How to write a BASHO email that gets a response

How to write a BASHO email that gets a response

Ever wonder just how a marketer or sales rep gets in touch with someone that seems… unreachable?

I know there's been plenty of times when I've logged onto Twitter and seen people bragging about how they've spoken to people who are supposed to be impossible to reach. I used to think that this wasn't a coincidence—they must've known someone that knew someone…

But what about if it's not down to who you know—but how you reach out?

I'm going to let you in on a little secret. The truth is that 88% of people are more likely to reply to an email you send if it's been specifically written for them. And this type of email exists. It's called a BASHO email, a hyper-personalized outreach message that can get your foot in the door with basically anybody (if it's done right.)

This piece will break down the nuts and bolts of a BASHO email, why they're effective, examples of winning BASHO emails + some templates for you to steal.

Let's get emailing 📧

What is a BASHO email?

A BASHO email is a highly targeted, relevant and personalized email that's delivered directly to a person that's hard to reach, like a high-level influencer or an account decision-maker.

This email outreach strategy was created by Jeff Hoffmann, the founder of corporate sales training firm, Basho Strategies Inc. Although the original training for the methodology isn't available to sales reps anymore, there is enough information about BASHO's success to understand replicate it.

BASHO emails are similar to a cold email in that the aim is booking a meeting or phone call with a prospect or at least starting a conversation. But the difference is that when a BASHO email lands in your inbox, it's very obvious that it's not some blanket email.

SaaStock Founder Alexander Theuma uses BASHO emails for outreach and says that the response rates are so high… It's almost ridiculous.

"Basho emails work really, really well for high-value solutions. My response rate for Basho emails since 2010 has been greater than 50%—somewhere in the neighborhood of 65%, actually.

"That type of response rate is pretty ridiculous."

So, just how can you write a BASHO email of your own? 🤔

Building an effective BASHO email structure


Step 1: Craft effective BASHO email subject lines

You could write the best B2B email in the world, but unless you nail your subject line—it may never get read.

And as 47% of people open an email purely because of the subject line, it's important to get it right if we want our email strategy to be effective.

BASHO email subject lines need to focus squarely on your target's problem. You want the person receiving it to think, "Huh, what's this about?", open it and immediately see what it's about.

Adding their name is also a great way to catch your prospect's attention.

So, I send something like this:

“{Target's name}, what if [their problem] was solved?”

Or…

"{Target's name}, let's talk about hitting your revenue targets for 2021?"

Once you've got your target to open your email, you've only got a couple of sentences to seal the deal.

Step 2: Write a hook to entice the target

Writing a hook at the top of your BASHO email is essential: you need to grab your target's attention and show them that you understand their pain points in a single sentence.

The key to an enticing hook is a mix of personalization and problem-solving. So, dig into your prospect's LinkedIn feed, company website, and even social media feeds to see if there's a problem they've been talking about lately that you can fix.

Keep in mind that your hook should also link back to your subject line, so if you used the "{Target's name}, let's talk about hitting your revenue targets for 2021?" line, your hook could be:

"Loved your recent TED Talk on how ecommerce businesses are struggling to reach revenue goals right now. It was a great explanation of just how much work the retail industry needs to do and some realistic solutions for how to get there!"

Not only does this prove to the person you're targeting that you're not just sending them a lame bulk email like so many salespeople do, but it shows that you've researched them and you know what their problems are.

Which brings us to step 3….

Step 3: Talk about their problem (and what you can do about it)

This part of the email has a specific goal: tying the prospect's pain point to your solution.

As tempting as it is to mention several of the problems the prospect may be trying to fix—pick one and stick to it. It's always better to highlight one high-priority pain point than spread yourself thin by trying to solve too many problems at once. Details can derail your detail.

Here's a suggestion:

"Out of curiosity, of the 10,000 prospects you mentioned in your TED Talk, how many have you managed to keep in your funnel?

And then, follow it up with some proof that you can help:

"We've helped [company in your prospect's industry] get real results, [explain how you helped using revenue or metrics]."

Then, you need to tie it all up and tell your prospect how you can get the same result.

