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Outbound prospecting: email

June 17, 2020

According to Campaign Monitor, nearly 129 billion business emails were sent and received PER DAY in 2019. With so many businesses now working remotely due to the coronavirus crisis, that number is certain to increase in 2020.

For B2B sales professionals, that’s a monumental amount of inbox competition! How can you make your sales emails stand out and beat the billions of rivals vying for your prospects’ attention? 

We asked 3 members of our high-performing sales team for their advice on crafting winning B2B prospecting emails. Plus, they delved into their inbox analytics and gave us their most successful messages.

Scroll 👇 for Cognism’s outbound email guide! 

The first email in a cadence

Rachel Goldstone joined Cognism as an SDR in February 2020. Since that time, she’s been delivering fantastic results - and particularly on email, which is a channel that she’s made entirely her own.

We asked Rachel for her insights into the first email in a prospecting cadence. Here’s the template that she uses:

Hey ((first name)),

I hope you are well and are keeping positive!

Your demonstrated (and impressive!) history working in sales over the years led me to believe you would be the right person to speak to.

I can see at ((company name)), you target a variety of different verticals, and have worked with clients such as ((company names)).

Our platform can help your team acquire new clients similar to the ones you already work with, by providing you with contact details for these companies and individuals.

Your team will be able to spend more valuable time on revenue-generating activities, with a higher conversion rate and lower cost per acquisition.

Please do check out the success our clients have using our platform.

If maintaining business growth is on your agenda right now, then I’m positive a chat will be worth your time.

Are you open to jumping on a call tomorrow?

Thank you,

Rachel’s email tips

  • Always research the prospect and their business thoroughly before writing your email. Include as much of your research as possible in your email.
  • Personalise your email. The first email in your cadence should be 20% personalised. Always include the prospect’s name and company name.
  • Don’t bombard the prospect with too much information. Don’t give too much away! Instead, spark the recipient’s curiosity. Less is more!
  • Include links to relevant content - in this instance, the email contains a link to Cognism’s case studies library, which the prospect can browse at their leisure.
  • Try out this as a subject line: “A question for you, ((first name))”. You can see higher open rates by using this subject line!

Email following a content download

Before his recent promotion to BDM, William Gay worked tirelessly as a Marketing Development Representative in Cognism Sales. Part of his role was to engage with prospects who had downloaded our content.

Here’s an email that Will used for this purpose, which received reply rates of up to 20%:

Hi ((first name)),

Following on from my last email, I thought I would share another statistic with you. 

Salesforce said that it typically takes 6-8 touchpoints to initiate a conversation with someone. 

That seems about right because this is touchpoint 7 and you haven't replied yet 😉

Hopefully, I'm not being too persistent here! Do you have 15 minutes to discuss your interest in our sales material and to find out if Cognism could assist you with getting direct contact details for key decision-makers in your chosen verticals?


Will’s email tips

  • Keep your emails as short as they can be. 100 words max!
  • Try out this subject line: “Cognism referred by ((colleague name))”. It can be very powerful to mention in your subject line that you’ve been referred by someone else in the prospect’s company.
  • Don’t be shy in bringing out your humorous side! Emails containing an element of humour are usually the most successful, boosting reply rates to 28% or more.
  • A/B test your emails. Split your prospect list into 2 groups. Send one style of email to the first group, and another style of email to the second group. Whichever email performs better is the one you’ll use going forward. Be guided by the B2B data in everything you do.
  • Timing - schedule your emails to send at 6-7am, so they’re the first thing your prospect sees when they log on in the morning. If the prospect lives in a different country to you, be aware of the time difference!

Email containing video

In Cognism’s sales team, Tom Gyngell has become a master at using video in his emails. It’s a skill that all modern sales reps have to acquire - after all, emails that contain videos see open-to-reply rates increase by 8x!

Here’s an email that Tom sent to a video conferencing prospect, with his Vidyard embedded:

Hi ((first name)),

Being at a company called ((company name)) I thought this would be more fitting…


Looking forward to hearing from you!

Kindest regards,

Tom’s video tips

  • As this email contains a video message, you can afford to keep the email copy very short and snappy!
  • Have the prospect’s LinkedIn profile or company website open as you record your video. Scroll through the page and use the information you see in your video.
  • Use the prospect’s name a LOT. This is crucial for building rapport during your video.
  • Never go over 90 seconds. The shorter your video, the more likely it is that the prospect will watch it!
  • Ask for feedback at the end of your video. This is a good technique for starting a conversation with the prospect.
  • Block out time in your calendar to record all your videos in one go. Say, an hour at lunchtime when you’re not making cold calls.
  • Whenever you connect with a prospect on LinkedIn, send them a video straight away. You’ll see increased conversion rates with this approach!

The last email in a cadence

The last email in a cadence (also known as a “break-up email”) can be the hardest one to write. You want to close things off, but also leave it open. Luckily, Rachel Goldstone provided us with a break-up email that she uses in her cadence. Here it is:

Hey ((first name)),

I've been so persistently trying to reach you, but not sure how much more I can handle our one-sided relationship....I'm starting to feel like a bit of a stalker, ((first name))!

If you are open to helping me deal with my rejection and heartache, please choose one of the following options:

If neither option tickles your fancy, please let me know a better time to reach out?

Miss you already,

Rachel’s email tips

  • The final email is where you can really indulge in some humour. Get the prospect smiling when they read your email! You never know, it might just be the catalyst for them to hit “Reply”!
  • The opening line is the most important line in an email. After the subject line, it’s the thing most prospects look at before making a decision to read on. Take your time in crafting your opening line. Make it strong and compelling.
  • Always include a final question or CTA at the end of the email. It’s a possible end, not the definite end, to this opportunity!
  • The 3 top email metrics to track are: open rate, read rate and click-through rate. Study these 3 KPIs for every email you send.

Get more outbound insights

Thanks to our sales champions for sharing their outbound email knowledge! We hope you found it useful.

Cognism has published an entire eBook for B2B sales professionals - B2B Outbound: Building predictable growth.

It’s a complete guide for building and scaling an outbound sales strategy, including SDR hiring tips, cadence templates, cold calling hacks and lots, lots more! No sales team leader should be without it.

Click 👇 to get the guide!

B2B Outbound Building Predictable Growth