Why Your B2B Cold Sales Email Didn’t Work – #001

I get a lot of cold email from B2B sales professionals pitching their products and services.

Some are good and catch my attention. However, the majority of them are bad…very bad.

I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve read – when I do read them – a sales email and thought to myself “Who approved this?!” right before swiftly deleting it.

To shed some light on what resonates and what doesn’t from a recipient’s point of view, we’re starting a new series here on the Crunchbase blog appropriately named “Why Your B2B Cold Sales Email Didn’t Work.”

The point of this series is to take you inside the mind of someone who receives cold sales emails and highlight the good, the bad, and the ugly. Ultimately, the goal of this series is to help you optimize your email outreach.

With that, let’s get right into our first sales email analysis of the series.

Before we get into why this email doesn’t work, let’s first touch on the things that do work.

The good

  • Readable copy: An email isn’t meant to be a long diatribe of why someone should use your product or service. This email does a good job of making the copy easy to read by using short sentences and paragraphs. Plus, the ask is clear.
  • Email length: As a general rule of thumb, shorter emails that are succinct tend to perform better than longer emails. This email is short and gets right to the point. The shortness of the email enables me to clearly see what the sender is trying to convey.

Now that we’ve touched on the good, let’s take a look at the bad. Brace yourself, there’s a lot going on.

The bad

  • SPAM alert: The first glaring problem with this email is that Gmail sees it as SPAM. While Gmail’s SPAM filter isn’t perfect, it’s up to you and your team to understand what is deemed SPAM and what isn’t so you can minimize the chances of your emails getting flagged.
  • Lack of clarity: The sender mentions that she checked out my profile, but which one? LinkedIn? Twitter? One of the other zillion websites where I have a profile? Not mentioning the actual profile leads me to believe this is a canned email – likely a mass email – and the sender didn’t actually do their due diligence.
  • Multiple call-to-actions: A general rule of thumb for email is to have one clear call-to-action. The double ask at the end comes across as desperate. Instead, the sender should’ve asked in the initial email if I was interested and then followed-up appropriately whether I said yes or didn’t respond.
  • Wrong audience: I’m not the right target for this kind of email. If the sender actually did some digging, they would know that. This type of irrelevant email is an instant delete.
  • No business email: If you’re looking to do business with a corporation, you should have a business email address (unless you’re a freelancer). The use of a Gmail address (redacted in the image for privacy) doesn’t exactly give me confidence in the sender as a credible business.
  • Lacking details: While shorter emails tend to perform better, the sender missed out on an opportunity to include social proof such as testimonials or some of the clients they’ve worked with. While this makes the email a hair longer, it’s valuable information that can be the difference between getting a response or the email finding its way to the trash.
  • Irrelevant subject line: It doesn’t matter how persuasive your email is, if the subject line doesn’t stop prospects in their tracks it won’t be effective. Again, this goes back to doing due diligence and knowing exactly who it is you’re reaching out to. If I was in IT, the email might have caught my attention.
  • Skip the fluff: While I love a good ninja movie, “technical ninjas” is meaningless in this context. You’re far better off saying technical experts or seasoned veterans in the IT space. Ideally, you’d back up this claim with some type of social proof (i.e. testimonial) because everyone says they’re experts.

Final thoughts on B2B cold sales email

With people receiving so many emails nowadays, you have just a fraction of a second to capture their attention and persuade them to take some kind of action.

Optimizing your sales emails is critical to maximizing your chances of breaking through the noise.

Stay tuned for the next installment in our “Why Your B2B Cold Sales Email Didn’t Work” series.

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  • Originally published May 8, 2019, updated May 5, 2023