Closing Time

How to Write Sales Email Cadences That Get Opened & Replied to

Are your sales emails getting ignored? Struggling to break through the noise in your prospect’s inboxes?

If you’re still ‘feature dumping,’ not providing value, or failing to personalize…that might be why.

In this episode of Closing Time, Kimberly Collins, VP of Strategy at #samsales Consulting, helps B2B sellers craft compelling and impactful sales email cadences that not only get opened but generate real responses from prospects.

The team at #samsales Consulting built a killer Sequence Playbook for email writing–from the first outreach through to the potential breakup–and Kimberly is here to share some highlights with us.

Watch the video:
Key Moments:
Replacing the 'Feature Dump' with the 'So What?'

Email plays a critical role in modern selling (it kind of always has). But the strategies, tools, and tactics that yielded solid results a decade ago are now landing seller’s emails in the trash.

What’s changed? New technologies that allow salespeople to streamline their outreach efforts, paired with evolving buyer preferences that emphasize the need for personalization. Sellers who put in the work to adapt to these changes will undoubtedly reap stronger results.

Kimberly and the stellar team at #samsales Consulting know how competitive today’s selling landscape is, which is why they released a sequence playbook aimed at helping sellers refine their sales cadences to cut through the noise and increase the chances of a reply.

Before even drafting an email, Kimberly emphasizes the need to research and understand your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP), their current challenges, and needs so you can better tailor emails to specific buyer personas. 

Kimberly also stresses the importance of avoiding “feature dumping,” where emails bullet point the product’s best features without addressing their significance. Instead, she advocates for focusing on the “So what” – how the product or service directly addresses the buyer’s challenges or needs.

According to Kimberly, feature dumping overwhelms recipients and fails to convey value. She suggests that effective sales emails should articulate how the offering will positively impact the buyer’s world or alleviate their problems.

It’s less about answering the question, “What do you do?” in that first email and more about articulating, “How will you solve my challenges?”

Oh, and that email template that you mass send to every prospect without editing? If you want to see real results, it’s time to level up, and it’s going to take a bit more elbow grease than what you’re likely used to.

Rather than repeating generic claims like “increase your pipeline by ten X,” sellers should dive deeper into the tangible benefits and unique value propositions for each individual buyer. The more research you do to uncover and articulate this, the more likely you are to capture their attention and, ideally, garner a response. 

How & When to Personalize with #SMYMK

Let’s say you’ve done your research, identified your buyer personas, and are ready to draft that first email. We know what you’re not going to do next–press send without personalizing. If you follow the #samsales team, you’re likely familiar with their concept Show Me You Know Me (#SMYKM).

Imagine this: You’re scrolling through your inbox, flooded with emails. How do you decide which ones to open? The key is catching someone’s attention right off the bat. That’s where SMYKM comes in. It’s about showing your prospects that you’ve done your homework and you know who they are.

Where did they go to school? Do you have any mutual connections? Were they recently on a podcast or webinar? Weave those insights from your research into that first email, especially in the subject line and opening sentence.

Then, get a bit more granular with your SMYKM by personalizing your value prop for each prospect. Kimberly shares the example of a personal trainer and an individual’s purpose for hiring one. Sure, some people might want to bulk up, while others just want to improve their fitness. But what if you’re training for a marathon? Your priorities are different. You want to avoid injury and improve endurance. That’s where personalized value comes in. As a personal trainer, you need to show me you know me – understand my goals and tailor your approach accordingly.

In sales, it’s the same story. Instead of bombarding prospects with generic pitches, focus on what matters to them. It’s not about listing a million features; it’s about honing in on the one thing that will make a difference to them. That’s the power of SMYKM – making every interaction count by showing that you truly understand your prospect’s needs and how your product or service can address them.

Hidden Objections: To Address in the Email or Not to Address?

Your buyers are busy people, and your email is likely one of a hundred sitting in their inbox unread. One of the best things you can do as a salesperson is respect your buyer’s time and remove any friction from the sales process. At the same time, you want to be memorable, provide value, and demonstrate your understanding of their world.

A great way to do this is by pre-emptively addressing potential objections in initial outreach emails. By doing so, we’re not only showing our understanding of their challenges but also proactively addressing any hesitations they might have about our product or solution.

Why is this so effective as opposed to waiting until discovery? Well, it’s because when people face change, they instinctively think of reasons not to change (also referred to as the Status Quo effect). 

