Sell to Win

16 B2B cold email templates that sales experts swear by

Cody Slingerland
Senior Contributor, Sell to Win
Cody Slingerland
Senior Contributor, Sell to Win
b2b cold email templates best sales outreach templates

Generating valuable responses from cold emails can be tough if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Simply sending out a generic sales email to a list of prospects is bound to return poor results. Effective (i.e., non-creepy) personalization with a touch of originality is the key to standing out in B2B sales.

But what’s the best way to do that?

When you’re building or refining your own email prospecting strategy, it helps to see first-hand how others have done it successfully. That’s why we compiled this list of B2B cold email templates that sales and marketing pros have used in their own businesses.

We posed the following question to 16 experts:

What’s the best cold email you’ve ever received or sent, and why did it work?

Take a look at their responses below and learn the cold email tactics that they've used to hook more customers

.Note: Click the title of each email to view it. Some of the names in the emails have been removed or changed to protect their privacy.

P.S.: Hate your current CRM? Still working off spreadsheets? Register for our "Intro to Nutshell" live demo and see why sales teams love us!

Jump ahead to:

Prospecting cold email templates to secure a call, meeting, or demo

The compliment / benefit / time / help email

Zachary Rose, CEO at Zack Academy, writes:

Here’s my hindsight dissection of why this email resonated with me:

  • He started out by telling me how awesome I am, and who doesn’t want to hear that?! A COMPLIMENT that is indirect and concise goes a long way.
  • In two sentences he summed up his entire operation and made it 5th-grade-easy for me to understand their model and how I could BENEFIT from working with them.
  • He set the expectation of how much TIME I would need to invest to learn more about how we could work together.
  • HELP is something every human has a soft spot for. We love being helped and we love doing the helping. It makes both people in the transaction feel important.

To summarize: COMPLIMENT, BENEFIT, TIME, and HELP are what made this email pop. I responded within three days and have been a client ever since.

Zachary Rose
CEO at Zack Academy

The "two things you should fix" email

Forster Perelsztejn, Head of Acquisition at, says:

Writing sales emails is my job, so I’m not easily impressed. But this email I got not so long ago was a masterpiece of targeting and scalability. Because that’s what a good sales email template is all about: scaling a tedious process while getting it just right.

Why is this email awesome?

  1. The subject line is personalized and establishes a link between people from both companies
  2. The first sentence establishes a clear link between you and the company
  3. Matt inserts a humorous line, which is always good if it’s short and in good taste
  4. He gets to the point and singles out your company while teasing the why
  5. He offers value and personalization by mentioning improvement possibilities
  6. The call to action is clear and easy to respond to

Note: Sumo is big enough that they don’t have to worry about providing social proof in the first email, which might not be your case if you’re a smaller company.

Forster Perelsztejn
Head of Acquisition at

The bear gif email

Jonathan Grana, Co-founder & CEO at Interseller, says…

This template has approximately a 16% reply rate as the last message in a sequence. Very often these emails will result in a meeting or to being forwarded to the decision maker.

It’s important to show some personality in your emails to remind people that there is a human on the other end of that thread, but make sure to avoid the cliche of eaten by alligators.

Jonathan Grana
Co-founder & CEO at Interseller

The good reviews email

Laura Burget, Business Development at Influitive, says:

This template works great as a first touch in the commercial segment, largely I believe because of how specific the identification of the pain point is, as well as the customization.

Screenshots are a fantastic way to show that you have done your homework and also communicates a story quickly for a prospect, allowing us to not just send over a wall of text.

Also, including some of their competitors who are customers of ours is another great way to grab their attention.

My approach is always to come in with an opinion/observation of a prospect’s current state, and then offer up insight into how we can help them hit their targets and grow their business.

Laura Burget
Business Development at Influitive

The rap video email

Jeremy Leveille, Sr. Business Development Specialist at LeadIQ, says…

I sent this email to a super targeted list of prospects in Atlanta. Here’s the video I sent them.

I booked a meeting using that email. Here’s what they said:

The email is all about targeting sales leaders in Atlanta who meet our ideal customer profile— the type of account most likely to buy from us and get value from our product. This would be tech companies with between 50-500 employees, based in the U.S.

