How to write cold sales emails that actually work

Daniel Ndukwu

Aug 14 2019

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You have to be proactive if you want to get in front of the right people who can buy your product and services. That’s where cold sales come in. Cold sales is the process of reaching out to contacts who’ve had no prior contact with you or your business.

Whether it’s a cold call or a cold sales email, many people have a negative association with it. That may be due to the high pressure tactics that have been used on them or a general aversion to selling. When done right, cold sales are a beneficial experience for both you and your prospects. Even the sales legend Brian Tracy used cold sales to acquire hundreds of clients.

This article will look at proven methods to use cold sales emails to get new customers and clients for your business without provoking or alienating your prospects.

Research before the cold sales email

Part of the reason cold sales emails fall flat is because there’s not enough research done beforehand. According to DiscoverOrg, 75% of IT leaders attended an event or took a meeting that came from a cold email or call.

This research shows that cold sales emails work to generate warm leads. You just have to do it correctly. Cold email templates can speed up the process but if you’re just changing the names and sending them in bulk, you’ll get poor results.

Research specific information about your prospect, their organization, and the goals they may have. For example, you can mention a specific recent event at their organization or that involves them personally. Do they have a personal blog they write on? Did they just receive an award of some sort? Is their organization facing a specific challenge you can solve (not a challenge you assume they have)?

Each piece of information can be used to get your foot in the door and keep them reading until you make your pitch. In essence, you stand out from all the template emails they receive on a daily basis. Certain email marketing software, such as Hubspot, makes this painless by combining CRM data with the email marketing so you can log this information and send personalized emails at scale.

Understand the real goal

The goal of your email marketing strategy at this point shouldn’t be to close the deal. It’s too sudden. Your prospect may be hearing about you for the first time. Would you immediately buy something you didn’t know you needed from a stranger? Probably not.

It’s the same thing with cold email. You’re not trying to sell on the first interaction because people don’t know enough about you or your solution. Instead, you want to generate a warm lead and book an appointment or some kind of follow up interaction.

When this happens, your prospect can block out the necessary amount of time needed to listen to your entire pitch, ask clarifying questions, and feel confident about your offer. A tool like SendinBlue will allow you to track your leads’ interactions with your email marketing efforts for better results.

What to include in your cold email template

There’s essential information that goes into every cold sales email to quickly build trust and separate you from the spammers out there. On a side note, cold emailing is the direct opposite of spam because you’re a real human looking for a real connection which may or may not have commercial intent behind it.

Your real name

It’s important to remember what the goal of your cold emails are. It’s not to get a sale instantly. It’s to build rapport and arrange an appointment or secondary interaction. People can’t connect with you or trust you if you’re not using a real name. That means you shouldn’t be “quick wins” “James from Amazon” or simply “James.” Use your real and full name.

Your contact information

Let’s just assume that all of your prospects are busy, so you definitely don’t want to waste anyone’s time. That means, before they reply or agree to book an appointment, they’ll want to check you out. Who are you, what’s your position in the company, what are you guys all about, etc. To make this easier for them, add complete contact information in your cold email templates. Include contact number, social profiles, website, position, and any other information you think is relevant.

Customized content for the prospect

This can be tricky when creating a template for your cold outreach email marketing strategy. It’s also the most important part if you want to generate warm leads. When creating your cold email templates, leave specific merge tags or descriptions explaining the kind of personalized content you’d like to add.

For example, you can use a merge tag for a specific blog post or leave a comment that this part of the template should congratulate them on a personal achievement. Flattery goes a long way towards breaking the ice.

A specific request

Many cold sales emails make the mistake of ending without a specific ask that the prospect can take action on. It’ll describe the solution but then end by saying is that something you’re interested in? What happens if they are? What’s the next step?

Every cold email you send should have a specific request that your prospect can agree to or not. Asking if they’re interested is not enough. You know what the best next action for your situation is but a few suggestions are asking them to book a short meeting, connecting you with the right decision maker, or permission to send over more information.

A compelling subject line

There are tons of resources out there which focus on how to craft a strong subject line for your emails. There are two things to keep in mind. It should be clear and it should make the recipient curious enough to open it.

For example, a format that may work for you is a partnership between [your company name] and [their company name]. It’s clear that you want to partner with them yet it still creates curiosity because they don’t know what the partnership is about. Play around with different subject lines until you find one that works for you. You can even test different subject lines on different prospects to see which ones preform the best.

The cold emails you send should have these five elements but you can add many more if you see that it works. That’s the thing with email marketing tips, they never end and it’s important to find the ones best suited to you.

Be persistent

This is where most if not all people who’re trying to effectively use cold sales emails drop the ball. They simply don’t follow up enough. How many times have you gotten an email you wanted to reply to but ended up forgetting about?

It happens to the best of us. We’re all busy with our own affairs and replying to a cold email is at the bottom of the to-do list. The simple way to make sure you’ve done everything you can is to follow up multiple times. Send out at least 3 emails over the course of a few weeks. If you don’t hear back after that then it’s safe to conclude the person isn’t interested.

It also happens that your prospect replies to your cold email but then is swamped by work and stops responding. In this case, it’s ok to follow up more than just three times because they’ve expressed interest and it’s up to you to make sure things eventually work out.

Keep testing

This is the most important email marketing tip for cold sales. You can have all the templates and best practices in the world but your business is unique. It’s up to you to go out there and test your emails to make sure they’re getting opened, read, and replied to. Always track the following metrics:

  • Open rate
  • Click rate
  • Reply rate

That way you can optimize them individually. Maybe you’re getting good open rates but poor reply or click through rates. You know the subject line is working but the body content needs to be tweaked. Maybe you’re getting good click through rates but poor open rates. You know the subject needs work.


Cold sales emails have been proven to work time and again. It’s just a matter of finding the sweet spot for your business. Keep the points of this article in mind when crafting your emails.

Do the research up front so you don’t come off as someone who puts little to no effort in. Understand and choose a fitting goal to focus your emails around. It shouldn’t be a direct sale in most cases. Finally, include the key elements this article touched on in every cold email you send out. Over time, you’ll see your effort yield more and more results.

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