B2B Sales Email Guide: How to Nail a Cold Email Campaign

Some ways of communication come and go, but email is here to stay. Businesses use it as an efficient way to reach existing, new and potential customers.

According to a study by Content Marketing Institute, 77% of B2B companies use an email marketing newsletter as part of their content marketing strategy.

That same research confirms that 40% of B2B marketers say email marketing is a tactic that is critical to their success.

Email wins over social because it can deliver a personalized message, which helps increase customer engagement and therefore bring you a larger profit.

If you’ve ever been a receiver of a poorly-constructed and low-personalized cold email, then you have witnessed a sender lose an opportunity to work with you.

So what is a sales email and how can you transform it into the most effective marketing tool? Here is an answer for you.

What is Cold Email?


A cold email is an initial email that is sent to a recipient without prior contact in order to start business conversations. 

It’s similar to cold calling but much less intrusive. Emails do not interrupt your business life that much.

Joshua Feinberg, CMO at Vic.ai refers to interruption via social spamming as harassment, which is why you should know that cold emailing is not spam. There is a great difference between bulk product emails and targeted ones. The aim of the latter is to get into a business conversation with a specific prospect, rather than to promote a service to everyone at the same time.

2020 vs. Cold Emails

According to statista.com, 293 billion emails were sent and received each day in 2019, but the figure is expected to increase to over 306 billion daily emails in 2020. Can you make your prospects stop and read, and – more importantly – interact with you?

Sure. Remember evolution? To win this, you have to adapt. Target, personalize, reach out, and keep going. Outbound strategies in 2019 are all about human-to-human interactions and 2020 won’t be different.

According to Campaign Monitor, the third most influential source of information for B2B audiences is through email. 

Content Marketing Institute confirms that 91% of B2B marketers say email is their most important channel for its overall content marketing success.

It seems with new tools our modern marketer can live and prosper.

As an example, CIENCE, an active user of cold emailing, set 1,548 meetings for us and our clients in October of 2019. This strategy works if you work it.

Email Campaign Marathon: Ready, Steady, Go!


Research meet ICP, ICP meet Research

The Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) is a categorical description of accounts expected to become the company’s most valuable customers. These are companies that would benefit immensely from your offering and provide you with significant value in exchange. 

The ICP is a foundation of your sales and marketing altogether.

Your ICP should focus on relevant characteristics of your target accounts, such as:

Ideal Customer Profile components

To create an ICP, collect data from your existing customers and insights from key stakeholders, then analyze it. This data will provide a clear picture of who is using your services. Hone in on what made these clients come to you in the first place – that will be the foundation of your ICP.

Lead Research

In order to grow, you have to gain new leads for your pipeline. According to the Marketing Agency Growth Report by Hubspot, 39% of marketing agencies representatives are not confident about their ability to generate new leads. Though there are plenty of services that can provide you with a pre-generated contact list, CIENCE believes there is nothing more accurate than targeted lead research.

According to BrightTalk, 42% of B2B marketing professionals state that a lack of quality data is their biggest barrier to lead generation.

Certain research tools will be necessary to get quality data about your prospects. We recommend using these because CIENCE is built on them. 

  1. LinkedIn Sales Navigator

    It’s an essential tool for lead research and social selling. By applying various filters (industry, location, company size, employee headcount) to your search, you can find companies that will be a great fit. After choosing someone’s profile, you will see a display of information – social connections, updates on their activity, news on the company, or events. Basically everything you need in order to find context on your prospect and personalize your cold email outreach.

  2. HubSpot

    HubSpot has a lot of free tools and their CRM solution is one of them. It can store, manage, and track your contacts. Templates and Sendouts can help automate your cold email outreach, which will increase your sales or marketing teams’ effectiveness.

  3. ZoomInfo

    The information needed to conduct outreach effectively is not necessarily available on your prospect’s website. ZoomInfo can fill in the blanks on the company’s headquarters, phone number, employee headcount, revenue, and even competitors. 

Crafting Your Cold Email Strategy

How to write cold emails?

You’ve got yourself a basket full of ICP qualities and conducted the research, but do you go straight to writing sales emails now? Nope, you have some more planning ahead. Waves, their frequency and cadence. 

