b2b cold emails

The Five Things Every B2B Cold Email Needs to Have

It’s tough making connections and reaching out through cold emails. How do you let your voice be heard through all the noise? Here are some ways to warm up those cold emails, helping you take that first step in the sales process.


A Compelling Subject Line That Leads to an Open

While you don’t want to get too cute or sound too desperate with your subject lines on a cold email, your ultimate goal is to get them to open that email. Emma Brudner from Hubspot notes, “The best sales email subject lines are creative, interest-provoking, and informative without giving too much away.” Consider some of her suggestions such as:

  • Mentioning a referral in the subject line: “Connecting through John Smith”
  • Personalizing the greeting for an inbound lead follow-up: “So nice to meet you Sandy!”
  • Address the benefit you are bringing to your prospect’s company: “A 25% reduction in training costs for Acme Corp.”

Be sure to keep track of what works best. If you’re sending a batch of emails A/B testing can be done through email automation software such as MailChimp or HubSpot.

A Concise Value Proposition That Addresses Your Prospect’s Pain Points

While certain personality types may like longer emails with more details, the safest bet is to use the reader’s digest formula: a fact-packed, concise and specific message that arouses curiosity. If you can build trust and make a connection through a personal referral or identifying other common ground in your opening line all the better. The key is to focus the attention on your buyer. You might need to do some work on clarifying your value proposition in a sentence or two and then simply make a few tweaks, personalizing it to address any particular pain points you are aware of in your prospect.
A great value proposition will always identify the target customer, outline their pain points, and express the value offered to them. If this can’t be done in one or two sentences you’ll need to go back to the drawing board. You could use a simple template such as: [Product name] helps [Target Market/ Companies] like yours, who struggle with [Pain Point] to [Product Description] in a way that is [value1] and [value 2]. If we used VA Partners as an example: The [VA Partners Sales and Marketing Fast Start Plan] helps [B2B companies] struggling with [outbound sales] to [develop a sales plan] that is [transparent] and [cost-effective]. Check out these templates from MaRS to help develop your value proposition.

A List of Benefits That Are Applicable

Following the one-line value proposition, I’ve found it beneficial to outline a quick bullet point list of benefits to the prospect. This can include statistical outcomes, as well as anecdotal evidence. The more you can fine tune your benefits to your target customer the better. An email listing 17 features that don’t apply to them is certain to lose their attention. You can read more on the topic of quantifying business benefits in a blog article by VA Partners co-founder Mark Elliott.

Some Credible Reasons They Should Take You Seriously

‘That’s great, but why should I believe your claims?” Be sure to include some compelling reasons why they should believe that you understand the challenge they face and can address them. One of the best ways to do this is outlining your track record of success by listing well-known companies or organizations using your product, and if possible outlining a couple testimonials. If you don’t have any customers, consider using other signs of validation, which can include:

  • Your own personal or team members credentials and experience in the industry: “Our team has 50 years of combined experience in the telecom industry.”
  • Market research: “95% of the 100 test-users we interviewed said they would recommend it to a friend, and use it themselves.”
  • Development partnerships: “We’ve been able to leverage our partnerships with IBM and McMaster University to really understand the problem of XYZ and develop a robust solution.”


A Singular Call to Action

If your prospect has been engaged up to this point, they’re intrigued and may be thinking about a next step. You need a clear CTA (call to action). Just one is sufficient. You want to walk the line between giving them a next step that’s easy to execute on the one hand while respecting that the “buyer journey” they are on may look different than then the “seller journey” that you’re on. Consider the easiest “next step” that will move the process forward, “Pat, do you have time for a 10-minute call this week so we can see if this might be a fit, and I can address any of your questions?” For some more cold calling tips check out Steve Gruber’s Top 10 Cold Calling Tips.

Final Thoughts

Following the five guidelines above will help you to not oversell. Showing that you understand your prospects pain points and offer value can be significant enough to them to follow a call to action. It should go without saying that you should double or triple check your email for grammatical or factual errors, and if feasible have a coworker look over any basic templates you’ve developed. Depending on your own company brand and that of the person you’re targeting you might also want to find a tone that matches it, be it formal or light-hearted. Be careful with attempts at humour, which can be well intentioned but misinterpreted very easily.
Is your B2B company struggling with its sales efforts? Contact us and we can discuss how VA Partners could help.

The Five Things Every B2B Cold Email Needs to Have