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Sales Development

How to write 5 kick ass emails too irresistible to delete

Jacco van der Kooij

Written by Jacco van der Kooij

Founder, Winning by Design


Of the 200 emails decision makers get per day – how many does she delete before reading more than the subject + teaser? Here’s how you, as a sales rockstar, rise above the noise to have your emails read.

If you want busy people to pay attention and ultimately pay you $$$, keep reading.

Keep it short – real short

No one has time to read your novella email. Heck – only 62% of you read past the headline of this article.

Here’s the problem

I’ve seen a lot of new sales reps blast out really long emails. That’s not what sales is about. Sales is about being personal, building relationships through education and helping solving your customer’s problems.

Keep it short and sweet. Most emails are read on mobile. If your customer has to swipe up, or sees a big block of text – it’s not getting read. If nothing else – split that 6 paragraph email into 6 separate emails focusing on 1 key benefit in each.

The Best Subject Line

Write for your customer, not for your product features. Start your subject line with “Your…” or their first name to see an immediate 20% improvement on open rates. Measure it.

But here’s the secret.

Being persistent is better than the best subject line. When leveraged the right way, persistent follow up is the easiest change you can make to earn more meetings and close deals. And it’s barely any extra work. (We cover this at the end.)

It takes 5-12 touch points to make contact with 80% of your business – most stop after 3 or 4. –James Oldroyd

Remember you’re reaching out to a real human. Keep it specific to their role/location/challenges. Volume isn’t a sales strategy – the goal is to be valuable.

Pique their curiosity and they’ll begin to remember you in a positive light and want to speak to you.

Keep it personal: The 10-80-10 rule

This is it: the 10-80-10 rule. First, use a template but keep your sales rockstar creativity to spice it up. 80% of your email is already written, 2 minutes saved per email – boom.

Ready for your conversion rate to go platinum?

Personalize the first and last 10% of your email. This is where the n00bs get left behind.

If your customer is going to invest 15-20 seconds reading your email, make sure they know you took time to learn about them and what they care about.

Be Valuable

You know what the customer thinks about 20 times a day? Themselves. Do you think they have 15 minutes to talk to a sales person? Hell no.

But they do have plenty of time to speak with an expert who will help them.

Your job isn’t to lead the ‘horse’ to water. Your job as a sales professional is to make them thirsty. – Tom Freese

Help them solve a problem and educate them about potential solutions – that’s what you’re good at, and that’s what they need you for.

Create templates that are specific for each type of persona you’re reaching out to. Are you selling SDN solutions to an IT Director? Their challenges are different than a CIO, or a VP of Sales.

If you blanket them with the same message, you’re doing it wrong. Show that you value their time and keep it specific to how their life will be better after an email from you.

Here’s How – Sales Drip Campaigns

For your initial outreach to lower tier prospects, link together a few emails to go out automatically. You hyper-personalize the first one, and the customer will now get automated follow ups specific to what they care about.

5×5 Method

Set up a targeted sales drip campaign. DO NOT SEND THE SAME EMAIL TO ALL OF YOUR PROSPECTS. Specialize your outreach based on your customer’s persona (i.e. VP, Director or C-level). Keep your emails short with a strong call-to-action.

Here’s an overview on how to frame your 5×5 emails:

  1. Introduction: Send a couple lines to your prospect to introduce yourself and how she will benefit from what your company does. Remember, customers buy benefits not features. 
  2. Provide Value: Share a piece of content that educates your customer and makes her better at her job.
  3. Offer Help: Because you know her persona, ask the prospect what her goals are in relation to the top 3 benefits you’ve helped people like her accomplish. Share 1 more piece of valuable content.
  4. Engage for Feedback – ask about the content you sent over – was it helpful? You’ve now established yourself with some credibility.
  5. The Ask: You’ve earned it after providing a bit of value. Do you have 15 minutes for a call next Tuesday afternoon?

Depending on how qualified the prospect is, vary the number of days between each email – a good rule of thumb is 5 emails over two weeks sprinkled with phone calls and social engagement.

Sales is a process. Rock it.


Example: Introduction email


Subject: Jill, your improved sales workflow

Body: Hi Jill,

Congrats on the recent round of Series C funding! I was prompted to reach out as I work with 15+ VP of Sales like you every week as they plan to scale their team.

In a nutshell, {{my_company}} helps sales teams gain visibility into what’s working without throwing a wrench into their workflow.

Are you free for a 15 minute phone call next Tuesday afternoon? I’d like to discuss how we help other great Bay Area companies like Acme, Dunder Mifflin and Gotham Enterprises collaborate to share best practices to crush their sales goals.



Did I miss anything? Any success stories? Leave a message below.