How to Get Outbounds Sales Emails Right: A Guide

Aashish Gururaj for Outplay


Aashish Gururaj for Outplay


August 3, 2022

How to Get Outbounds Sales Emails Right: A Guide

According to HubSpot, 81% of B2B marketers say that email newsletters are their most used form of content marketing. This should tell you how important it is to have an optimized email marketing strategy in your arsenal. 

In today’s digital world, personalization trumps everything. If you do not personalize your communication with each prospect, you can expect to see low email open rates, click rates, and certainly a low conversion rate.

Personalization is the key to high customer engagement…and this is precisely what emails can help you with. If you want to know how to incorporate emails into your cold outreach, you’re in the right place.

This article will tell you everything you need to know about outbound sales emails.

What is a cold email?

A cold email is an email you send to someone who you do not know and have never contacted. 

Unlike promotional spam emails, cold emailing is used to start conversations, not necessarily sell products or services.

Also, cold emailing is much less intrusive than cold calling. 

How to prepare for your cold email?

If you are tempted to fire off a couple of cold emails and hope something sticks, stop and prepare yourself first. Here are a few things you should do: 

Figure out your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)

Your ICP describes a section of prospects who are most likely to become valuable customers. These are companies that will significantly benefit from what you have to offer.

If you haven’t identified your ICP yet, do not start sending cold emails. Your ICP is the bedrock of your sales and marketing efforts. 

Your ICP comprises businesses that:

  • Spend the most
  • Use your product the most
  • Get the most value from your service or product

To craft your ICP template and narrow down on your Ideal Customer Profile, consider the following factors:

  • Budget
  • Company size
  • Company goals
  • Industry
  • Pain points
  • Location
  • Buying process

If you want greater insight into your ICP, consider asking your current customers:

  • How they found you
  • How were you able to help them
  • What made them decide to become your customer

Build and segment your email list

If you want to grow, you will need to generate leads. Not ANY leads. You need the right leads. These are leads that match your ICP. We recommend building your list from scratch and carefully choosing leads that match your ICP. Once you do this, you can send targeted content to your leads. 

As you know by now, you need to send personalized content to your leads. To do this correctly, you need to first segment your email list. 

In other words, break your email list into smaller ‘segments’ based on various factors (which we will list below) to give all your leads a personalized experience. You can segment your email list based on:

Customer Awareness: This refers to how aware of your brand your prospect is. Some of them are totally unaware, meaning they have no idea they have a problem. Others are aware of their problems but have no idea what the solution is. Then, you have prospects who are aware of the problem, solution, and what your brand has to offer. 

Location: You may have a variety of services and products in different places. If this is the case, you need to segment your list to tailor certain services to certain people based on their geographical location. 

Come up with an email strategy

Now that your ICP and segmented lists are ready, you need to create a strategy to send the right emails to the right profiles at the right frequency. Most campaigns consist of 3-5 emails. 

You need to craft your email campaign such that your content is consistent and relevant to each prospect from the first email to the last. The two factors that make a significant difference are frequency and rhythm.

Frequency refers to the number of emails you are sending, while rhythm or cadence refers to how you time emails. Setting the right cadence requires you to map out your customer’s journey from the opening email to conversion. 

Once you understand this, you can turn this into a template for your other prospects. 

A/B testing 

Now, it’s time to test. A/B testing is the approach of comparing one version to another. Be sure to experiment with the different components in each email - subject line, opening line, email body, Call-to-Action (CTA), etc. 

What makes an excellent cold email?

If you are reaching out to people you have never contacted, it helps to know precisely what makes a cold email that your prospects cannot resist. Here are a few characteristics of excellent sales emails: 

Short and straightforward

People do not have the time to go through emails and decipher them from start to finish. If you want your prospect to read your email and reply, you need to keep it short and crystal clear. Avoid word stuffing, space out your sentences, and tell them exactly what you want. 

This holds true for both - the subject line and the email body because most of your prospects will read your emails on their phones. Keep it short. 


According to Campaign Monitor, “74% of marketers say targeted personalization increases customer engagement.”

As we’ve mentioned multiple times in this article, personalization is critical. The last thing you want is your prospect to think that you’ve sent the exact same email out to thousands of people. 

They want content tailored to them because they want to know that you care about their problems and that you can solve them. 


In some ways, relevance and personalization go hand-in-hand. You can only create content that is relevant to your prospect if it is personalized. Make sure every component of your email is relevant to your prospect.

If you were to send them a random subject line that may have nothing to do with their situation, they may not even open the email. 

Grammatically correct

This one is a no-brainer. If you want to come across as authentic, do not make any grammatical errors. Use a tool like Grammarly or Grammarcheck to proofread your emails. 

Structure of a cold email

Well-written, well-structured emails that trigger curiosity emails tend to do well. Here’s what the structure of a sales email looks like: 

Subject line

Your email’s subject line is critical. The quality of your subject line will determine the chances of getting your email read in the first place. Your subject line must:

  • Be short (especially since they are probably reading your email on their phones)
  • Be relevant
  • Trigger curiosity 

A good subject line causes your prospect to want to read the rest of the email. So, make sure it does not come across as ‘sales-y’ or ‘promotional’.

