Sales

75 Sales Prospecting Email Subject Lines to Get More Responses

March 17, 2022

Written byMixmax

75 Sales Prospecting Email Subject Lines to Get More Responses
  • Why are subject lines so important for sales prospecting emails?
  • How can you write a killer sales prospecting email subject line?
  • 75 Email subject lines for sales prospecting that’ll stand out in the inbox
  • The last word
  • Frequently asked questions

Over 3 billion emails were sent daily last year*. 

That’s a communication tsunami. 

If that stat leaves you feeling overwhelmed, imagine how your prospects feel, drowning in their overflowing inbox each morning as your sales email bobs about among the flotsam of their ever-growing to-do list. 

Standing out from the inbox crowd these days means ramping up your game when it comes to writing sales prospecting email subject lines.

Time was, lines like “Sales inquiry” or “Request for a meeting” might have actually landed you a meeting 😱. Now, anything too salesy will get you cast into the 7th level of inbox hell (the spam folder) faster than you can say “Got 15 minutes to talk this week?” 

At Mixmax, we have to admit to having a slight advantage: We sell to saleseple, so our prospects know where we’re coming from. But that doesn’t mean our hard-working sales reps don’t rack their brains daily to come up with engaging subject lines.  

To give them (and you) a helping hand, we reached out to sales influencers and prepared a lifesaving list of email subject lines for sales prospecting that should help boost your email open rates. 

Read on to learn: 

  • Why subject lines are so important for sales prospecting
  • How to write a killer sales prospecting email subject line
  • 75 email subject line examples you can steal 

Want to write more emails your prospects will actually open? Mixmax makes it easy to personalize outreach at scale for better results.


Find out how

Let’s dive in.

 

Why are subject lines so important for sales prospecting emails?

Subject lines are important for sales prospecting emails because they are the first thing prospects see in their inbox. And the first thing prospects do each day is triage through that overstuffed inbox to decide what’s important and what’s not. 

If your subject line doesn’t hook them and make them want to know more, your email will be deleted without ever being read. 

 

Since 2020, the amount of emails everyone receives has gone up, which means their ability to read it all has gone down. Now, anything that sounds too played-out, demanding, or insincere is unlikely to make the cut. 

Writing short copy like email subject lines for sales prospecting requires not only good writing skills, but also a deep understanding of your prospective customer, their role, pains, and goals so you can write a good email subject line that strikes the right chord. 

Here’s how the experts do. 

How can you write a killer sales prospecting email subject line?

The key to writing effective subject lines is avoiding anything generic, so lines like “Potential partnership,” “Potential synergy,” or “Partnership discussion” that used to work can now look too salesy. 

The best cold email subject line examples tick one or more of the following boxes: 

Piques curiosity

The best cold email subject lines don’t give too much away. As Daniel Kleinowski of Dairy.com says, “Aim to build curiosity but never satisfy it. If you provide all the context—‘we do this’ or ‘we help with this’—they’ll be like ‘No, we're okay’ without continuing to the meat of your email.” 

So, sending a vague but appealing “Forecast” creates a mystery and raises the question “what forecast?” in potential customers’ minds. Only one way to find out, buddy…   

You better satisfy that curiosity in your email, though. Misleading sales email subject lines trigger mistrust and can blow your chances of further engagement. A line like “Q4 email results” is likely to get you higher open rates, but if you don’t deliver on that in the email copy, they’ll feel duped.

 

Related Post: 55 Sales Prospecting Questions to Get Your Prospects Talking

Relevant 

Did we mention prospects are busy? Too busy to waste time on anything that doesn’t relate to their to-do list. That’s why compelling subject lines are relevant to their role, responsibilities, challenges, pain points, and goals. 

Emailing prospects to congratulate them on a recent publication or the fact that you went to the same school is all well and good, but really relevant subjects relate to the body of the email and show you’ve done your research and are worth their time. 

Basically, you can walk and chew gum at the same time. 

As Devin Reed of Gong notes, relevant topic + desired outcome = compelling subject, so you need to be specific. If your prospects are SDRs using sales prospecting tools like LinkedIn Sales Navigator, they’re unlikely to respond to something vague like “How to use LinkedIn,” but “Book more meetings with LinkedIn” is likely to make their ears prick up. 

The good thing about this approach is that you don’t need to be too clever. As Jason Bay puts it, instead of thinking about everything you can do to get your prospect’s attention, go minimalist instead. Write “boring,” obvious subject lines, like using their name, company name, a common problem, category, or industry. 

If you’re sales prospecting to enterprises, remember to vary it to target different roles within the prospect’s company. “Opportunity” might work for a CFO, but a plant manager will be more focused on day-to-day production challenges. 

use-cases-sales-crm-sync

Mixmax Sidebar within Gmail

Includes keywords

You obviously can’t know this in advance, but if your prospect uses keywords to filter and organize their inbox, including relevant ones in your subject can help send emails to an important folder in your prospect’s inbox. 

