What's the difference between the sales email no one opens and responds to and the one that generates dozens of new customers? Is it the subject line? The length? The way the copy is written? Or the ideas contained in the content?

The answer is a combination of all of the above.

Crafting the perfect cold sales email is both an art and a science. Balancing a friendly tone with getting to the point can be tricky. Crafting a CTA that is inviting, not forceful is an art.

Luckily, you won’t have to figure it out on your own. With the help of the templates in this article and expert tips on what not to write in your next cold email, you’ll have the confidence to write attention-grabbing emails that prospects will want to read.

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How to Write a Cold Sales Email

Below, we’ll review a cold sales email template and break down why it works so well.

The results of this email spoke for themselves:

  • 57% open rate
  • 21% response rate
  • Outcome: 16 new customers

So why did this sales email template work when the previous ones failed? Here are a few reasons:

1. It has an exciting subject line.

The subject line is your gatekeeper, so 50% of email work should be spent crafting and testing different subject lines. You want to create an exciting but credible (not spammy or sales-y) subject that intrigues recipients.

Make your subject line compelling and informative to pique the recipient's interest in the body of the email — and research the prospect so the subject line is personalized for them.

2. There’s an enticing offer included.

Give your prospects a reason to respond, and a simple call-to-action. Who wouldn't want to "almost triple their monthly run rate?" Mentioning your past success with another client they've heard of makes this offer seem more realistic and attainable. Include relevant numbers and statistics to make your offer even more exciting.

3. The copy feels personal and natural to the reader.

This sales email has the same basic format and tone as an email you'd send to your mom or best friend. When you're too formal, you sound stiff and like a salesperson rather than a person-person.

In the example above, the salesperson's "idea" makes the email less aggressive and aligns with where the recipient is at the beginning of their buyer's journey. Before you hit the send button, do a final read-through of the email to make sure it has a natural and conversational tone.

4. Your claims are backed up by social proof.

One of your biggest barriers to selling is risk. No one wants to be the first customer and work with a company without credibility or experience. Mentioning one of your customers and the results you delivered to them makes you less of a risk.

You can attach client case studies to provide your prospect with a detailed preview of your work. With a compelling example, the prospect will be more inclined to work with you.

Cold Sales Email Templates for B2B

Here are additional cold email templates that you can use to create emails your prospects will want to open.

1. B2B Email Template for Finding the Decision-Maker in the Company

This email clearly states the purpose of the outreach and includes information about previous clients to demonstrate credibility. The email is wrapped up with a call-to-action that outlines the next steps.

2. B2B Email Template to Build Rapport

Caroline Ostrander, a HubSpot Freemium Service Manager and former Business Development Representative, used this template after researching the prospect and finding a rapport-building opportunity. Not only was she able to relate to the prospect regarding the new job, but she also mentioned their co-worker's names and referenced her other attempts to help their company.

3. B2B Email Template to Establish Value

What do you have to offer the prospect? This template lets you briefly explain the benefits they’ll receive by working with you. This B2B email template allows you to engage with them and suggest some time to connect in an inviting way.

4. B2B Email Template to Introduce Yourself

Use this B2B email template to introduce yourself and your company to the prospect. You’ll stand out with this template because of the strategic yet subtle name drop that lends social proof to you and the company you represent.

5. Provide Value to the Prospect With a Free Tool

Here’s the tried and true reciprocity principle. By giving your prospect something that’s helpful and useful to them, this principle says that they’ll return the favor. That’s why there’s a convenient CTA at the end of the email so the prospect can take action as soon as they receive access to the free tool.

6. Sorry I Missed You

An email and phone call combo can yield big results with moving a prospect through your pipeline. This email template is a brief and friendly follow up to let the prospect know you’re actively attempting to get in touch with them and that your emails aren’t just coming from an automated system with no consideration for the person on the receiving end.

7. Are you still interested?

What stands out about this email is the personalization of it. As a salesperson, you’ll want to give your potential client a sense that all of your attention is focused on them and their needs. Setting a reminder to pause your schedule and send this email sends a message that you’re on their time.

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If you have a targeted lead list and your response rate is less than 10% with personalized emails, your emails could use some work. Once upon a time, a B2B company came to me for help with their emails. They offered an incredible service for the SaaS space but weren't very successful with their sales emails. Their response rates were below 2%.

After about a month of working together, I created a single sales email template that got them more than 16 new customers. But before I reveal the template, let's dig into what was wrong with their previous approach by touching on some of the reasons why emails fail.

1. Cram several ideas, talking points, and CTAs into the email.

You might have an amazing product, but if you highlight too many value props in your emails, you'll confuse readers. After all, a common sales adage goes, "A confused mind says no."

