Cold Email Tips for 2023: Here's What 20 Sales Leaders Shared on LinkedIn
All our favorite cold email tips, rolled into one page.
LinkedIn can be a messy world of opinions and rants, but it’s also full of insights and real-world tactics from top industry leaders (if you know where to look).
We’ve collected some of our favorite cold emailing tips from top sales influencers on LinkedIn, on everything from why personalization isn’t the holy grail for cold emails, how to make your email seem like an in-person conversation, and simple ways to cut through the noise.
1. Be relevant, not ‘personalized’
Author: Brooklin Nash
We’re always hearing about why cold emails should be personalized.
But Brooklin has a slightly different take:
“Personalization means nothing if the offer isn't relevant.”
2. Cut the fluff, get to the point
Author: Armand Farrokh
We can all agree that many cold emails are stuffed full of filler content that doesn’t really mean anything.
Armand describes these ‘pleasantries’ as code words for: “This is a sales email.”
His advice: Lead with what the prospect cares about.
3. Make it brief, make it valuable, make it human
Our own team here at Close chats about sales topics and tips, and one thing we discussed was how to make cold emails stand out in the sea of noise flooding into your prospects’ inboxes all day long.
James’ 3 keys for good cold emails are:
Or, watch the whole conversation here:
4. Use LinkedIn cold outreach the right way
Author: Gregg Salkovitch
This real-life experience follows the sales process of a BDR who sold to Sr. Managing Partner, Gregg. The first touch was on LinkedIn (a form of cold emailing), and the process was smooth all the way through.
Here’s how Gregg describes it:
- First, the BDR sent him a LinkedIn connection request with a note
- After connecting, she sent an audio clip thanking him and explaining what her company does
- Gregg agreed to a demo, and the BDR sent a calendar invite
- He met with the BDR and an AE
This is a great example of how business development reps and account executives can work together to close deals. And it all starts with that ideal cold email.
5. Stop overthinking cold outreach
Author: James Laurain
James argues that it’s better to have a simple approach than to overthink what we’re writing in cold emails.
Here’s his 2-step formula:
- Give some context
- Ask if they’re happy with their current solution
Here’s his example:
“Subject: "Just saw your [product] ad on [website]"
Body: "I run ads too. How's yours doing?"
6. Use brevity and a low-friction CTA for C-Suite
Author: Florin Tatulea
An SDR sends a cold email to the CEO of a 50,000-employee company.
The CEO responds, letting the rep know this is the ONLY cold email he had responded to. Florin digests the reasons why this CEO responded to the rep, and how to replicate it:
- Be concise
- Use your first sentence to call out a key initiative of the company
- Use your second sentence to tie your solution to that key initiative
- Include an interest-based CTA
- Finish on a light note with a photo of yourself holding a whiteboard and a funny message
7. Reach out with a genuine desire to help
Author: Amy Volas
This real-world example of a great sales email comes to us from the recipient of said email: Amy Volas.
She details exactly what went right for this email, and why she responded:
It's clearly sent to me and me only.
They come across as someone who actually wants to help me.
They give me the space to do things on MY terms, NOT theirs.
8. Create an in-person experience with your cold email
Author: Garren Parkins
Prospecting with video isn’t a new idea, but it’s surprising how few people do this.
Garren uses this analogy to talk about why video works:
“How many times have you completely ignored someone who walked up to you and said, “Hey Garren, it’s nice to meet you.”?
By treating video in your cold emails like an in-person conversation, you help your prospects see you as a real person (which is much harder to ignore).
9. Ditch the ‘business speak’
Author: Jason Bay
Jason starts his post with a candid question:
“Do your cold emails sound like they’re coming from a business? Or a person?”
Jason argues that ‘business speak’ is cold and robotic—and since people don’t talk to each other like this in real life, why should we speak like this in an email?
This post includes a piece of Jason’s podcast interviewing Taylor Duncan and Shane Shown. They share ideas on ditching the business-speak in cold emails, including this simple principle: Remember that you’re interacting with people, not companies.
10. Increase reply rates by reducing your ‘ask’
Author: James Laurain
Account manager James Laurain both sends and receives a lot of sales pitches.
In this post, he details three InMail pitches he received, two of which he ignored and one he responded to.
In both of the ignored pitches, James felt the ask was too big. Here’s how he describes it:
“I got 3 sales pitch InMails today
The first one was multiple paragraphs long, asked me to watch a 90-minute long(!!!) video, and THEN send them a message.
👉 Remember: When you send a super long cold outreach, that's a big "ask" too. You're asking someone to read the whole thing.
Seriously, these guys must have thought I had nothing but free time on my hands.
Did I respond? No. 👎
WAYYY too big of an ask.”