Promises value/benefit /opportunity

At Mixmax, when we see companies are hiring more SDRs for B2B sales prospecting, that means they could benefit from our sales engagement platform, which enables them to engage more prospects faster and personalize sales prospecting email templates at scale. So a good email subject line will reference that.   

Kyle Coleman recommends monitoring company news to see when they raise funding, but don’t just email to offer congratulations (and a thinly disguised desire for them to send some of that cash your way). Instead, do your research to understand why they raised that money, and what their priorities are for spending it. Then, craft a sale prospecting email subject line that ties your value proposition to their goals. 

Creates a sense of urgency

Triggering FOMO is a tried-and-tested sales prospecting technique (nobody wants to be the guy who turned down the Beatles). If you can make prospects feel they could be missing out by not reading your email, they’ll be more motivated to act. And even if they aren’t in a position to buy now, it gets you a foot in the door for when they are. 

Like curiosity-based subject lines, it’s vital your email copy does feature some kind of pay-off or time-sensitive offer. 

 

Achieves pattern interruption 

Like a performing seal nearing retirement, prospects have been trained by unimaginative salespeople into a knee-jerk “delete-delete-delete” response anytime anything that looks like marketing lands in their inbox. To get a different reaction, you need to do things differently. 

At your own risk, try: 

  • Humor 
  • Weird grammar or formatting, like all lowercase  
  • A different tone or language to standard sales emails 
  • Hyper-short subject lines (like, one word, we dare you) 
  • Emojis

Obviously, whether these work will depend on your industry, but it’s worth playing around to see what gets results.

Billboard saying “Your wife is hot, get her more energy efficient windows”

Includes a question

Questions demand to be answered and stop your prospect from simply thinking “yes/no” and scrolling past your email. 

Includes numbers 

Numbers give prospects a break from text and are an easy way to promise value. Be honest, thorough, and avoid using round numbers that’ll trigger their mental spam filters: “3 billion in revenue” sounds a lot less believable than “2.9 billion.”

Personalized 

Opinion is divided on this one: Some salespeople will tell you using the email recipient’s name in the subject line is too salesy, others swear by it to get their prospect’s attention. Experiment to see what works for you. Remember, though, that a personalized email always looks a lot less like part of a generic, impersonal blast. 

Remember, personalized doesn’t have to be the prospect’s name, it can also be their company name. 

Mimax Gmail sidebar

Mixmax Sidebar within Gmail

Want to write more emails your prospects will actually open? Mixmax makes it easy to personalize outreach at scale for better results. Find out how

Namechecks a shared contact  

Referrals are a great way to warm up your first touch and establish common ground, trust, and a feeling of obligation to read your email (“Well, if Clare sent him…”). Like using the prospect’s name, a subject line referencing a shared contact is likely to make them pay more attention, and make your email seem more human.

References previous activity

If you’ve warmed up the contact beforehand on LinkedIn, or sent a voicemail, mention that in your subject line. As well as helping put a face to your name, it lets prospects know you’re focused on them as an individual, and persistent. (They’re probably going to have to hear you out sometime, so it might as well be now.)

 

Looks genuine 

Your subject line has one goal: start a conversation. It’s not a sales pitch, so avoid clickbait, marketing speak, cliches, empty buzzwords, jargon, and implied urgency or value where there is none. At best, these create the wrong impression. At worst, they’ll get you added to a spam filter. 

As Will Allred of Lavender advises, “Write it like you would internally” to cut through the noise and keep their guard down. 

The best cold email subject line examples read like you’re messaging a friend on social media. To create this impression, use lowercase and go easy on the punctuation (too much looks spammy). After all, when was the last time you messaged a friend like “Jeff, Increase Your Reply Rates by 90%!”

Keep it short

The ideal length for subject lines is 1-3 words. Anything longer looks salesy and requires too much mental effort to process. Short subject lines also read better on a mobile device, which is where most content is consumed these days.

Morpheus from The Matrix saying what if I told you you message doesnt belong in the subject line

75 Email subject lines for sales prospecting that’ll stand out in the inbox

Used by real salespeople. It doesn't get better than this. 

Subject lines to pique curiosity

These mysterious cold email subject lines are designed to get your prospects reaching for “open” to find out what’s inside: 

1. [Prospect first name], was researching [prospect company name] and…(and what?) 

2. This can’t be right (what can’t be right?) 

3. I might be wrong (about what??) 

4. Does this work for you? (does what work for me???) 

5. Do not open this email (how could they not?)

6. New year, new strategy (strategy for what?)

7. Your thoughts

8. Open to this?

9. Order from chaos (who doesn’t want that?) 

Subject lines that are relevant/obvious/reference pain 

At Mixmax, we sell to salespeople, so many of these lines would work for us, and serve as relevant keywords. If you’re in a different industry, just switch them out for ones that are relevant to your prospects.  

