The Only Sales Prospecting Email Template You’ll EVER Need (SP30)

Prospecting Email Template

Looking for a prospecting email template you can easily personalize and that works for almost any situation?

Keep reading to learn the simple, one-size-fits-all template that my team uses with huge success.

In other words, it’s been proven in the trenches.

That’s key, because as you and I both know, if you’re sending a prospecting email to just one prospect, you might be able to write an email so personal that the recipient may mistake you for a childhood friend.

But when you’re working on a larger scale, sending 20, 50, or 100 emails, that’s just not possible.

We realized we needed a research and messaging framework we could apply to every prospect, regardless of their college basketball team or pet snake’s favorite 90s song.

That’s why we came up with SP3O, a powerful framework for outreach personalization. It’s heavily inspired by SP3V, a sales discovery call framework we learned from the Winning By Design team, who we highly recommend. (Thanks Jacco, Andy and Dan!)

Here’s what we’re going to cover:

Why Most People Suck At Outreach

When faced with the challenge of personalizing at scale, many of us resort to referencing.

“I loved your recent blog post on how the solar eclipse was actually a hoax perpetrated by big pharma to sell more vitamin D. I thought you might be interested in some of the work we are doing in file sharing technology. After all, we consider high powered file sharing the vitamin for offices deficient in streamlined communications. Get it?”


While this is a popular method for salespeople trying to forge a real connection, it just isn’t sustainable.

Less than 10% of your market will be actively posting on social and blogging platforms. If they don’t post, what are you going to reference? What are you going to say when reaching out to a lumber company with no online presence?

“Hey, that’s some great lumber you got there. It made me think of how file sharing solutions are really the lumber of the digital forest. So, uh, how are you guys sharing files today?”

At this point, you might as well just offer them a demo and get it over with.

Like so many other businesses, at Culture Amp, we ran into this same challenge over and over again.

We experimented with many ideas, including cold email templates, such as Basho’s, which can be useful for reaching out to social media starlets who actively post on LinkedIn or Twitter.

However, there is little in the way of good templates for reaching out to the leader of a 2,000-person company who lives in Des Moines instead of Miami and who only uses LinkedIn when they are looking for a new job.

That’s why we came up with SP30!

Introducing the New Sales Prospecting Email Template: SP3O

Prospecting emails need to feel personal, even if they’re (mostly) written at scale. That means you need a framework that’s easy to tweak for each recipient. That’s what SP3O gives you.

Now, let’s look at what each element in SP3O stands for.

Situation (S)

First, develop an understanding of the buying situation(s) that causes a problem you can help alleviate.

For example, the multi-billion-dollar roofing industry is triggered by damaged roofs. What causes that damage? Storms.

There is your situation.

People buy umbrellas when it rains, they eat ice cream when it’s hot, and they build bunkers when geopolitics grow tense.

Each of these situations causes a problem. But is it a problem you can solve? Ask yourself, what situation creates a problem that you, your company, or your product can fix?

Problem (P)

In identifying the situation, you have most likely already identified the problem, but it’s important to really nail it down. An easy way to do this is to reword the initial question.

Ask yourself, “What problem(s) does this situation cause the prospect?”

If we continue looking at our example of the roofing industry, the situation is the storm, and the problem is that suddenly they have a huge amount of damaged roofs to fix all at once. That means a huge amount of new customers to keep track of and reach out to.

That may or may not be a problem you can address, or there may be a separate problem that you could help with, but you need to clearly define the problem you can help with BEFORE you reach out.

3rd Party Success (3)

Now that you’ve established the situation and the problem, take a pensive moment and anchor it back to a prior 3rd-party success.

  • When did you last help a prospect of similar size and industry with the same situation?
  • What was their problem?
  • What was the story (Ask your sales or customer success team)?

Ideally, marketing will have some case studies on these 3rd-party successes that follow an appealing story arch. A prospect was in this situation, which caused this problem, and they used your product to solve it and live happily ever after.

RELATED: How to Use Case Studies Effectively in Sales (And Mistakes to Avoid)

Offer (O)

This exercise means nothing if you can’t conclude by offering something. (It is a prospecting email, after all!)