Here are a few examples:

  • (Mutual connection) referred me to you. 
  • I loved your piece on (insert topic)
  • Have you considered (suggestion)?

Opening line

Your opening line needs to grab attention. Just like your subject line, your opening line should be succinct, add value, and be relevant.

Being overly general and unoriginal with your email opening lines will not grab your prospect’s attention. Instead,

  • Send them a compliment
  • Mention a mutual connection
  • Specify a shared background

Here are some examples to illustrate each of the above points:

  • Hey (name), I loved your speech at (event)
  • (Mutual connection) suggested I talk to you
  • I see you are also into (mention common interest or background)

Email body

Just like with the subject and opening lines, you need to personalize your email body. You need to convey what value you can bring to the table instead of sending them a generic pitch. Your email body should include answers to the following questions:

  • Why are you contacting them?
  • How can you help them?
  • How did you help a competitor or another client?
  • What are the benefits of working with you?

We shall illustrate this in an example later in the next section. Feel free to ask questions that can help you better understand your prospect’s situation and how you can help them. 

Closing statement

Your closing line should be crystal clear and include a CTA. This CTA could be a quick call, a demo, an appointment, or anything else. However, make sure you add a CTA to get your prospect to do something after having read your pitch.

Examples are: 

  • Do you have time for a quick call on Tuesday?
  • If you have any questions, feel free to reply to this email


Sign off with your name and relevant contact information like your phone number and a link to your LinkedIn or Facebook.

Templates for sales emails

There are several templates you can experiment with as you craft your sales email. Here are a couple you can start with: 

Template 1

Subject Line: Thought this might help you! 

Hey (Name), 

I found your recent post on (insert topic) where you mentioned you had trouble with (insert challenge).

Here’s a (post, blog, or any other information) that may help you. Hope you find it useful.

Feel free to contact me if you’d like to discuss it further.

(Your name)
(Contact information)

Template 2

Subject Line: This will take you less than 30 seconds! 

Hey (name), 

This will take you literally 30 seconds to read, and it will be worth your time.

As a (insert your job title) at (your company), I’ve managed to help (your prospect’s competitors) solve (insert pain points). I have no doubt that we can do the same for you.

Do you have time for a 15-minute call tomorrow? Even if we don’t end up working together, we can help you with (insert smaller challenge), and it will be worth your time.

(Your name)
(Your contact information)

Mistakes to avoid while writing sales emails

A significant part of writing excellent emails is avoiding the mistakes that everybody else is making. Here are the most common mistakes to avoid while writing sales emails: 

Weak opening lines

If there’s a sure-fire way to make sure your prospect DOES NOT read your sales email, it’s by using a weak subject line and opening line. Being unoriginal, wordy in your language, not personalizing your content, and ultimately not bringing your prospect any value will cause your prospect to ignore your email. 

Generic emails

Your sales email has to look like you are talking to the prospect, not promoting a product you hope just anybody will pick up. If you do not personalize your emails for each prospect, you will not be able to sell them anything. 

Not proofreading your sales emails

If you send a sales email with a ton of grammatical mistakes in it, your prospect will not take it seriously. A well-written and well-formatted email tell your prospect that you are professional and know what you are doing.

A poorly written sales email, on the other hand, destroys your credibility. 

Not including a CTA

If you have done a good job grabbing and holding your prospect’s attention with valuable, personalized, relevant content in a well-formatted email but do not give them a CTA, you will lose them.

After all, your entire pitch builds up to the action that you want your prospect to take. Is the action:

  • Booking a quick call or a demo?
  • Replying to your email with questions?
  • Purchasing a product with your link? 

Decide on a CTA and be sure to include it in your sales email. 

Best practices to write excellent sales emails

Now that you know what mistakes to avoid, here are a few practices to follow when you are writing sales emails: 

1. Personalize

If you guessed personalization, you were right. We’ve been harping on personalizing your emails as if it were the most important thing…because IT IS! 

Everyone you reach out to wants to know that you are interested in helping them solve their problems. You will not be able to do this unless you tailor your solutions to each potential customer. 

You need to be able to answer the following questions that the prospect will have:

  • Why me?
  • Why now?
  • Why should I care?

2. Grab attention with your subject line

Crisp, playful, and engaging subject and opening lines that tell the story will get your prospects’ attention. If your prospect is getting 100s of emails a day, how are you going to stand out? Use your subject line and opening line to grab their attention. 

3. Write an elevator pitch

You need to be able to explain what value you are going to give your prospect in one simple sentence. If you do not have an elevator pitch ready, write one immediately. 

4. Highlight the benefits

The elevator pitch is a start. However, the prospect still needs to know why they should care about what you have to offer. In other words, they need to know the benefits of working with you. Highlight the benefits in bullet points in such a way that the prospect can understand them at first glance. 


There you have it - a quick, digestible guide to outbound sales emails. Personalized sales emails are the key to increased customer engagement, increased open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates. If you want to simplify your email outreach efforts, consider giving us our email outreach tool.


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