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ABM+32% email response rate

Book 3x More Meetings with This Cold Email System

Author - Jordan Crawford
Jordan CrawfordCo-Founder
Company - Blueprint
What you’ll learnWhat you’ll needThe ProblemThe HypothesisThe Solution
How to get insights from existing customers
The email template that gets 30% response rates
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What you’ll learn

  • How to find companies that have a burning pain and need your service now
  • The formula to get 10-30% positive replies with no per-person personalization
  • A system to personalize at scale and save your sales team countless hours from researching and writing 1-1 emails.

What you’ll need

  • A deep understanding of your customer (ideal customer persona, buyer persona, why people bought, buying triggers)
  • Access to intelligence tools like LinkedIn Sales Navigator, Harmonic, BuiltWith, Similar Web, SpyFu, or others.
  • An email automation tool like Mailshake
Article Headline Icon - The Problem

The Problem

Blueprint’s founder Jordan Crawford will be the first to tell you that the bar for cold emails is much higher today than it was even a few years ago. Sales teams equipped with automation tools can send thousands of cold emails a day.  But automation tools don’t give you any context about the problems companies are facing now. This means that everyone has access to {{first name}}, {{company}},and work email, but not much else. 

Instead of attempting to understand what’s happening at the target company, most sales teams compensate by personalizing details at the individual level using AI tools like Smartwriter or Lyne. This is a crutch to compensate for poor response rates. The idea being if you just add personalization, you’ll get more replies from cold outreach.

Even with these powerful tools, most sales teams still struggle to make cold outbound a meaningful growth channel.

Based on data from hundreds of thousands of cold emails, for cold outbound email to be effective two variables must be accurate:

  1. Your ability to articulate the pain point of your target customer in their language: If the messaging is wrong, they will ignore your email. 

  2. A structure to rank companies by pain: If the prospect’s pain is accurately described, but it’s not a burning problem, even a targeted message won’t resonate and your email will be ignored. You need a way to know if this is a $1 problem, $1,000 problem, or $100,000 problem for a company right now.

As shown in the chart below, solving both the relevance and timeliness parts of the outbound equation will lead to optimal results for the sales team.


Meaningful results happen in the top right quadrant–messages that are timely and relevant.

Here’s an example of what a personalized, but irrelevant cold email looks like:

Hi Jordan,

I noticed you were on a podcast and wrote a LinkedIn post about product market fit for B2B startups, it was great. I also saw that you have hiked the Grand Canyon FOUR times! Wow, I live in Arizona and I haven’t done it once. Was it grand? As a founder, I bet SaaS spend is on your mind and my company can help you manage SaaS spend with virtual credit cards to ensure you can cancel on your terms. Companies like Ironclad and Mainstreet have used us to save $100,000s of dollars… here is my calendar… schedule me?


  • Company is small and not even close to spending $100k on their tech tools.

  • Doesn't talk about the pain of managing payments to multiple vendors.

An example of what a non-personalized, but very relevant email looks like:

Hi Jordan,

Saw you installed Segment on October 5th, 2020. And then installed Mixpanel on Sep 4th, 2021. Then I looked at your 6 other SaaS tools installations from 2019 to today. Based on these install dates, growth in user/seats since then, and your 109k/month traffic, we estimate that you’re spending about $45,031/year too much based on data from all of your installs that we can detect and from the patterns we’ve seen from 103 other customers with similar tech.

Are you open to learning how to save $45k per year by connecting to our software one time?


  • Accurately describes the pain the prospect is feeling.

  • Quantifies exactly how the prospect can benefit from the solution.

  • Describes why other customers bought (using this framework).

Summarized in a single sentence: to succeed in outbound email today, you need to figure out both which companies are currently in pain and to articulate your solution in relation to that pain.

Article Headline Icon - The Hypothesis

The Hypothesis

Jordan believed that he could increase outbound conversion rates by:

  1. Understanding why past customers bought.

  2. Using that intelligence to look for companies that are in that same bucket.

  3. Describing that pain back to the prospects and ask them if you got it right.

Email reply rates are all that’s needed to test this hypothesis. Based on the reply rates, he could then calibrate his targeting and messaging over time.

