B2B sales. The right way.

Cold email extreme makeover – how to rewrite your pitch to get more replies


Cold emails seem easy to write, but you realise it’s not that simple once you start doing it. It’s not intuitive at all, because it’s not just another email – it has to be designed to get attention. You want to be as straightforward as possible, while still including all the information that’s valuable to the recipient. That’s why I have guidelines for improving cold email. To show you how to make a pitch better, I prepared an example of a bad one that I’m going to re-write. Let’s get to it.

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Check out this pitch

Think about how it makes you feel. Our imaginary salesguy is Jim Smith from Smith Digital, an international Software-as-service company, targeting software development companies as his new clients. Bear with me, it’s really terrible.

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Dear [Name]

My name is Jim Smith and I’m responsible for outreaching potential clients at Smith Digital. Our company, originally from London, provides productivity software for companies worldwide. The quality of our software is unbeatable and, once you sign a deal with us, your company can reach peak performance.Let me tell you more about our company. Founded in London in 2010, it has grown amazingly over the years. We have clients all over the world. With 500 people on our team, Smith Digital is sure to get the job done. I wanted to tell you about our service, the Smith Platinum. It’s our most extensive package, where we include everything you need to make improve task execution – calendars, task lists, notes, etc. All in one, handy tool. Please check out our enclosed offer if you wish to know more. We offer competitive pricing and highest quality available. Let me know anytime soon if you’re interested. 

Regards

Jim Smith

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I chose a pitch where almost everything is wrong to show my point. It’s actually more an essay about Jim’s company, because it misses the main goals of writing a pitch:

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  • getting them interested (instead of aiming to sell in the first email)
  • showing that he’s likeable and straightforward 
  • recognizing a pain and proposing a solution
  • including only the most important information
  • effectively calling to action

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A lot to achieve with one e-mail. How can we make Jim’s pitch better, so it doesn’t look like this cute guy below wrote it?
resized_business-dog-meme-generator-i-sent-you-an-e-mail-to-let-you-know-i-sent-an-e-mail-4012b0

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You have to be likeable

First things first – I can’t remember when was the last time I read a long email. I’d rather just write back “too long; didn’t read”. And I definitely wouldn’t like someone who thinks I have time to go through pages of information, just to see if I want to buy their software.

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All that salesy praise for Jim’s company makes him look bad. Pitches should be focused on the person receiving them. Look what happens to this pitch after we leave only important stuff:

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“Dear [Name]

 My name is Jim Smith […}Smith Digital. Our company provides productivity software for companies worldwide.[…]one, handy tool. Let me know anytime soon if you’re interested. 

 Regards,

Jim Smith”

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Secondly, the way he writes tells a lot about him. He should keep it simple and not be salesy or business-like. He’s talking to a person, so it’s best to be human. With that in mind, let’s see what Jim should write about.

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Who’s Jim?

The person getting Jim’s email should see who’s writing them first. Forget long descriptions – they’ll ask for or find more information if they’re interested. So let’s mention his name and company in the introduction. We’ll add a product description in the next paragraph. 

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My name is Jim Smith and I’m responsible for outreaching potential clients at Smith Digital.

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I’m Jim from Smith Digital.

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After that comes the reason for writing this e-mail. Jim didn’t add it, which is a huge mistake. He has to show that he’s already familiar with the company, researched it and knows there might be a business fit. No selling yet, at this point he’s trying to get attention.

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I noticed {company} when looking for companies that often do a lot of projects at the same time, and I believe you might find use for our software.

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What can he do for the company?

Next we’ll help him brag about Smith Digital’s product and portfolio, doing it in the nicest way possible. We’ll switch the focus to him, but only mention information that’s important to software house decision makers. Let’s mention some customer opinions about his product (recipients will probably appreciate it), and results of using it (more credibility).

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Our company, originally from London, provides productivity software for companies worldwide. The quality of our software is unbeatable and, once you sign a deal with us, your company can reach peak performance. Let me tell you more about our company. Founded in London in 2010, it has grown amazingly over the years. We have clients all over the world. With 500 people on our team, Smith Digital is sure to get the job done. I wanted to tell you about our service, the Smith Platinum. It’s our most extensive package, where we include everything you need to make improve task execution – calendars, task lists, notes, etc. All in one, handy tool.

My team helps companies boost their productivity, we did it for software houses like Huge Inc. and Gigantic Corp helping them finish projects quickly. It’s simple to use and helpful.

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Call to action

We will end his message by adding something to show that he doesn’t mess around, he’s already willing to take action and is confident enough to discuss business in person. 
 
He should ask a question they can say “yes” or “no” to, so the addressed person can easily decide whether to contact him or not. Something like “would it be a waste of time to discuss how we could help you?” or a proposition of time for a meeting or call. 

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Let me know anytime soon if you’re interested.

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Are you free for a 15-minute skype tommorrow to discuss how we could help you?

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For awesome tips on writing the perfect CTA, check out this post by Cathy Patalas @Woodpecker.co.

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This is the new version of Jim’s pitch

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Hi {firstname},

I’m Jim from Smith Digital. I noticed {company} when looking for companies that often do a lot of projects at the same time, and I believe you might find use for our software.

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My team helps companies boost their productivity, we did it for software houses like Huge Inc. and Gigantic Corp helping them finish projects quickly. It’s simple to use and helpful.

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Are you free for a 15-minute skype tommorrow to discuss how we could help you?

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Best Regards,

Jim Smith

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Looks good

But converts even better. It’s only a draft, but Jim would definitely be happy about the response rate of his fresh pitch. If you want better conversion, follow the same advice:

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  • don’t be fake and salesy
  • keep it short and straightforward:
  • target (why them?)
  • pain (potential areas you can help in), 
  • solution (how you would help)
  • end with a call to action they can say “yes” or “no” to
  • focus mainly on the recipient 
  • don’t try to make a sale in the first email – it’s purpose is to get attention

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Measure results and try different ideas

You address different people and results won’t always be the same. Always adapt to gradually get more leads from your campaigns. If the pitch isn’t working on your target, iterate. Put a joke in, change your style or try a totally different value proposition. Use any feedback you get to guide you.
 
Measure results and keep improving your pitches, you’ll definitely see growing conversion rates. And remember: with great conversion rates comes a great customer base. :)



  • http://replyapp.io/ Oleg Campbell

    Great article, thanks a lot! I also use the same tecnique for both our cold email campaigns and out customers’. Brief, clear and a bit humorous emails work the best, you are right. If you want, you can check out my best practice templates for cold emailing here: http://replyapp.io/blog/emails-follow-ups-best-practices/

    • Piotr Zaniewicz

      Thanks Oleg. You’re right, short & sweet is the key. Thanks for the article, nice practical approach :)