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SP3O: The Only Sales Prospecting Email Template You’ll EVER Need!

Dan Murphy

September 7th, 2017

best sales prospecting email template you'll ever need

Writing a personalized cold email pitch is easy… if you’re only emailing one prospect. 

But what about 10 emails? 20? 50?

Sure, if you’re only emailing one prospect and have the awesome power of the internet at your disposal, you might be able to write an email so personal that the recipient may mistake you for a childhood friend.

But when you’re working on a larger scale, luxuries like time aren’t as easy to come by.

Why Most People Suck At Outreach

Bad Thought Leadership Hero

When faced with such a challenge, many of us resort to personalization by way of “referencing.”

“I loved your recent blog post on how the solar eclipse was actually a hoax perpetrated by big pharma to sell more vitamin D. I thought you might be interested in some of the work we are doing in file sharing technology. After all, we consider high powered file sharing the vitamin for offices deficient in streamlined communications. Get it?”

Yikes. 

While this is a popular method for salespeople trying to forge a real connection, it just isn’t sustainable. After all, less than 10% of your market will be actively posting on social and blogging platforms. What are you going to reference when reaching out to a lumber company?

“Hey, that’s some great lumber you got there. It made me think of how file sharing solutions are really the lumber of the digital forest. So, uh, how are you guys sharing files today?”

At this point, you might as well just offer them a demo and get it over with.

Like so many other businesses, personalizing our outreach was a challenge we at Culture Amp ran into time and time again.

We experimented with many ideas, including cold email templates, such as Basho’s, which can be useful for reaching out to social media starlets who actively post on LinkedIn or Twitter.

However, there is little in the way of good templates for reaching out to a leader of a 2,000-person company who lives in Des Moines instead of Miami and only uses LinkedIn when they are looking for a new job.

That’s why we came up with SP30!

Introducing SP30: The Only Sales Prospecting Email Template You’ll Ever Need… Yes, Really. 

sales prospecting email template

We realized we needed a Research and Messaging framework we could apply to every prospect, regardless of their college basketball team or pet snake’s favorite 90s song.

So we came up with SP3O, a new and powerful framework for outreach personalization. Heavily inspired by SP3V, a sales discovery call framework we learned from the Winning By Design team, who we highly recommend. (Thanks Jacco, Andy and Dan!)

Situation (S)

First, develop an understanding of the buying situation(s) that causes a problem you can help alleviate.

For example, the multi-billion dollar roofing industry is triggered by damaged roofs. What damages roofs? Storms. And there is your situation.

People buy umbrellas when it rains, eat ice cream when it’s hot, and build bunkers when geopolitics grow tense.

Each of these situations cause a problem. But is it a problem you can solve? Ask yourself, what situation creates a problem for a prospect which you, your company, or your product can fix?

Problem (P)

In identifying the situation, you have mostly likely already identified the problem, but it’s important to really nail it down. An easy way to do this is to reword the initial question.

Now ask yourself:

“What is a problem that the above situation causes the prospect?”

Answers can include:

  • Re-roofing a storm damaged building
  • Staying dry while walking around the city in the rain
  • Cooling down on a hot day (or keeping the kids happy…)

3rd Party Success (3)

Now that you’ve established the situation and the problem, take a pensive moment and anchor it back to a prior 3rd party success.

When did you last help a prospect of similar size and industry with the same situation?

What was their problem?

What was the story? (Ask your sales or customer success team)

Ideally, marketing will have some case studies on these 3rd party successes that follow story arch: A prospect was in this situation, which caused this problem, and they used your product to solve it and live happily ever after.

Offer (O)

This exercise means nothing if you can’t conclude by offering something. Oh, it’s raining and you want to be dry? Whelp, nice meeting you!

The culmination of SP3 is O, the Offer, and if S, P, and 3 are not well defined, it’s easy to approach the prospect by asking/begging rather than offering.

Please look at our demo.

Please sign up for our mailing list.

Please please please.

Gross.

No one likes a needy salesperson. The prospects are the ones in need, remember?

But if you followed the framework by establishing the Situation, identifying the Problem, and drawing on previous 3rd party successes, your Outreach efforts will evolve from pleading with passers-by to offering help to someone who is in real need.

Or finding out it’s not a fit and politely moving on.

Finally… The Moment You’ve Been Waiting For – The Template

Hi John,

I’m guessing your roof got hit by the hail storm over the weekend. [Situation/Problem]

Jess, our roofing engineer, just completed a repair audit of the building next to yours (Joe’s Plumbing) and found a way to cut repair cost by 50%. [3rd party success]

Do you want me to ask Jess to drop by and take a look at your roof? [Offer]

Best,

Dan


I hope that by adopting the SP3O framework you can start more genuine conversations with prospects and feel more confident in your contribution to your market. No more annoying blog post references or awkward attempts at establishing mutual interests. Now you get can right to the heart of the matter and help someone who needs it.

About the author

Dan Murphy

Dan Murphy leads the Outreach/SDR team at Culture Amp in San Francisco, CA. He was the first business development hire at Udemy, and co-founded Subledger.com. In his spare time, he enjoys surfing and loves good coffee.

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