The dos and don’ts of pitching B2B services


Working on the marketing team of a well-known company, you can imagine we get plenty of unsolicited emails from businesses pitching their services.

Whether they specialize in video production, social media management, direct mail or a mishmash of content marketing tools, many of these emails end up in my junk mail folder. And this isn’t because I delete without reading, or because I have a superiority complex (I used to be on our PR team, so I know what it’s like to be on the pitching side). I also get fewer vendor pitches than some of my coworkers. But the methods people use to try and garner attention sometimes rub me the wrong way.

I’m one of the rare people that opens pretty much every email I get. There’s no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to pitch your services to a company, but I thought I should share some insight from the receiving end in case there’s someone out there who might benefit from some dos and don’ts of cold email pitching B2B services:


Write ‘Re:’ in the subject line

I didn’t email you. Your message isn’t in response to something I sent you, so this won’t entice me to open an email. I have a good memory of people I’ve been in touch with, and I don’t recognize your name. Unfortunately this is a sore spot for me, so I may not make it through the message because I’m stuck on the fact that ‘Re:’ was in the subject line. Silly I know, but…

Change your last name on your email…to the recipient’s last name

This actually happened to me. Someone with the surname ‘Landa’ is an account manager at Company X? Are we related? I was curious, so I looked up the person on LinkedIn. As expected, said person at Company X has a different last name in ‘real life’, but appeared with my last name in her email. How did she do this? Why did she do this? Please don’t do this. It’s just creepy.

Suggest we already know each other

I think most people appreciate a conversational email, but suggesting we ‘catch up’ or saying that they’re ‘following up’ on a prior exchange isn’t fooling anyone.

Suggest you know one of my colleagues

We all work in the same office. We talk. We know.


Your research

Are you pitching us just because you know our brand name, or does it look like we’re floundering in that department and you think we could really use the help? When I was on our PR team, I sometimes received emails from companies offering PR and media relations services. It seemed funny, considering they’d emailed our internal PR team!

Introduce yourself and include a sample of your work

We appreciate links or a portfolio so we have something to look at on our own time.

Be candid

If someone emailed me saying “Hey, I just emailed you, and this is crazy, but here’s our product, call us maybe,” I might save your pitch in my ‘vendors’ folder for later.

Send one email

If you don’t hear back, let it go. If we need you one day, we’ll happily get in touch.

I should make the disclaimer that these points likely won’t apply to everyone–and I certainly don’t represent how others at my company communicate–it’s merely my opinion based on personal experience. Oh, and in case you were wondering? We already have internal PPC, email/direct mail, SEO and social media experts. 🙂

What other dos/don’ts would you add to this list? B2B marketers, what techniques do you find work best/worst for you?

2 replies
  1. Aunty Marilyn
    Aunty Marilyn says:

    But do you have TRANSLATION service? Just kidding…

    Love this article. You have a great friendly, breezy style. So talented!!!

    • Sam Landa
      Sam Landa says:

      Very funny! (But to be serious for a moment–we do have a translation vendor for our French market)

      Thanks for the kind words; I’m glad you enjoyed this article!

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