Skip to main content
David Jacoby

By: David Jacoby on July 22nd, 2022

Print/Save as PDF

Become a Sales Email Prospecting HERO with This Framework

Sales Process | Sales Training | Prospecting

Back in the day, sales prospecting was a straightforward activity: 50 calls a day. Today, prospecting has evolved as everyone spends less time talking on the phone. The most notable change is the quantity of prospecting emails sent out by sales teams.

Automation has made it easy to create, send and track multi-email sequences to prospects that combine customized emails with multiple call attempts, voice mails, and social media posts.

Unfortunately, while sales enablement technology has dramatically increased the number of prospecting emails you can send, it hasn’t improved the quality. Research from Outreach shows that the average cold email response is less than one percent.

So, how can you improve your prospecting email odds? Start by using the HERO framework.


According to Mailchimp, the average open rate of marketing emails is 21.33%. This means about four out of every five emails won’t even be opened by your sales prospects! Your first challenge is to “hook” your prospect with a snappy subject line to get your emails opened. Here are a couple of tips:

  • Personalize it. According to research by SupplyGem, Emails with personalized subject lines are opened 50% more than emails with generic subject lines.
  • Make it relevant. A compelling subject line is relevant to the prospect’s role, challenges, and goals. For example, “Improve shipping efficiency” may resonate with an operations manager but not a Chief Revenue Officer (CRO).
  • Keep it short. Research shows that 6-10 words are the ideal subject line length.
  • Build curiosity. A good subject line builds curiosity but doesn’t give too much detail. You could pique a CRO’s curiosity with a “Question about your sales goal,” while for the Operations Manager, you could ask a compelling question, “How do you manage shipping errors?”

Avoid anything that sounds like a marketing robot wrote, e.g., “Marketing Opportunity” or “Increase your profitability.” These generic subject lines won’t differentiate your sales prospecting email from the crowd. Likewise, avoid a subject line that asks for time, “Got 15 minutes for a meeting?” No, I don't. Delete!


Once the prospect has opened your email, your next goal is to engage them with a relevant pain point. This gives your prospect a reason to keep reading your email. Start by asking who you are selling to and what problem are you solving? The relevant pain point will be obvious for most prospects, and in other cases, you will want to do some level of research – e.g., “I saw that you opened a new facility in [LOCATION]. How are higher shipping costs impacting your profitability?”


Now that you have the prospect’s attention, it’s time to relate how your solution can help address the problem. The idea here is to highlight the value of your solution, not the features – don’t sell, keep things high level. This is where you pique the prospect’s interest and give them a reason to meet with you.

Alternatively, you can share an insight, case study, or content.

  • “I thought you might be interested in learning how we helped [similar company] lower their shipping costs.”
  • Or “I thought you might be interested in this blog on “Five Keys to Automating Your Shipping Function.”
  • “Our customers are successfully automating their shipping function. Here are a few insights:
    • Tip 1
    • Tip 2
    • Tip 3.”

When you share something of value with the prospect, you create a sense of obligation on the part of the prospect to reciprocate – i.e., the reciprocity principle.


The final step is to get the sales prospect to respond to your email. You do this by offering the prospect a clear call to action. The most common prospecting CTA is to ask for the meeting, “Do you have 15 minutes to meet?” While this may be appropriate for a prospecting call, asking for time is a mistake in the context of a cold email. According to research by Gong, confirming the prospect's interest before asking to set the meeting is two times more effective. This makes intuitive sense since asking for time in your first email gives the prospect an easy out – “I’m too busy.”

Confirming interest instead is a lower risk CTA. For example, try “Does it make sense to discuss how you can improve [XYZ]?” Or “Would achieving [XYZ} help you reach your zero emissions initiative?” Once the prospect confirms their interest, you can ask for the meeting in a later email or phone call.

Put the HERO Email Framework Into Action

Email is a core element of any salesperson's prospecting strategy. But while technology has made it easy to increase your volume of emails, it hasn’t improved the quality. For more effective prospecting emails, use the HERO framework to create more personalized prospecting emails that produce results.

Sales Training Research Report by Sales Readiness Group

About David Jacoby

As a Managing Director at Sales Readiness Group, A Part of SBI, David helps large B2B sales organizations improve sales performance. Previously, David was a Principal at Linear Partners, a sales consulting firm providing sales strategy, sales operations, talent management, and interim management services to emerging growth companies. In the past, David has served as Vice President of Business Affairs of Xylo, Inc., where he was responsible for the Company's business development, sales operations, legal affairs, and financing activities.