2023 cold B2B email statistics and benchmarks

Michael Maximoff
Michael Maximoff
Reading time:10 m

Wonder what the state of cold B2B email outreach is in 2023?

We’ve put together the ultimate collection of cold email statistics derived from our proprietary analysis of 11 million emails sent by our clients across 90+ industries and multiple external reports.

Read on to benchmark your B2B outreach strategy based on the latest cold email stats, or jump directly to the section that interests you most from the table of contents.

Key B2B cold email statistics

To kick things off, check out general findings on cold email performance.

  • 43% of salespeople name email as the most effective sales channel. (HubSpot)
  • 77% of B2B buyers prefer communication via emails, which is more than double compared to any other channel. (Sopro)
  • 59% of companies consider emails the most reliable channel for lead generation. (Sopro)
  • 72% say email prospecting delivers “good to excellent” ROI. (Sopro)
  • On average, it takes sending 306 cold emails to generate 1 B2B lead. (Belkins)
  • The average open rate for B2B cold emails is 36%, and the reply rate is 7%. (Belkins)
  • C-level execs answer cold emails 20% more frequently than employees outside the C-suite — 6.4% vs. 5.2%. (Belkins)
  • 65% of companies agree email prospecting can reach decision-makers that other channels struggle to reach. (Sopro)

Conversion rate statistics

This section highlights different aspects of engagement with email campaigns, including factors that influence them.

Cold Email Open and Reply Rates

  • 36% — the average open rate for B2B cold emails. (Belkins)
  • 7% — the average reply rate for a B2B cold outreach email campaign. (Belkins)
  • To get 1 B2B lead, you need to send approximately 306 cold emails. (Belkins)
  • Contacting 2–4 prospects per organization gives the highest average reply rates (>7%). (Belkins)
  • B2B campaigns targeting 240–499 people get the highest reply rates of 10%. (Belkins)

Email frequency statistics

Discover how many follow-ups lift reply rates, the optimal number of emails to send, and the best timeto send the next message after your initial contact.

Email frequency statistics

  • The optimal number of follow-ups for a B2B outreach campaign is 2. (Belkins)
  • The first follow-up email boosts the reply rate by 49%. (Belkins)
  • The second follow-up only boosts the reply rate by 9%. (Belkins)
  • The third follow-up email decreases the reply rate by 20%. (Belkins)
  • The third email in a sequence drives the most leads. (Sopro)
  • SDRs who make 9 or more contact attempts perform 16% better. (Bridge Group)
  • The top 20% of the best-performing cold email campaigns show a 220% boost in responses after the first follow-up. (Belkins)
  • Waiting 3 days before following up brings a 31% increase in the reply rate. (Belkins)
  • Waiting longer than 5 days decreases the likelihood of a response by 24%. (Belkins)
  • Following up too soon (within 1 day) harms the reply rate (-11%). (Belkins)
  • Cold email campaigns with 3 email rounds (or 3 steps in an email sequence) tend to have the highest reply rates of 9.2%. (Belkins)
  • A 3-step email sequence drives 94% of responses. (Instantly)

Email timing statistics

Here, we’ll cover the best time for sending emails to your prospects — hours, business days, and months. In this section, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer on when it’s best to send emails, as different studies covered different samples.

Email timing statistics

  • There’s no prime time for sending emails. (Databox)
  • Wednesday is the best day of the week to send outreach emails with the highest reply rate of 7.2% and open rate of 37%. (Belkins)
  • Open rates peak at roughly 41% in the afternoon, between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. (Belkins)
  • Reply rates are highest in the morning, between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m. (Belkins)
  • Monday at 11 a.m. is considered the best time for sending an email to get the highest conversions. (Sopro)
  • Across most industries, Mondays have the lowest open rates (<35%) and reply rates (6.5%). (Belkins)
  • Open rates are highest for emails sent between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. (Sopro)
  • Friday shows the highest open rates. (Sopro)
  • The time between 11 a.m. and 12 p.m. is the best to get more leads. (Sopro)
  • Lead rates are highest on Mondays. (Sopro)
  • Open rates reach 38% both in January and November. (Belkins)
  • April to June demonstrate the highest amount of answers, peaking at 7.4%. (Belkins)

Personalization and subject lines

Why are careful prospecting and personalization important for cold B2B email campaigns? Check out how personal touch influences engagement and what exactly works better to lift open and reply rates.

