[VIDEO] How to Get 30% Response Rates with Prospecting Emails

You probably spend a lot of time thinking about email messaging.

Whether you’re in sales or marketing, you’re in a nonstop fight for consumer attention: Against spam filters, against short attention spans, and against the dozens of other emails your B2B prospect receives every day.

If you’re getting a response rate of less than 30%, what I am about to share with you could be a game changer.

I’d like to share a framework you can use for writing good prospecting emails. Spread over a series of emails – an email drip – this can get you 30% response rates … and higher. (Email marketing benchmarks differ by industry, but the average is around 20%.)

Read: 5 Cold B2B Email Examples with a 60% Click-Through Rate

Less is more

“I would’ve written you a short letter, but I didn’t have time, so I wrote you a long one instead.” That’s often misattributed to Mark Twain (no one knows who really said it), and the point is clear: less is more.

That’s tough.

You have a stand-out product with a dozen different features. Your company story is intriguing. You’ve grown fast, and you’ve got a lot of great customers. And you won the latest award.

… The very worst thing you could do is cram all that into one message.

Here’s the key: Mention just one or two of those things – but send multiple emails, each of which says something new.

And keep it short. How short? Our longest messages have about 100 words – one-third of a page – and are usually significantly shorter. Whatever you do, do it briefly.

Read: What the CAN-SPAM Act says about your cold email

A prospecting email template

Here’s the cold email template I start with when I think about good prospecting email messages:

Hi <NAME>,

I’m sure as the <TITLE> at <COMPANY> in <INDUSTRY> using <TECHNOLOGY> , you have <THIS ISSUE> to deal with.

We’ve helped solve <THIS ISSUE> by  <VALUE PROP> for companies like <X, Y, and Z>.

Can we put 15 minutes on the calendar <DAY & TIME> on or<DAY & TIME>?


This keeps me on point. But it also helps me think about the ways I can segment my messaging: by industry, size of company, the techs that currently use today, or the role of the prospect.

How that might sound for DiscoverOrg:

Hi Jane – I’m sure that, as the VP of Sales at WidgetCorp using Salesforce.com, you have a constant struggle to get your reps to adopt Salesforce because of bad data in your CRM.

We’ve helped solve that by giving our 2,000 B2B clients incredibly accurate data on their prospects, integrated to Salesforce, which gives them the data they desperately need in the place you need them to use it.

Can we put 15 minutes …

Read: The Foot-in-the-Door Email Template

Crafting the Follow Up Email

Then by the way, my second email sent a few days later might be:

Hi Jane – bubbling this to the top of your inbox. In addition to integrating our data into Salesforce, our contacts have the highest rate of direct-dial phone numbers on the market,  which can double or triple the number of conversations your reps have every day.

Any chance you’re free later today or tomorrow?


The second message is even shorter, but I added a new value prop. We find these follow-up messages get three to four times the click-through rate that the first message does.

It’s still true that less is more in terms of what you put in a single message – but more is more in terms of the number of messages you send.

Ultimately this framework should help you come up with ideas for short, compelling messages. Get those two things right and watch the magic happen!

What has worked for you?

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As Chief Revenue Officer, Patrick manages sales and customer success at DiscoverOrg where he is responsible for ..read more

  • amirmoin

    Thanks for writing this Patrick. Very relevant. We ourselves at Contify have a similar framework. We keep our message short and share a new value proposition in each touchpoint. But in addition to this, we use social intelligence to pepper our emails with personalization. This could include congratulating prospects on a new customer they’ve acquired, a partnership they’ve forged or an award they’ve won. A lot of times, we come across these great nuggets of insights from what contacts share on their Twitter feeds and whenever these shares are aligned with a problem our product is solving, we make it a point to reference those Tweets as well.

    Usually, it would be a little too much to expect an SDR or Account Executive to do so much of research before sending an email. But since we have social intelligence integrated in our Salesforce, all it takes under 5 minutes to scan through the sales triggers and use them while drafting our emails.

    This works great for ABSD programs and we’ve seen reply rates increase by as much as 20%. Making prospecting emails work is as much about demonstrating that you truly care about the prospect and that you sincerely believe your product solves a problem for them.

    – Amir, Contify (www.contify.com)

  • Ryan McCarty

    Hey Patrick, great write up! I’ve definitely been focusing on making my emails short and to the point, with a solid CTA. “Try to write a paragraph in a sentence” as my boss would say.

  • cntactmax

    After seeing this, I’ve set up an Outreach template that I plan on A/B testing in our next sequence round.

    Thank you for sharing

  • Andy

    It is always great to get new frameworks!

  • Scott Shy

    Good content Patrick! Less is definitely more in sales. The most important message is how you help. If they see value in the benefit that your solution provides, you`ll have a chance to get into the bells and whistles later. It`s critical to “boil down the ocean” to as brief and specific a message as you can. One of my favorite, and related Twain quotes is “If you want me to give you a two-hour presentation, I am ready today. If you want only a five-minute speech, it will take me two weeks to prepare.”

  • Scott Kneller

    Shorter messaging is valuable as long as the intended message is able to clearly be conveyed. Especially given the message is most likely being read on a mobile device. Good video!

  • Mark Marlow

    Great article! I’d add a couple of other suggestions as well – make sure you have a short and provocative subject line and keep in mind that many of your targets will read the email on a mobile phone or mobile device. Send a copy to your phone and see if it is easy to read in terms of font clarity and font size.

  • andy

    Less is more, but I think it is also worth mentioning that simple is better. If you write less but your message is confusing, it does nothing. Write only enough to communicate the message, then stop.

  • Charlie Lovette

    The Mark Twain quote was really relevant for me. I always try and condense my writing as much as possible but find myself taking much longer to do so. Also, the short email sequence about the same value proposition seems to be a great idea to get onto your prospect’s radar.

  • Jake Senechal

    Trying to get more of my team to watch and pay attention to videos like this. They love the 4 paragraph emails.

    Short and sweet is the key.

  • Leslie

    Great video to share with our Sales teams – we have a few reps who have tried doing something similar lately and they have definitely seen an increase in responses and appointments!

  • Kristen

    Really great video, and a great way to think about the content of each email. I’ve already shared it with the inside sales team and challenged them to try this method for their next emails.

  • Good content Patrick! Less is definitely more in sales.