B2B cold emailing is hard, isn’t it?
The modern inbox is a noisy and fiercely competitive place.
Marketers and salespeople are making leads tough to reach.
And everybody is offering them something — including you.
But, it’s not all doom and gloom:
Buyers want to hear from reps in the research stage of the buying cycle. 71 percent of buyers want to hear from sellers when they are exploring a new product or idea.
Eight out of ten prospects prefer talking to reps over email.
Despite the noise, cold emailing is still effective.
Laura Lopuch sent 328 cold emails. She grew her business 1400 percent in four months.
And, Sean Bestor used only five cold email templates to help grow Sumo to $5 million.
But how do you win the cutthroat competition for attention in your lead’s inbox?
In today’s post, I’ll cover the best B2B cold email practices for sales prospecting.
Plus, I’ll share my top B2B cold email templates that will boost your response rates, generate more leads, and increase your bottom line. Let’s dive in!
Don’t have time to read all the templates right now or just want to have them ready to reference in your inbox whenever you need them?
Note: Starting a cold email outreach campaign? Try Leadfeeder free for 14 days to see which companies visit your website, the pages they visit, whether or not they’re in your CRM, and more.
Here are the best practices for B2B cold email
Before you launch a successful B2B cold email campaign, get the basics right. Below are my best practices for sending B2B cold emails.
Best practice 1: Write catchy subject lines
Strong subject lines are a key component of effective cold emails.
Because if you fail to convince leads to click on your email in the first place, your chances of a response plummet down to nil.
The topic of crafting “clickable” subject lines while avoiding coming across as spammy is a complete, and complex subject the warrants its own post.
But for now, here are the three important steps for compelling subject lines that earn clicks.
Lean towards shorter subject lines.
Aweber's research of over 1000 email subject lines found that 82 percent of experts send subject lines with 60 characters or less.
Side note: shorter emails also prevent your subject line from becoming truncated on mobile devices.
Tickle interest and tease curiosity.
Speaking of mystery, it's good to leave a little to the imagination.
“Meeting at 10?” is more clickable than baring all with: “Are you willing to meet up at 10 for a demo?”.
When Kyle Racki received the email below, not only did he become a customer, he also found it so good that he shared it with his audience and called it the “best cold email he received”.
That’s a pretty successful cold email if you ask me!
The subject line “Magic Goggles” is short and snappy; it’s more engaging than “An unprecedented way to understand customer experience”, isn’t it?
Use a name, or personalize with available data.
When Leadgenius switched their email subject line from “Your sales process” to “I found you through [contact name]”, open rates increased by nearly 50 percent.
And in Yesmail’s analysis of 7 billion emails, emails with personalized subject lines got more than double the unique click-rate and 58 percent higher click-to-open rate than emails without personalization in their subject lines.
Does this mean you should give up personalization if you don’t have a name?
Nope, because you can still personalize with a familiar name [I know you through], organization [as a user of x company] or person [heard about you through x] to “warm” your cold emails up.
Best practice 2: Keep it short, no more than 100 words
According to Boomerang’s analysis of 40 million emails, between 50 and 100 words yields higher response rates.
Brevity is key to cold emails. Just take a look at Bryan Harris’s successful pitch to HubSpot’s editorial team.
Not only does it deliver a ton of value in a way that respects the recipient's time, it is short, sweet and to the point.
Leads are busy, and their inboxes are inundated with pitches and offers. Articulating value with fewer words helps you win, and keep attention.
Best practice 3: Personalize, and lean towards an account-based marketing approach
Urgh! Does anything scream “boring message ahead” louder than these two words?
Avoid addressing leads with generic terms and sales messages. It drains personality from your email, replacing it with a robotic corporate tone that repels leads.
Find the person's first name and use it, always. Like the example below from SavvySeller.
Even better, personalize your email around a lead’s hobbies or recent activity.
Just like Denis Oakley’s team did to turn a strong but struggling product, into business doing $1 million dollars in sales.'
They attended exhibitions in the client’s market and greeted the relevant salespeople manning the booths — while collecting a total of 1200 business cards.
They later reached out to them and received a great response. Most of the salespeople recognized the company from the exhibitions and because of this, forwarded the “cold” email to the right person.
Find a blog comment, a LinkedIn post, or even a hobby they publicly champion, then weave it into your email.
You can even take the power of personalization further with account-based marketing (ABM). Which is reported to deliver a higher ROI than other marketing activities, according to 87 percent of B2B marketers.
Often described as the “flipped funnel” approach, ABM amplifies the idea of personalization and applies it to your overall sales strategy.
Because instead of casting a wide net and targeting a broad quantity of leads, sales and marketing unite (gasp 😱) and aim for “zero-waste” selling.
Sales campaigns and content are targeted towards highly relevant companies and influencer groups (or accounts).