Step 4: Wrap it up by giving clear, straightforward next steps

Every great BASHO email ends with a clear call-to-action (CTA).

Give your prospect straightforward instructions on what you want them to do next, like book a meeting with you or jump on a call. And get specific with times and dates, so your prospect doesn't have to think—they just have to say yes or no.

Try something like:

"Does next Monday at 2 pm or Tuesday at 11 am work for a quick 10-minute call?"

Or include a scheduling link so they can pick a time that's convenient for them. Simple and to the point. And if you want more advice on CTAs, check out my detailed breakdown here:

Making it all work with a winning BASHO sequence

1. First contact

The first time you reach out to a prospect, use the formula we’ve just walked through.

Research your prospect, personalize the email, make it short, and give a clear CTA!

2. Follow up with value add

If you don’t get a bite, you need to add something to the conversation to sweeten the deal.

This is called a "value add" when you send the prospect something or link them to a resource that'll help them purely to show them that you've invested in fixing their problem. Just make sure that your value add doesn’t stray from what you said in your 1st email—you want the prospect to stay focused.

Like this follow-up email that Comparably sends the day after they first make contact:

The personalized product overview is the value add and gives the prospect an easy way to see how Comparably can address their pain points.

3. 1-2-3 email

I only have three rules with 1-2-3 emails:

1. Be relevant.
2. Get to the point fast.
3. Make it easy for them to respond.

1-2-3 emails still work (extremely) well because they help your prospect decide what their biggest problem is instead of you telling them.

Here's an example of a 1-2-3 email I use all the time to follow up:

And if I haven’t heard back from a prospect, 1-2-3- emails are also great for following up:

What’s cool about 1-2-3- emails is that they can boost response rates significantly. I’ve seen cases where response rates went from 7% to 39% (a 457% increase) by using them!

Check out this example of an email I received recently from a Close reader who has used the 1-2-3 strategy to sell sponsorship to his newsletter:

… It worked! You'll see great conversion rates with this.

4. Break up email

Ahh, the breakup email. It’s your last chance to get your prospect to bite.

You may not know that this email is one of the most effective follow-up email templates you can use. All you have to do is remind the prospect that you’re ready to walk away and turn the dynamic around on them.

This forces the prospect to ask themselves: do they want your help or not?

Check out this classic breakup email from Trunk Club:

email-drip-trunk club

It does a good job at re-stating the value that’s being lost and made me consider whether or not I wanted to give Trunk Club a try.

To make following up easier, you can turn these emails into a new email sequence in our CRM. With email sequences, sales reps can increase engagement with leads, save time writing new emails and follow up automatically.

follow-up-email-sequences-close
Want to try this sequence yourself? Start your free 14-day Close trial today!

10 BASHO email templates you can steal

For going after CXOs of SaaS startups:


Template #1


Subject line: Great article on [site name] - but I want to hear more about [specific point!]

Hey [prospect's name],

I just read your [article/blog/post] on [site name] about [subject matter], and I really liked the points you made about [x] and [y].

The reason I’m emailing is to hear more about [specific point]. It’s something that my company, [company name], teaches CXOs regularly, especially empowering sales, marketing and product teams to deliver more value to customers.

Are you keen to jump on a call to discuss? Say, Friday at 10 am?

Looking forward to connecting!
[your name]

Template #2


Subject line: Does [their company’s name] need help with the European market?

Hey there, [prospect's name],

Just read the news on [site name] about [their company's name] securing Series B funding. Amazing stuff!

Your press release mentioned that [their company's name] is looking to expand to Europe with the funds, so I want to cut to the chase. Our company specializes in helping brands like yours find their feet and introduce CXOs in the European market so you can hit the ground running.

I would love to pick your brain about how we could work together. Are you free to jump on a call on Tuesday, around 11 am?

Best,
[your name]

Template #3


Subject line: Are there celebrations happening over at [their company’s name] HQ?!

Good afternoon, [prospect's name]!

First off, huge congratulations on going public. I want to hear all about how you are marking the big day over there at [their company’s name] HQ!

