Cold Email Guide for B2B SaaS: My Formula for Higher Reply Rates

Denis Shatalin
Founder of SaaS Camp
Cold emailing isn’t a thrilling activity to begin with. Combine that with a lack of direction and low reply rates, and it’s surprising that this is a major source of frustration for the = B2B SaaS founders I work with.

If that sounds like you, I have good news and bad news.

The bad news is that this is something you’re going to need to get comfortable with if you want to see quick, early wins that lead to long-term growth. The good news is that it isn’t as hard as it looks. All you need is the right formula.

With a bit of strategic effort, I’ve been able to increase response rates for my SaaS Camp clients by 20-30%. And in this guide, I’m going to share my exact process so that you can do the same.

Let’s dive in.

Why Is Cold Email Outreach Important for B2B SaaS?

First things first—I want to side-step an objection I sometimes get. No, cold email not a thing of the past.

This is especially true for B2B SaaS (and enterprise SaaS in particular) since business are still fair game when it comes to cold outreach. Cold email and LinkedIn outreach are core components of the hybrid customer acquisition systems (i.e., acquisition systems that combine multichannel inbound and outbound) I help clients build, and can confidently say it works.

So why this belief? I see it as a combination of things. For starters, there are easier, flashier (but ultimately less effective) tactics gaining attention in the SaaS space. Plus, it’s easy to get cold email wrong and have your emails sent straight into spam folders.

Now, let’s move on to a few of the reasons why cold emails can still be effective for B2B SaaS.

1. Precise Targeting

One thing I preach over and over again is the value of:

  • Knowing exactly who target.
  • Targeting those people.

Cold email is great for this (well, the second part, anyway).

You don’t have precise control over who sees and ad or views your content, but you can be sure that your cold emails get in front of people who meet the criteria. You search for prospects that fit your ICP, add them to a list, and reach out — simple, precise, effective.

2. B2B Poses Unique Challenge

There’s also the fact that B2C tactics often don’t work for B2B—especially enterprise. There are all kinds of complexities at play here that cold email is decent at handling.

How do you deal with the fact that enterprise customers usually have large buying teams? By targeting the leading decision-makers. How do show that you meet a specific company’s buying criteria? By personalizing your emails based on need.

Also Read: How to secure your first Enterprise Client

Cold email lets you do all of these things and more—and at scale. You can target the right people, with the right message, at exactly the right time.

3. Building Lasting Relationships

Beyond lead generation, cold email (done well) is great at building relationships. It feels much more human and personal than other marketing tactics, and that’s why it works. Businesses buy into products in part do to what they can offer them—but also in part due to how much they feel they can trust you (or your team).

4. Cost-Effective Solution

Last, but not least, cold email is cheap. It isn’t free—you’ll spend time on finding prospects and crafting messages, and spend money on domains and email automation tools. But, the cost of cold email is small compared to other strategies like PPC or content marketing.

Plus, it generates results immediately—there’s no waiting period like there is with with content marketing or SEO. One founder I worked with was able to book four demos the same day he implemented the cold outreach HCAS I built for him.

Is that exceptionally fast? Yes, but it’s entirely possible.

Cold Email Quick-Start Guide

Cold email is a bit more complicated than writing a pitch and hitting “send”. There are a few important points I need to cover before the outreach begins:

Finding Prospects

First, you need to determine your target market and create a list of prospects. You can use a variety of sources—Twitter, websites like Crunchbase—but I recommend opting for LinkedIn and Apollo if you're after enterprise decision-makers.

Tools I use at this stage include:

  • LinkedIn Sales Navigator (for finding prospects)
  • Apollo (for finding prospects, contact info)
  • Phantombuster (for scraping contact info from LinkedIn)
  • Neverbounce (for removing invalid emails)

Warming Up Domains

Domain warming is a process that gradually increases the number of emails sent from a single domain. This helps protect against email deliverability issues that come with sending at high volumes from a new domain name.

Start by setting up a few additional .com domains as insurance. Then run all your domains (primary and insurance) through a warming program. This helps ensure your email campaigns hit the inbox with no problems.

Pro Tips: Set up SPF, DKIM, and DMARC records for all domains, add redirects to point them to your primary domain, and set up profile photos.

Want to learn more about cold outreach via email and LinkedIn without reading? I have a live cold outreach coaching session on YouTube where I cover it all.

