From your initial outreach to agreeing the final terms, it often takes many touchpoints to land a big sale.
In some sales teams, these points of contact are handled by individual reps, according to their own intuition. However, there is plenty of good evidence that using sales cadence (i.e. creating a set list for communication) is much more effective.
If you are hearing about this idea for the first time or you’re wondering how to implement sales cadence, we have answers.
In this concise guide, we’re going to explore this process in detail — from the theory behind cadence to building your own schedule.
Sales cadence is a series of pre-planned touchpoints between sales reps and a potential client, in the lead up to making a sale.
It starts with the first moment of contact, and ends when that prospect becomes a sales-qualified lead or drops out of the funnel altogether.
The usual format for sales cadences is a schedule, which reps can follow throughout the lead nurturing process. It may include touchpoints across a range of different channels, including phone, email, video calls, in-person meetings, direct mail, and social media.
Traditionally, a sales cadence schedule would be fixed. But modern sales software is now able to adapt to the behavior of individual leads, and shape the cadence according to incoming data and predetermined rules.
The primary purpose of using sales cadence is to optimize your outreach.
Consistency is very important in prospecting. Only 2% of sales are made after one touchpoint. That number leaps to 80% after the fifth point of contact.
By asking all your sales reps to follow a set plan, you can ensure that you won’t bother your leads too much — or leave them hanging.
The additional structure of sales cadence also allows salespeople to manage hundreds of leads simultaneously, while still delivering the right message at the right time. Reps never have to figure out what needs to be done next; the cadence plan reveals all.
On a similar theme, using a sales cadence allows reps to stay in sync across multiple channels. Diversifying your outreach in this way gives you a better chance of starting conversations with hard-to-reach clients.
The other key benefits of sales cadence relate to timing — another important factor in the success of your prospecting campaigns.
Say you’re trying to reach new customers through email. Send out a follow-up email on day two, and the recipient will probably think you’re being too pushy. Send out your message after a week, and they might have forgotten key details from your first email.
Building a schedule based on data means interactions are easier to track, and you’re more likely to trigger touchpoints at a good time.
Of course, you’re only likely to reap these rewards by cooking up an effective sales cadence. To do that, you first need to know the key ingredients. Let’s take a closer look at the recipe now:
Creating sales cadences starts with understanding your target audience on a deep level. If you don’t already have detailed buyer personas and ideal customer profiles, now is the time to make some.
Even if you already have some idea of what the perfect prospect looks like, you can never have too much data. Try to figure out which channels they use, what time of day they use them, and how often they check in.
If you don’t have your own data to draw on here, be sure to check out research done by the likes of Yesware.
Other points to look for include:
- Time zones
- Pain points
- Company size
- Who their clients are
If necessary, you may need to make multiple personas and then draft differing cadences to match.
You can build almost any form of communication into your sales cadences. The trick is knowing which ones to prioritize, and during which part of the sales process.
Data from Yesware shows that making a phone call is generally the best way to make your first contact with a prospect. You should probably send a follow-up email, and then try another call. At this point, you could also try leaving a voicemail.
After this, you could consider persisting with a mix of phone calls and emails until the last touchpoint, your breakup email. This is your final chance to gain the attention of your contact, and lay out how they can get in touch when they’re ready to do business.
Of course, one size does not fit all. Rather than sending emails, you might consider using LinkedIn messages (InMail) for connecting with B2B sales prospects. You could also follow up via text message, drop a comment on their social media, or send them a postcard. And of course, grab the chance to make conversation in person if you can.
Whichever channels you choose, we highly recommend taking a multi-channel approach. If you restrict your methods of communication, it means you’re pinning all your hopes on someone using a particular platform regularly.
Once you have decided how you’re going to get in touch with people, you then need to decide when you’re going to reach out.
As a general rule, you should be building at least six touchpoints into your schedule. Each touch should be at least a day or two apart, unless you have a good reason to push them closer together. As you move through the cadence, you can spread out touches a little further.
Whatever frequency you choose, be sure to assign a fairly fixed amount of waiting time between each touch. This will allow you to measure accurately the effectiveness of your schedule and generate good data to shape your sales strategy.