Take Phononic, a Thermoelectric tech startup in North Carolina, for example. They were swimming in leads.
But, their sales team was so overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of leads that they struggled to filter leads based on quality.
Using an ABM strategy, sales and marketing agreed on a personalized approach for the messages and tactics used to warm prospects up for sales.
This resulted in 78 percent more visits from target accounts and a 20 percent reduction in advertising costs.
Best practice 4: Use short paragraphs and sentences
Did you read every single sentence leading to this question?
If you did, congratulations! 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾
Your online reading habits are atypical when compared to most people, who typically scan content when reading, focusing only on information that’s relevant and useful to them.
To make your cold email easier to scan and digest, stick to 2-3 sentence paragraphs with short, simple sentences, like this.
Or, like how Lemlist keeps their follow-up emails easy-to-read and fun.
Best practice 5: Have a simple, single CTA
The more options you present, the harder it is for a lead to make a choice.
This is known as "The paradox of choice."
Not only do excessive links and attachments flag your email as spam, they also trigger the effects of too much choice—taking action becomes harder for the recipient.
Funnel your message down to one main point, and guide your lead to one call to action like a content marketer, Sophia Seltenreich from Yesware, shares below.
Best practice 6: Experiment with GIFs and emojis to emotionally engage
We like to buy things from people we like.
And with B2B often regarded as a serious “straight-faced” industry, you have an opening to use humor and fun to be likable and make authentic connections.
To enhance the personality and warmth conveyed in your cold emails, experiment with images, gifs, or emojis.
For example, let’s say you’re sending a cold email that ends with:
“Let me know if there’s anything you need, Ok? I’m here to help.”
Does it sound supportive? Sure. But what if you finish with a cheeky gif.
It catches the eye and drives the sentiment home with a bit of humor.
Best practice 7: Internalize the follow-up
80 percent of sales require an average of five follow-ups. But the shocking thing?
After just one attempt, 44 percent of salespeople fail to follow up.
In a review of over 20m+ outbound sales emails, the Woodpecker team found that cold email campaigns with 4-7 follow-ups had a reply rate of 27 percent.
Which was 3x higher than those with only 1-3 follow-ups.
Prospects are busy, they may not have the time to respond promptly, and even if they intend to reply later—they may forget to do so.
Following up is a must for a successful B2B cold email campaign.
Best practice 8: Proofread your cold email
Ensure you have the basics correct.
Fact-check the name, job role, and company of your lead. And avoid basic spelling mistakes or incorrect information (use the Grammarly app for extra help).
Ahead, 14 of the best B2B cold email templates
B2B cold email template 1: The AIDA formula email
Attention — Hook the lead’s attention. Interest — Relate to their interests to keep them engaged. Desire — Show how they benefit from your offer to arouse desire. Action — Ask them to click, reply, or purchase. The end goal is to secure a response.
Here is an example of AIDA being used in email copy from Vimeo.
It powerfully distills the sales process, describing the journey of getting someone’s attention, all the way to getting them to take action.
Almost every cold email, landing page, or ad you view follows the AIDA formula (in some shape or form).
Hi [First Name],
If you’re like most [lead’s role], you know how hard it can be to [deal with the problem your company solves].
Our [product/service] eliminates the stress and improves this by [one-sentence pitch]. Here’s what [customer ] has said about us:
[customer testimonial about the problem]
Would you like to also have [the benefit of your product]? If yes, will you email me the best time to give you a call next week?
B2B cold email template 2: The BAB formula email
Before — Describe the current issue or problem a lead is facing. After — Paint a picture of what having the problem removed or the situation improved looks like. Bridge — Show how your offer solves the problem and betters their lives.
What motivates you?
Money, success, or maybe the fear of failure?
Research has shown that our motivations stem from two primal drives:
The before-after-bridge formula harnesses the power of motivation to create compelling B2B cold emails that trigger a response.
Here is an example of a cold email using the BAB formula.
It highlights your product as the medium to the “pleasure” that is to be “sought”.
Hi [First Name],
What would you [or leads company] do with [the big benefit of your product/service]?
Does that seem unrealistic, well it happened to more than a few of our customers?
Including [your customer] who [insert benefit or success stats] when they used [your product/service].
As you might have noticed, both companies are similar in size and industry to [lead’s company].
I’m confident [your company] can get you similar results.
Would you have some free time next week for a personalized demo?
B2B cold email template 3: The PAS formula email
Problem — Vividly highlight a problem that causes pain/frustration. Agitate — Agitate it. Explain the consequences of it happening. Solution — Offer a solution to remove/avoid the pain caused by said problem.
While the BAB formula has a positive approach, the PAS is the opposite. It relies on the “avoidance of pain” to motivate a response.
Here is an example of the PAS formula used in cold email outreach from the Salesfolk.