6 Key Steps to Draft Your Email Templates for Higher Reply Rates

1. Grab Attention From Your Subject Line

Subject lines are insanely important in cold email.

Aside from improving the quality of your list or increasing deliverability, this will have the biggest impact on reply rates. Studies have shown that about 50% of recipients decide to open an email based on the subject alone.

How can you get this right? Here are a few dos and don’ts.

  • Keep it short (no more than 60 characters)
  • Personalize the subject line
  • Take a friendly, conversational tone (like you’re writing to a work acquaintance)
  • Offer your solution to their pain point
  • Spark curiosity
  • Ask a compelling question
  • Be creative or funny (while staying relevant)
  • Highlight your value proposition
  • Make your subject line too salesy
  • Use too much punctuation
  • Use spammy words
  • Use clickbait
  • Include typos
  • Use more than one emoji
And here are examples of subject lines that historically have given us the highest open rates:

  1. Quick question
  2. Question - NAME
  3. NAME, question
  4. Question for NAME
  5. NAME, thoughts?
  6. {company} and {your company}
  7. Happy {day of the week}, NAME

Sticking to proven templates like these helped (a startup I coached through SaaS Camp) go from 0 to 83 product demos in 16 weeks.

2. Use the “Greet-then-Meet” Approach

This approach is a two-step process designed to ease prospects into a conversation:

  1. Greet: Use what you know about the recipient to greet them. This means introducing yourself (quickly) and showing that you know exactly who you’re talking to. Mentioning company achievements, news, or anything related to their job can go a long way.
  2. Meet: Introduce the main purpose of the email (i.e., your sales pitch). We’ll cover these in the template section of this guide.

To give an example of this process, here’s a simple (but effective) greet template:

3. Personalize the Email Body

According to an email marketing report by HubSpot, personalization is considered the most effective email marketing strategy by 72% of marketers.

There’s a simple reason for this—people are (rightly) mistrustful of claims when the person making them has no idea about their circumstances. If your pitch is that agencies can increase revenue by 20% using your SaaS, but your email body doesn’t address that agency’s area of focus, headcount, services, etc. your words become much less convincing.

Personalizing the email body shows the prospect that you care and proves that you put in the time to really understand and solve the pain points you’re offering help for.

Plus, personalized emails have proven to:
  • Boost open rate and CTR
  • Increase engagement and response rate
  • Increase chances of conversion
  • Re-engage bounced emails
  • Build stronger relationships with prospective customers
  • Reduce churn

4. Add Relevant Information Concisely

Enterprise decision-makers are busy. Respect their time (and intelligence) by cutting out unnecessary details and irrelevant information in emails.

In terms of guidelines, there are a few somewhat flexible rules I recommend to clients:

  • Stick to (roughly) 130 words. I know that’s not a lot of space to work with. But through the process of finding message-market fit, you slowly learn to concisely describe your product in a few words.
  • Let numbers speak for you. Numbers (like pictures) can be worth a thousand words. If you use the words “increase revenue by 20%” you can count on the reader’s imagination to kick in to paint the picture of what a 20% increase in revenue would mean for their business.
  • Use clear language. Avoid jargon and flowery language. Instead, ask expert-level questions and describe real problems to demonstrate your authority in the field.

5. Close With a Call-to-Action (CTA)

Your CTA should be an invitation to join a demo call—this is how you get people to take action.

Keep things fairly low-key here. A lot of people fall into salesy language when writing CTAs, since they’re seen it in poorly written cold emails that they’ve received. In my experience, simple and to-the-point are words to live by when it comes to CTAs.

Here’s an example:

“If you're interested, I'd love to share more details and hear about your current challenges. Let's schedule a brief call next week to explore this further. Please use the following link to book a time that works best for you: [Calendar Tool Link].”

6. Add a Signature

The last thing you need to include is a signature. This isn’t the most important factor at play, but it’s still a necessity.

Make sure it has:
  • Your name and title
  • Your company name
  • Your contact information (phone number and email address)
  • Your company’s website
  • Your LinkedIn link
  • Your social links

Want more about the ins and outs of cold email marketing? Subscribe to my SaaS Secrets newsletter for more tips and tactics on using cold email to grow your business.

6 Email Templates for B2B SaaS Founders

Now, it’s time for the real content. To help you get started, here are six email templates that you can use to craft a great cold email campaign.

1. The Authoritative Email

The authoritative email is all about projecting expertise and confidence. Generally, these also take a bit more of a professional tone (although that isn’t a rule).

