Salesplays are the foundation of your sales strategy, impacting quota attainment, rep retention, and pipeline predictability.
But in a world of limited resources, differences in opinion between sales and marketing, and reps with varying levels of writing talent, how do you keep a full library of salesplays stocked with messaging that actually works?
One strategy is for you to select a consistent message structure (like a recipe) for your team to adopt and replicate, making both their content and its results more dependable.
Not sure where to start? We’ve got your back with 7 different sales email strategies to guide your outbound sales messages. Because nobody likes just the high-level stuff, we’ve included an example of what each can look like in practice.
- The TUB (Them-Us-Both) Method
- The AIDA strategy
- The BASHO email
- Sujan’s 3-Sentence Format
- BAB (Before-After-Bridge)
- PAS (Problem-Agitate-Solve)
- PPP (Praise-Picture-Push)
You may decide to test a few, combine elements you like, or use none at all. However, we hope this overview will help you understand a few tools which may make messaging easier to create for your team.
The TUB (Them-Us-Both) Method
Yes, Winston Churchill might have written some of his most famous words from a bathtub, but that’s not what we’re talking about here. (It’s a good way to ruin a perfectly good laptop.)
Instead, the TUB method is an acronym that stands for: “Them, Us, Both.”
The TUB method is a structure for personalizing emails
The “them” part of an outbound sales email is all about researching and personalizing the message to the prospect. Vorsight suggests reps take 3 minutes to find 3 facts about a prospect or their company and then build that into the opening of an email.
Your reps may not use all 3 facts in their emails, but they can choose what is most relevant and then save the other research for future conversations.
The “us” portion is a sentence or two about your company’s understanding of the prospect’s industry and what your team knows about similar companies or industry-wide trends, opening the door for them to engage with your rep
Lastly, “both” is the call to action. Once value is established in the “them” and “us” parts, it’s time to make an offer to work together to solve a problem for the prospect.
TUB is not a method that works for creating automated messages; it relies upon a high degree of personalization, including research time and individualized copy.
As such, TUB works well in scenarios when teams are targeting valuable, specific personas or accounts to personally invest in.
How to use TUB
If you’re interested in applying TUB for your sales team, check out this example and template for how you might approach it.
(T): I came across your post on LinkedIn about the importance of focusing on mental health for competitive sales teams. As a sales manager, I bet this is a big priority for you.
(U): It’s great to see similar companies offering more PTO and encouraging employees to unplug outside of normal business hours. I would be curious to hear what approaches are working for your team.
(B): We alleviate some of the burden on busy sales reps by co-creating sales messages that convert at scale. They get more hours back in their days to sell, and higher conversion rates allow them to engage a lower volume of prospects and see the same results.
Would you be interested in learning more?
The AIDA strategy
AIDA stands for: Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action. This method is used by marketing teams to make sure messaging matches where potential customers are in a buyer’s journey.
However, it’s possible to use AIDA in a sales context to write a cold outbound email. Here’s how.
Use the AIDA model to structure manual or auto emails
One of the reasons AIDA is appealing is its flexibility; reps can create effective emails that are automated or that require personalization. AIDA is about structuring an outbound email to follow the natural progression of potential interest.
“Attention” is all about writing a subject line that makes a prospect want to open the email. Capturing a prospect’s attention with a compelling subject line makes them interested in learning more.
“Interest” is created in the hook, story, or mention of a pain point in the opening line or two of the email.
“Desire” for your company’s product or service should be created through a value proposition, customer story, or other evidence that your company can help address a pain point. Keep this part brief and focused on how your company’s offering can assist the prospect, not just how wonderful your product is.
The call to “Action” should be clear, concise, and simple. Asking if they want to learn more, or for a quick meeting, is sufficient. Reps should resist the temptation of a hard ask (like a demo) or request to buy.
How to use the AIDA model
If you want to test AIDA with your team, here’s an example of how you might structure the email.
(A): is your messaging making your reps’ lives easier?
(I): Sales is the eleventh top-ranking profession where employees experience mental illness and depression. Sales messaging might not be the first solution you think of, but it’s a critical part of reducing stress on your team.
(D): Ineffective messaging burns leads, and low conversion rates often force reps to engage more prospects than they can handle. We alleviate some of the burden by co-creating sales messages that convert at scale, giving reps time back and making their workloads more manageable.
(A): Would you be interested in learning more?
The BASHO email
The BASHO email is one of the dominant strategies for writing personalized sales emails. Unlike most of these methods, BASHO doesn’t stand for anything. Instead, its creator, MJ Hoffman, formulated this method under the Basho brand. But, if you can think of a clever acronym, we’re ready to hear it.
BASHO is the bread and butter of hyper-personalized emails
The BASHO method starts with research to identify the decision-maker. It’s very intentional, focusing on the person most likely to be the buyer.
From there, your rep writes a personalized subject line that relates directly to a pain point or value proposition. This is not the place for a generic subject line they’ve seen countless times before.
The email body should start with a personalized hook that demonstrates the research your team has conducted and makes a connection.
Then, reps should explain the way your company can add value or solve a problem. This can be a good place to showcase a successful customer or otherwise offer the sort of social proof needed to build trust.
Lastly, the CTA requests a call or a meeting to learn more.
How to use BASHO
Your dog wants you to open this email
I saw the photo on LinkedIn you shared recently of your rescue dog, Fauci, and he is pretty cute! I also have a rescue dog; his name is Scotty.
Fauci probably doesn’t care about this email, but he does care about you finishing work on time so he can have an extra long walk. But a lot of sales managers are working extra long hours because their sales messaging isn’t working.
