniversary doesn’t need to be something formal like the company just celebrated their 25th year in business but could be 1 year since something important happened – as long as you can relate it back to your solutions.
  • Commentary on breaking or big news.
  • A digest of your most interesting 3 or 5 blogs with links to the blogs.
  • Asking for input via a poll or survey. This turns into a great content piece!
  • A product update.


Sales vs Marketing Email

Mailchimp analyzed thousands of emails and published their own Email Marketing Benchmarks. However, instead of analyzing the 1:1 emails that formed the basis of the study, the Mailchimp study analyzed emails that went to a minimum of 1000 people in an email blast.  In their study:

  • Open rates varied by industry, but ranged 14% to 25%.
  • Words like “urgent” and “important” resulted in open rates that were much higher than normal.
  • Subject lines should be personalized (use both their first and last name) and no more than 6 words.

Campaign Monitor also analyzed millions of emails and found Thursdays are the best day to send email – Sunday and Monday are the worst.



Sales emails that come from 1 person and are sent to 1 person have radically different benchmarks. 

Sales emails are best sent on Monday, while Sunday is considered the worst day for marketing emails. Sales emails have much higher open rates, regardless of industry. 

The only metric with a result in common is that short subject lines are best. We think that because sales emails tend to be highly personalized, and come from someone known to the recipient, that they are already personalized, which marketing emails are asked to achieve to help improve their open rates. 

Further reading: 8 Ways To Make Your Email Marketing More Effective or Tips to Improve Email Engagement.

To clarify, we are not advocating for one type of email coming from sales or marketing.  Each have their place. But, if you are using one or another, make sure you are following the advice gathered from the analysis of millions of emails.  And don’t be afraid to gather together a list of email addresses from prospects that have gone quiet.  A 14.92% open rate from 1000 emails reaches more people than a 31.29% open rate from one email.  Experiment what might work best in your industry to beat these open rate averages and increase your lead generation.

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