The best cold email tips from 3 pro sales consultants

The best cold email tips from 3 pro sales consultants

When you’re looking for the best cold email tips, you need to head to the experts.

That’s why we sat down with:

  • A revenue generation consultant for B2B SaaS companies
  • A sales communication expert who’s become known as the ‘sales messaging script guy’
  • A sales campaign expert with a proprietary sales playbook

These top sales consultants have shared some of their best bits of wisdom about cold email, and we’re going to dive into each of these cold email tips with advice on how to implement them in your process.

You’re about to learn why and how to:

  • Focus on the goal of getting replies, not meetings
  • Make minor adjustments to your subject line to stop the instant delete
  • Use cold email as one golf club in your bag
  • Have a micro-mindset for your emails
  • Build a core sales message before you start building scripts and templates
  • Create micro-segments for your cold email outreach
  • Soften your CTA
  • Do your own experimentation

If you're interested in exploring a helpful tool for generating cold emails, be sure to check out our cold email generator!

1. Focus on the goal of getting replies, not meetings

Here's what Mark Colgan of Yellow O says:

A lot of companies I work with are focused on meetings booked and revenue. And I always say that revenue follows conversations. So, the point of outbound is to start those conversations.

Go for a reply. That is the whole purpose of prospecting: to get a reply.

How to use this in your cold emails: Instead of focusing only on booking meetings, use emails as a door-opener to start conversations with qualified prospects. This shift in focus will prevent you from being over-eager and scaring away new leads.

2. Make minor adjustments to your subject line to stop the instant delete

Michael Halper, CEO of Sales Scripter, talked to us about preventing an instant delete:

I like to think about: what can I do to prevent someone from deleting my email instantly? While you do want someone to read and reply to your email, the things you do there are more difficult. On the other hand, it’s very easy to slow someone down from deleting your email immediately.

A lot of my tips are based on the logic of getting physical mail in your mailbox. Some you’ll throw away quickly, some you look at longer. The mail you throw away quickly is clearly an advertisement, someone trying to sell you something. But imagine getting an envelope that’s handwritten. You’re going to look really closely at that, and almost 100% of the time, you’re going to open it.

So even if you send your email to 10,000 people at one time, there are things you can do to make your email look like the equivalent of a handwritten note.

How to use this in your cold emails: Think of your subject line as a handwritten envelope. Instead of trying to use flashy tactics to make your email stand out, use a simple, relevant subject line that speaks to the recipient as a person, not just another email in a list.

3. Use cold email as one golf club in your bag

Wondering about the ‘best’ cold outreach method? Here’s how Michael Halper explains it:

A lot of people say: does cold calling still work, or is email the best?

What I would say is, all those different tools are similar to a bag of golf clubs. In golf, each club serves a different purpose, hits the ball a different distance with a different level of accuracy. You can’t play golf with one golf club. You need a whole mix.

So, I view email, cold calling, social media, search engine optimization as different golf clubs in the bag. Each one has a different amount of reach, a different level of accuracy.

For example, you can email a lot more people than you can call. But your phone call is a more accurate method to deliver your message.

I view calling as a putter. You could never play a full round of golf with a putter. You’d have to hit it a thousand times, you’d be exhausted. You need other clubs to get the ball down the way, and then at the end, you use your putter.

So, use email to get the ball going along the way.

How to use this in your cold emails: Remember that email is only part of your process. You have other tools at your disposal, and each will work better at different stages of the sales cycle. To maximize this idea, set up custom sales sequences with different outreach methods, and use all the golf clubs in your bag at the right moment.

4. Have a minimalist mindset for your emails

The idea of short sales emails isn’t new. But, how short should they be?

Mark Colgan explains:

What I’m seeing work on an aggregate level are emails that are shorter. They’ve got very small subject lines, two to three words, all lowercase.

If you can aim for anywhere between 50 to 150 words maximum for that initial email.

This is how we consume data as consumers. We all use things like Netflix and Uber, we’re used to these amazing experiences in microformat. That’s why email can still be effective today if it’s used right.

