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How to Re-Engage Cold Leads With B2B Sales Funnel Email Sequences

TEMPLATE Re-Engage Cold B2B Leads With Email Sequences - reheating in microwave

Many sellers and marketers aren’t quite sure how to re-engage cold leads, especially when it’s been 6 to 12+ months since they were warm.

Do you pick up the phone? Give up and move on? Poke them with a sharp stick to see if they move?

Despite their reputation among some naysayers as outdated or invasive, well-executed sales and marketing emails remain a high-ROI tool for rebuilding relationships. “Well-executed” being the key.

See our templates below to learn how sales funnel email sequences can reignite dying relationships with genuine, educational messaging:

Which Cold Leads Should I Re-Engage With Sales Funnel Email Sequences?

It might not be worth your time to re-engage every contact in your CRM (customer relationship management) system, especially if it’s overdue for spring cleaning. Here’s an example of how one B2B contract manufacturer approached its email workflow targeting:

  • Leads who downloaded premium content (e-book, chart, or brochure)
  • Last activity date was > 6 months ago
  • Company name is known

General Advice on Sales Funnel Email Sequences

First order of business: Don’t overwhelm recipients with communication. Overexcited, pushy salespeople might have been what turned them from warm to cold in the first place!

Each email you write should center around your #1 goal: re-engagement. A sale isn’t going to result from your first re-engagement email. (If it does, tell us your secret.)

As you move along, hone in on the goal beyond the goal: What specifically would you like your lead to do after reading? This could vary by the lead’s:

  • Journey stage
  • Job role
  • Interest in a particular vertical or service

While automated email follow-up is an amazing time-saver, don’t be afraid to clone and tweak your email marketing strategy template for specific contacts or contact lists. As bullet #3 alludes to, you can personalize touchpoints based on what content the lead has viewed and how they answered certain submission form questions.

From there, pick valuable resources or high-converting pages to share with your leads. With those in hand, you can sort out the final details:

  • Whose name and address will emails come from? (Don’t use “sales@”)
  • Where can you use video to boost engagement
  • At what point will you pronounce a lead dead?

EXAMPLE: B2B Sales Funnel Email Sequence for Content Downloaders

In this sequence example, the recipients will be leads who converted via an offer form (for an e-book, brochure, etc.), but haven’t engaged in 6+ months. 

Our goal is to get inactive leads to reply and eventually have a conversation with the appropriate salesperson.

If you’re new to digital lead nurturing, lean on our templates – we even included ideal email subject lines for B2B sales! (Your buyers have their own unique problems, so don’t do a total copy/paste job.)

How to Re-Engage Cold Leads With B2B Sales Funnel Email Sequences - envelope clipart for example #1Email #1

SUBJECT LINE: The [offer type] you requested

GOAL: Generate a response by asking a question at the end

Hey [First Name]

It’s been a while, so I have to ask – what did you think of the [offer they converted on] you asked for? Did it answer your questions?

If you haven’t had a chance to review it yet, I understand. I sometimes download an educational resource with the best intentions and get sidetracked and forget about it.

As a reminder, here’s what the [offer] covers:  

  • [Pain point A]
  • [Pain point B]
  • [Pain point C]

For a copy of the entire document, click here [link to content].

Any other questions about [topic of offer] I can answer?

[Salesperson's signature and photo]

How to Re-Engage Cold Leads With B2B Sales Funnel Email Sequences - envelope clipart for example #2

Email #2

WHEN: 1 week later

GOAL: Get them to book a meeting for a fleshed-out conversation with a seller regarding their problem/opportunity

SUBJECT LINE: Is [Company Name] still struggling with [pain point addressed in offer they converted on]?

Hey [First Name],

I’m wondering what led you to request the [offer]. Was it an issue with [pain point]? Or are you trying to [opportunity relevant to offer]?