Here’s a template you can use as a foundation:

Hello [First Name],

I trust this message finds you well. I've been following [Recipient's Company] and have been impressed by your recent strides in [mention a relevant achievement or industry recognition].

I'm reaching out to introduce you to [Your SaaS] — a cutting-edge platform that has revolutionized operations for companies in [Recipient's Industry]. Our solution has consistently delivered remarkable results, helping businesses like yours streamline processes, boost productivity, and drive substantial cost savings.

I believe that a brief discussion could shed light on how [Your SaaS Solution] can significantly impact [Recipient's Company] in a similar manner. I'd like to propose a meeting to explore this further. Please use the following link to schedule a convenient time: [Calendar Tool Link].

Looking forward to the opportunity to discuss how we can support your objectives.

2. The Value-Add Email

Value-add emails are all about… well, adding value. You do this by offering a genuinely useful resource or tip. Before you send a value-add email, ask yourself: “What can I do to help this customer?”

Here’s a template to try out:

Hey [First Name],

Hope you're doing well! I recently came across an awesome strategy that I think could really help [Recipient's Company] weather the current market conditions. We've put together a guide on workflow optimization strategies that companies like [Competitor] and [Competitor] are using to stay ahead.

[Link to Guide]

I'd love to hear your thoughts on how these strategies could fit into your operations. If you're interested, let's schedule a quick call to chat about it. You can pick a time that works for you using this link: [Calendar Tool Link].

Looking forward to sharing this valuable resource with you and exploring how it can benefit your team.

3. The Industry-Insight Email

This template is particularly effective for reaching out to growing companies. It leverages market data, reports, and analytics in a particular industry to highlight your expertise and compliment your solution.

Here’s the template:

Hey [First Name],

I hope you're having a great day. I wanted to share some valuable insights with you that I believe could make a real difference for [Recipient's Company]. We've compiled a report on the latest trends and best practices in [Recipient's Industry], and it's been eye-opening for many businesses.

I'd love to discuss how these insights align with your current strategies and how [Your SaaS] can complement them. If you're open to it, let's schedule a quick call to dive into this further. You can pick a time that suits you best using this link: [Calendar Tool Link].

Looking forward to sharing these industry insights with you and exploring how [Your SaaS] can contribute to your success.

4. The Solution Email

This email calls out a specific problem a prospect is having and offers your product as a solution.

For example:

Hey [First Name],

I saw your recent post on LinkedIn about the drop in organic traffic after Google's Helpful Content Update. It's tough when unexpected changes like that hit.

I wanted to reach out because we've helped companies in similar situations bounce back with our SEO optimization tools. They're designed to adapt to shifts in search algorithms and get you back on track.

I'd love to chat about how [Your SaaS Solution] could help you reclaim and even surpass your previous organic traffic levels. If you're up for it, let's schedule a quick call to explore this further. You can pick a time that works for you using this link: [Calendar Tool Link].

5. The Special Offer Email

This one is pretty self-explanatory. You reach out with a special offer (maybe a discount if they book a demo that leads to a sale) to encourage leads to take the next step in your funnel. The goal here is to incentivize the demo call beyond the benefits you’re already offering.

Here’s a simple template:

Hello [First Name],

I hope this email finds you well. I noticed that [mention a recent achievement, news, or event related to the company].

As a valued player in the [Recipient's Industry], we understand the challenges you face in [specific industry challenge]. To help [Recipient's Company] overcome these obstacles and achieve even greater success, we're excited to offer a risk-free 30-day free trial if you schedule a demo today.

Would you be open to a quick call to discuss this exclusive offer and how it could benefit [Recipient's Company]?

6. The Case Study Email

In this email, you use success stories to demonstrate the value of your product or service.

For example:

Hey [First Name],

I hope you're doing well. I came across [Recipient's Company] and was impressed by [mention a recent achievement, news, or event related to the recipient or their company].

I wanted to share a success story with you. We recently worked with [Competitor], a leading player in [Recipient's Industry]. They were facing challenges with [specific industry challenge], and [Your SaaS] not only helped them overcome this hurdle but also led to a [Dream Outcome], resulting in a [Quantifiable Result].

I believe that [Your SaaS] could have a similar impact on [Recipient's Company]. Would you be open to a quick call to explore how we might be able to replicate this success for [Recipient's Company]?