Having a multi-waved email campaign doesn’t mean sending the same email multiple times. Rather, each wave should have a different subject line and relatively new content. 

Typically sales email campaigns have from 3 to 5 waves, which is reasonable from a planning perspective. Your goal is to ensure that your content is timely, relevant and consistent from the start of the first wave. 

To reach that goal, you should decide on cadence and frequency. Although cadence and frequency are related terms, they describe different sides of email marketing. Frequency is the number of emails sent in a certain time period, and cadence includes rhythm and timing (e.g. the amount of time between each of the emails, as well as content and the receiver’s audience). 

While over-communicating is sometimes a good thing, it can hurt your b2b email campaign’s results. When you send the same offer day after day to your contacts, they can easily send your sales emails to spam while they are scanning their inbox for something new and interesting. It is easy for them to ignore what has become repetitive or expected. 

Frequency and, to a greater extent, cadence play a key role in capturing and retaining your recipient’s attention.

In order to find the right cadence, you should map your customer’s journey – all the touchpoints on your prospect’s way to conversion. After understanding patterns of your customer’s journey, you can project that into your future sales email cadence.


cold email segmentation

Email list segmentation is a technique that email marketers use to send highly targeted emails, by dividing their list up into smaller groups, or “segments”.

MailChimp.com pulled data from their users (who apply list segmentation) and discovered that segmented campaigns had open rates that were 14.37% higher, clicks that were 64.78% higher, and 8.98% lower unsubscribe rates than non-segmented campaigns. 

Here are a few ways to segment your contacts.

  1. Geographic Area

    Segmenting your contacts by geographic area will enable sending time-based messages. If your services spread all over the place, then you probably should sort out your contacts by time zones, so that each of the prospects will get your good sales email during the workday. You can implement it for advertising regional promotions or with the help of location-specific content, draw the attention and offer a personalized experience.

  2. Demographics

    It is a method of segmenting customers based on their statistical characteristics. Demographic segmentation groups customers based on factors like business size (either by the number of employees or annual revenue), or even technologies used by the targeted companies. Finding this information is important though fairly inexpensive.

  3. Customer Awareness

    It means dividing your target audience based on their product or industry acumen, it offers you to tailor your campaign toward a lead’s specific needs. Customer awareness looks specifically whether a company acknowledges the problem that your product/service solves.
    For example, a sophisticated target customer for CIENCE would be the one that already leverages sales processes by themselves or with the help of a competitor.

Email Testing: Scene One, Take One.

Different parts of your email campaign impact your recipient’s reaction to it, therefore make sure to get results that will make a difference to your business through testing your cold emails. Your further decisions on the email campaign will be based on data rather than on intuition. Insights that you will get from it, will result in creating more effective sales emails, consequently providing you with higher rates of engagement, sales, and revenue.

A/B Testing or Split testing is a simple principle of testing the original version of an email compared to another version. Just like in a scientific approach, you will have the control group and the experimental one. The experimental (or variant) group will have only one difference from the control group – it can be a subject line, a CTA (Call To Action) button, design or time of email delivery. You can split your test on any element of your cold email, but just one at a time.

Before testing – find the reason for it.

Email A/B testing: Problem; Reason; Solution; Measurement

According to phrasee.co, only 50 % of the marketers split test their campaigns, but from those who do 70% routinely test subject lines, 60 % pay attention to the body of the email testing, and 54% choose CTA and design as their priority.
What to test? You can choose anything, but here is a list to help.

  • Subject lines

    Try changing size, format, color or even content. Play on curiosity, humor, on pain points or greed. Try being straightforward or personal. According to copyblogger.com, on average, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest.

  • Email body

    You can change content by adding some wording or cutting the size. Increase the level of personalization, add some sentences specific to the industry. You can use FOMO (fear of missing out) technique, to enhance your click rate.

  • Design

    Experiment with the position of images, style or template itself. That will help you with the mobile accessibility of your sales email. According to constantcontent.com 42.83% of all emails are now opened and read on mobile devices.

  • CTA (Call to Action)

    Pursue changing one variable in your CTA formula: placement + colour + text = action. CTAs can also be customized for a visitor, based on their location, language or anything else. In fact, according to HubSpot.com personalized CTAs convert 202% better than default versions.

