Nobody expected 2020 to go like this. Everything we’ve ever known has been turned upside down. With the rush of people permanently working from home to budgets drastically changing, businesses can’t seem to catch a break. Salespeople are struggling. Your prospects are more distracted than ever

Your prospects inboxes are overloaded. So how can you get in touch with them? How can you stand out in their crowded inbox? 

6 Cold Email Tips for 2020: 

  1. Personalize, focus on building relationships. 
  2. Keep your emails short and to the point. 
  3. Ask open-ended questions.
  4. Discover what problem your product can solve for your prospect. 
  5. Keep your subject lines short. 
  6. Follow up by teaching. 

Personalize and Build Relationships.

cold email tips

Personalization is more important now than ever before. With prospect’s inboxes being slammed every day of the week, generic emails will definitely be ignored, if even read at all. The most important thing to remember when personalizing is not to assume the people you prospect like their job. Therefore, you should lead with something to do with the individual, not the company. Focus on building a relationship with the prospect, not selling your product. 

Have you ever heard of social loafing? This psychology term basically explains why people are more likely to respond if they feel uniquely qualified to do so. That being said, if what you have written in the first sentence of your email could have been sent to 50 others, the prospect is less likely to respond.

A good way to personalize is to reference a post that the prospect has recently liked. Risa Khamsi, SDR at LeadIQ, provided a great example of one of her emails that prompted a response. 

Subject line: hot sauce & Brandon Smith

I noticed that you liked Brandon’s post about his new book, The Hot Sauce Principle, about how to live and lead in a world where everything is urgent – all of the time. His book aims to help us think through urgency – something that I think we can all benefit from in the busy world we live in!

Speaking of business, was wondering how busy your sales team is at [Company Name], and if you think they spend too much time on data entry? (which could be spent selling)…

Most Sales Leaders we speak with are focused on making sure their outbound sales team is able to work more strategically in an account-based approach; allowing more pipeline and more revenue.

Interested in unpacking how we can help with increasing pipeline & revenue for your team?

Would love to talk hot sauce, productivity, and what your reps’ outbound process looks like.


If you’re lost on where to look for information on your prospects, here are the core places for your research: 

  1. About section of LinkedIn
  2. Recommendations/Mutual Connections sections of LinkedIn
  3. Published Content 
  4. Engagements on posts that relate to the prospect
  5. Hobbies/Interests section of LinkedIn
  6. Company Page/Social Media
  7. Google the prospect

Transition from Personalization to your Value Prop 

Building off the importance of personalization, there has been an increase in responses seen when sales reps have a smooth transition from their personalization, straight to their value prop. Here’s an example from Sales Development Team Lead, Jon Mazza

Jon transitions straight to his value prop about prospecting more efficiently while still connecting to the retirement personalization piece. 

Keep your emails short.

In a study of over 2.1 million customers, emails with approximately 20 lines of text had the highest click-through rates, which translates to about 200 words.

If your email has a lot of fluff and fails to prove value, you’re wasting you and your prospects time. Nobody wants to read a long email, a lot of prospects get agitated when they receive one. If the prospect has to scroll, it’s definitely too long. Always try to keep your cold email length as close to one smartphone size. 

Ask open-ended questions

When writing your cold emails, it’s good to remember that your goal is to get a response, not an immediate meeting. A great way to get a response is by asking open-ended questions. Usually, these questions should be your closing sentence. 

When incorporating a call to action at the end of your email, don’t ask for a specific amount of time to hop on a call. Instead, try, “What are your thoughts on talking?” or “What are some of your goals on X?” 

When you ask open-ended questions, you receive more information on how you can help your prospect. Your goal should be to discover what pains your prospect is facing. What problem do they have that your product can help solve? 

Provide a Solution 

Your prospect doesn’t care about your product; they care about what your product can do for them. Meaning the prospect only cares how your product can help them with a specific problem they knowingly or unknowingly face. 

Don’t go off in a tangent about all the features your product possesses. You need to specifically relate to how you can make your prospect’s life easier. What problem does your prospect face that your product/service can solve for them? 

Keep subject lines short

35% of recipients open emails based on the subject line alone. 

Subject lines should not look like mass marketing emails or look like they can be sent to large quantities of people at once. Relate it to the individual so it won’t go straight to spam, and the prospect knows you’re not a robot. 

A good subject line is vague enough to draw an open and relates to your cold email body. Before sending your cold email, look at your subject line and ask yourself, “would I open this email?”.

Follow up by teaching

There are lots of mixed opinions for follow-up emails. However, one that continuously builds trust and builds your prospect relationship is providing value in your follow-ups. Follow up by teaching, not to see if the timing is better.

Did you see a post that would be of interest to your prospect? Does your company have an e-book on a solution to a problem your prospect is facing? Sharing information is never frowned upon. This will never turn a prospect cold. Even if they don’t respond, they often are still consuming the content and thankful that you are sending it. 

Here’s a great example from Josh Braun on how you can teach your prospects through your follow-ups to build on the relationship. 

sales email tips

Braun suggests that if you want to follow up like ‘Company B’ in his scenario, create a Top of Mind (TOM) sequence. Answer 5-7 questions your customers ask or should be asking and answer 1 question per email. Drop people into your TOM sequence when the timing is off.

He suggests you can also post your TOM videos to LinkedIn & YouTube to draw more engagement and interest. 

Closing Thoughts

Finding ways to get your cold emails noticed can be tough. Remember that you and your prospects are human. We all deserve more than a templated email. Research, personalize, and provide value. 

Take the disconnection out of sales and start building relationships. Make sales personable again. This year has been a rollercoaster. We all need genuine personal connections now more than ever. 

About the Author:
Sabrina Jowders is a Marketing Coordinator at LeadIQ. She graduated from the University of New Hampshire in May 2019 with a B.S. In Business Administration: Marketing and a minor in Sales. She specializes in SEO.

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