With this in mind, stick to one idea in your email. All of the copy you write should support that one idea, whether you're piquing their interest, adding value, making a persuasive claim, or providing proof to support your claims.

Avoid adding these common missteps in your sales emails:

  • Multiple themes in the email
  • Claims irrelevant to your main point
  • More than one call to action

2. Make it lengthy.

Generally speaking, your buyers don't want to read a mini ebook in an email if they don't already know who you are. You first have to provide value and establish trust before you can earn their attention.

With that in mind, structure your cold sales email in a way that clearly and concisely communicates the following:

  • The value you add
  • The offer you're making
  • The proof that supports it
  • The action you want the prospect to take

If your emails are running too long, here's what to watch out for:

  • Muddying details and irrelevant information
  • Boasting or making claims that aren't ground in fact
  • Asking the prospect to do too many things ("A confused mind says no.")

A caveat:

There's not a hard word or character count that makes for a successful sales email. Email copy should be as long as it needs to be to achieve your desired outcome. With this in mind, sales email length can vary according to what your buyers' preferences are, what their intent is, and how much engagement you can get out of your copy.

Long-form sales emails do have their place. For example, Close.com states that they use a long-form sales email because their subscriber engagement rate is high enough to warrant one.

However, in many "cold" emailing situations, you may not have that high level of engagement to justify it.

3. Talk about and celebrate yourself or the business, not the customer.

Just like in real life, too much "me me me" can be grating. Don't let your email talk way too much about why you're awesome, especially if you're reaching out cold. Instead of talking about yourself, focus on helping the prospect overcome a problem they have.

Double-check to make sure your email doesn’t:

4. Make it fancy.

Overly fancy email templates can make your emails seem impersonal and spammy — even with customization. No one thinks they're getting a personal email if it's too pretty.

Keep an eye out for:

  • More time being spent on visual collateral rather than copy
  • Generic language that reads as though it could apply to anyone
  • A lack of segmentation in the email list

5. Add plenty of fluff, jargon, and filler phrases.

Sending a sales outreach email can be nerve-wracking. You might be concerned with what the person on the other end thinks of you. At the same time, don't fall into the trap of not being assertive enough.

If a prospect doesn't know you, then they know they're probably being sold to. Soft language just beats around the bush and undercuts your message.

Watch out for these email phrases to avoid:

  • "You don't know me, but..."
  • "Whenever you have a second..."
  • "I know your time is valuable, but..."
  • "Would it make sense for us to chat?"
  • "Sorry to bother you..."

Instead, use phrases that clearly convey value, get to the point, and call the prospect directly to action.

If they're not interested, they wouldn't do it anyway. Softer language wouldn't change that fact.

6. Write like a robot.

It's a mistake not to include a human element in your emails. Cold, rigid emails that do nothing but harp on generic marketing points are a surefire way to turn prospects off.

Scan your email before you send it to catchphrases like:

  • "To whom it may concern"
  • "Thanks in advance"
  • "I guarantee that this product will..."

Instead, rely on what you know about your buyer persona and create personalized messaging that asks them questions and speaks directly to their pains.

7. Use too many emojis and other special characters.

Avoid typing like this!!! It can be seen as spammy and unprofessional!!!

A well-placed emoji or exclamation mark can add a little flavor to copy, but the caveat there is "well-placed."

Avoid too many special characters such as:

  • Exclamation points
  • Semicolons
  • Parenthesis
  • Dashes

It's best to have as straightforward a flow as you can. Be sparse with emojis, bolding, and italics as well.

8. Make several spelling and grammar mistakes.

Speaking of spammy, sending messages with too many grammar or spelling mistakes is a good way to look sloppy. At worst, it erodes trust and calls into question your authority and professionalism.

To maintain credibility with prospects, we recommend:

  • Reading your email aloud before sending
  • Running it through a spell checker
  • Asking a colleague to proofread

Below, you'll find a new and improved template that our clients used to turn their email game around (plus a number of additional templates for inspiration).

Send B2B Sales Emails That Prospects Will Read

Crafting the perfect cold sales email can be tricky, but these tips and templates are a great place to start. Above all else, remember to keep it simple and helpful. By understanding exactly what not to include in your sales email, you’ll be able to cut through the noise in your prospect’s inbox and truly stand out as a solutions-oriented partner to their business.

Editor's note: This post contains an excerpt from the book The Predictable Revenue Guide to Tripling Your Sales, and is published here with permission.

Heather R. Morgan is the founder of SalesFolk, a B2B sales emailing consultancy. These are some of her best messaging tips, written in her own words.

Editor's note: This post was originally published in March 7, 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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Originally published May 30, 2021 4:15:00 PM, updated June 10 2021

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