Taking into consideration these factors, what exactly does a good sales cadence look like? Probably the best way to figure this out is by studying some templates, created by people who know what they are doing.
Let’s start with a basic example from the CEO of Sales Hub, Max Altschuler:
- Day 1: Email/InMail
- Day 3: Email in the morning, call in the afternoon
- Day 5: Call in the morning, call with a voicemail in the afternoon
- Day 7: Email in the morning, call in the afternoon with a voicemail
- Day 10: Email and call in the morning
Notice that in this cadence, Max uses a couple of different channels on the same day, and then leaves a gap before his next attempt.
According to data collected by Yesware, the ideal cadence using traditional forms of communication would look like this:
- Day 1: Call
- Day 2: Email
- Day 5: Call
- Day 7: Call
- Day 12: Email
- Day 14: Email
Now, let’s look at a social media-heavy cadence plan. This one comes from Carlos Montero, who is the CEO of a digital marketing consultancy firm:
- Day 1: Prospect research
- Day 2: InMail
- Day 3: Follow-up InMail
- Day 4: Email
- Day 5: Follow-up email
- Day 6: Phone
- Day 7: Social media (share an article and tag the prospect)
- Day 8: Video email
- Day 9: Social media (engage prospect on LinkedIn)
- Day 10: Voice mail
- Day 11: Email
- Day 12: Phone or Email
To attract the attention of contacts on social media, you sometimes need to be a little more persistent. Although Carlos’ cadence only lasts 12 days, he makes plenty of contact attempts within that time frame — yet you wouldn’t call it annoying.
We promised in the title of this article that we would help you to win more meetings, hopefully leading to better conversion rates. And here at Datanyze, we like to deliver on our promises.
Here are five sales cadence best practices that should lift your response rates and help you secure more sales opportunities:
The worst mistake you can make is chopping your cadence sequence too short — both in terms of time, and number of touchpoints.
Your potential customers are busy people. If you squeeze your schedule down to 10 days or less, there’s every chance that they will miss your messages due to being occupied on a big deadline or project. By extending your cadence, you have a better chance of catching them during a quieter moment.
In terms of the number of touchpoints, data shows that seven is the magic number. The optimum range is actually anywhere between 8 and 12 contact attempts, but generally it’s better to err on the side of extra.
Most sales only happen after a number of touchpoints, and far too many sales reps give up too early. Don’t be one of those people!
At a glance, your sales cadence might look a bit like an email sequence. But don’t get suckered into automating everything.
Automated emails are rarely effective in the world of prospecting. In fact, these impersonal messages can drive sales leads away.
However, you can use automation to assist you with tracking interactions, collecting data, and reminding your reps about upcoming touchpoints. It is highly recommended, actually.
Understanding what to send and when to send it is essential if you’re creating a sales cadence. The problem is, you probably won’t have much data at first.
A/B testing is a great way to gather more information, according to Andrew Thomas, a top SDR at Cognism:
“We always do A/B testing on emails. For example, we might come up with different content for day five and test it against the original copy.”
“After two or three months, management reviews the data. If they find something that works better, then we update the cadence.”
If you want to maximize the potential of your cadence, we recommend that you follow suit.
Chances are, you have more than one ideal customer profile. If so, you’re going to need to create more than one sales cadence.
Just as you build segments for your marketing campaigns, it’s essential to craft cadences to suit different audiences.
While some of your contacts may be avid LinkedIn users, others might not be on the platform at all. While InMail would be a good early point of contact for the first group, you’re not going to get a great response rate from the second group!
Ultimately, your sales cadence will only be as successful as your prospect identification and your messaging.
To deliver the perfect pitch to the right person consistently, you need to do plenty of research.
Datanyze is a tool that can speed up the process. Through our easy-to-use Chrome extension, you can get access to accurate contact details, company information, and other useful data for anyone on LinkedIn. It works on company websites, too.
Every person you search for goes straight into your online account, which is accessible for your whole team. You can then easily transfer your entire list of contacts straight into your CRM, ready to start your outreach.