10. Sales copy

11. Sales cadences

12. Sales emails 

13. Email data

14. Personalization data 

15. Q4 email data

16. Hey [first name], your [goal]? 

17. [First name], saw you're focused on [goal]

18. [Area where you help]

19. Prospecting tools 

20. Outbound sales 

21. Response time

22. Hiring [role that could use your solution]? 

23. [Common industry problem]

24. Low response rates? 

25. Tough (also creates curiosity)  

26. Your yearly [common industry] target

27. Revenue generation

Hide the pain Harold saying how did you know?

Subject lines that promise value/benefit/opportunity 

28. Opportunity

29. Opportunity for [prospect company name]

30. More email responses

31. Send more emails

32. Idea for [pain point]

33. Idea for [prospect challenge]

34. [Prospect company name] revenue, [current year]

35.
Book A LOT more meetings with [tool]


36. [Perform common task] better TODAY


37. [Benefit] for [prospect company name]


38. New [prospect responsibility] strategy for [prospect company name]


39. Save of [believable figure] for [prospect company name]
(can’t ignore this opportunity to get in your boss’ good books) 

40. All-time revenue record for [prospect company name]

Subject lines that create a sense of urgency 

41. Ready for this?

42. There’s still time 


43. One-time offer 


44. Going, going, gone  


45. Permission to close your file?
(great for creating FOMO if you’re not getting a response)

Subject lines that achieve pattern interruption 

Go random, use humor, and play with formatting, grammar, and punctuation to jolt them out of the stupor most prospecting emails induce: 

46. [3 random, unconnected things from your email] (like Sustainable + Jill + Q4)

47. tom its tough
(says, “this guy’s so damn confident, he doesn’t need to follow the rules!) 

48. Annoying? (self-deprecating humor, as a breakup email if you’re getting no response)

49. Desperate last attempt (ditto)

50. Should I stay or should I go? (ditto)

51. Can I get some love? (ditto)
 
52. Not selling NFTs 

Mugatu from Zoolander saying all lowercase email subject lines, so hot right now

Subjection lines that include a question 

53. Connect?

54. How do you deal with [pain point]?


55. Are you taking advantage of [benefit]?


56. Strategy for [common goal] at [company name]? 

57. How did you do it, [prospect name]? (to congratulate them on a recent achievement)  

Subject lines that include numbers 

58. 24/7

59. Q4 email results 


60. 2.4% growth 


61. 143% of quota

Personalized subject lines  

62. Hi [prospect name], your [prospect’s current challenge]?

63. [What you help with] at [company name]


64. [Prospect company product] 


65. [Prospect name] should I stop reaching out?

Subject lines that references shared contact 

66. [Referral name] said to reach out
 

Subject lines that reference previous activity 

67. Voicemail follow-up 

68. Had an idea since we spoke 


69. Been thinking about what you said
 

Hyper-short subject lines 

70. Growth 

71. Growth + [company name]


72. Revenue boost 


73. [Prospect’s competitor company which is also your customer] + risk


74. Heads up

75. [Referee’s name]

Man in office saying if you could stop typing your email into the subject line that'd be great

The last word

If you’ve been paying attention, you may have noticed that not all of these subject lines strictly adhere to our advice 😕. Before you fire off a strongly worded email to our complaints department, that’s because what works for prospects in one industry doesn’t always work in another. Achieving healthy email open rates, therefore, takes time, practice, and patience. 

Start by looking inward: Talk to people in your company who occupy similar roles to your prospects. Ask which sales prospecting email subject lines get them to click open and why. Then, scour your own inbox to compare incoming cold emails with marketing ones to see what works on you. 

Once you’ve got an idea, start experimenting with the above formulas and approaches, and use a sales engagement platform like Mixmax that’s packed with customizable templates that autofill with prospect data from your CRM, making it easy to personalize and run multi-channel sequences at scale for better results. 

features-sequences-gmail-and-salesforce

Want to write more emails your prospects will actually open? Mixmax makes it easy to personalize outreach at scale for better results.


Find out how

Frequently asked questions about sales prospecting email subject lines

How do you get a prospect to open an email?

You can get a prospect to open an email by writing an engaging subject line that is short, genuine, and piques their interest. This might require it to be personalized; relevant to their role, pain, and challenges; promises value; or use pattern interruption techniques like using humor, unusual formatting, etc.  

How do you write a sales prospecting email?

You write a sales prospecting email by researching your prospect so you can make the content personalized and relevant to them. Use a sales engagement platform like Mixmax to help you personalize email outreach at scale. 

How do I make my email subject line stand out?

You can make your email subject line stand out by making it personalized to the recipient and relevant to their world and challenges, or by creating a sense of urgency, scarcity, or curiosity. Also by promising value, or using humor and other pattern interrupts to differentiate it from other emails in their inbox.

Thanks for inspiration and examples to:

Daniel Kleinowski
Will Allred
Justin Michael
Jason Bay
Kyle Coleman
Sarah Brazier
Sean Henry
Devin Reed
Jamison Medrek

*Statista: Over 3 billion emails were sent worldwide last year.