You’ve done your homework.
You’ve crafted the perfect email.
Your subject line is spot on. Your copy is short and valuable. You even tossed in a witty, yet appropriate signature.
You are about to hit send, but something feels… off.
Doubt creeps in.
You realize what’s causing you to pause: It’s your call to action (CTA).
You suggested a specific date and time to meet. Was that the most effective CTA? Maybe you should leave the meeting day/time more open — let them choose. Or maybe you should skip the ask for a meeting altogether and gauge general interest.
Gong knows. We analyzed over 300,000 emails to uncover the best email CTAs for both cold and in-deal emails.
A bit about Gong data
Our Gong Labs team analyzes anonymized sales interactions from our product users — everything captured by our Revenue Intelligence platform during web conference meetings, phone calls, and emails. Then, we analyze how sellers’ and buyers’ actions impact success rates.
For this blog post, our team analyzed 304,174 emails and dug into each of their CTAs.
Our data scientists then grouped effective CTAs (those resulting in a booked meeting within 10 days) into three buckets:
- Specific CTA: For example, “How is this Wednesday at 3 p.m. PT?”
- Open-ended CTA: For example, “Do you have time next week to meet?”
- Interest CTA: For example, “Are you interested in learning more about X?”
Finally, they dug into two sales scenarios: cold emails and in-deal emails.
Here’s what they found.
This is the best CTA for cold sales emails
Before we share the answer, remember it’s pointless to discuss CTAs before you’ve nailed the subject line and body copy. Those are table stakes.
Okay. Here it is.
The best cold email CTA is the interest CTA.
And it’s not even close.
Specific CTAs and open-ended CTAs come in at 15% and 13%, respectively, compared to the interest CTA at 30%. Including an interest CTA in your cold emails is twice as effective as asking for (or proposing) a time to meet.
Most sales training says that open-ended and/or time-specific CTAs are the industry standard. Open your inbox and look at any (non-Gong) sales email. See what I mean?
Yet the data in favor of interest CTAs are compelling.
Even though time is finite, we tend to ask buyers—who, in cold emails, have no idea who we are—if we can steal some of their valuable time, a resource most people wish they had more of.
And we all know resources are scarce, especially now.
Instead, try selling the conversation, not the meeting.
Notice the subtle, yet key difference between asking for time versus interest.
Interest is not finite, nor is it a resource. If you can pique a buyer’s interest and curiosity instead of asking for resources (like time) upfront, you are more likely to find success.
But if you’re thinking of using the interest CTA once you begin the sales cycle… not so fast.
This is the best CTA for in-deal sales emails
When sending an in-deal email, asking for a specific day and time in your CTA significantly increases your odds of securing that coveted meeting.
Once you’ve entered the sales process, suggesting a specific day and time to meet as your CTA more than doubles meetings booked, from 15% in the cold email stage to 37% in the deal stage.
This technique works because removing friction helps your buyer make decisions faster.
You have to confirm a time and ship the calendar invite before your buyer gets distracted or changes their mind.
Assuming you still have your buyer’s interest, they will likely respond that, a) the time works, or b) they will propose a new time. Either way, you are moving them down the funnel—closer to your end goal.
Add these CTAs to your emails today. Now that you have the data and science behind email CTAs, why not test out a few — or 43? We did the work so you don’t have to. Download the 43 CTAs for Highly Effective Emails here.
Devin Reed is Manager of Content Strategy for Gong. Previously Devin worked for six years in SaaS sales.