Dos and Don’ts of the First Touch Email in a B2B Sales Process

Devon-McDonald by

First touch emails are a tricky beast in the world of sales. When sending out your first email in a B2B sales process, you can either really warm up/inform the lead prior to the first conversation, or you can easily dig your own grave with the click of your send button.

So what are the dos and don’ts of first touch emailing? Here are some tips that I’ve picked up having worked with numerous lead qualification/sales teams in OpenView’s expansion stage portfolio:


  • Make it short and sweet
  • Get to your point — quickly
  • Use a simple, yet creative/catchy subject line — very, very important!
  • Use a few bullets to articulate your point/value — how can YOU make the recipient’s life EASIER?!
  • Reference companies in the recipients industry that are your customers
  • Speak to the pains of your target, and use a language that the recipient would be comfortable/drawn to
  • Mention anyone else from the organization that you have connected with and/or anyone who referred you to the email recipient and CC him/her
  • In your email, ask if the recipient is responsible for handling the types of projects/issues that you are addressing, and if not, who would be the best person to connect with?


  • Include attachments — no one opens attachments from someone they don’t know!
  • Use too many links and avoid using pictures/graphics — this increases your chance of going into spam
  • Start the subject line with Re:  if  not a reply (I hate that!) — it’s deceitful
  • Make it all about YOU — your product and it’s features — BORING
  • Send out a mass email and not include the recipient”s name or company name
  • Have any typos — make sure your emails are thoroughly proof-read
  • Make the font bigger or smaller, change the color of fonts, etc — this seems cheap and spammy
  • Use a passive, “Let me know if you are interested” at the conclusion of your email. Be assertive in that YOU will be following up on (date)

What other email dos and don’ts might you add to the list?