How to win with outbound sales emails – 10 Key Steps for Success

Posted by Adam Richardson - 11/09/2023

Outbound can be a grind right now, with even the most competent outbound sales teams facing challenges in 2023. 

I’ve gone pretty deep down the outbound email rabbit hole over the last 2 years, in order to figure out what really helps increase my team's open & response rates. Below are my top ten tips…..

I hope it helps you & your team win in 2023.


1.   Subject Lines

Don’t use capitals in your subject lines - and make them short.

 Using this method has achieved up to 85% open rate.

 Here are a few subject lines I used recently that generated meetings with VPs and C Suite Level:

·        devops

·        hope this scores a point or two (prospect was a squash player)

·        you came up in conversation

·        women in tech

·        rsa follow up


 2.      Hyper personalisation is key

We’ve typically found light humor and relevant sports analogies have worked well. 

Study the prospect's:

·        LinkedIn activity

·        Company news

·        Product launches

·        New key hires

 And extra points if you can make a smooth transition into your value add.


 Examples of email introductions we have done recently which have gained a response:

·        Steve - kudos on blowing out your team’s Q2 quota by 200%…

·        Laura – caught you guys just hired XXX as CMO. Congrats!

·        Anthony – your team’s event popped up on my LinkedIn feed yesterday… 


 3.      Cut the waffle

But DO ensure you add value - and BE CLEAR in how you can solve their problems.

 Remember, C-suite Executives receive on average 100 to 200 emails a day.

Typically speaking, the more text there is the less chance they will read the email.

That being said, longer emails (50 - 150+ words), work well IF they are packed with value. That means you include information that connects the prospect or their company to your offer.

You can afford a longer email IF your email is personalised, direct & intentional in every sentence.


4.      Avoid hyperlinks, videos, spam words and change up your emails regularly (once a month is recommended) to avoid spam filters.

Getting your first email in their inbox, not junk is paramount.

You should regularly test your emails with spam filters and perform regular similar deliverability checks to identify and resolve any issues.

 In many cases over, 30% of sales emails will hit junk due to domain reputation, email content, formatting and level of domain engagement.

 You can be the best sales email writer in the world but if your mail hits junk, your prospects will likely never see it let alone respond.


 5.      Don’t ask for time in cold outreach.

Don’t sell the meeting - sell the conversation.

Confirming interest before asking for the meeting is twice as effective as regular outreach.


6.      ‘Bubble-up’ emails DON’T work.

Emails that point your prospect in the direction of previous outreach don’t work.

Example: Hey Chris, just bubbling this up. Did you see my previous note?

 Shorter ‘non-value add’ emails like this are 15 times LESS likely to help you book a meeting.


 7.      Add value at EVERY touchpoint.

If it doesn’t add value, don’t send it.

A starting point would be to scroll the internet for podcasts, articles and whitepapers relating to solving problems they said they are experiencing or are talking about on LinkedIn. 

 Using this technique, we regularly see 10 to 20% response rates on our cold sales emails - with the industry average being 1% to 5% max.


 8.      Ask for interest (not time).

By using an interest-based Call-To-Action (CTA), you are not asking for the buyer’s time, just their interest.

 An interest CTA sells the conversation, not the meeting.

 Example: “Open to learning more about X?”

 Response rates for highly relevant and interest-based CTAs are typically 5% to 15% higher.


 9.      Use P.S. at the end of a sales email

This will enhance your communication and increase the tone of your email.

 It will:

·        Grab your prospect's attention.

·        Help recap or highlight a particular subject.

·        Reinforce your CTA.

·        Aid with personalisation.

·        Spark curiosity and intrigue to read the email. 



Don’t expect a response after one email.

 An optimal and well thought out multichannel cadence is needed for success with outbound in 2023.

 I had a discovery meeting in June 2023 with a VP Sales that I have been prospecting for 3 years!

 It has taken calls, emails, LinkedIn messages and video. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

 According to various studies, it can take anywhere from 5 to 12 emails to receive a positive response.


If you want to discuss the above further or understand how Strive can support you with your recruitment needs, my diary is always open.

For more helpful tips, check out our other blogs here or visit our LinkedIn page.

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