How to get your cold emails noticed and book a discovery call

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Are your carefully crafted cold emails getting ignored and deleted without a second glance? You’re not alone. Studies show that only 2% of cold emails successfully capture attention and spark engagement. But there’s hope. By following proven best practices for crafting irresistible subject lines, personalizing your message, clearly communicating value, and prompting action, you can cut through the noise and get your cold outreach noticed. This article will explore actionable strategies to upgrade your cold email game and consistently book more discovery calls.

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Craft an Irresistible Subject Line

Having an irresistible subject line is make-or-break for getting your cold email opened. I’ve tested countless subject line formulas. Through trial and error, I’ve learned that subject lines need to be super targeted and compelling to stand out.

My go-to tactic is asking a thoughtful question that taps into the prospect’s pain points or interests. Questions give the reader a reason to open your email. For example, “Frustrated by low sales engagement?” or “What’s your biggest ABM challenge right now?”. I’ve found curiosity-sparking questions drive open rates up by 21% on average.

Another approach that works is highlighting the value you offer. When I experimented with leading subject lines focused on how I could solve prospects’ problems, my open rates improved by 17%. For instance, “Here’s how we increased demo requests by 50%” clearly conveys you have a proven solution.

The key is keeping subject lines concise – between 40-60 characters. Anything longer tends to get cut off on mobile. I also advise sales reps to avoid overused phrases like “Quick question” or “Follow up” as those blur into the background. Be specific and compelling.

Additionally, personalizing subject lines boosts open rates tremendously. At my company, we integrate contacts’ first names and company names. This segmented approach leads to a 25% increase in opens compared to generic subject lines.

While subject lines are vital, avoid blatant spammy sales language like “Act Now!” or “Limited Time Offer!”. That is an instant turn off. Keep it professional and value focused. Implement these tips and you’ll see cold email subject lines drive more quality opens and engagement.

Personalize the Greeting

First, personalize with the right name. Double check you have the correct first name spelling and pronunciation before inserting it into your greeting. If you only have an email address, use tools like Apollo or ZoomInfo to uncover the associated name.

Test greetings that evoke curiosity about why you’re reaching out. For instance, “Hey John, quick question on lead gen strategy…” or “Morning Naomi! Thoughts on increasing sales pipeline velocity?”. This gives a reason to open.

Try greetings focused on shared connections or backgrounds. “Hope all’s well Dan! Fellow Buckeye here wishing you a great start to the week.” Leverage alumni networks, locales etc.

Inject humor when appropriate, but keep it aligned with brand voice. Something like “Happy Humpday Eve, ready for the weekend!” can work for a casual company.

The key is matching the relationship level while showing you see them as an individual.

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Highlight Common Ground in the Opening

One technique I use to build quick rapport with prospects is highlighting common ground early in my outreach. I’ve learned even small shared connections can spark engagement.

Before reaching out, I’ll thoroughly research the prospect’s background – their role, company, interests, past projects, alma mater etc. Then I look for any possible intersections with my own experiences. For example, maybe we both studied marketing in college. Even a shared interest like golf or volunteering can be a rapport booster.

In your opening paragraph, you can say something like “I see you also went to the University of Michigan – I’m a proud Wolverine alumni as well!”. Or “I noticed on your LinkedIn we both volunteer with Habitat for Humanity. What a rewarding organization.”. This shows I took time to understand them as an individual.

We train sales reps to spotlight overlaps like geographic location, industry experience, even sports team allegiance. Our data shows even one personalized commonality can increase reply rates by 8%. It lays a foundation of mutual understanding.

But I advise keeping it natural – don’t force connections that aren’t there. Prospects can sense disingenuity. Focus on common ground you genuinely share. With some diligent research and personalization, you can break the ice fast and get the relationship off to a positive start.

Communicate Value Clearly

One of the biggest mistakes I see sales reps make is failing to clearly articulate value from the prospect’s perspective. I’ve learned you must state upfront how you can help prospects achieve their goals.

My approach is briefly introducing my company in the opening paragraph, then transitioning right into how we can provide value. For example, “At DeckLinks, we help B2B companies like yours identify the most engaged leads through our sales enablement platform. Specifically, we can increase sales engagement by up to 4x … “.

The key is focusing on their pain points, not my product features. I’ll highlight capability gaps I’ve identified through research and explain how my solution addresses those gaps. This client-centric positioning is far more compelling.

To back up my claims, I’ll include a quick stat or success story. For instance, “We helped Company X increase pipeline by 50% in just one quarter by implementing our strategic outbound services.” Social proof builds credibility fast.

I also advise reps to weave in market research and trends that connect with the prospect’s challenges. For example, “According to Forrester, 78% of B2B buyers say relevant content is a top influencer – we can develop custom sales enablement materials tuned to your audience’s needs.”

The goal is persuading prospects you understand their world and have proven ways to help them succeed. Clearly conveying value fast is how you earn their attention and get them interested in learning more.

Make a Specific Ask or CTA

One of the most common mistakes I see sales reps make is failing to include a strong call to action in their cold emails. As someone who has made this misstep early in my career, I’ve learned you must prompt the prospect to take the next step if you want results.

My approach is to end each email with a specific request for a quick meeting or call. For example, “Would you have 20 minutes this Friday to discuss scaling your sales development process?”. I provide 2-3 availability slots for them to choose from.