Kimberly explains that the goal is to prevent prospects from disqualifying themselves prematurely. For example, if you only highlight your product’s value and benefits, even if it’s personalized to that prospect, they may immediately start thinking of all the reasons they don’t need your product or service. Maybe they already have a similar solution in place? Or they don’t have budget or time to implement something new.

Sales Initial Outbound Email Examples - Addressing hidden objections

When you acknowledge those concerns in that initial email, you help to guide the buyer through a thought process that ultimately leads to a positive response.

Now, Kimberly emphasizes one last point on this topic. The goal of these sales emails is NOT to sell your product outright. Rather, it’s to sell the meeting – to intrigue them enough that they’re eager to learn more.

We’re not providing all the answers in the email; we’re simply sparking their curiosity and interest. And when they’re excited about the possibility we present, that’s when we’ve achieved our objective.

Ideal Sales Cadence Length & Channels

An important part of your sales email cadence is the overall length, timing, and overlapping with other channels (such as phone and social). While there’s no “perfect” recipe for this, Kimberly has found that it usually takes about 15-20 touches to get a prospect’s attention.

However, it’s important not to overwhelm your prospect with excessive back-to-back emails or cold calls. Instead, aim for a strategic mix of outreach channels, with every touch providing value in some way. Since every industry, product, and persona is unique, Kimberly suggests measuring and tracking your cadence results so you can adapt to what works and what doesn’t.

In terms of timing, the #samsales team typically sees successful cadences expanding over 30-45 days and incorporating at least 10 emails. You can sprinkle in social engagement, such as thoughtfully commenting on the prospect’s LinkedIn post, along with the occasional phone call.

While not a staunch advocate of cold calling, Kimberly acknowledges its potential effectiveness when coupled with personalized email follow-ups. She explains that if cold calling works for your business, you should have a well-written, value-added SMYKM email in the queue to complement it. Either send the email before the call (ensure it has an attention-grabbing subject line that you can reference during the call) or send the email right after the call. In the latter case, you would leave a voicemail prompting the prospect to be on the lookout for an email in the next few minutes. 

By timing calls strategically, either after sending an email or concurrently, salespeople can leverage the synergy between different communication channels to enhance engagement and build rapport with prospects. 

How to Breakup With Prospects (The Right Way)

Breaking up is hard to do – in personal relationships, work relationships, and seller-to-prospect relationships.

When it’s time to wrap up a sales email cadence, Kimberly suggests incorporating a “break-up” email as a final touchpoint. But she’s not talking about those cheesy “Is this how Ross felt when Rachel stood him up on prom night” emails. She also doesn’t suggest you go-dark on your prospects as you may do in personal relationships.

Rather than abruptly ending communication, the email serves to inform the prospect that the sales rep will pause outreach due to timing concerns. Kimberly advises using this opportunity to provide value by offering relevant resources or nurturing materials tailored to the prospect’s persona.

The goal is to demonstrate continued helpfulness and value, reinforcing the message of SMYKM. Kimberly recommends including suggestions such as webinars or newsletters that align with the prospect’s interests and challenges. By maintaining a consultative approach and focusing on providing value, sales reps can leave a positive impression and keep the door open for future engagement when the timing is right.