It’s an Atlanta theme. I’m lip syncing the song, “Welcome to Atlanta” while wearing an Atlanta Hawks throwback jersey, then I have a quick value prop that adds value but is conversational, concise and non-salesy and end it by name dropping two customers we have in Atlanta—since the prospect is also in Atlanta they probably know those companies.

Jeremy Leveille
Sr. Business Development Specialist at LeadIQ

Bonus tip #1:

I’m not sure of the best cold email I ever received, but I’ll tell you what’s worked lately—a well thought-out, well researched, simple and concise question.

It starts a conversation instead of going in for the kill right away, it’s easy for me to respond to which is low effort, and it shows you did your research so it’s relevant.

Let the conversation and pitch flow from there. It’s as easy as just starting with a simple question. Better yet, make it a flattering question or something close to an area they enjoy, and build the relationship first while simultaneously getting qualifying info.

Max Altschuler, Founder & CEO of Sales Hacker

The "you're a big deal" email

Josh Slone, Content Marketing Manager at LeadFuze, says…

One of the best recent cold emails we received was a great example of B2B personalization. Here are a five reasons why I loved it and one critique:

Number One: The subject line and the first sentence pair nicely to prompt the open. With the majority of email users being able to read the first several words of your actual email, this sender knew that we would not only see the subject line, but also “…you’re kind of a big deal.”

Number Two: The sender knows his audience. A SaaS startup is (likely) going to appreciate a good gif. Ron Burgundy is a hilarious, yet thoughtful choice that continues the “big deal” theme.

Number Three: The “big deal” theme itself. Mentioning your customers more than you mention yourself is a rule that is broken all the time in cold email outreach. This email starts with LeadFuze and ends with how LeadFuze + my company could equal great results.

Number Four: The proof. Just saying something isn’t enough. This has an image that shows us at #1, proving it. I can say you’re awesome all day, but if I can’t make that compliment touch reality in some way, it’s worthless smoke.

Number Five: The way the benefit was introduced. “I don’t have a single customer at #1 that isn’t utilizing their positioning across all of their marketing channels.” Nice.

One Critique: Going straight for the call. If it’s a cold email, your goal is a response. You do that by offering something the reader (if interested) can’t refuse. Any market-leading B2B company wants to know what they can do to build on their success, but many won’t want to hop on a call right away. Something that enticed the reader to click the reply button (a case study or webinar) would have been more welcome.

Josh Slone
Content Marketing Manager at LeadFuze

The Starbucks gift card email

Dave Parsons, Field Marketing Manager at Donatos Pizza, says…

What’s funny about the above email is that I immediately went and checked my mailbox, and lo and behold, there was the Starbucks card. So I replied to Molly with:

OK, Molly… I just got my mail today and wouldn’t you know it there was the Starbucks card.

So, I decided to go use it and then do some research on your company while I enjoyed a Java Chip Frappuccino.  I watched the video about what you guys do and then scrolled through as many pages on the website as possible to see what I could find out about this brilliant person who lured me in with free coffee.  LOL

Anyway, I’ll summarize by saying that if you were to connect with someone at Donatos about this, it would be Erin Corrigan, our digital manager.  Our company is in the beginning stages of developing a loyalty program that will work with our in-house POS and website, so I’m not sure what direction we will end up going and also how that works with outside vendors.

Just wanted to give you a response and thank you for the coffee.


She totally lured me in and got the information that she wanted, all for a $5 Starbucks gift card and a first class stamp. Well done, Molly!

Dave Parsons
Field Marketing Manager at Donatos Pizza

The friendly / flattery / relevant email

Laura V. Lopuch, Email Conversion Engineer at, says…

This is the cold email format that I used to attract a $20,000 client for my business, and get another client a 33% uplift in replies on their recent cold email campaign.

This cold email worked really well, thanks to three key points:

  1. Friendly: Cold emails fall prey to the stiff, formal biz talk. That makes your cold email reader want to gag. We’re social beings and we want to connect with a breathing, live person! Let your cold email reader see your personality in your email and chances are, they’ll reply. In this email, I used friendly, casual language.
  2. Flattery: This email starts off with a compliment to warm up my reader, showing that I’m a pro because I did my research on his company. This isn’t a fly-by-night cold email. This is a highly-targeted, relevant cold email, making it more persuasive.
  3. Relevant: In paragraphs #4 and 5, I explain how I benefit and help them accomplish their business goals. My reader doesn’t have to connect the dots between what I do and how it’s relevant to him and his job, because I explain exactly how I can make his job easier or make him look awesome to his boss.
Laura V. Lopuch
Email Conversion Engineer for SaaS + Startups at

The ferret email

Jon Buchan, Director of Charm Offensive, says:

So many cold email approaches fail because they go straight to persuasion.

