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Sales - 9 min READ

Cold sales email templates: Are they really worth your time?

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Author photo: Katrina Oko-Odoi

Katrina Oko-Odoi

Content Marketing Manager

Cold email outreach undoubtedly has a bad reputation.

But despite the bad rap, cold sales emails have historically been a proven method for building pipelines and closing new business. Back in 2018:

  • 77% of buyers had responded positively to an email from a prospective vendor in the last 12 months.
  • 80% of buyers said they preferred to be contacted by prospects via email rather than phone or other means.

But the effectiveness of cold sales emails has changed a lot since then (more on this in a bit).

Still, one of the most challenging parts of being a sales rep and part of a sales team is prospecting. Successful reps prospect continuously, and they’re smart about the energy they put into prospecting.

That’s why one of the primary methods of prospecting has always been through sending cold sales emails.


Can a cold sales email be successful?

The short answer to this is: Cold sales emails are rarely successful (we’ll explain more in a minute). But, even back in 2018, only 5% of sellers said that bulk email was effective.

If you still insist on sending cold sales emails, you need to make sure they’re tailored to your specific prospect. A successful cold call email template benefits the prospect in some way.

Prospects’ inboxes are more and more saturated with emails like:

  • Congrats on your promotion
  • I loved your article on [xyz]
  • You don’t want to miss this great deal!

If you absolutely insist on sending cold sales emails (although we really wouldn’t recommend it in most cases), here are some things to keep in mind as you tailor your cold call email template. The best cold sales emails include:

  • A legit reason to reach out: Don’t send messages out of the blue. Put your reason in the first sentence.
  • A benefit: Either how your company can benefit the prospect, or how your outreach can benefit the prospect. Put this in the first or second sentence and even your subject line when working in a sales email template in any cold sales email template.
  • A call-to-action (CTA): Make sure you ask for something using your cold sales email template. Whether that’s a response, a meeting, a coffee or a call.

What not to include in your cold call email template:

  • Too much about yourself: Don’t start the email off by introducing yourself and your company. Get to the point—point being the benefit.
  • Grammar errors and too much text: A cold email is best if it’s brief and well-written.(Creating a cold call email template that you’ve perfected is better than writing one on the fly.)
  • Anything generic: A successful email will talk about the specific benefits to an individual prospect.

That said, the best cold sales emails aren’t cold at all.

In fact, we think it’s time to ditch the cold email format in exchange for more effective approaches.

The uncomfortable truth: It’s time to get rid of cold emails altogether

Based on our research over the last few years, and the results from our 2021 Marketing Relationships Survey, it’s clear that it’s time to kick the cold sales email, and this type of sales email template, to the curb.

Here’s why we want to get rid of the cold email template and cold email outreach:

  • We found that nearly half of marketers (47%) still send cold emails often. In fact, 37% have sent more cold emails since the start of the pandemic. (Only 13% report sending fewer).

But despite the increase in cold email sending, the strategy hasn’t become more effective marketers and sales teams.

  • Even though marketers are investing more time into cold emails, 53% of respondents reported getting the same response as they’ve always gotten. 10% are getting fewer responses than they did pre-pandemic.
  • The average email response rate across industries is an abysmal 1%. That means if you cold emailed one hundred people with a cold email template, you could expect one person to respond. Imagine how many emails it would take to get a conversion.

Here’s the short and fast of it: Although marketers spend more time (or the same amount of time) on cold emailing and creating the perfect cold call email template, they’re not getting great results or using best practices.

Let’s be honest, cold emails weren’t working before the pandemic, and they aren’t working now. It’s time to rethink your email marketing strategies and focus on building old-school relationships with your customers and prospects.

Here’s how you can build those relationships strategically instead of blasting cold emails into the ether and crossing your fingers.


Build meaningful relationships with customers and prospects

Focus on building and fostering more meaningful relationships with your customers and prospects. All businesses are built on relationships, and a cold sales email isn’t a great first impression.

You’d never go up to a stranger in a grocery store and say, “Hey! Congrats on your promotion. I saw you looking at lip balm over there, and I think you’d love our product. Want to try it?”

Creepy, right? You wouldn’t take that approach in real life if you had any intention of actually nurturing a lasting relationship with that person. As our virtual relationships and real-life relationships are becoming increasingly intertwined, it’s critical to start treating virtual interactions like sales emails, like you would a real-life interaction.

So if you’re ditching the cold call email template, how do you build meaningful relationships with customers and prospects? Here are some ideas and best practices to get you started:

  • Find and attend networking conventions.
  • Pour more energy into your existing customers to increase referrals and create brand advocates.
  • Partner with other companies.
  • Network online and hang out in online communities where your prospects hang out.
  • Focus on the quality of your connections versus the number of your prospects.
  • Think about how you can help them versus how they can help you.

Read our eBook to learn 8 simple steps to follow for building meaningful customer relationships.

5 quick inbound marketing strategies that are better than cold emailing

Rather than using a cold sales email and generic subject line, consider pouring your energy into inbound marketing efforts instead. Inbound marketing attracts customers to your company and leads to prospects and potential customers coming to you instead of you reaching out to them.

There are several ways to generate inbound prospects. Here are 5 quick ideas to get you started:

  1. Create free eBooks and infographics to build out your email list and lead people back to your company.
  2. Create a company blog and post fresh articles regularly.
  3. Get involved with social media and generate prospects through there.
  4. Consider a company podcast as a different way to engage prospects.
  5. Create educational videos to establish your company as thought leaders in your industry.

Looking for more techniques for successful inbound marketing? We wrote a blog about that!

How to do emails correctly: creative sales emails

Just because the cold email format isn’t effective doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for creative sales emails. Email plays an essential role in fostering customer relationships.

Successful email campaigns are all about sending personalized emails with warm language. This involves nurturing existing prospects and customers with well-timed emails. Copper has an email sequence feature created specifically for this purpose.

There are several ways to use creative sales emails in prospecting:

  • Use a drip campaign to convert your prospects into customers.
  • Focus on getting newsletter sign-ups and nurture your subscribers into interested prospects.
  • Use breakup emails to elicit a response and give prospects a way out of receiving communication from you. Remember, the best breakup emails aren’t too pushy because you don’t want uninterested prospects in your pipelines anyway.
  • Use social media messaging to direct message to your followers and connections instead of cold emails.

Transitioning out of cold sales emails

We get it. It’s going to be tough to completely get rid of the cold email to win over a potential customer. Just remember that the best cold sales emails aren’t actually cold at all. They’re second or third interactions with a prospect – not the first touchpoint.

Use your emails instead as an opportunity to build better relationships. Copper is a relationship-centric CRM dedicated to helping businesses do exactly that. With easy-to-use features like email sequencing and sales pipelines, companies can turn prospects into customers and nurture them for the long term. Try Copper free for 14 days.

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