Throw out the old, there’s a new way to write sales emails cadences
that make a real impact.
And we’re going to talk all about it in this episode of Closing Time.
Welcome to Closing Time the show for Go to Market Leaders.
My name is Chip House.
I’m the CMO at Insightly CRM, and I’m joined today by Kimberly Collins,
the VP of strategy for #samsales. Consulting, a Sales
Advisory Firm.
Welcome to the show, Kimberly.. Thank you. It’s great to be here, Chip.
So, you know, you spend a lot of time, I’m guessing,
at your company trying to help firms do a better job with email
because it’s such a big part of the selling process these days.
So I know that you produced a playbook recently,
kind of targeted at sales emails cadences and getting the most out of them.
Can you talk more about that, that book and who it’s targeted at?
So we do a lot with sales messaging and so before we can even write an email,
we have to go through so many exercises to find out what that message really is.
What’s the “So what” of our value prop?
So this playbook really walks you through that.
So what the work we need to do before we even send an email.
So knowing that “so what?” Understanding our ICP and how that
“so what” applies to that particular buyer persona
and then how we craft that email perfectly for that buyer persona
going through, then how we nurture them throughout the entire process over email.
So that’s all in this playbook.
A good, I think, 42 pages of great information in there.
And some email examples for you to use and get those emails, those sales emails
and cadences up to an incredible standard where
we can start to get data and understand the buying process a little bit better.
So you talked about the “so what?”. And I feel like it’s probably the opposite
of doing a feature dump in an email.
So I mean,. I receive a lot of emails as a CMO
and there’s feature dumping all over the place.
But how do you think about it?
I mean, what is feature dumping to you?
Why do you think salespeople do it and what you know,
how does the playbook differ from that approach?
Yeah, absolutely. And all of us, right?
All of us get sales emails, whether it’s from B2B sellers or B2C sellers.
And when we know what we like and what works and what doesn’t.
So as you said, you see a lot of feature dumping.
It’s not effective
and you’ll probably find that as well with the emails that are sent to you too.
Is that really when we just say all the things we can do,
I can do this for you,. I can do that for you.
And we put it in bullets
usually, typically, so I can do this, this, this, this, this and this.
Not only is it a bit overwhelming because you’re looking at the email and you go,
Let me look through that really quick, see if there’s anything that I want.
And moving on, it doesn’t tell you the so what of what those value props are.
So you’re telling me what you do.
You’re not telling me how it will solve my challenges.
So you can’t do that right?
With a thousand different things.
Just listing and dumping all the different things that you can do for that buyer.
You really need to find
the one or two things that’s really going to change their life.
That’s really going to solve their challenges
and let them know how you’re going to solve those challenges.
The so what the tangible ways that you’re going to impact their life
in a positive way or keep them from some incredible losses.
So it’s getting to the core of why
your product matters for that persona.
So the “so what” for one buyer
is not going to be the same as the so what for another buyer, right?
So it’s figuring out, you know, in a CMO role,
what is it unique that I’m going to do for you
and how is that going to differ from someone who’s maybe a director
of marketing or someone who’s a creative director,
even though our product can sell,
sell challenges for all those personas, how we do it in a very tangible way
is going to be different from every persona.
So thinking about the “so what” it’s getting to the true value of what you do.
And not only that, it’s helping you to sound different
than every other sales email that individuals getting.
So if you think about it this way, how many times do you get an email
that says,. I can increase your pipeline by ten X
or I can help you bring in more leads, right?
Everybody’s saying that.
So how do you say something different?
How do you say something more tangible?
And it’s exactly that I can increase your pipeline by ten X.
So what?
Why do this? So what?
And you keep asking yourself until you get to the core
of what you really do and the challenges you solve.
Makes sense.
And so, Kimberly, your firm #samsales Consulting is known
very well for what you call show me and know me.
And so how do you lean into show me and know me and
is that a big piece of what my first email should be as a part of a cadence?
So show me you know me.
We often think about it just in that first little part of the email.
How do I personalize on the individual
or on the company that I’m sending this email to?
And that is super important, right?
Because we got to catch that someone’s attention in the inbox.
We need to show them from right off the bat that we’ve done our research
and therefore we know who they are.
We know what their challenges are, and we believe that we can
solve those challenges with our products.
So that’s the goal of doing show me you know me, just in that beginning
personalization, however, the show me you know me is the entire sales process.
So it’s how we start that first outreach.
It’s even before that.
How do we prospect to make sure that we’re doing the research and we find the right
buyers, the people who truly will be interested in our product?
How do we show that in the email?
And then next is what you’re mentioning.
How do you show that in the value. Prop right?
How do you show them I know the challenges that you’re facing every single day?