Top-Quality B2B Sales Email Content

In the B2B market, a prospect that you have never contacted before must have a good reason to engage in a conversation with your company. That’s why in the body of a cold email, you have to answer questions that pop into their heads, as soon as they open your message.

  1. Why me?

    Why do you want to reach out to this exact person? For example, your company provides hiring services. You notice a number of openings at their website or another source, your choice would be to contact HR or Business Development Manager and suggest your services to them. Obvious, right? Maybe to you – but your prospect has never heard from you before and he should know what this email is in reference to.

  2. Why this product/service?

    This is your time to shine. You can share the value you can bring to your prospect. For example, your data system has access to all kinds of CV resources or your services are way cheaper than hiring a new team of recruiters. How is your company better than competitors? Show your credibility and gain trust, addressing your prospects’ pain points.

  3. Why now?

    Easy. You can answer that question, based on the reason you’ve contacted them. In our example, new hiring shows you that your service can be just-in-time for the company. Or if you provide services on lead generation, there is always a place to grow and gain new revenue.

How to Write Email Copy that Sells

Any sales email consists of 5 parts. But each one of them can be upgraded on the scale of efficiency.

Sales email components. Parts of effective cold email

Characteristics of a Great Email

  • Short and simple

    Your prospect will get lost in a 5 pages long list of all the reasons for a sales conversation. Make it accessible with an appropriate size and 1-2 value props, to keep your receiver away from getting confused.

  • Opposite to selfish

    A lot of cold emails fail by being too egocentric, “me” is a word you should avoid spamming with. You should talk about your company’s features in the context of value for the customer.

  • Human

    Though B2B is all about in-between business communication, it doesn’t mean it should be robot-like. There is a person behind the monitor and some personal touch wouldn’t hurt.

Take a deeper look into email templates by exploring CIENCE’s experience on the good, bad and ugly cold emails of December. 

Importance of an Email Personalization

Personalization is an email marketing technique that aims to make cold emails feel individually crafted via using publicly available data of recipients. It crosses its path with segmentation and can be present in any part of the email. How you do your personalization will define whether you will stand out.

Personalization is now integral to the customer journey. It’s a key driver of brand loyalty, and 96% of marketers believe that personalization helps to advance customer relationships, according to an Evergage study

Personalization Tools

  1. Buyer Persona

    Studying buyer personas helps understand your prospects better in order to build strong communication. It is a roadmap to help you navigate through a variety of communication styles.

  2. Interactive content

    The design of your email impacts how the information inside will be taken. Interactive content is one of the lead generation trends of 2021, and video will stay in the future of email marketing campaigns – some brands have seen 8x improvement in click-through rates with a personalized video versus standard outbound email campaigns.

  3.  Segmentation

    By forming smaller groups of your contacts, you can send highly-targeted sales emails and personalize based on a category that formed your group.

Personalization Tools CIENCE Uses

We find these resources invaluable when researching prospects. They are listed below in order of how frequently we use them.

Tools that we use to research for cold email personalization.

Tips For Email Personalization

  1.  Get creative

    Name personalization is good but used commonly, so in order to really get the attention of your prospect, you must give more than a name. Try video content, gifs or memes, find information to hit the right note wherever you can. Surprise is a good emotion for sales because it’s a strong neuro alert that tells us that something is important about this moment and we can’t help but pay attention.

  2. See a difference between personal and inappropriate

    It’s easy to overstep boundaries and invade someone’s personal life. We recommend using information available on multiple sources and shared with informed consent. Articles, LinkedIn information, recommendations, and news on the web are appropriate. Email personalization based on tagged photos from family members’ Instagrams is inappropriate.

    Don’t forget about GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) compliance. It concerns all EU member states, as well as entities and organizations outside the EU when processing the data of its subjects. Always have an “Unsubscribe” option for your recipients, as a safety measure.

  3. Be persistent

    A lot of SDRs make the mistake of giving up on a lead too quickly. Getting no response from the first wave of sales emails can have a number of reasons besides “not interested”. Because they’re busy people, your prospects may have forgotten to get back to you. And if you actually get a “not interested” response, we suggest asking for feedback on why. Use this chance to state your value one more time or get insight into why the offer you provide is not relevant to your contact. This way, you can adjust your research afterward. You don’t have to stalk them, but a multi-wave outreach is a reasonable thing to do.