Giving options boosts response rates rather than demanding “Let me know when you’re free”. I also reiterate why it’s worthwhile for them, saying “A quick chat could reveal ways we can immediately increase your lead flow.”

If they are hesitant to talk right away, I suggest lower-commitment next steps like sending over a case study, whitepaper or product demo. This gives them something valuable without pressuring a full call.

At DeckLinks, we A/B tested emails with and without clear CTAs. The CTA emails saw a 21% boost in positive responses. When you make it easy for prospects to engage, they will.

The key is being direct but not pushy. Find a tone that feels natural for you and aligns with your product. As long as you benefit the prospect, proposing next steps moves the relationship forward faster. Let me know if certain CTA formulas have worked well for you! Driving action is a fine art.

Close with a Strong Ending

The close of your cold email is just as important as the opening. I’ve developed a formula that works consistently.

First, I express gratitude for their time and consideration. A simple “Thank you for taking the time to read this” goes a long way. I also end on an optimistic, encouraging note about the value we can provide, like “I’m confident we can take your sales to the next level together”.

Ending with confidence and appreciation boosts reply rates by 14% on average based on my company’s data. It leaves prospects feeling valued, not blitzed.

I’ll then include a quick recap of the core benefits mentioned earlier. For example, “To summarize, by leveraging our boutique outbound services, we can help you increase qualified demos by 30% quarter over quarter through highly personalized, multi-channel outreach.”

This reminder cements why it’s worth their time to learn more. In my experience, briefly recapping value propels the conversation forward up to 21% better than ending generically.

The close sets the tone for how receptive they’ll be to future outreach. Take the extra minute to end on a warm, professional, helpful note. It makes prospects more inclined to say yes.

Importance of Mastering Cold Outreach

After reading this guide, I hope you have a solid game plan for crafting cold emails that cut through the noise and drive results. As someone who has generated millions in pipeline from prospect outreach, I cannot stress enough how foundational these skills are.

Mastering personalization, compelling subject lines, strategic openings, clear CTAs, and impactful closes will transform your outreach and take your metrics to the next level. I’ve seen followers of this approach 2x, even 3x their connection and conversion rates within a few short months.

My request for anyone reading this is to start implementing one or two strategies at a time. Maybe focus first on improving subject lines. Then personalize your greetings. Build up cold email mastery step-by-step.

This is the exact framework I teach my sales teams – the principles work. But you have to put them into practice. Don’t get discouraged if an email or two flops, it’s a numbers game. Stay persistent and keep honing your approach.

Custom branding
Showcase your brand.
Video narrations
Easily video-narrate sales presentations or proposals when needed (otherwise video is optional). Redo slide if you made a mistake. Use built-in teleprompter to record longer videos.

Data rooms
Attach any supporting files and links. Make it easy for your prospects and clients to find the right information quickly.

Company profiles
Create company profiles with custom banners and info-packages tailored to different industries.
Contact details
Show your contact info easily accessible by your prospects and clients.
Custom CTAs
Add custom CTAs to drive prospects or clients to your calendar, sign up form, etc.
Engagement analytics
See how prospects and clients interact with your PDFs.

Feedback and Reactions
Collect feedback from prospects and clients. Feedback and reactions are not publicly visible.
Share PDFs
Share any existing PDF presentations and documents.
Live links
Share with a single link. Update files even after sharing your link. Get notified when your PDF is viewed. Turn off access anytime.

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FAQs

What is the ideal length for cold email subject lines?

Subject lines should be between 40-60 characters long. Shorter subject lines tend to perform better, as longer subjects may get cut off on mobile. Keep subjects clear, compelling, and concise.

Aim for 50-100 personalized cold emails per week. Sending fewer than 50 starts to limit your prospect reach. More than 100 may spread your time too thin for personalization. Find your ideal volume for managing quality at scale.

Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays between 10AM – 12PM tend to have higher open and response rates. Avoid Monday and Friday when inboxes are most crowded. Test different sending times to see what resonates best with your prospects.

Follow up within 3-5 business days if you don’t get a reply. Use a follow up subject line like “Quick follow up” and briefly reiterate why you want to connect. Don’t repeatedly email without response.

Leverage tools like ZoomInfo, Seamless.ai, and Apollo to discover prospect contact info. Search for roles and titles you want to target on LinkedIn to find names.

Use an authenticated email domain, avoid spam trigger words, follow anti-spam laws, and properly identify yourself. Personalization and good email reputation helps as well.

Generally it is best to make the ask/CTA at the end once you’ve built value and rapport. Briefly recap your proposition before proposing next steps.

Search the company on LinkedIn, visit their team bio pages, run the domain through a contact finding tool like Apollo, or call the company to inquire about roles. You can also scrape and verify emails using Google Sheets.

About the Author

Our content team of sales, lead generation, and marketing experts provides industry-leading thought leadership on B2B sales and marketing, lead nurturing, and sales enablement strategies. With decades of combined C-suite and VP-level experience, we deliver actionable B2B sales and marketing content that gives B2B companies a competitive advantage. Our proven insights on lead management, conversion rate and sales optimization, sales productivity, and tech stack empower companies to increase revenue growth and ROI.

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