Hi [First Name],
Does your [lead’s company] suffer from [painful problem]?
It’s a tough issue to overcome, and something most [companies in your lead’s industry] suffer from. And it can cost [stat or research to agitate painful problem].
Our [product/service] helps you avoid this with [benefit /one-sentence pitch].
I’d love to show you more. Are you open to a call at [date and time] next week?
B2B cold email template 4:The SAS formula email
Star — Introduce the star of your story. This could be you, a customer, or another business or person.
Arch — Describe the star’s journey, who is —or should—be facing a similar problem to your lead.
Success — Reveal how the star wins in the end or is better off (linking back to your cold product/service of course).
Humans love stories. We thrive on them, use them to teach, caution, and entertain.
When we’re involved in a story, the parts of the brain responsible for touch, sight, smell and sound fire up.
We feel the words we read and empathize with those who we read about.
The SAS formula creates a story that strengthens your cold email. It works particularly well with case studies, personal experiences, and success stories.
Hi [First Name],
In the latter half of 2018, the future was looking bleak for [star person/company].
With [cause of the problem/arch] [star] needed to [get result related to your product/service].
A tough task, considering [cause of the problem/arch]. So how did [star] win?
[Short sentence on the star’s triumph, (the triumph should relate to your product/service)].
[Your company] specializes in [product/service that helped star win].
We’ve helped [company 1] and [company 2] do this.
I have a personalized template to help you [benefit]. Can I send it to you?
B2B cold email template 5: The relevant question email
Asking a question is a great way to quickly deliver a cold email.
But generic questions don’t work.
A question-based B2B cold email must be specific and relevant to your lead. When done right, it works by:
Implying that the message will be low commitment and not excessively time-consuming
Piquing curiosity and promising an answer
Hi [First Name],
Want to see how you can instantly [benefit of your product]?
I know you’re busy working to [end result that your product/service helps with], so I’ll make this quick.
I’m the lead [role at your company], and I’ve got a few suggestions to help you immediately generate some quick wins with [area your lead is working on]. Here they are:
You might not have the time to this though, and that’s were [your company] can help. Would you like a quick 15-minute session during the next week so I can walk you through the tips and discuss this further?
B2B cold email template 6: The “you’ve been on our site” email
This is a simple cold email template to a lead who’s visited your site. Most of our users utilize this type of cold email template after signing up for Leadfeeder.
Given that they’ve already expressed interest and given you attention, their “warmth”, plus this B2B cold email template increases the chances of a response.
Hi [First Name],
You recently visited [your website] and [took this action].
If you’re interested in [content topic/product page visited] then I can recommend the following additional resources:
[additional resource 1]
[additional resource 2]
Our company also offers [product/service] which could help you [achieve this specific result].
Are you free for a call at [date and time] to talk about this?
B2B cold email template 7: The “better way to” email
The better way cold email revolves around finding one issue or bottleneck your lead faces, then showing how your product/service solves it.
The more relevant and timely this message is, the higher its chances of securing a response.
Hi [First Name],
With the new Google updates and penalties, working around them by [better way to deal with problematic bottleneck or issue] is time-consuming.
Our [company app service] has developed a way that lets you [fix bottleneck or issue] without [cost of less-optimal way to fix bottleneck or issue].
We’ve helped companies like [company name] achieve [results of the better way].
Are you able to lend me your ear for 15-20 mins this week? I would love to see if we can help you too.
B2B cold email template 8: The competitor satisfaction email
This email gives you the chance to show leads why you’re different/better than a competitor they’re using.
Don’t make the mistake of bad-mouthing competitors. Combine a neutral tone with your USP to explain why you might be a better fit.
Hi [First Name],
So I was browsing your website and saw that you are using [competitor’s product]. How is it working out for you? I work for [your company].
Our [product] is similar to [your competitor’s product], only our customers’ report we’re better with [key USP and differentiators]. Which might work better for [lead’s company].
I would love to hop on a quick call with you and see if we could make [lead’s] company] better.
How does [date and time] work for you?
B2B cold email template 9: The valuable resource email
Not all of your cold emails will immediately ask for meetings and calls. You’ll often need to break the ice and generate trust first.
And that’s what the valuable resource email does.
This is especially effective with B2B cold emails because — when timed right—you have the chance to appear on your leads radar while they’re in the “research” phase.
Here is an example of a cold email template pitching a resource.
Hi [First Name],
I enjoyed your post on [site] and I found it very useful, it left me with some practical ideas to implement here at [your company].
I thought I’d return the favor and give you something useful too. I found this article on [article topic] that may be beneficial to you.
Here’s the link to check it out [link].
I hope it helps you and your team.
B2B cold email template 10: The gatekeeper/wrong person bypass email
Cold emails that ask for “the right contact” are often deleted and ignored.