  4. Have a follow-up strategy

    Starting off with no response-handling strategy will doom your campaign. Dedicating your time to coming up with a unique comeback to each response is inefficient, especially considering that most will fall into one of a few types. You have better things to do.

Subject Lines

How to Write Sales Email Subject Lines That Catch Prospect's Attention

The subject line is the first thing that your contact sees when receiving an email from you. At this point, a recipient makes the decision to open or ignore. In order to stand out from tons of content in your prospect’s inbox, you have to give more. Make it short, credible, show some value, but most importantly – personalize. According to CampaignMonitor, emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened.

Characteristics of a Good Subject Line

  1. Compact

    Reading emails on your phone is extremely common these days. When your subject line is too long, it’s shown partially, so it cannot fully convey what you mean. We recommend keeping your subject lines 40 characters or fewer.

  2. Grammatically correct

    Bad grammar is eye-catching. Not in a good way. A grammatical error you make will be seen by dozens if not hundreds of people. We recommend using spell-check tools like Grammarly and proofread to prevent it from happening.

  3. Not overloaded

    Avoid extra punctuation, all-caps writing, it can be misinterpreted by your recipient. Dodge using words that trigger spam filters. Not only can it bring in negative emotions connected with the sales profession, but increase your bounce rate levels.

  4. Personalized

    Segmentation grants you an opportunity to hit the right note. According to research from Harvard, when people talk about themselves, areas of the brain pertaining to motivation and reward spring into action. Use tips for personalization we’ve mentioned earlier in order to succeed.

  5. Relevant

    Show a connection between you and the recipient, bring value into the conversation. According to our research, the subject lines which address the specific needs of the prospects or the problems they face tend to have a higher open rate.
    For instance, according to Hubspot, the “Have you tried [restaurant in prospect’s town]?” subject line got an insanely high open rate. It is relevant to a prospect due to the location.

Being creative with your subject lines is good as long as it is appropriate. There are way too many subject lines that may have overstepped a bit. Check out strange, hilarious, and even creepy subject lines that were dropped in our mailboxes.

Sales Email Call-To-Action

CTA or Call-To-Action is a piece of content that is designed to encourage the reader to take a certain action. It can be presented as a sentence, button or image. Every sales email must include a CTA. It is the reason you are writing this email in the first place.

CTA examples for Sales: Start exploring; Read; Learn; See more; Upgrade now; Schedule an appointment; Start your free trial now; See how you benefit

After your email was opened and the content read, your contact is still wondering, “what now?”

The CTA should be relevant to the content of your cold email. The goal can be different: download a playbook, subscribe to a newsletter, buy something or schedule a meeting/call. The CTA will help you achieve this.

Your CTA is important because it is a tipping point where your prospect becomes a lead – fulfills the action that you want them to take.

How many CTA’s do I put in my cold email?

One will be enough. Otherwise, your reader can get overwhelmed.

Where should I place it?

It will make sense to put it at the end of your email, as a form of a conclusion.

How do I design my CTA?

It’s up to you. You can highlight it, create a button (according to CampaignMonitor, using a button rather than a hyperlink can increase conversion rates by as much as 28%), play with the size, or use plain text. The CTA should be coordinated with the body of your sales email and the content inside it.

What words do I use for my CTA?

This is your winning formula.

Call to Action formula: CTA=Action+Time. CTA example.

Landing Pages

The landing page is a page that has the goal of moving your prospects down the sales funnel. For our clients, CIENCE creates a custom landing page for every campaign we execute. 

  • Unified messaging
  • Custom CTA 
  • Provides analytics – whatever you want 

Your email campaign about apples shouldn’t transfer you to a web-page about oranges.

Landing pages are crucial for any email campaign, they show the effectiveness of your campaign, and drive your conversions.

For instance, when CIENCE crafted a landing page for Own The Room, it resulted in 8,04% conversion rates and 2 additional appointments per month on average.

A print-screen of a landing page created for Own The Room.

The landing page we designed for Propio gained 1.75% conversion rates and a bonus of 1.25 appointments per month on average.

A print-screen of a landing page created for Propio.

