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. (Cold email response rates differ by industry, but 10% is considered solid.)

Read: 8 Basho Cold Email Examples for Sales Outreach

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, 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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About the author

Patrick Purvis

As Senior VP of Revenue, Patrick manages sales and customer success at DiscoverOrg, where he is responsible for strategic account growth. Formerly Chief Revenue Officer, Purvis is a graduate of Oregon State University where he studied Economics.