Notably, these educational articles on our site address the same issue:

  • [Link to relevant resource A]
  • [Link to relevant resource B]

If you’re ready to brainstorm solutions to [pain point in offer] and improve [outcome your solution provides], can we briefly connect? Feel free to book 15 minutes that works best for you by clicking here [link to “book a meeting” calendar].


[Salesperson's signature and photo]

How to Re-Engage Cold Leads With B2B Sales Funnel Email Sequences - envelope clipart for example #3

Email #3

WHEN: 10 days after #2

GOAL: Plant the seeds of FOMO, making it seem like the sender is working with the recipient’s competitors.

SUBJECT LINE: Has [Company Name] tried this?

Hey [First Name],

Earlier today I was chatting with a company in your industry, and it dawned on me that similar [pain point covered in offer] solutions might be a logical fit for you.

If you’re interested in hearing more, I’m open to connecting. Feel free to book 15 minutes on my calendar here [link to “book a meeting” calendar].

Where specifically do you need guidance to help you [pain point/opportunity]?

Talk soon,

[Salesperson's signature and photo]

How to Re-Engage Cold Leads With B2B Sales Funnel Email Sequences - envelope clipart for example #4

Email #4 

WHEN: 5 days after #3

GOAL: Make sure the sender is actually emailing someone with decision-making influence, or have them redirect the sender to someone more qualified. 

SUBJECT LINE: Do I have the wrong person?

Hey [First Name],

I noticed you’re not engaging with my emails. Is there someone else at [Company Name] I’d be better suited talking to about [outcome your solution provides]

I don’t want to keep bothering you needlessly. Would you mind sending me their info?


[Salesperson's signature and photo]

How to Re-Engage Cold Leads With B2B Sales Funnel Email Sequences - envelope clipart for example #5

Email #5

WHEN: 3 days after #4

SUBJECT LINE:  I’ll get out of your hair

GOAL: Make it clear this is the final follow-up sales email. Spur a response that further qualifies the lead or reveals why they’re uninterested.

Hey [First Name],

It seems like now might not be the best time for [Company Name] to discuss a way to [outcome your solution provides].

That’s OK. In the meantime, these resources are good starting points for attacking [pain point covered in offer]:

  • [Higher-value resource A, i.e. whitepaper or checklist]
  • [Higher-value resource B, i.e. whitepaper or checklist]

As you’re looking over these resources, feel free to reach out if any questions come up.

Take care,

[Signature of salesperson with their photo]

‘I Got a Response! … What Now?’

If any of these B2B lead-nurturing email examples work, pat yourself on the back. Then plan your next move to keep the momentum going.

Depending on your lead’s situation and needs, an ensuing follow-up sequence could look like the list below. You could use them as trust-builders if the lead isn’t ready to buy, or save them as a follow-up string after a sales call or demo.

  1. Email with case study – Show clear results replicable and relevant for the lead’s company
  2. Email with “why us/not us” – Explain honestly what makes your solution a good or bad fit
  3. Email with FAQs – Answer questions & concerns similar buyers commonly ask
  4. Phone call – If #s 1-3 don’t work and you’d thought the lead was genuinely interested, try a new outreach method!

To avoid seeming desperate, space touchpoints out several days each.

Supplementary Templates & Advice for Further Follow-Ups

To expand your arsenal of lead-nurturing tools, try these related email marketing/sales follow-up sequences:


Measuring & Improving Your Lead-Nurturing Content

As with any digital content, measurement is important in email marketing for B2B sales. 

  • A secondary goal of checking in on inactive leads is removing the bloat and inefficiencies of oversized lists. Keep an eye on your B2B email sequences to see whether each contact deserves more follow-up or can be flushed from your CRM.

  • Periodically review the general click-through rate for the resources you’re sharing. If rates are consistently low, share a different piece of content.

And there you have it! You’ve got the power to manage contacts more efficiently, and invest effort and space only on high-value contacts with purchase potential.

For more advice on nurturing B2B leads for your next event, download our free Guide to Email Marketing for Trade Shows:

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