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7 Challenges in B2B Sales That Are Actually Easy to Solve


Posted by Morgan Rose Elliott - 20 October, 2020

5 Ways to Beat Average Cold Email Response Rate

Few things in life are as unpredictable as your response rate. Prospects might reply instantly, eager to discuss the deal. Or they might ignore you for months. You never know!

But email remains the preferred channel of communication for most customers. It’s essential to find ways to achieve a better response rate.

What’s best, it’s easier than you might think. Here are five rules which will help you write irresistible sales emails:


Rule #1: It starts with a subject line

response rateSource

It doesn’t matter if your company is revolutionary if your prospect never hears about it.

More than a third of your contacts decide whether to engage with an email based on its subject line. But many salespeople choose the same bland subject lines over and over again.

            “Do you have time to talk?”

            “Can I have a minute of your time?”


Subject lines like these don’t capture enough attention for a prospect to engage with your email.

If you recognized your own approach, it’s probably a perfect moment to rethink it. 

There are many creative ways to write an attention-grabbing subject line for sales emails. A perfect subject line can make your message so intriguing, that a prospect doesn’t have a choice but to reply. Don’t ignore it.


Rule #2: Prospects reply to short emails the most

Often, the culprit behind a plummeting response rate is your email’s length.

Research shows that short emails get most replies. Response rate exceeds 50% for emails between 50 and 125 words.

To give you the right idea, these two paragraphs alone are past the 50-word mark. That’s how short your emails should be.


It’s most important on the initial steps of building a relationship with a prospect. Remember that your sales emails are unsolicited, coming from somebody that the recipient doesn’t know.

Why would they bother replying to a long email?


Rule #3: Eliminate sales clichés

Sales-speak is all the generic, bland, default replies most sales reps love to use in their messages:

Sorry to bother you…

I know you’re busy…

To be honest with you...

Phrases like these destroy the response rate to your emails.

You might not even notice when you use one of these clichés. But for a prospect who probably receives a ton of other sales emails, these are an obvious signal that you don’t care enough to come up with something new.

Try to sound like your regular self in your sales emails.

Be honest, approachable and don’t shy away from informalities.


Rule #4: Focus on your customer

Sales reps obviously benefit from replies to their emails. But what do prospects get from it?

If your sales emails focus on your company, you’re doing it wrong.

What customers want to hear is how your offer is going to improve their life.

There are two things to refocusing your emails on prospect’s needs.

Personalization emailSource

First, you have to research your prospects. Personalize each of your emails according to their needs, interests and life events. If they published a particularly great blog post, congratulations are in order.

(Email personalization can improve your response rate by 100%. It’s no wonder personalization is considered to be the most effective email strategy.)

The second thing you should do is take advantage of the reciprocity principle. It dictates that people are happy to reward behavior they like. In your case, that reward is a reply.

Offer a potential customer something useful without asking for anything in return. That could be a small thing, like a tip for one of their blog posts.

Or something bigger, like a free copy of your ebook you think they’ll be interested in.


Rule #5: Following up is essential

On average, it takes five emails to get a customer to a solid Yes. Most sales reps, however, stop after one.

That opens up a huge opportunity for you.

Start following up on each of your sales emails. If you didn’t receive a response right away, send a polite follow up 2-3 days later.

If there’s still no response, continue following up for several weeks. Don’t be rude, and keep your follow-ups as short as possible.

(As to the number of follow-ups… Opinions differ. Steli Efti, for example, recommends sending follow-ups until a prospect replies. If that’s not your jam, 5-6 attempts is a reasonable amount before you can consider that prospect to be gone.)

A disciplined approach to follow-ups can work wonders for your response rate. Don’t burn these bridges before giving a prospect a chance to cross them.



It’s hard to pin down what exactly makes a prospect reply to your email. Mastering the art of the perfect sales email can take years. But you can start right now!

The rules above will be a solid foundation for your overall sales emails strategy. Apply them to your emails, and soon, you’ll be very pleased to look at your response rate.

5 rules that will improve your sales emails response rate

  • Rule #1: It starts with a subject line
  • Rule #2: Prospects reply to short and readable emails the most
  • Rule #3: Eliminate sales clichés
  • Rule #4: Keep the focus on your customer
  • Rule #5: Following up is essential

B2B Sales eBook to Increase Revenues 

Author Bio: Steven is the Head of Content at LeadGibbon, a one-click tool for sales teams to find email addresses and other data for their leads. When he's not busy with research for his latest article, Steve is binge-watching 80s horror movies or playing pick-up basketball with friends.

Topics: B2B Sales, Sales & Marketing, B2B Marketing


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