Now that you're in the public eye a little more, keeping your customers happy is going to be at the top of your list. After their successful IPO, our company recently worked with [another company's name] to manage their customers' expectations and keep everything on track.

Would you be interested in us helping you and [their company's name] out with this as well?

Let me know if you can jump on a call on Wednesday at 11 am to chat more!

Best,
[your name]

Template #4


Subject line: Just read about [their pain point] and want to connect

Hi there [prospect's name],

[Mutual contact] just shared one of your LinkedIn posts about [subject], and it really got me thinking about how our industry handles [pain point].

I noticed you highlighted that [their company’s name] has been struggling with [pain point]—how have you been trying to overcome it?

Six months ago, I worked with [similar company's name] to help them solve this within their sales and marketing team. I would love to talk to you about whether I can help you with it as well.

Are you free on Wednesday morning at, say, 10 am?

Best,
[your name]

Template #5


Subject line: Your Tweet on [subject] left me with a question…

Good morning [prospect's name],

Just saw one of [their company's name] Tweets about [subject] and about how SaaS CXOs struggle with this more than, say, B2B or B2C CXOs.

This got me thinking about the work we do over at [company name] and how we help SaaS CXOs tackle the exact problems you were talking about.

I would love to share ideas and brainstorm—are you up for a call? How about Wednesday at 2 pm?

Looking forward to catching up!
[your name]

For getting a response from a VP of an Enterprise company:


Template #6


Subject line: This system will help your company train sales reps better

Hi [prospect's name],

Fantastic talk at [recent conference] about how sales reps need to be well trained to succeed in the competitive climate.

I'm reaching out because my company, [your company name], is building a custom training package to help new sales reps onboard quickly and get them up to speed. It'll save companies like [their company] time and money and get sales reps selling quicker.

Can I send you some information for you to read more about it?

Looking forward to catching up!
[your name]

Template #7


Subject line: Need help reaching your MRR goal?

Hi [prospect's name],

I read your recent [blog/post] about [their company] efforts to reach $100k MRR within the next six months.

I’ve helped companies like [similar companies] do just this by [talk a little about what your company does].

Are you open to chatting about how we could do the same for [their company]? Does this Thursday at 3pm work?

[your name]

Template #8


Subject line: How are you onboarding your new sales reps?

Hi [prospect's name],

Massive congratulations on the recent Series A seed funding. What a milestone!

When I read the press release, it mentioned that you were bringing on ten new sales reps to help accelerate growth at [their company].

I wanted to reach out because [your company] has helped [similar companies] onboard new sales reps at the same stage in their growth process. If you're open to chatting about strategy or how we can help, I've got space on my calendar.

How does 10 am on Tuesday sound?

[your name]

For targeting high-profile influencers:

Template #9


Subject line: I can help you make sense of your marketing data

Hello there [prospect's name],

I just read your LinkedIn post about how Gen Z is changing how we market, like redefining what personas and target audiences we should be using.

I actually help influencers like you stay ahead of these trends by analyzing data and seeing where you have holes in your marketing plan.

Who is the right person to speak to about connecting and chatting about this more?

[your name]

Template #10


Subject line: Need help understanding algorithm changes?

Hey [prospect's name],

Loved your recent post on [channel] about the challenges influencers are facing with algorithms and changing privacy laws.

My company, [company name], works with influencers like you to explain how algorithms are changing and how you can stay ahead of the curve and beat out competitors for reach.

Want to jump on a call to talk more? How is Thursday at 10 am?

[your name]

Want to know how some of these templates look when they're being used with real-life prospects?

Here are some BASHO examples that have gotten real results👇

BASHO email examples to learn from


1. John Barrow's BASHO email

Here’s an example of a BASHO email from the man that created the strategy—John Barrow.

The email


Subject line: Your continued drive to enable sales reps with the right tools

Hi Al,

I’ve been following Clearslide for a while now and been impressed with your continued drive to provide sales reps the tools they need to be successful and connect more directly with their customers.