Tips From Our Content Writers

When it comes to writing email copy, especially cold email copy – there are some fundamental tips each email should always have at least 99 percent of the time.

  1. Customize, customize, customize

    Each sales email should always be personalized and relevant to the person it’s going to. Whenever someone opens an email, they’re subconsciously wondering: “Why me? Why now? Why should I care?” If you hope to get their attention, you’ll need to answer those questions and personalization is a great first step in the right direction.

  2. Grab attention with your subject line

    There’s a lot of thoughts around this. Some say keep it short – not even a full sentence. Some say longer subject lines are best. However, we at CIENCE would assert that similar to how language continues to evolve, so does the art of cold emailing, especially when it comes to subject lines. That being said, a few things that do seem to play well more times than not are the following: using the prospect’s name in the subject line, company, job title, some numeral figure directly related to a pain point of theirs, something they would find particular interest in. If you can mimic an internal email, as if you’re a part of their company and you’re speaking their language, then you’re on the right track.

  3. Don’t be so uptight

    Yes, it’s true, you want to be professional. But you also need to seem like you have a pulse. At the end of the day, our prospects are human. Just like you and me. We all put our big boy or girl pants on one leg at a time. Don’t let them intimidate you.

  4. Bring value to the table, always

    Your prospects might be getting upwards of 250 emails per day. So how do you cut through all that white noise? Bring value. Don’t feature dump. It’s a thing of the past and honestly, we’re glad it is.

  5. Leave a little mystery

    Now, this one can be tricky. You want your prospect to understand what you’re talking about, but you also don’t want to bore them with all the minute details. And honestly, that’s not your job. Your job is to get the meeting, not sell the product/service. Don’t give it all away. Hit key points of interest and pull back on the rest. Leave the particulars to the person taking the meetings.

  6. Make sure you have a CTA

    It’s important to make sure you have a call to action. Prospects need to be guided to where you want them to go. Even if that’s merely asking for feedback around why they’re not interested.

  7. Think openly, don’t give them too many closed questions

    This one can be tricky as well. You don’t want to flood them with open-ended questions – that’s just obnoxious. When you ask them “Can we schedule a time to chat about this?” chances are you’ll get something along the lines of “no,” “not interested,” “no need,” “go away.”

    However, if you reframe your question to something like “How does having a chat around (value prop) sound?” All of a sudden, the chances to open up a discussion have greatly increased. Will you still get “no,” “not interested,” and “go away?” Of course. Thousands of times over. But when you open yourself up to a conversation, you will experience a higher rate of success.

  8. Some words are more damaging than others

    When it comes to spam, proceed with caution. Here are some common spam triggers to stay away from.

    Another great and completely free resource is www.emailcopychecker.com. Just copy and paste your copy into it, and if there are spam words, they’ll show up in yellow. But it’s all about “wordsmithing” as our CEO, Eric Quanstrom might say. Find a way to say what you need to say, without saying it the same way the rest of the world does.

Pop-up Questions During The Campaign

What Is The Best Time to Send Cold Email?

According to GetResponse 2019 Email Marketing Benchmarks Report, there are two slots of time with the highest open rates that you can aim for.

Best time to send cold email - b2b sales

CampaignMonitor’s 2020 Email Benchmark Report states that Tuesday is the day with the highest open rate. For your second wave, we would suggest Thursday, which has the second-highest open rate. On the other hand, CampaignMonitor’s 2019 Report stated that Thursday was a winner in this race.

Best days to send sales emails. Schedule emails for days with highest open rates.

Tips For Best Timing

  • Be dynamic

    A/B Testing is the way to find out what is best. Try varying days and time slots, until you find the one that works for your cold email campaign. You may expect the highest open rate on Tuesday, but your sales email can behave unpredictably.

  • Avoid Weekends

    At CIENCE, we don’t send any cold emails on the weekends. Though some salespeople say there is less competition, we don’t know for sure who is working and who’s not. Your effort can go to waste or even make your recipient angry.

  • Know your timezones

    Adjust delivery time to your audience’s timezone. Email automation software will help with that. For instance, in Hubspot, you can create different send-out sequences to match your timezone needs.

How Long Should I Wait Before Following Up?

Once again, it should be tailored up to you and your leads. There can be millions of variations for sequence gaps. Most resources suggest waiting 24 to 72 hours to follow up. For our own (non-client) projects, we use a 48-hour gap before following up.

