Cold email templates [video]

We were asked to look at cold email templates for B2B. We found 16, and unpacked what we think the essential common elements are of the recommendations. We’ve added one really critical missing ingredients. It’s important. We’ve added it in, and we’ve created our own template that you can base your own cold email template on.

Today, I’m going to start with the conclusions right up front, then I’ll give you the research that led to those conclusions, and then finally I’ll end with our cold email template for B2B.

Here’s what we learned:

  • Provide a benefit statement and a hint at the action request in the title
  • Evidence your research
  • Hint at a fear of missing out (FOMO) – both their competitor and the global push on your topic
  • Write to more than one person in the company, and tell them all
  • Show your credibility
  • Don’t mention your product, only that you can help
  • End with a request

Let’s take a look at the research that led us to those conclusions.

The first one is from Close.io, “Cold Email Templates That Will Generate Warm Leads for Your Sales Team,” by Steli Efti. Thank you Steli. Really quite interesting. Subject lines are key. Try “Can you point me in the right direction?” You’ll see in my conclusions that I’ve used a bit of that – I’m not a big fan of that on its own, but we’ll honour their suggestions for now. Email the decision maker directly, and ask them to meet. Now, what’s missing from this for me is they haven’t done any research. I’m taking an educated stab, I would argue in 2015, it’s just not good enough. Don’t take an educated stab, spend five minutes doing some research. It’s, I think, 101 stuff. Love the blog otherwise, but I think that’s a big missing point.

Next one, cold email template by breakthrough email. This is arguing at the top, a big claim, an 80% response rate. I’m not going to debate that response rate for the moment, but certainly it’s a big claim, and they’re explaining that if you go there and do a fourth email that you’re going to pick up about 80% of the respondence. I doubt that sincerely, but I do like, generally, the approach that they have taken. Firstly, the why then the what. Here’s their template. You can unpack that, include an appropriate person. I actually don’t like these emails. I get a lot of these myself, and I think you could just have done a tiny bit of research, and found out my role in the company I work at whether it’s me or not. Ask somebody else, this to me smacks of talking all about you, the seller, and not about me.

There are a couple of things in here that I do like though. I also wrote to person-x, person-y, and person-z. If you’ve read, “Selling to VITO,” very important top officer, that sort of smacks of the same recommendations, and I quite like it, but it’s still all about the vendor. Again, I think in contemporary selling, that’s just not good enough. A lot to like, a couple of things that I like.

“The Cold Sales Email Template That Won 16 New B2B Customers,” by Aaron Ross. This is not a this will do good. This did good. It’s an example of an email template that worked really well for one company, and you can’t argue with that evidence. I like that in one sense. A little bit about where emails go wrong, and that’s very good. Then they suggest an effective template. A couple of things. “10x [prospect’s company’s] traction in ten minutes,” – that’s a big, strong benefits statement in the subject line. It’s going to get opened. That I love. “I have an idea that I can explain in ten minutes,” also love that. “I recently used it, and we got this outcome.” It’s a really compelling email. You know already, the one thing I wish was in there? That is, “because you (company name) does (A, B, and C),” would just be a lovely addition to this. Otherwise, like it lots.

Now, from Sidekick by HubSpot, a side project of theirs. There are “12 CRM-Ready Sale Email Templates” that I can use. These templates, I think, are pretty good. They’re quite personalised. By the way, Jill Konrath, she wrote “Selling to Crazy Busy People,” worth checking out her work. Smart lady. Met her at a conference, and we had a couple of subsequent chats. Definitely worth taking a look.

I’m going to jump to template number three because it’s the one that I like the best. “(Contact first name) Hugh, your latest announcement this week about (blah, blah) got me thinking.” At least you’ve shown some relevance to who I am, rather than you send it out to a thousand people. Frankly, the way it’s worded, you could actually get away with sending this to quite a lot of people because lots of companies announce frequently, but at least it’s hinting at a little bit of research. If you read through these templates, you’ll find that Jill’s done that consistently through, and I like that. I do want to recommend this one, you’ll see the link in the show notes to this article. I am going to recommend that you take a read of it, and look at all of the templates off of there.

Finally, the one that’s most shared. Facebook shared, 3,440 in Facebook shares, no LinkedIn shares, 8 Twitter shares. Just those data alone, three and a half thousand Facebook shares, no LinkedIn shares, should give you a hint at the angle this one’s taking.

Mergers and acquisitions makes me think it’s going to be a great high-level article, “How to Write More Effective Networking Emails That Will Double Your Response Rate in 15 Minutes or Less.” Again, that could be well high-level. Frankly, this is though, for students. The large Facebook shares and the no LinkedIn shares should make that really clear, but that’s the case. Interesting, loved that it was shared a lot, but I’m not going to recommend that as one that you spend a lot of time on.

Just a quick last one that I’m going to include in the show notes, it’s one by me called, “Cold Calling Email Template.” Obviously it’s a very related topic, and I recommend you take a quick look at that one if you’ve got a little more spare time before we draw our conclusions.

Here’s the essence of what we learned from those cold email templates:

  • Your subject line should offer the benefit – succintly
  • Ask for help
  • Write to more than one person, and tell them that you’ve done so
  • Include your credentials
  • End with a request
  • Have a template once you know what works for a campaign
  • When pitching, don’t focus on your benefit. Explain why it’s mutually beneficial
  • Ensure there are no grammatical or spelling errors in your work

In these reviews, I often disagree with some of the conclusions reached. Today I don’t. I agree with all of it, but there’s one really important element missing. That is, they haven’t done their research. All of that is designed to be really easy, and I would argue that if you’re going to make a cold outreach to somebody, you’d better do your homework, and you’d better evidence that homework. Let me replay that, and slightly reorder those recommendations into what I think the template should look like based on that research, but with that one researched twist.