To avoid the same fate, show you’ve done your research and have spoken to other colleagues your lead may know.
Why does this have a better chance of working?
Because instead of appearing like you’re selfishly searching a target to pitch, you mention familiar names and are providing a valid reason as to why you’re contacting them specifically.
Hi [First Name],
I’m [your name] and I [state your role] at [your company].
I know you’re busy, and you probably receive plenty of emails asking for the right person to speak to, but I really believe we can help [lead’s company]. We [insert one-sentence pitch – what your solution does].
Based on your profile at [link to, or mention profile], it seems that you might be the right person to speak to—or at least point me to the right person about [problem your product solves].
If that’s you, are you open to joining me for a quick 10-minute call on [time and date] to discuss how we can support your business? If it’s not you, will you kindly direct me to the right person?
P.S. I’ve also reached out to [relevant person 1] and [relevant person 2]. We’ve helped companies like [insert your customers] to [positive result you’ve helped achieve] and I would love to help [lead’s company] do the same.
B2B cold email template 11: The recent news email
The recent news email helps you break the ice and establish the first contact.
You email a prospect about a recent review, piece of news, or win they’ve had, then let them know who you are and why you’re emailing them.
Here is an example from Chris Bibey, content specialist.
In the email above, Chris gained three booked calls and one closed deal. Not bad!
Hi [First Name],
Congratulations on your recent round of funding!
Your shining reviews on [insert link or mention site] say a lot about your team. It’s clear that you’re going to make an impact on the [insert industry/market] soon.
I just wanted to say congratulations, I look forward to more good news about [their company].
My name is [your name], I work at [your company], and we [one-pitch sentence]. If you need anything at all, just give us a shout.
B2B cold email template 12: The we help famous “x” we can help you email
Social proof reduces friction and makes it easier for leads to take action. If you have high profile customers, use them as social proof.
Jake Jorgovan sent this email that landed him a $4,250 client.
Show your numbers and how you’ve helped, then translate this into your ability to help your prospect.
It doesn’t have to be a fortune 500, it could be a happy customer who your prospect is familiar with.
Hi [First Name],
I know you’re busy, so here’s the deal:
I recently helped [insert popular company you helped] to [result you helped achieved].
This is one of [your company] biggest success stories to date.
We’ve also received shining reviews from the likes of [company1] and [company 2]. I’m emailing you because I think we can [insert benefit/pitch] for [lead’s company] too. How do you feel about a 5-minute phone call next week?
B2B cold email template 13: The “love your X” email
Doing flattery wrong will get you nowhere— usually, because it is an exaggerated and insincere style of flattery that signals an oncoming sneaky sales pitch.
But, an honest credible compliment on something your lead created...that can make a compelling cold email.
Hi [First Name],
I saw your content on [platform]. I loved it so much I shared it with my [team, boss, friend].
You guys are doing great things. I like how you [ specific compliment on something lead or lead’s company published or did]. And I know you’re busy, so I’ll make this quick:
We’ve spent over 2 hours to create a personalized demo for [company] on how to [achieve result]. I would love for you to have a look and let us know if you find it useful at all?
B2B cold email template 14: The “up to you” email
Do you know the number one word that people associate with sale people?
By relinquishing control completely to your prospect, this template encourages a response by silencing the “salesy” edge in your cold emails.
Hi [First Name],
I just found you through your [site/social media profile].
I see that you’re climbing the ranks on Google, and deservedly so :). I’m an [expert/job role] at [your company] and realized you could reach page 1 faster by implementing these 2 tips:
There’s a third tip, but I don’t want to overwhelm you. If the first two help, do you want me to send you the third?
If not, I understand. No hard feelings :)
How to use Leadfeeder to improve your cold sales email
Leadfeeder identifies companies already visiting your website.
Using Leadfeeder, sales teams can create more personalized cold email templates.
For instance, Leadfeeder will show how companies get to your website. So, I can see that this specific company visited Leadfeeder.com from a Facebook marketing campaign.
Salespeople can use this information that personalizes their cold email outreach that connects the dots from the Facebook marketing campaign.
Follow these steps to sign-up for Leadfeeder.
Your B2B cold emails are guaranteed to fail without this
You can have the best B2B cold email templates, magnetic subject lines, and tight sweater-knit copy, but you’ll still be stuck with stagnant closing rates without this one thing:
It shapes the bulk of your lead generation activity.
Research informs you on which templates to use, what subject lines will draw clicks and what case studies, statistics, and content to fill your copy with.
In the hard game of cold email, research is the “cheat code”.
Combine it with the best practices and templates I shared above and you’ll find B2B cold email campaigns become easier.
Note: Starting a cold email outreach campaign? Try Leadfeeder free for 14 days to help personalize your email outreach.
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