How Long to Wait before Sending a Follow-Up Email?

Tips On How to Write a Good Follow-up Sales Email

  1. Don’t forget your CTA

    Remember what your initial goal is. What if your contact opens this follow-up email and there it is: some soft mumbling on how you can help them and no call to action. Best case scenario: the prospect gets confused, and emotionally unsubscribes. Worst case scenario: if you sent it to us, your email is filed away for public shaming
Call to action example.
  1. Don’t copy-paste

    Put yourself in your readers’ shoes. After receiving 5 absolutely identical emails from one sender, you will send it to spam, won’t you? Play with your content, CTAs, and subject lines. Think about follow-up as a tabula rasa. It’s one more opportunity to prove you have something valuable to bring into the conversation.

  2. You have to actually try

    It’s simply senseless to follow up just to follow up. With a bit of luck, you may get some positive responses. But to achieve success, luck is not enough. Personalize. Bring content and context together, remember?
    For the context part, it might be worth gently reminding that you are following up in regards to your last email. Add some content that is worth replying to and bam – that’s bringing some value, baby!

Follow-up Email Subject Line

It obeys to the general rules of sales subject lines and it is as important as the first cold email subject line. Although, since it is a follow-up, we can try a couple of different approaches.

Follow-up email subject line examples

What Cold Email Software Do I Choose?

The market is packed with options. Free or with a fixed-price membership, trending and less popular. When making a choice, take special features into consideration – what does this email automation software have that others don’t? Consider your budget and specific needs.

Among all the options possible, we’ve chosen a few that got our attention.

  • Hubspot
    It is one of the top marketing automation tools and CRMs in the field. HubSpot has some tools available for free. It can be used both for marketing and sales. It contains such features:
    – email automation;
    – email tracking;
    – meeting scheduling;
    – analytics. 
    Did we mention that CIENCE is a platinum partner with HubSpot?

  • Salesforce

    Salesforce also offers a CRM solution. It is called Salesforce Customer 360 and it boasts the capability to improve your marketing, sales, commerce, service, IT, and more. You have an opportunity to try Sales Cloud for free before purchasing.

  • Campaign Monitor

    You can test, track and update your emails via Campaign Monitor. It features interactive analytics which are easy to review and act upon. Plans for Campaign Monitor start at $9/month, which makes it affordable for small businesses.

  •  GetResponse

    It is a CRM that allows you to create pipelines, move your contacts between stages and update their deal information to keep track of how your sales deals are progressing. Also, GetResponse works on mobile devices.

  •  EmailAnalytics

    EmailAnalytics is a software tool that connects to your Gmail or G Suite account and visualizes your email activity — or that of your employees. This enables sales teams, customer service teams, and small business owners to measure essential productivity metrics like average email response time, email traffic by hour of the day, email traffic volume by day of the week, and much more.

Why Does Email Deliverability Matter?

Email deliverability is not important, it is vital. All of the efforts you invested in your cold b2b email campaign can go to waste if your sales email bounces or goes into spam purgatory. An email is bounced when it cannot reach the recipient’s mailbox and gets redirected back to the sender. Bounces happen, it’s okay. Read more on bounce rate, the two types of bounces, and most importantly, how to prevent email bounces from happening.

Bounces are mostly about contact list health, but spam filters are a bit trickier. We have a detailed article on how to improve your cold email deliverability.

Tracking Done Right

There is a certain set of metrics that show how your sales email campaign is performing.

  • Open Rate

    It is the percentage of opened emails in a certain sales email campaign. What is a good B2B email open rate? It depends on a variety of reasons, including industry, your target list and time of delivery. Check out the ways to improve your open rate levels.

  • Response Rate

    It measures how many people responded to an email campaign. The Response Rate shows how effective your outreach was and helps improve your future campaigns, and therefore achieve a better return on investment.

  • Click-through-rate (CTR)

    The Click-through-rate or CTR is the ratio of clicks on links in an email to the number of successful email deliveries. Combined with other email metrics, it measures the effectiveness of a given cold email campaign. According to ActiveCampaign, the average email CTR is 1-5%.