Oh, it’s raining and you want to be dry? Whelp, nice meeting you. I can solve that problem!

The culmination of SP3 is the O, the Offer. And if S, P, and 3 are not well defined, it’s easy to approach the prospect by asking/begging rather than offering.

Please look at our demo.

Please sign up for our mailing list.

Please please please.


No one likes a needy salesperson. The prospects are the ones in need, remember?

If you follow the framework by establishing the Situation, identifying the Problem, and drawing on previous 3rd-party successes, your outreach will evolve from pleading with passers-by to offering help to someone who is really in need.

Or you may find out it’s not a good fit and politely move on, saving both you and the prospect time.

Finally, the Moment You’ve Been Waiting for: the Template

Your SP3O prospecting email template is easy. Just plug in the 4 elements of the framework, one after the other. Like this:

Hi John,

I’m guessing your roof got hit by the hail storm over the weekend. [Situation/Problem]

Jess, our roofing engineer, just completed a repair audit of the building next to yours (Joe’s Plumbing) and found a way to cut repair cost by 50%. [3rd party success]

Do you want me to ask Jess to drop by and take a look at your roof? [Offer]



Now, let’s look at more tips for getting your prospecting emails right. Here’s some smart advice from sales and marketing pros in the community.

More Prospecting Email Tips From Experts

Austin Coffin:

I’ve recently begun placing the ‘ask’ portion of my emails right after the opening line. I then continue the email below with a couple of lines focused on value drivers for my business. In this case, talking about how we’ve helped their peers reduce overall telephone spend, reduce the needs for specialized IT management, and eliminate business continuity risks.

We all like things short and to the point. Why not let them know why you’re emailing them quickly, and then follow up with supporting and compelling reasons to take a 15 minute discovery call?

Jim Kim:

One of my rules is to never say, “Hope all is well,” or gum up my email with anything that takes away from the main point of my message, which is to immediately get their attention.

I want to make the prospect make a decision to be curious and want to learn more. Or I want them to self-select out of my funnel so I can invest my time with a prospect who will actually buy.

Caelum Shove:

Format your emails for the gmail preview. You get about 20 words between the subject line and first sentence — which is what convinces a prospect to open or delete. Don’t include anything like: “My name is…,” “Hope all is well,” “I work at XYZ,” etc. Just get right to the point.

RELATED: Are You Pissing Off Your Prospects With These Annoying Opening Email Lines?

Brandon Redlinger:

You don’t need to do anything super creative or different in prospecting emails, lest you come across as too gimmicky. Honestly, if you think you’re doing everything right in terms of your outbound emails, you may want to look upstream — that is, look at where your leads are coming from.

The perfectly crafted email (if there is such a thing) sent at the most opportune time is going to have drastically different results being sent to an A-quality lead vs a C-quality lead.

Jeffrey Ekblad:

Are you sending the same template to everyone? A huge key to a great response rate is the right message to the right list.

Seth M. List:

Subject lines can make a world of difference, especially since we’re all adhering to industry standard best practices when it comes to the body.

Now Go and Prospect!

By adopting the SP3O framework, and following these expert tips, you can start more genuine conversations with prospects. You’ll also feel more confident in your contribution to your market.

No more annoying blog post references or awkward attempts at establishing mutual interests.

Now you can get right to the heart of the matter and help someone who needs it.

Do you have any prospecting email strategies that work for you? Comment below to share!

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    • So refreshing to hear this.

      Your solution is only as valuable as the problem it solves – let’s stop trying to make friends through cold email (buyers are becoming immune to it) and get down to addressing relevant needs!

    • Nice way to break it down. Working on copy for cold emails can feel empty so getting it into a warmer form helps.

    • Profile picture of Reagan Pace
      ( 350 POINTS )
      3 months ago

      I really enjoyed this article. It breaks it down really well and gives insights from actual business professionals. This is by far the most helpful thing I’ve seen about cold emails.

    • Profile picture of MJ
      ( 300 POINTS )
      1 month ago

      is there a good cold email for prospecting into DevOps, and Engineering personas?

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