Looking forward to chatting more about this.

3 Situational Email Templates for B2B SaaS Founders

The first email in a cold email campaign is the most predictable. After that, all kinds of different situations can crop up.

To help you navigate these situations, I've created three situational email templates that you can use to continue the conversation with a prospect and move them down the funnel.

1. When You Want to Follow Up (But Don’t Want to Be Pushy)

Maybe a prospect initially responded to your cold email, but hasn’t responded to your follow-up yet. Maybe it’s been a few weeks since your initial contact with them, and you want to check in.

In situations where you feel like there could be a disconnect, use this template to warmly reconnect with your prospect:

Hey [First Name],

Hope you're having a great week! I wanted to drop a quick note to see if you had a chance to mull over our chat about how [Your SaaS Solution] could get {tangible result} for [Recipient's Company].

I totally get how things can get hectic, so no rush at all. If you need any more details or just want to bounce around some ideas, I'm here and ready to help.

Let me know if you're up for a quick chat.

2. When You’re Reaching Out to Prospects Who Interacted With Your Product or Content

Not all prospects come from email scraping. Part of the HCAS I teach clients involves building up inbound marketing tactics as well.

This email template is great for prospects who have already interacted with your content before:

Hi [First Name],

I noticed that you've been engaging with [Your SaaS] content, and I wanted to reach out to see if there's anything specific that caught your eye. Whether it's a question, a suggestion, or just a desire to connect, I'm here to keep the conversation flowing.

I'd love to hear your thoughts and explore how [Your SaaS Solution] could bring value to [Prospect's Company]. If you're open to it, I think a quick chat could be a great way to exchange ideas and see where it leads.

Looking forward to connecting with you.

3. When a Great Call Doesn’t Convert

Finally, here’s you’ll need an email to deal with one of the more confusing situations that are bound to pop up now and then—when you’ve had an amazing call that doesn’t lead to anything.

Here’s the template:

Hey [First Name],

Just wanted to touch base after our recent chat. While it didn't lead to an immediate partnership, I genuinely enjoyed our conversation and learning more about [Prospect's Company].

I've been reflecting on our discussion and had a few additional insights that I think could be valuable for [Prospect's Company].

  • [Additional Insight 1]
  • [Additional Insight 2]
  • [Additional Insight 3]

I'm still optimistic about the potential for collaboration between [Your SaaS] and [Prospect's Company], and I believe that sometimes the best things take time to develop. If there's anything specific that didn't quite click during our call, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

If there's anything I can do to provide further information or support, please don't hesitate to reach out. I'm here to help in any way I can.

How to Measure Success for Your Cold Email Outreach Campaign

To finish up this guide, I think it’s important to touch on the metrics I use to measure cold email success.

There are tons of potential metrics out there, but these are the ones that I’ve found to be most informative when assessing my cold email campaigns:

1. Open Rate

This measures the percentage of emails that are opened by recipients. A good open rate to aim for is 30%—if you send out 5,000 emails, 1,500 should be opened.

  • Number Emails Sent / Number Emails Opened = Open Rate

2. Response Rate

This measures the percentage of opened emails that lead to a response from a recipient. A good response rate to aim for is 30%.

Keep in mind that this is a percentage of the percentage of people who opened your email. Assuming a 30% open rate and a 30% response rate, sending out 5,000 should net you 450 responses.

Number Emails Opened / Number of Responses = Response Rate

3. Demo Conversion Rate

This measures the number of prospects that actually end up scheduling a demo with you. The rule of thumb is that you should be converting 50% of all prospects who respond to your email.

Again, this is a percentage of a percentage of a percentage. Assuming a 30% open rate, 30% response rate, and 50% conversion rate, sending out 5,000 emails should net you 225 demos—or 4.5% of the emails you sent out.

  • Number Responses / Number of Demos Scheduled = Demo Conversion Rate

Wrapping Up!

There you have it—a solid introduction to effective cold emailing. There’s plenty more to learn—how to use specific tools, optimize email copywriting, etc.—but this will give you a good foundation to work with.

If you want more in-depth guidance, check out my book (+240K ARR Playbook) or join my performance-based SaaS accelerator—SaaS Camp. I’ll work with you to master these techniques (and more) to help you scale your business quickly.
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✋ Hey, it's Denis! Thanks for reading :) If you want my help with your startup, the quickest way to reach me is at I upload my best content on YouTube. Let's connect on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.