  • Conversion Rate

    The conversion rate is the ratio of people who completed a given action (often the action your CTA is promoting) to those who have not. It is used both for making financial predictions and monitoring your pipeline’s health, as well as the work of your team.

Reply Handling

Types of Responses and How to Handle Them

Sales emails: types of responses and how to handle them - examples and tactics

I Object! How To Respond To A Sales Rejection Email

A negative response is not the end of the world. It’s not a problem, it’s an opportunity. You’ve caught your prospect’s attention and have opened up a dialogue. This is your shot to find the reason why your contact is objecting to meeting with you. Let’s look at a few examples of how we handle these responses.

Reply-handling example: I'm not interested/no thanks.
Common objection handling: not at this time - response email example
sales email reply handling example
Cold email example: how to handle sales objections
Neutral response to cold email follow up later - response example

Success Stories


INBOUND is an annual event for marketers, salespeople, and customer success pros that takes place in Boston, MA. We have been going to INBOUND since 2018 to connect with potential new customers. 

Our strategy for INBOUND ’19 was based on our previous experience at the conference, as well as handling many similar projects in the past. We have mastered the sales development approach when it comes to booking meetings at conferences.

We started reaching out to attendees in late July – we find that starting the process early yields better results, and especially with such high-octane networking that goes on at an event like INBOUND, booking meetings early was key. Previous experience also dictates that the more attendees you’re reaching out to, the earlier you should start

The process began, as it always does, with research. As the INBOUND attendee list grew, we were able to leverage that information to find specific leads to reach out to. We targeted our campaign to two segments of the conference: those who are Hubspot partners like CIENCE, and the general admission attendees.

When reaching out to Hubspot partners, our messaging was more relaxed and conversational, and none of our emails included a direct CTA like “let’s book a meeting,” they were more about sharing insights and talking about strategy. 

Non-partners received simpler and more direct messaging, like “when are you free to talk?” and “are you a coffee drinker?” that worked well to engage them in conversations. Both groups received emails with the conference name and/or location in the title, as our practice finds this yields a great open rate.

Since we started reaching out months in advance, and we like our prospect to hear from us every 2-3 days, attendees went through 3-6 wave cadences to ensure that we had their attention up to the day before INBOUND was held.

As with all our campaigns, we personalized each email sent with relevant information from the prospect’s site, LinkedIn profile, et al. We know this works to catch the prospect’s attention because even refusals will sometimes be phrased like “not right for us, but good job on personalizing the email,” or “great copy, but not the right time.”

In total, we booked 123 meetings at the conference. This includes 88 appointments booked before the event, 8 appointments booked during the conference, and 27 post-event Zoom meetings for prospects who expressed interest in talking to us thanks to our post-event outreach.

The in-person meetings at the conference were held by Eric Quanstrom, CMO, Michael Maynes, VP of Sales, Cody Schmidt, a Sales Exec, and Nick Wesoky, an Account Manager. Each leaned on a singular message — bringing you here, to this meeting, is the business we’re in. We were able to catch your attention and bring you here, as well as book enough meetings to talk to prospects all day as a team of four people. Now think of what we can do for your business.

It worked! To date, we have converted eight of those meetings into closed deals.

Here’s how Michael Maynes, VP of sales, characterizes the experience:

The results were great considering we struggled with location changes and last-minute messaging. Also we had a lot of reschedules. This is very typical. One surprising note: we originally estimated a shorter sales cycle, because we met people face to face, however, it was the inverse. It’s trending a little longer than a standard outbound approach. We concluded that the first meeting was a “hello, get to know you” and the second meeting was a re-introduction of CIENCE, over Zoom. That re-introduction could be considered a second Disco, hence the longer sales cycle.

Real-life Sales Emails Victories

Example of a successful cold email
Example of a cold email that got response
example of a sales email that gets response from prospect
effective email prospecting example


Cold email campaigns are worth all the money, time, and effort you invest in them. When done right, they can provide explosive growth to your revenue. Email is also the least intrusive way of delivering personalized sales messages to a large audience. To be successful, remember to stay away from pre-generated contact lists and craft every part of your email according to the goals of your campaign.

We are certain that cold emailing is not going anywhere in a new decade. Human-to-human conversation is the only proven way to sell and the cold email is the crucial first step in opening up that line of communication. 

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