  • Lack of personalization resulted in a low 1.7% reply rate. (Fast Company)
  • 63% of 359 surveyed marketers noted that personalization would make them open a prospecting email. (Sopro)
  • 3 or 7 words in the subject line (SL) bring the best open rates. (Sopro)
  • Subject lines of 90 characters or more produce the highest open rates for B2B emails. (Adestra)
  • Using spam words like “click” or “get” in your SLs can harm your open rate by 20% and 8% respectively. The reply rate will drop dramatically as well — by 61.5% and 25.8% respectively. (Reply)
  • Adding the recipient’s company name to the subject line increases open rates by 22%. (Outreach)
  • Subject lines mentioning cooperation or opportunity can lead to a significant increase in open and reply rates — by up to 29% and 41% respectively. (Reply)
  • Mentioning referral in your SL can give 17% more opens and 56% more responses. (Reply)
  • Questions in subject lines trigger 10% more people to view what’s inside. (Yesware)
  • Subject lines that include numbers get a 45% higher open rate than the average. (Yesware)
  • Adding the prospect’s name lifts open rates to 9.1% or more. (Sopro)
  • Emails containing 251–300 words have the highest lead rate. (Sopro)
  • ROI language (e.g., words like improve, increase, scale, and more) isn’t the best option for cold emails. Using these words can dramatically decrease both your open and reply rates by 33–34%. (Reply)
  • Starting with “Hello” and the customer’s first name results in higher open rates. (IKO System Slideshare)
  • Mentioning your lead’s first name in the email intro boosts open rates by 86%. (IKO System Slideshare)
  • Using the company’s name in the B2B emails increases open rates by 15%, compared to using a first name, which improves open rates by 0.9% only. (IKO System Slideshare)
  • B2B cold emails with 200–250 words gathered the most responses (19%). Short emails with fewer than 50 words had the next highest result (17%). (IKO System Slideshare)

Decision-makers and job titles

Let’s see how open, reply, and conversion rates vary by the job title of your recipients.

Email benchmarks across decision-makers and job titles

  • 60% of B2B sales include 2–4 decision-makers. (HubSpot)
  • 81% of B2B buyers want to hear from suppliers during their research and evaluation phase. (Sopro)
  • 41% of B2B buyers use email for sourcing vendor content when making purchasing decisions. (Marketing Charts)
  • 14.5% of soft dev companies say their lead wasn’t fit because competitors already engaged them. For fintech companies, this number reaches 67%. (Belkins)
  • 41% of founders open an outreach email, followed by chief executive officers (CEOs) and chief product officers (CPOs) — both at 38%. (Belkins)
  • The lowest open rate of 27.3% in the C-suite goes to chief information officers (CIOs). (Belkins)
  • Emails to chief technology officers (CTOs) and chief operations officers (COOs) get the most replies (~7%). (Belkins)
  • 25%–26% of people from the information technology (IT) or human resources (HR) departments open cold emails. (Belkins)
  • Reply rates for contacts from IT or HR depts are also the lowest (5%). (Belkins)
  • Apprentice managers have the highest lead rate of 6.1%. (Sopro)
  • IT project managers are less likely to turn into leads — only 0.06% of them convert. (Sopro)
  • Managers and leads have the highest response rate of 3.45%, while only 2.4% of VP/directors answer cold B2B emails. (Sopro)
  • Regular employees from diverse departments are most likely to convert (3.11%), compared to C-level executives (2.15%). (Sopro)

Open and reply rates by industry

Multiple studies show that open and reply rates for B2B emails can vary significantly based on the industry. Check out what open rates and reply rates are like in your market.

reply rates by industry

  • People from religious institutions tend to open 59% of emails they receive. (Belkins)
  • Event agencies, architecture and planning companies, and design studios have above-average open rates: 48%, 47%, and 47%, correspondingly. (Belkins)
  • People from banking, utilities, defense and space, and insurance open less than 30% of emails they receive, showing the worst open rates. (Belkins)
  • Museums, nonprofits, and religious institutions have the highest reply rates of >16.5%. (Belkins)
  • Business consulting and services companies demonstrate the lowest reply rates for cold B2B outreach — just 2.2%. (Belkins)
  • Decision-makers from e-commerce and fintech are reluctant to answer cold emails — with 3.5% and 4%, respectively. (Belkins)
  • Software companies have a reply rate of 2.9%, despite being the most popular industry for targeting. (Belkins)
  • Finance is the most prospected industry. (Sopro)
  • People from financial institutions answer cold B2B emails most often and have a 3.39% response rate, compared to 1.87% of those working in tech companies. (Sopro)
  • The highest lead rate comes from people working in procurement: 3.2%, while the lowest is from the tech people: 1.5%. (Sopro)
  • Charities invest 13% of their budget into cold emails, which generates an impressive 24% of their sales revenues. (Upland Software)

Open and reply rates by country

Our statistics show that people from different countries respond differently to cold emails, with some showing higher open and reply rates than others. Find out where your emails have higher chances to be noticed and where you can hardly get any significant engagement.

rates by country

  • Ireland, Slovenia, and Denmark have the highest reply rates (>16%). (Belkins)
  • Reply rates are lowest in Azerbaijan (1.3%), Japan (2.8%), and South Korea (3.1%). (Belkins)
  • Only 4.7% of emails are answered in the United States. (Belkins)

Learn more

Want more B2B email stats? Check out related studies:

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Michael Maximoff
Michael Maximoff
Co-founder and Managing Partner at Belkins
Michael is the Co-founder of Belkins, serial entrepreneur, and investor. With a decade of experience in B2B Sales and Marketing, he has a passion for building world-class teams and implementing efficient processes to drive the success of his ventures and clients.