6 Steps to Writing the Perfect Cold Sales Email in 5 Minutes or Less

How to write better cold sales emails… it’s been written about before, and it will no doubt be written about again. Sales reps pour countless hours into crafting the perfect cold email only to be left figuring out what to do next when they don’t get a reply.

“How do I follow up 5 times without becoming an annoying pest?”
“What should I say in my 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th follow up emails?”
“What are some of the best proven cold email and follow up templates?”

These are questions that we’ve all struggled with. There are some helpful resources out there, but there’s no single tool that offers targeted emails based on buyers personas, compelling opening emails/1st touches, effective follow ups and templates with variables that you can plug-and-play.

That’s exactly why we created the free PersistIQ Cold Email Generator.

cold sales email generator templates

We’ve gathered some of our best performing and most creative cold emails, turned it into a template and made them available for you to steal and use. It has over 40+ cold emails, and we’re going to be constantly adding more. Check it out if you need inspiration for your next cold email sequence.

However, as the proverb goes, “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime.” Let’s go fishing!

In previous posts, we talked about how to create highly personalized sales emails at scale, but that was more focused on the process of creating your outbound sales campaign. I also provided you with some templates, advice from expert sales trainers and the hottest tools.


How to Write Better Cold Emails, Fast.

In this post, I’ll cover some of the best practices for writing effective cold sales emails that get opens and replies.

At a high level, when we’re talking about creating an effective message, there are 5 things that you need in every single cold outbound sales email:

  1. Find a reason to connect
  2. Tell them why they should care
  3. Bridge the gap
  4. Give a clear CTA
  5. Write the subject
  6. Edit and send

Let’s take a deeper look at each of these.

1) Find a reason to connect

Give your prospects a reason they should want to connect with you; a reason to care. You really have to get into the shoes of your prospects, and think how they think.

This requires research. I always like to start with LinkedIn, as it’s the most up-to-date source for relevant business information on any prospect, then move to other tools across my sales stack. Cover all your bases, and check their Twitter, skim their blog, visit their AngelList page, etc.

When finding a reason to connect, look for things like:

  1. A mutual friend or colleague
  2. Points of affinity, such as the same hometown, Alma Mater, interests, etc.
  3. Good blog post or content shared
  4. Recent awards, recognition or achievements
  5. Trigger events, such as funding announcements, new leadership, etc.
  6. General positive contribution to the community

This section should be 1 or 2 sentences at the most.

2) Tell them why they should care.

What can you do for your prospect? Don’t waste your time or theirs. Clearly and concisely explain your value proposition. It’s going to be tough and will take tweaking, testing and wordsmithing different value propositions to get it right, but is tremendously powerful when you nail it.

According to The Challenger Customer, there are now 5.4 decision makers in a complex b2b sales. This means you’ll likely have different value propositions for each different decision maker. Included in the decision could be the sales manager, the VP of sales, procurement, sales ops, marketing ops and the CRO. Each buyer persona will derive a different value for your product, so craft your value proposition accordingly. If you’re new to the sales value proposition or needs some help, I recommend checking out Jill Konraths Value Proposition Kit.

Aim to accomplish this in 1 sentence.

3) Bridge the gap.

Now, you have to connect the reason you’re reaching out with telling them about your product or service. You’re going to insert this between the two sections to connect them. Since the two previous sections are distinctly different ideas, if you don’t insert this transition, there will be too large of a gap in ideas for the prospect, and the disconnect will turn them off.

This could be as short as a few words, but no longer than one sentence.

At this point, you should have a three things in your email: a reason to connect, a transition word or statement and a sentence about you or your product/service.

4) Give a clear Call-To- Action (CTA).

Don’t forget why you’re there in the first place.

As a salesperson, your goal is not to have them look at a one-pager for your company. It’s not to build brand awareness. Your goal is to get a prospect talking with you, ideally on the phone. So ask them for a call. Don’t be shy. You’ll never get what you don’t ask for. Here’s how you do it: “Do you have 10-15 minutes on Monday or Tuesday morning to chat about how {{your company or service}} can help you?”

Keep your CTA reasonable. Asking for 10 minutes of someone’s time is much more reasonable than asking for 45 minutes. Make the hurdle as low as you can. Lastly, there should only be one CTA per email. The bottom line is don’t make it hard for them to say yes — make it dead simple and easy.

Your CTA should be another one sentence.

5) Write the subject.

It may seem counterintuitive to do this last, but the subject line is a reflection of the body content of the email, therefore should be written last. If you write the subject line first, you’re biasing the rest of the email and may conform it to that subject line. You risk overlooking more important and relevant information.

Since the goal of the subject line is to get the recipient to open the email and read the first sentence, I like my subject lines to reflect step 1 — the reason I’m reaching out to connect. For example, if I’ve found a great blog post my recipient wrote and open the email with a reference and nod to that post, I might thank them in the subject line: “Thank you, {first name]!”

Here’s a list of good words to use in your subject lines that are proven to help boost your open rates:

  • Tomorrow
  • Free
  • Alert
  • Daily
  • Update
  • Follow up
  • Intro/Introduction

Here’s a list of words to avoid in your subject lines:

  • Final
  • Reminder
  • Sale
  • Meeting
  • Tempting
  • Specials
  • Complimentary
  • Help
  • Exciting
  • Unique
  • Discount
  • Solution
  • Partner
  • State of the art
  • {{any other buzzword}}

For more ideas and actual examples of subject lines that work, check out the PersistIQ Cold Email Generator.

Keep your subject line to seven words or fewer.

6) Edits and send.

At this point, I like to step away from my email for a little bit and come back later with a fresh set of eyes. When I come back this is what I look for. Use it as a checklist before you hit send.

Is it personal? Emails that are obviously automated are immediately ignored, Remember, customization is NOT personalization.

Does it sound like a salesperson? People love to buy, but hate to be sold to. At any sign of being sold to, up go the defenses.

Does the entire email flow? One sentence should lead right into the next, and reading the email should be effortless. Also, write in a conversational tone.

Is it short, concise and to the point? After your first draft, cut it in ½. Then cut out another 20%. Remove extemporaneous words that don’t add to the message. Don’t use 15 words when 8 will do.

Does it offer value? This may seem obvious, but how many emails have you received that don’t offer any value?

Would I open it, read it and respond to it? Step into their shoes. Would you open the email? Would you feel compelled to respond?

Is it a truly thoughtful email with your prospect in mind? Use the word “you” more than “I.” Make it obvious that you took the time to research your prospect.  

You can get really creative with the content of the email, but if you use this general outline, you’ll be able to quickly and easily create effective cold outbound emails that work. You’ll see that most of the templates follow this relative structure. It’s because this works!

Now, if you still want some plug-and-play templates, check out the free PersistIQ Cold Email Generator tool where you can find 40+ proven templates ready to go. You can even send yourself the plain text, then cut and paste into your favorite outbound sales platform, like PersistIQ.  

cold sales email generator templates

Stay tuned for more of the latest in outbound sales best practices and methods.

This post was brought to you by PersistIQ.  Our software empowers salespeople to easily convert prospects into a qualified pipeline and create personalized outbound campaigns at scale.  See how PersistIQ can help you make your own sales efforts more effective today.

Try PersistIQ Today!


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