5 Cold Email Hacks Proven to Up Your Response Rate

Guestpost by Justin McGill, founder from LeadFuze

Continuous cold outreach is the ultimate way to ensure a long and successful sales career.


Those who realize this are always on the hunt for that secret tip or “perfect” cold email template to up their game that much more. You may be one of those reps always out for the next piece of intel that helps you and your team reach quota.


Being a lifelong student in sales is an important part of success, but you can easily find yourself trying out bad advice—or never trying anything you learn.


Either way, you won’t see the kind of results that are possible until you learn a little and try a lot.  


In this post, we’ll go over the one thing that really proves your cold email outreach is working—Response Rate. Open and click through rates are great indicators when testing subject lines and content, but in sales it’s all about getting that conversation started.


Sales enablement folks should always want a response.


Our five high-level hacks are devoted to seeing the number of replies you see go up. Let’s get into it.

Hack One: Develop Standard Procedures


You probably know your funnel pretty well, have a good idea of where leads are in the decision-making process, and can blaze a trail in a demo. In other words, you have a sales process.


While these are all necessary, it’s often the top-of-funnel strategy that is lacking depth and process.


Here’s what we mean.


Your leads come in from a list or lead gen software and then you split them amongst your team either with or without a “go get ‘em team” speech. Then, there is this gap. An open void between the leads being distributed and first contact.

Your reps (or yourself) are left to troll the web for templates, tricks, and hacks (not entirely unlike our post here).

How to Develop Procedures


  • Know Your Current Performance: Get your current numbers and stats together (open rate, response rate per 100/1000 emails, etc.)
  • Research and Plan Experiments: Do research and list out potential things to try. Plan them in an organized fashion so you know what worked and what didn’t.
  • Run Your Experiments: Try out one or two things per batch of emails you send out. Take a look at the data compared to your original performance.
  • Keep and Scale What Works: If something consistently works, keep it and apply it to your outreach procedures.

Hack Two: Prospect Wisely


Going back to the idea of the very top of your process, one of the easiest ways to increase all key performance indicators (KPI’s) is to find better leads.


No, this is not another post about creating buyer personas (but you should).


This IS about using data from current and ideal customers to list out common attributes that can be sought out. Using things like industry, common roles/titles, even geographic location can improve your response and close-won rates.


Instead of pumping a large purchased list of semi-accurate data through your machine, try some targeting in the prospecting process.

How It Helps


  • Focused Copy: Using specifics in your cold emails (e.g. industry, role, geo) helps you nail the pain well and fit your solution nicely—making them more prone to respond.
  • Focused Content: The valuable content you send as part of your outreach can be that much more specific and useful for a list of pre-qualified prospects.
  • Better Personalization: You may send fewer emails this way, but each one can have a more personal touch using the key data points in your search.


Key Stat: Only one in four leads should advance to sales (source: Gleanster Research).

Hack Three: Find the Right Person (by Asking Around)


How many cold emails (at a time) are you sending to one company?


You may know that it takes several attempts to get in contact with a lead (if you don’t look at the next hack), but we’re not talking about multiple emails to one lead—but to multiple people in the same brand.


If you try any of these tips, this one should be first.


You may have an idea of the decision makers in your target market, but it’s never a one-size-fits-all answer. Companies have weird titles, different departments handle particular issues, the food chain can vary wildly from brand to brand.


Finding the right person is an obvious step in selling your product. A little known fact is that reaching out to more than one role in a particular company is a great way to get a quick response.

How to Do It


  • List Out Potential Candidates: What are a few of the typical roles that you find yourself talking to the most? Find those names, emails and numbers.
  • Don’t Send Too Many: No need to send 10 emails to the entire board of directors. Send three different people emails at most to avoid being seen as spam.
  • Direct and Innocent: Let them know who you’re looking for (the person in charge of…). Try it and you’ll get some responses and you can even name drop (“Sue said you were the one to talk to).

Hack Four: Try, Try Again


This sounds like a simple tip that has been given time and time again, but there are still way too many sales facing teams who don’t do it. The overwhelming majority of closed deals are won after multiple touch points (both email and phone).


Key Stat: 44% of sales reps only send one follow up attempt (source: Scripted).


Why then, do almost half of salespeople only send two emails?


Your first cold email is tossed by the majority. No matter how awesome your subject line is, how compelling the copy is, or how valuable the resource is—most will not open it on the first attempt.


Going back to our first hack, we need to re-express the need for a process. Having a cold email cadence will keep you on track and generate more responses for your efforts.

How to Develop a Cadence


  • Number of Attempts: During all of your testing you’ll notice that a certain number of attempts will get the highest number of responses overall.
  • Email Frequency: Along with the number of emails, the timeframe in which they are sent needs to be refined (usually between 10-21 days).
  • Types of Emails: Not all of these emails have to be Shakespeare. Some are just quick reach outs or even “break up” emails for your last attempts.
  • Put It in Your Process: This is part of the “developing procedures”, but it stands alone to help reps get responses.

Hack Five: Get (More) Personal


Key Stat: Personalized emails improve engagement and conversions by double digits (source: Aberdeen Group).


You’ve probably heard that personalized subject lines get opened more often that those that aren’t. It’s true. But don’t let that be the end of your effort.


The more personal your entire email is, the better your response rate will be. Using the prospect’s name in the email body (maybe more than once) helps them emotionally enjoy what’s inside.


But don’t stop there.


If you’re reaching out to better quality leads, you may have a bit more time to research a little about each one. Sure, if you’re sending 1000+ emails a week it’s not worth looking everyone up on LinkedIn.


That said, if you could take just 3 minutes a lead and find a small point that could bring the email alive to them—a response is more likely.


Important: This does not mean writing a long form email. Short is always the way to go, but short and personal is bound to improve your KPI’s.

How to Get Personal


  • It’s About Psychology: Find common ground through your data. Could be a sport, hobby, etc. Mention it to them quickly, but don’t be fake.
  • It Can Be Work Related: There are often “seasons” certain industries have that you can relate to and reach out during. Farmers harvest in the fall, retailers buy Christmas goods in the summer, etc.
  • It Can Be Automated: There are advanced tools to find certain industry data and certain things can be “mass” personalized. The personal stuff, though, that takes time.




We understand that there are no shortage of tips, tricks and hacks for sales online. All that any post can do is present information. While we hope you got something from our list, we can’t ensure your success.


What will you do with the information?


Maybe you’ll have a small (but noticeable) return by using one of our tips (seriously, try #3) to meet or pad your quota for this month. Next month, you’ll come back or move on to the next hot tips.


Or perhaps you’ll set yourself up for the future and lay out your current prospecting process, figure out what can be automated and improved, and start testing different strategies that will pump better leads into your funnel and really impact your numbers for the long haul.


The ball is in your court. Either way we wish you happy hunting!


Author Bio:

Justin McGill is the Founder of LeadFuze, a platform for companies that sell business-to-business. Get 50 leads for free as part of an upgraded trial for reading this post!


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