We’d love to use an example, like maybe think of a personal trainer.
Everybody thinks of a personal trainer and they’re there.
And maybe it’s because you want to build muscle,
or maybe it’s because you want to get a little fitter.
But that’s not for every persona, right?
Say I come to a personal trainer and they come to me
and they say, I can make you fitter,. I can build more muscle.
And I go, Well, actually what I’m really trying to do
is just not injure myself on this marathon.
I’m going to run, right?
So understanding that the value is different for each individual,
finding that and showing them that you know them, I understand you.
I understand that you want to run marathons.
So here’s the value. I can present you as a personal trainer.
I could do a million things,
but this is the thing that’s going to be important to you.
I have heard you say before, you might even like hint
at a potential objection that they have.
And I think a lot of sellers might be afraid to do that
because they may be tipping the hat or something too early.
Yeah, absolutely.
So what you’re referring to is
what we call the forthcoming or the hidden objection at samsales.
So it’s understanding.
Again, this goes back to show me you know me, I know you as a buyer so well.
I understand your challenges so well that I actually know
what you’re most likely objection is to my product.
And what you’re saying is,
why do we do it now as opposed to doing it in the discovery process?
Or what are we doing?
Are we harming ourselves in any way by putting it out there early?
And we’re not we’re actually
protecting ourselves a little bit because when we’re presented with change,
we often begin to think of all the reasons why we shouldn’t change.
So think about the last time you were like, I should go on a diet.
Maybe just me, but you know, thinking.
And then you go, Oh, but Christmas is coming up
or the holidays are coming up, or, you know,
I might go out for this nice steak dinner.
It is natural for us to immediately begin to think
of all the reasons why we shouldn’t do something that causes us to change.
It’s just it’s called the status quo effect, right?
And so the same thing happens to our buyers.
We present them with a challenge, and you’ll see this in the playbook.
You draw them in.
So show them the challenge that they’re facing.
So they understand.. They get in the mindset to say,
That’s me, right?
I understand that challenge that I deal with that every single day.
You’re showing me, you know me.
You understand that? That’s my challenge, great.
What are you going to do about it?
You hit them with the “So what?” This is how I’m going to solve
that challenge, particularly for you in this buyer persona.
And then you go, Awesome, okay, but I don’t want to change right?
And you start to think of all the reasons why you shouldn’t do it.
But we’re not there, right?
This is over email.
We’re not there to overcome these objections, but
I don’t want the buyer to sit there and disqualify themselves.
I want to hit them with that over, overcome that objection right away, almost
before they even have it, while they’re beginning to formulate their objections.
I want to say, hey, I know you’re thinking this, but here’s why we’re better
or here’s why this is a better solution so that they and that email going like,
Oh yeah, I’m really low
because you just pointed out a challenge that sounds that I deal with every day.
And then now I’m really That’s amazing.
I’m on this roller coaster.. That’s amazing.
You can solve it all, but I don’t really want to change.
Oh, wait.
But that’s a really good reason to change, right?
So they end the email saying,. Yes, I’m interested in meeting.
And we always say this.
This is the most important thing to remember in that first email.
You are not selling the product in that email.
If you could sell the product, we don’t need you, right?
We could do it on Amazon if an email could sell a product.
We don’t need sellers right?
Yeah. You are just selling the meeting.
You’re selling the opportunity to give them more information
so we don’t need to give them everything.
We just need to get them excited enough
about the possibility, enough to where they want to meet with you.
And that’s the win.
Makes sense.
So in a sales email cadence,
Kimberly, I mean, how long should it be?
You know, I mean, clearly you want to knock every email
out of the park as much as possible, but at some point you’re going to decide,
you know, this was not a successful cadence.
So how long should it be?
What else
should be kind of part of the cadence, how many phone calls, how many LinkedIn
messages, if that’s even a thing you know, that you’re recommending?
So there’s a lot of there’s a lot of talk out there that you’re looking at
15 to 20 touches to get a prospect’s attention.
Those can’t all be over the same lever.
So you’re not going to send 15 emails,
you can send 20 emails, you’re going to make 20 cold calls,
you’re not going to do 20 social touches, right?
You want to put a little mix of some things in there that we know work, right?
At minimum, we say ten emails, right?
That’s about what we see between sort of an active part
of the selling process, about three or four emails
where you’re actively sort of asking if they’re interested
and then moving into a nurture section where you’re just driving value for them,
you’re giving them more information, you’re telling them interesting things
without bugging them or asking them for a meeting.
We figure after about ten of those, we have enough information, right?
Remember, this is all about information.
So if they reply to us and they say no and they give us an objection,
that’s how we begin to remember and understand what the forthcoming
objection might be in the future and how we refine that,
or if we continue to get people to say,. I’m not the right buyer,