The very first line starts with something like, “We’re the best people in the world at X…We’ve worked with X client and our groundbreaking X technology is a world’s first…”

YUCK! Of course, that gets deleted!

Your job is to sell the idea that a call or meeting with you is not a bad idea. Not to give every little detail—or to sell your entire offering in one go. Those steps come later.

Dave Trott talks about this when discussing effective advertising. Imagine for a moment that you wanted your other half to make you a cup of tea or coffee. First, you need to make impact.

“CATH!” That gets her attention.

The communication is next. “Cath, will you make me a cup of tea?”

However, that’s not very persuasive. So how about: “If you make me a cup of tea, I’ll take the trash out.”

The same rule applies to cold emails or any form of effective advertising. You need to make impact first. Then communicate. Then persuade.

You need to stand out.

Your prospect likely gets a ton of other letters and emails (and cold calls)—and they all look and read the same.

You need to make IMPACT. Without that, it doesn’t matter how good your communication is. It doesn’t matter how persuasive you are. It doesn’t matter how good your product or service is.

Most people think persuasion is the most important. They focus on using specific words and formulas and forget they’re writing to a human.

But you’re not trying to beat a machine at chess.

You need to get a reaction. A bite. A nod. A smile. A laugh.

You need people to actually see and read and listen before you can communicate and persuade.

Being able to cut through—especially if it’s done in a unique or clever way—is persuasive in itself.

Jon Buchan
Director of Charm Offensive

The "no extra work" email

Greg d’Aboville, Head of Growth at WisePops, says…

Here’s what we liked about the email:

  • The email’s target was precise: we did use Groove
  • The email is personalized: they used our first name and company name throughout the email
  • Their copy is very good: we experienced the problems they mentioned in their email
  • They reassured us about the transition and the pricing

We tried their solution right away!

Greg d’Aboville
Head of Growth at WisePops

The partnership email

Laurentiu Bancu, Marketing Manager at Paymo, says…

Here’s why this email worked:

  • It was an email about our target market: “creative freelance professionals”
  • Even if people lie about their numbers sometimes, 220,000 was a very attractive figure 🙂
  • It’s obvious that the guy sending me the email did his homework: “managing projects” is an issue for the freelancers and Paymo is in the business of helping people manage their projects
  • The sender, Damien, didn’t try to sell me something from the get-go; he proposed a partnership
Laurentiu Bancu
Marketing Manager at Paymo

The short and direct email

Ben Slater, VP Growth at Beamery, says:

Here’s why it worked:

Short, to the point and relevant, this email hit on the pains that a Head of Marketing typically has (i.e., lead generation), provides a solution and gives reference points to our industry (HR Tech).

Relevance is the key here. People often spend hours personalizing emails, but something that is relevant to a prospect’s pain will always win out.

Ben Slater
VP Growth at Beamery

Bonus tip #2:

The best cold email I received was super simple. I had gotten a few emails from a rep and ignored them. Then one day, I got the following:

“pretty please”

That’s all it said. It was simple, human, and creative. I took the call based on creativity. Honestly, I was not his ideal customer profile and I told him. I let him know what I do, sales training, and told him he had carte blanche to call me any time to ask for sales advice. He’s done it a few times. It’s been a nice business relationship.

Richard Harris, Owner of The Harris Consulting Group


16 Cold Email Templates That Sales Experts Swear By

Learn the email tactics that B2B sales pros use to hook their customers.

16 B2B Cold Email Templates

B2B cold email templates for outreach and relationship building

The link building email

Gregory Golinski, SEO Manager at YourParkingSpace, writes:

I thought it was so funny and crazy, that it made me want to add them to our page. Of course, this outreach email wouldn’t work with everybody. You can’t send this kind of email to a governmental organization, for instance.

But in some cases, humour can be a powerful tool. You just need to know who you’re speaking to.