I work with companies like Salesforce.com, Box, Linked and many others who share the same passion and drive to help sales reps be more effective and productive. The training provided focuses on prospecting techniques that drive immediate business into their pipeline.

Who is the best person to speak with at Clearslide to talk about opportunities going into the new year?

- John Barrows

2. Alex Theuma's BASHO email

Next up—SaaStock Founder Alexander Theuma’s BASHO email 👇


Hi Alex,

Great and very interesting interview of Mark Roberge!

Especially the last part where you asked if sales could become redundant in SaaS business models if the product is remarkably great.

Why am I contacting you?

I am currently writing my Master’s thesis on the topic “Selling business software low touch: how to trigger adoption of business software sold as a service?”. My approach is to conduct a mini-multiple case study of remarkably good SaaS companies to find out if there exists some kind of pattern for success. Therefore, I am conducting in-depth interviews and trying to get in touch with experts at Hubspot. As you can imagine without connections and being just a student it is hard to reach out to them.

What’s my question for you?

I want to ask how you contacted Mark and finally got him for an interview? And if you could maybe give me some advice? And if not, would you be interested in getting interviewed on the topic above?

To give you some background:

I am Beyonce Knowles, master student at school of SaaSonomics. Five months ago I moved to San Francisco and I am currently writing my master’s thesis.

What is in it for you?

Maybe you can get the results of my case study as well. I have to check that.

It would be very helpful to my research and I would be so grateful if you would answer. If you have questions or anything else, please feel free to contact me any time.

Thanks a lot.

Cheers,
Beyonce

Full disclosure: This BASHO article talks about how Alexander got in touch with me using a BASHO email (hint: it worked!). And one of the great things that Alexander touches on is how to find the email addresses of CEOs, CMOs, and decision makers—so give it a read! 📖

3. Mike Kiser's BASHO email

Here’s another great example of a BASHO email from Mike Kiser:


Subject: Your new product launch

Jim,

You recently launched a new product CRMware that aims, in your words, to help large marketing departments "solve the day to day friction of adding customer data to a centralized system."

Every year we help other CRM vendors target the marketing departments of the Fortune 1000, ultimately leading to an average revenue growth of 20%.

What is the best way to get 30 minutes on your calendar to discuss?

Best,
Mike

4. Jonas Renström's BASHO email

Scrive’s Head of Sales, Jonas Renström, recommends writing a BASHO email like this:


Hi xxxxxx,

I read with interest the ‘xxxxxx’ article in xxxxxx around the whole area of xxxxxx and I thought I would reach out to you.

Your sentiments regarding xxxxxx (then add your own message, keep it brief)

Would it be possible to have a short discussion around your xxxxxx strategy and how we could potentially add value to your approach.

Please let me know if this might be of interest to you. I look forward to hearing from you either way,

Xxxxxx

5. Josh Sutton’s BASHO email

ClickUp’s Senior Business Development Manager, Josh Sutton, has had great success with his BASHO email.

Here it is:


Subject: "Your Interview with Gabe Larsen"

Hey Kara –

I listened to you on the Sales Acceleration Podcast on my way to work this morning and loved your take on the future of sales development.

Out of curiosity, of the 60,000 inbound leads your team gets a month, how often do you have direct desk phone numbers, email addresses and a full reporting hierarchy to reference?

You might be familiar with DiscoverOrg – our Native App is one of the highest-rated apps on the Salesforce App Exchange.

Best regards,
Josh

Wrapping up

BASHO emails seriously work. SDRs used them for years to get replies from people that are supposed to be impossible to reach, and they help form great relationships with prospects from day one.

There's a fine line b2b sales teams need to walk on to find the perfect mix for BASHO emails. On the one hand, the best BASHO emails are super personalized and can take hours to write. But who has the time?

That's where automation comes in. And with Close’s SmartViews, you can now send BASHO-quality emails that are sent out to prospects automatically. Just add the right tags, write an email with a hook, and build a winning sequence that send them out for you.

Want to find out more about writing B2B emails that actually get a reply? Check out my guide to cold email hacks below!

GRAB COLD EMAIL HACKS FREE→