Here’s an example of a cold email drawn from this research. I’m going to end by giving you the key points from this so that you can build your own email template.

Hi John

I read a post by Hamish Lastname from a competitor of yours – CompetitorCo – on LinkedIn in the Funnel Management group posing a few questions about alignment and it got me thinking about YourCo. What are you doing at YourCo to get Sales and Marketing aligned better? I read on your site that you are targeting a big ramp in growth over the next 2 years and have to imagine this is one of the big levers you plan on pulling.

Who’s driving alignment in YourCo? I’ve emailed name1, name2 and name3 in YourCo to ask the same question, but was really interested in your take on this. Who’s driving the discussion? Are you in that dialogue? Do you have strong views on the subject?

You’re probably aware that alignment is a hot topic, and we’ve got some hard data that explains why. For example, companies with better alignment are 67% better at closing deals and are getting 208% more out of their Marketing. That data came from a study we did with a little help from leading marketing automation company Marketo, and we’ve spent most of the last 18 years working with companies around the world helping them to get Sales and Marketing onto the same page.

Who should I be talking with? Is it you, or is there someone you can introduce me to?

Thanks in advance.

Cheers, Hugh

Hugh Macfarlane
Founder & CEO, align.me
Author, ‘The Leaky Funnel’

“A quick question about getting Sales and Marketing on the same page at your company. Hi John. I read a post by Hamish Lastname from a competitor of yours (name them) on LinkedIn in the Funnel Management group,” basically where did you find the research, “posing a few questions about alignment, and it got me thinking about your company.” See what I’ve done there? I’ve actually hinted at something that your competitor’s doing that you may not be. “What are you doing at YourCo to get Sales and Marketing aligned better? I read on your site,” pause there. Obviously I’m doing some research, “I read on your site that you’re targeting a big ramp in growth over the next two years, and I have to imagine this is one of the big levers that you plan on pulling.” That’s a big assumption from me, but it’s an assumption about something that they should be doing that implies an insight. A little something that I know, but we go much harder than that.

“Who’s driving alignment at your company? I’ve emailed (name-1, name-2, name-3, name-4) in YourCo to ask the same question, but I was really interested in your take on this. That’s my little twist on it because it’s not just I’ve hit everybody, it’s actually, “I really want your opinion.” “Who’s driving the discussion? Are you in that dialogue?” Again, if you’re not, maybe you should be. “Are you in that dialogue? Do you have strong views on the subject?”

“You’re probably aware the alignment is a hot topic, we’ve got some hard data that explains why. For example, companies with better alignment are 67% better at closing deals, and are getting 208% more out of their Marketing.” Hard data in this case is drawn from our own research, but I could have used third-party research if I didn’t have my own. “That data came from something that with a little help from leading marketing automation company Marketo,” there’s a big credibility statement from us, “and we’ve spent most of the last 18 years working with companies around the world to help them to get Sales and Marketing onto the same page.” Big credibility statement. You’ve got your own version of it.

“Who should I be talking to? Is it you, or is there someone you can introduce me to?” There’s my call to action. I’ve allowed for the possibility that it’s them, but I’ve asked them to introduce me, not just tell me.

“Thanks in advance. Cheers, Hugh.” Again, look at my signature block. My title of course, but also a little bit of my personal credential. If your title doesn’t convey that, add in your own credibility. Either the number of people you’re connected with on LinkedIn. Is it how many times that you’ve helped companies do this thing. What’s your own short credibility statement?

Let me unpack that a little bit, and then I’ll give you my seven conclusions.

That’s the email template, let me just unpack that, and turn that into seven very specific recommendations. Actions that you can take to make your own cold email template.

Firstly, provide a benefit statement with a hint of the action request in the subject of the email. Evidence you researched, don’t just do it, show that you’ve done it. Hint at fear of missing out. In this case, I’ve used a competitor and the global push. Get your own version of fear of missing out, but don’t be silly about it. Show your personal credibility and your company’s credibility. Don’t mention the product at all, only that you help, and end with a request. A nice clear request. That’s it.

There you have it, my seven recommendations on a cold email template. Born from researching those 16 that I quite enjoyed today. I hope you got a lot of value out of that. I certainly learned a lot from the research, and from pulling today’s blog together. I hope you did as well. If you did, likely others have as well. A couple of quick suggestions if I may. Firstly, if you haven’t subscribed, can I encourage you to do so. What that means is that you’re the first to hear about these blogs as they come out. We do the show every week, and if you go to align.me/blog or youtube.com/alignmeb2b, you can subscribe there, and you’ll get notified as soon as we’re posted. Secondly, if you have already, you’ve got a colleague who hasn’t done so and should be enjoying the benefits of this, maybe they’re a customer, maybe they’re an old employer, maybe they’re an old staff member, anybody that you think would get value out of this, I’d be super super grateful if you would share with them one of those URLs or even the URL of today’s blog. Thank you so much for that.

If you’ve done both of those, what would you like me to cover? That’s a third request. What topics would you like me to cover. You know we do the research, I’m going to put my own spin on it, and I’ll answer the question for you online in this fashion. There’s the request. That’s it for this week’s show. Loads more lined up for next week. Can’t wait, until then may your funnel be full and always flowing.

Our thanks this week to:

funnel-plan-sales-and-marketing-planning-tool