I’m not the right person, well, what does that tell us?
Maybe we’re going after the wrong persona
or the messaging is not resonating for that persona.
So we want about ten emails to give us this information
so we can begin to refine our process and our messaging.
Kind of over what period of time do you see those ten emails?
So usually about 30 days, 30 to 40 days, 45 days.
I think what is really important is to look at the data, right, to get
a really, really good,
high quality
emails out there, a very good high quality email cadence out there.
And then you can make decisions from that because now your data is really good,
You’re putting the right stuff out there and you’re
making decisions based on really good content, not the wild,
wild West of every BDR making up their own sequences
and coming up with their own cadences and different lengths and stuff.
We have good information to use
and then we can begin to either truncate it from there.
If we see a lot of people dropping off really early,
make it a little longer if we’re still seeing really high open
rates, there’s a lot we can do with it once we get good, solid data.
As far as the putting the different touches in there, that’s
going to be something that you’re going to play with.
Again, we don’t want to do a ton in there.
We don’t want to be bugging someone a bunch.
But you know, liking their post, commenting thoughtfully on their post,
that’s a touch point.
It doesn’t always have to be asking for a meeting.
And so what’s the best practice on being able to layer in phone calls?
When should those come
to the different emails that are going out Kimberly?
Yeah, so we’re. I’ll fully admit and be transparent.
We’re not a huge cold calling shop.
We’re not huge advocates of cold calling.
However, if cold calling works in your persona, great.
What I love to say about cold calling is you’ve got to have a really strong email
to back it up because a lot of the time you’re going to reach a voicemail
or a lot of time you’re going to reach a, Now’s not a good time.
Send me an email
from the caller, so be ready with a fantastic
show me you know me email that you can prompt them to.
So on that voicemail, you can point them to an excellent email that’s coming.
If you’ve done some show me you know me personalization in the subject line,
say it on the voicemail, like give them something exciting, a memorable
subject line that they go and find in their inbox and sticks out to them.
So I’d love it to come after you’ve sent the email or right
as you’re going to send the email, because I think the combination of the two
is much more powerful
than just calling on its own and hanging up when a voicemail comes on.
Makes sense.
Yeah. So we talked about the first email.
Is there like a last email, best practice?
Is there sort of a Hail. Mary that you recommend?
We do still see success in the break up email.
It’s not so much breaking up, it’s
just alerting the prospect that you’re going to take a pause.
You’re not going to continue to reach out because the timing isn’t right yet.
So saying alerting them to the fact that you’re going
to take a break in communications still works pretty well,
try it on that Email ten, see what we look at.
But we’re not just going to say, hey, I’m not writing you anymore.
We’re going to say
timing doesn’t seem right or the timing doesn’t seem to align at this point.
But I want to leave you with some great information
and give them a couple nurture materials that they can look at.
So again, your goal here is to continue
to be helpful and to continue to drive value.
That is show me you know me, that is unique to that persona.
So here’s a webinar that I think might be interesting to you.
This is why and this is why it’s interesting to your persona.
You in that role.
And actually you may want to sign up for our newsletter because we send out
information all the time that has tips about stuff
that’s going to be interesting to you like this.
So give them a few things to continue to show them, Hey, I’m different.
I’m not like every other seller
that’s just going to bombard you with the same email.
Do you want to buy, do you want to buy, do you want to buy?
Want to have a meeting?. Want to have a meeting? Now? Now?
I’m going to continue to advise.
Like you said earlier,. I’m going to be a consultant.
I’m going to advise you.
I’m going to continue to drive value to you until you might be interested.
I like that
so much more than the cute break up email, by the way.
And but I know they can work in certain situations.
I started my career as a catalog marketer and we had a name for those,
we may stop mailing you or a WMSMY is what we called it.
And they were actually pretty effective.
But I think, you know, in this modern age
where the buyer has all the power,. I think continuing to assert yourself
as the consultant, as the helpful guide
is, is spot on, Kimberly.
So yeah, thank you for those thoughts.
Yeah, absolutely.
So Kimberly, the time move so quickly.
But that’s all we have time for today.
Where can people learn more about how to get the playbook?
Yes, so the playbook is part of our short series.
So it’s Sam Short.
So #samshorts,
so you can find that online or you can get to it through our website.
So either way, we can get you there to the shorts,
the playbook is there, right there in the front or you can,
you can always message us and we’re happy to send it over your way.
It was such a pleasure having you, Kimberly.
Thank you.
Thank you, Chip. Wonderful to be here.
And thanks to all of you for tuning in to today’s Closing Time
and we’ll see you next time.

You may also like:

See all episodes
CRM Best Practices to Generate More Sales - Show Me You Know Me!
Improve Outbound Email Response Rate by 3x with CRM + Sales Engagement
Turning Strangers into Prospects: LinkedIn Social Selling in 4 Steps