Gregory Golinski
SEO Manager at YourParkingSpace

The backlink swap email

Ben Goldstein, VP of Marketing at Nutshell, says:

Anyone who does content marketing for a living understands what a pain in the ass it can be to secure backlinks to your content from reputable sites. As a result, it’s a task that often gets neglected. (Creating new content is far more exciting than going around begging people to link to it, after all.)

So if someone comes to me offering a backlink, and it’ll only cost me two minutes of my life, I’m jumping on it. That’s the idea behind this email, anyway—and so far, it’s worked pretty well.

There are two reasons this email template has been so successful for me:

  1. I make my ask as simple as humanly possible. I explain where I’d like my link to appear—not just on which page, but where on that page, specifically—and I provide a suggested line for how it should be presented. Cut-and-paste. Boom.
  2. I give the recipient a say in how I’ll reciprocate. As I mention in the email, I’ll link back to any content they choose, and I explain how we can work together to give that backlink the most impact. And again, I’m taking as much effort off of their plate as possible.

So, two minutes to gain something you might pay an “SEO consultant” $650 for—who’s going to say no to that?

Ben Goldstein
Content Marketing Manager at Nutshell

The newsletter reply email

Ruben Gamez, Founder of Docsketch, says…

The best cold email I’ve ever sent got me featured on The approach was actually pretty simple. This was a while ago but at the time we released some interesting research on winning vs. losing sales proposals.

Instead of sending the typical cold email I sent a real email reply as a newsletter subscriber/reader to a few sites where I wanted to get covered. (In the example above, I replied to an Inc. newsletter, so the subject line was theirs.)

It was a very short email that starts with praise, includes targeted tease (he’s a sales guy, so the research was very relevant), and only asks for feedback. Here was his response:

Interestingly enough, just a few days ago I received this exact style of cold email pitching a guest post on our blog. I get a ton of cold emails for guest posts but usually don’t say yes. In this case, it was such a good pitch I had to say yes. It felt warm—even though it was completely cold.

Ruben Gamez
Founder of Docsketch

The "perfect match" article pitch email

Margo Aaron, Founder of That Seems Important, says:

Most people tell you to pitch a few ideas to an editor. I can’t come up with ideas for my life. Because I’m a writer, I always start with a piece I have written already and then look around for places where it might be a good fit for their audience.

It doesn’t matter if you have the piece already or not—it matters that you have a MATCH.

There has to be a match between what you’ve written (and how it’s written), what that outlet produces, and what their audience wants.

There is no way to shortcut this. You need to be familiar with what that outlet publishes and what kind of audience they target. My readers and subscribers tend to be more educated, so I look for publications that clearly target a well-read crowd who self-identify as smart and cultured.

Once I have my article and my publication, I search for the “masthead” so I can get the names of the editors. Sometimes their emails are public, other times I need to stalk them on LinkedIn, Rapportive, Twitter, and their website.

8 out of 10 times, I can find their email. If I can’t, I move on deciding it wasn’t meant to be.

This time, I was shocked to discover Ryan Holiday was the editor of the section I wanted to pitch. This was awesome since I’m a fan but also terrible since I’m a fan.

As I drafted my pitch, I forced myself to answer: What’s in it for them? Why would an editor care about an unknown writer and WANT this piece?

What’s the #1 thing a publication wants? VIEWERS.

I had to convince them that I could deliver. I have basically no audience so that wasn’t going to work. I had to think outside the box.

I made sure to earmark all the places in my article that the Observer could add backlinks to their own pieces—saving them a LOT of time and indicating I’d done my homework.

These editors are busy and are used to being screamed at and spoken to by entitled PR people who don’t do their homework. So I added this line at the end:“If you think it’s not a good fit, not a problem, I will find it a home elsewhere. It’s a privilege to get the opportunity to write you.”

Ryan never responded. But his editorial assistant did, saying Ryan had passed along my piece and they wanted to publish it—which was good enough for me.

They got back to me within a day and the piece went live. I sent a Thank You email to Ryan expressing my gratitude for being admitted and used Ramit Sethi’s “No response necessary” tip (and I meant it).

I got this in response:

“My pleasure. Hit us up if you have more


Margo Aaron
Founder of That Seems Important


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