QUESTION: Mike, I tried doing the email marketing and so far out of thirty-five emails I only received one response that said they were not looking for a VP of Sales at this time.  It could be the level I am targeting, but would you look at the below email and let me know your thoughts?  – Debra

ANSWER: We have noticed a significant drop off in the last few years of returned phone calls to hiring managers, not on the recruiting side as much, but to hiring managers with cold call marketing.  I am not saying stop doing it.  I am just saying supplement it, and email marketing is one of the great ways to do that.

In reading your email, I feel that it is not a terrible email.  However, I can tell one of the reasons why the response rate was low.

First of all, you want to create curiosity or intrigue in that subject line.  You do not want to spill your guts in the subject line.  You want words like “simply outstanding”, not “candidate for you to review” or “outstanding candidate.”  The more you put in the subject line, the fewer emails that are opened and the more that are deleted.  The whole goal of a subject line is to get the email opened and then hopefully you captivate them with the content.

The email reads . . .

I recently uncovered in an engaged search a strong VP of Sales candidate.

Right there I stop reading unless I have a specific VP opening.  I think you do limit yourself if you do market a VP to a lower response rate, but not 1 out of 35.  The reason is . . .

I recently uncovered a strong VP of Sales candidate.

There is nothing salesy in that line.

Your next line is . . .

He has had a year-over-year sales growth of 140% of bookings and revenue growth over 160%.

I have found when I used specific numbers, I would rather use – let us say he is somewhere between 163% and 164%, I would just say 162% to stay in integrity.

Then here is where the email dies . . .

He is currently employed and oversees strategic accounts, team sales, engineer sales ops, as well as inside sales groups in an organization.

I would expect any VP of Sales to do something like that.  There is nothing new in there for me.  There is nothing that gets me excited.

A high growth technology organization is where he would like to make his next move.

Again, I do not care.  I do not mean to be brutal, but I am just reading this for those of you.

I would like to discuss this person with you.

“I would like to discuss.”  I do not care what you would like.

What does your availability look like this week?

That is not a bad closing question, but let me give you some idea on this type of email how you can restructure it.  Now, I will have to make some stuff up because I do not have the person’s data sheet in front of me, but using your existing stuff I would say . .  .

In a recent engaged search, I uncovered a senior level sales executive.

I would not even say VP.  A senior level sales executive.  I want to be vague.

. . . a senior level sales executive who was 142% of quota of sales growth and he was 161% of bookings revenue growth.  This is an individual who can . .  .

Key benefit.

. . . who can build sales teams, who can get people from ramped up to on quota performance in less than 120 days.

In a sales position, that is what a CEO wants to hear.  Not he is currently employed.  That is the boring stuff.  I think the combination, of your subject line, and getting into features which is “he oversees” – those are features – strategic accounting, sales, engineers.  His benefit is what he can physically do based on his past accomplishment.

You want these presentations, whether they are actually verbal voicemails or emails, to focus largely on benefits and accomplishments, and very few features, because the features are implied.