We alleviate some of the burden on busy sales leaders by co-creating sales messages that convert at scale. Reps get more hours back in their days to sell, and higher conversion rates allow them to engage a lower volume of prospects and see the same results.
Would you like to set up a call sometime next week to discuss this further?
Sujan’s 3-Sentence Format
This one is named after Sujan Patel, Co-Founder of Mailshake. The main purpose of this approach is to keep sales emails as short as possible, while still delivering value.
The three-sentence format
The three-sentence format focuses on sticking to the bare bones of your outbound messages. If the people you rely on for your sales messages write like Charles Dickens, then adopting this format (even temporarily) might help them learn to write shorter emails.
The 3 sentences are::
- Description of what you can offer
- Ask for a meeting
The three-sentence format can be used for manual or auto emails, as the focus is on brevity rather than personalization.
Here’s an example
I’m Dane, and I help sales managers equip their teams with the sales messaging they need to book more meetings.
There are a ton of things you have to do and think about every day, and I can take writing and testing sales messaging off of the list.
When would work best for you to connect for 15 minutes and talk more about this?
In the BAB format, your reps will paint a picture of how wonderful the world will look once the prospect adopts your company’s solution. As the name would imply, it’s about bridging their current state with an “after” world, where, because of your solution, they’re living their best lives like Samson the Doodle.
BAB encourages good storytelling
BAB emails tell a story, so they’re great for teams who already have a narrative selling-style or want to turn a product-focused sales message into one that’s more relatable.
In the “before” part, the prospect should think “they’re talking about me” as your rep empathetically describes current pain points they’re experiencing.
The next part of the email should paint a picture of what life is like once those key pain points have been relieved. There should be a focus on one or two areas where your company can truly benefit them.
The last piece, the “bridge,” is where reps show how your solution gets the prospect to the improved state. Keeping a narrative tone is important as the prospect is the hero. They are the ones who get the victory.Your product is not the dragon-slayer; it’s the sword.
A sample BAB email
(B): With so many prospects and tasks, it’s tough for sales reps to keep up. This creates a tough management scenario for you.
(A): What if you could give them a lot of their time back, while equipping them with what they need to hit the number? They could hit quota and still take that PTO they need to stay sharp.
(B): The right sales messages eliminate ineffective tasks, focus time and attention on the places where personal touches add the most benefit, and avoid reinventing the wheel with every email.
Would you like me to share more information with you?
The previous email strategy (BAB) focuses on pleasure, casting a positive vision for the future. PAS (Problem-Agitate-Solve) is the opposite; it’s goal is to zero in on pain.
PAS is the “hit ‘em where it hurts” of emails
In general, most people try to avoid pain even more than they pursue pleasure. PAS emails focus on this reality to create urgency.
The “Pain” part of PAS is intended to uncover pain points, which are discovered through research, that your product or service can help.
The “Agitate” step stimulates emotion. How will the prospect feel if this pain isn’t resolved?
Caution reps not to be overly-dramatic or fear-mongering. This is intended to be challenging, but within the realms of reason and empathy.
No one wants to be left in the “Agitate” state. The “Solve” step is all about introducing your good or service as an antidote to the pain the prospect is experiencing.
How PAS works
(P): Do you ever worry about whether your sales team will hit their numbers? (A): It can be stressful to balance C-suite expectations with the reality of the challenges your reps face every day.
(S): That’s why a predictable pipeline is such a critical part of a sustainable sales strategy (and a good night’s sleep). Predictability is possible, but not without really good sales messaging.
Would you like to chat further about reducing some pipeline anxiety?
The triple P formula is for higher-touch or more valuable accounts; it’s used to create individualized emails for prospects, which requires research.
Praise: congratulate the prospect for some achievement or success.
Picture: “show”what your product or service can do for them. Be sure reps keep it brief; the email’s focus should be on the prospect.
Push: encourage them to take some sort of action. Your product or service offers something valuable; give them a little push to do something about it.
The PPP Praises Your Prospect’s Performance
Yowza. That’s a lot of P’s. Alliteration or not, the point of a PPP email is to focus on an achievement you can reference for an individual prospect or for their company. It warms your prospect a little to know you’re applauding them.
This means the best time to use PPP is around a timely announcement. For less time-bound emails, reps can find information about a company’s success in a specific area: a promotion, an award, an acquisition, a ranking, an IPO, or another milestone.
Because this is a more specific template, PPP can be combined with other email strategies so that, when the occasion arises, your team can turn to this formula for a certain kind of personalization.
How to write a PPP email
In practice, PPP emails should come across as sincere, not overly-salesy, and focused on the future. Here is an example.
(Praise): Congratulations on your recent promotion to VP. It’s really impressive that you’ve grown your career so quickly and taken on so much responsibility.
(Picture): I’m guessing your go-to-market responsibilities include outbound sales, and that means one of your priorities is probably getting that messaging down. We can take that off your plate so you have one less iron in the fire.
(Push): When can we find a time to talk about making sure you have the support you need, as you conquer this new role?
If you’ve found a formula you like, here’s what you do next
Finding a formula for writing good emails, whether it’s something original or one of the examples we’ve shared, can be a building block to creating that perfect world. Your sales writers can create repeatable best practices to guide future content creation.
So whether it’s your own thing, or one of the above, here’s what you do next:
- Consider choosing one strategy to test for personalized emails and another for automated messages.
- Test them out in a variety of templates, sequences, or cadences.
- Look at the metrics to see what works and should be repeated.
- Document it in a sales messaging playbook, so you can more easily enable your team and anyone with content creation responsibilities.
- Contact us if you need some help or have questions about what to do next.
Download our sales messaging playbook template
Provide your sales org with the foundation needed to consistently create sales messages that reflect your reps, tell your brand story, and start conversations with your prospects.