11. Use profile personalization in cold email blasts
Author: Josh Braun
Top sales influencer Josh Braun uses a real-life example of a cold email he received, and why it works.
First off, the subject line is gold. It’s one word with a question mark:
The body of the email is brief but specific. What’s interesting is that there’s nothing individually personalized to Josh—but it is extremely personalized to the profile he fits.
When you’re creating email templates for cold outreach, it can be hard to hyper-personalize to each individual you send to. But if you really know your ideal customer profile, you can personalize to that profile and produce specific, intriguing cold emails.
12. Using engagement psychology in cold emails
To successfully engage with your cold leads, you need to think about things from their perspective.
As James Urie says in this video post:
“What a lot of sales reps don’t do is put themselves in the buying perspective of their ideal customer profile and get into their mind to see why they would actually interact with you. If you put yourself in their perspective and you solve that problem, you’re going to be successful throughout your entire sales career.”
13. Early-stage sales outreach for startups
Author: Richard Mabey
Richard Mabey, CEO of startup Juro, knows what it’s like to do startup sales from the ground up.
Here are his 5 tips for cold outreach when you’re just starting out:
- Be absurdly clear on pain points
- Devote 80% of your prospecting time to companies exactly like those already successful with your product
- Devote 20% to doing deep discovery with adjacent segments to current customers.
- Tighten qualification criteria
- Be radically honest about what your product can do
14. A simple hack that got a 5% reply rate on cold emails
Author: Ryan Lallier
Founder of sales-team-as-a-service company SalesGevity gives his own experience with an interesting cold email hack: Including where you live. This simple trick got him a 5% average reply rate on cold emails pitching a commodity.
15. Using CEO quotes
Author: Kyle Coleman
VP of Revenue at Clari talks about a cold email pitch he received that directly quoted an interview Clari CEO had given to Forbes. Here’s Kyle’s breakdown of the email:
16. Getting past the 3-second filter
Author: Will Allred
The Co-founder of sales email tool Lavender talks about how quickly most sales emails are deleted, and how to get past that barrier.
His keys to keep people reading your email are:
- Making it clear that the email was written for them
17. Bad vs. unique opening lines
Author: Josh Braun
Have you noticed that most cold email opening lines are the same? Josh certainly has (and so have we)!
- I hope this email finds you well
- Allow me to introduce myself
- My name is …. and I work for…
Instead, Josh presents some very unique opening lines that are specific, raise curiosity, and ultimately stand out from the rest of the sales emails we’re all getting. Some are just ideas, and some are real examples Josh has found or been sent.
Here are just a few:
- How do you know SDRs who have good interviews don't turn out to be bad hires? (Recruiter)
- You must be a spreadsheet magician if you're using Excel and Google Sheets to calculate and run commission statements. (CaptivateIQ)
- Unlike being an amateur wine connoisseur, reps can't smell the buttery aroma of a good inbound lead. (LeanData for a prospect who's a wine connoisseur)
18. Cut through the noise by giving a damn
Author: Derrick Thomas
Coming from a VP of Revenue who receives an average of 50 outbound emails per week, this post details some interesting stats that Derrick has collected on the cold emails he receives.
Surprisingly, he found that only 5-10% of cold emails include personalization, and only 2-4% send a video with the email.
In his words:
“Effort and give a damn get you past 80% of others you're competing against for your prospects' attention and time.”
19. Using email to warm up your leads
Author: Blaise Gułaj
Sometimes, the point of a cold email isn’t to get a reply. Sometimes, the goal is simply to warm up a lead and prep them for another form of cold outreach.
This tip from lead generation consultant Blaise is an interesting perspective on cold email, with the goal of getting leads to recognize your name later on.
20. Remember that you are an unwanted guest in your prospect’s inbox
Author: Josh Braun
If you think about it, salespeople waste hours of their prospects’ time by sending them unclear, unpolished sales emails.
Here’s what Josh suggests instead:
“How do you give prospects back hours instead of taking them away?
Understand the events and circumstances that caused customers to “fire” their current solution and “hire” yours. The more you know your prospect's problem, the better your email will be.”
Josh details 4 ways you can do it, including:
- Ask new prospects about their early triggers to look for a new solution
- Scan testimonials and case studies
- Read G2 reviews
- Find a relevant Subreddit
Use these tips to 10x your cold email strategy
We’ve collected the tips—now it’s your turn to put them into practice.
When you follow top sales influencers like the people we’ve quoted above, you’ll constantly be learning more about how to improve your strategies, boost your response rates, and ultimately close more deals.
Looking for more tips on cold emailing for closers? Check out our free online course, Prospecting and Lead Management 101, with a full module on cold outreach for startup founders and SMBs.