Michael Halper adds a clear point:

You should treat your word count like you’re packing for a two-week trip. Type out your email, then review it: look for every word or sentence you can get rid of and still keep your message intact. Every word you get rid of, treat it like a victory.

The longer your email is, the quicker it’ll get deleted, and you can certainly find ways to say the same things in fewer words.

How to use this in your cold emails: When it comes to your cold emails, be a ruthless editor. Revise and review until you have the clearest, simplest version possible of your message.

5. Build a core sales message before you start building scripts

How do you keep your team’s message consistent across all sales emails? Here’s Michael Halper’s advice:

A lot of my clients are business owners that are not professionally trained as salespeople. So what I often do is take a step back with them: before we create the script, I help them create their sales message. This means organizing the most important, attention-grabbing things they should be saying.

So, what are your benefits? What pain points does your product or service solve? How are you different? What’s a quick example of someone you’ve helped?

Once you organize all those quick thoughts, it’s really easy to mix and match those to create an outbound cold call script or a series of cold emails.

How to use this in your cold emails: As a startup founder or sales leader, develop a clear sales message with your team. Working alongside Marketing and other teams who speak directly to new leads can help you develop a clear, consistent message across your website and cold email sequences.

6. Create micro-segments for your cold email outreach

If personalization at scale isn’t feasible for your team or pipeline, Mark Colgan has another option:

If you have a high enough average deal size, put in relevant personalization. If you’re not putting in personalization, you can get away with it if the message is extremely relevant to the persona that you’re reaching out to.

Segment and break down your lists into lots of mini-campaigns. This might only contain 20 or 30 prospects that share a similar pain point or challenge. Then, you can amend your message, your copy, and also the call to action and social proof to those little segments.”

It's all about the micro-segments.

How to use this in your cold emails: When you have precise, well-developed ideal customer profiles, you can create micro-segments in your lead lists and send cold emails that are specific to the pain point or situation of that persona.

7. Soften your CTA

It may seem like a contradiction, but a softer CTA can actually result in a higher success rate.

Here’s how Mark explains it:

Recently data has come out from a number of the big platforms like Gong and Outreach that a softer call to action encourages more replies.

That means not going straight in for the meeting, for example saying, are you available Wednesday at 4:00 PM? Rather, asking for interest.

I previously ran a company where we solely did lead research and data enrichment. We had dozens of customers, and I used to review their sequences to see what was working and where I could help. One of the things I changed in most of those sequences was the call to action. This was before any big data set had been studied, but I saw these were getting many more replies from their emails because they weren’t being too assumptive. It’s like asking to get married on the first date.”

So having that softer call to action is the key to getting that response and also making sure that you're prospecting to the right people who are in your ideal customer profile and the buyer personas.

How to use this in your cold emails: Review your sales email CTAs. Instead of focusing on booking a meeting, use your CTA to ask for interest, and test how this affects your response rates.

8. Do your own experimentation

There is no magic strategy to succeed at cold emailing. Many times, you need to test and experiment to see what works for your own audience.

As Mark says:

Sales is always changing. Part of the thing that I enjoy about being a coach for outbound prospecting is that I get to learn from hundreds of students a month about what’s working for them and what isn’t. And what’s funny is, two people in two different industries could be using the same tactic or email template, and it works for one and doesn’t work for the other. It’s so nuanced, it’s all about ongoing experimentation and then doubling down on what works.

Iain Swantson of Klozers adds:

Someone decides to do cold email, and a lot of them will stop after three months because they’ve got low results. But they won’t stop to think: Is it the cold email that’s not working? Or is it the way we’re executing the cold email campaign? Have we got the personas wrong?

Actually being able to analyze the root cause of the problem is really important, that way you don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.

How to use this in your cold emails: Test the results of your emails. Keep track of small changes in your subject line or CTA. See what works best, and then double down.

Keep learning from the best

These are just a few of today’s top trends in cold email from the sales consultants who are dealing with this day in and day out for their clients.

Are you thinking about working with a sales consultant to boost the effectiveness of your sales team? Check out our Sales Consultants Directory, with information for over 100 pro sales consultants. You’ll also see the full podcast interviews with Mark Colgan, Michael Halper, and Iain Swanston.