By automating the outbound strategy for the sales team, he believed that cold emails could be 100x more impactful for a business. And with the use of automations, this system would also save sales reps from needing to research and personalize every email manually. That’s thousands of wasted hours a year, saved.

Article Headline Icon - The Solution

The Solution

How to get insights from existing customers

To begin your first draft of messaging, Jordan suggests starting with your existing customers. Recalling the pain they were in before purchasing your solution will help you find relevant insights to include in future messaging.

Let’s use Blueprint’s business as an example. Their ideal customer persona (ICP) is companies that have 50-500 employees, that have raised at least $5M, and have sales reps that are manually prospecting.

This data might qualify them for an outreach campaign according to traditional targeting. But those demographic data don’t actually tell you about what problems the company is currently facing.

So we need one layer of additional data. Here’s some things we might look for:

  1. How much is their sales team growing? Last 1 year? Last 6 months?

  2. Have they raised a round recently?

  3. What types of roles are they hiring today?

  4. What tools are they using to target their customers?

  5. What terms and technologies appear in their job descriptions?

  6. What titles are they hiring for?

  7. What technologies do they use on their website?

  8. What does their pricing look like on the site?

Why are these questions relevant? Because Blueprint has learned that these are how their current customers went about attempting to fix their pain point before hiring Blueprint’s product. 

To do this for your business, invert! What was the problem your current customers had before hiring your product to solve their problem.

For example, you understand that 50% of your customers bought when they were scaling their sales team, increasing their ad spend to drive more leads, and hiring for a head of Rev Ops. Now using those insights, you can then look in the market for data that signals each of those to be true. In this case, LinkedIn will show you hiring data for sales headcount and key roles, and an SEO tool to uncover paid ad spend. 

The email template that gets 30% response rates

With that customer intelligence, you can then use this email template to get a higher response rate.

Jordan shares the exact email template that he uses to get 10 - 30% response rates on automated cold outreach campaigns. Here it is:


This email template allows you to be timely and relevant without too much individualized personalization.

Notice that the first half of the email is all about the prospect. Again, using external indicators to identify relevancy, the messaging is then tailored to the pain-point the prospect is feeling. 

Jordan finds that simply asking a variant of “does this accurately describe your problem?” is all you need. Don’t send a calendar link or suggest a call. You’re optimizing only for a reply, not a meeting. Once you get a reply, then you can ask for a meeting.

So what might a timely and relevant email look like from Blueprint?

Subject: 12 new sales reps

Hi Larry, You hired 12 new sales reps in the last 6 months, saw that you hired a SDR manager and the only sales tool I could detect in their job descriptions was ZoomInfo. When Mainstreet was hiring sales reps, they too only had only ZoomInfo, and they could only reach 100 accounts a week manually.

After automating their outbound, they increased their positive reply rate to 11%. Based on your 18 total SDRs, you probably are spending a total of 90 hours a week wasting time personalizing emails and researching accounts.

Are you open to saving 90 hours a week across your 18 SDRs and automating your outreach like Mainstreet?

Once you have a script, Jordan recommends sending 100-500 emails to validate whether you got the targeting and messaging right. If the reply rate is low (less than 5%), use the insights from those replies to adjust the pain points mentioned in the script. 

The Impact

Jordan has used this playbook to implement sales automation systems at dozens of B2B businesses. Some emails flop, while others deliver 30%+ reply rates.

Not every cold email script is going to work. But an increase in reply rate from 1% to 5% could generate hundreds of prospects for your pipeline when sent at scale. Not to mention all the time your sales team will get back so they can focus on closing instead of researching and writing 1-1 emails when prospecting.

“There’s a huge opportunity for the sales and marketing teams to collaborate and identify prospects in pain, not just personas who usually buy. But, to do so, you can’t give your sales team ZoomInfo and hope that they will figure it out. Contact and industry data are not nearly enough to decode patterns of pain in your prospects.”

Once you’ve found a message that resonates with a target audience (and, to be clear, some won't perform well—so you need to test), inbound campaigns can be created to target the exact same leads with tools like Primer and Mutiny to personalize that inbound experience to message against the same pain points in other channels. This type of targeting, combined with the right tools and channels, has 5x’ed conversion rates even on ads spend.

We've seen tactics similar to Jordan's also work for inbound traffic. Slack did a similar targeting exercise for inbound traffic.

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