A sales cadence is the sequence of actions you take in the hopes of closing a sale with a prospect. It includes every contact attempt a salesperson makes with a prospect, including emails, phone calls, voicemails, and social media interactions.
Sales cadences are super helpful because they give sales reps a systematic framework to follow when they’re on the job.
But if they’re not well-built, they can also annoy the hell out of your prospects.
Keep reading to learn about:
According to research by InsideSales.com...
In 2017, InsideSales.com conducted a study on 14,000+ sales cadences across 8,000+ companies in order to gain valuable data on what makes up an effective sales cadence.
In particular, they looked at five things:
- Attempts: the number of times sales reps tried to contact a lead
- Media: which channels were used to make contact and what was most successful
- Duration: the average amount of time all sales cadences lasted
- Spacing: how much time was normally allowed in between contact attempts
- Content: the length of content contained in contact attempts
Here’s what they found:
- Attempts: the average # of attempts per lead was 4.05
- Media: single emails took the lead with 32% of respondents reportedly using this method, with single phone calls + a voicemail coming in second with 6% of respondents; 61% of first contacts happened via email
- Duration: cadences typically lasted 4.89 days
- Spacing: the typical gap in between contact attempts was 4.23 days
- Content: the average email length was 362 words; majority of voicemails were 30+ seconds long
Well, that’s some useful data isn’t it? Let’s put it to work.
Here’s how to create your perfect sales cadence.
1. Timing is (almost) everything.
One of the most annoying things for prospects is getting contacted to the point where you come across as spammy. You’ll either get straight up ignored or worse—marked as junk or spam.
The last thing you want is to get written off by a prospect before you’ve even had a chance to talk to them.
At the same time, you don’t want to wait too long in between contact attempts either, as you don’t want the prospect to forget about you.
Based on the research conducted by InsideSales.com, we can conclude the optimal sales cadence has the following qualities:
- Wait at least a day in between contact attempts, but no more than four
- Increase the amount of time between contacts after each subsequent attempt (up to six or seven days)
Pro-tip: Use your CRM to ensure your contact attempts are consistent and align with your sales cadence plan.
A sales cadence duration between two and four weeks is ideal. To clarify, this is the time between the first contact attempt and the last one.
Key takeaway: Be persistent... but not clingy.
2. Contact them the right way, with the right content.
Should your first contact attempt be via email, phone, or a LinkedIn message?
Once you get a chance to speak with a client, you can ask them exactly which channel they prefer to be contacted on. Until then though, figuring out the best channel to reach your prospects through can be tough.
Since we’re in the Relationship Era, sales cycles are often a bit longer (relationship-building takes time). So, making your first contact attempt via email or social media is a safe bet. This will give you a chance to warm the prospect up a bit by building rapport and familiarity before moving on to more aggressive communication channels like a phone call.
Regardless of how you contact a prospect, it’s important to have the right things to say.
Do: send different types of content that you think will resonate with your prospect (valuable content = not annoying)
Don’t: send pointless content, or send the same content over and over (fluffy or redundant content = annoying)
Some examples of content you can share via email are:
- An ebook that addresses a common pain point in their industry
- A link to an article covering recent industry news that the prospect might be interested in
- Case studies, testimonials, or success stories similar clients have had with your product or service
- Relevant videos or tutorials
In the case of phone calls, keep these points in mind:
- Explain why you’re contacting the prospect (and how it benefits them)
- Tie this reason in with your company (and how it benefits them)
- Ask them if they have some time to chat (and how it’ll benefit them)
Notice a trend here? When speaking on the phone with a prospect, focus on how your call will benefit them.
3. The number of touchpoints matters.
By now, we’ve established that a sales cadence should last between two and four weeks, you should contact prospects through multiple channels, and ensure you’re sharing high-quality content.
But exactly how many times should you contact them?
According to the Online Marketing Institute, it takes 7-13 touches to deliver a qualified sales lead. A report from the Bridge Group claims that salespeople who make 12 or more contact attempts perform almost 20% better than their colleagues who stop at eight attempts.
The reality is, however, that many sales reps often give up after just one call attempt. That’s a lot of missed sales opportunities.
Set yourself up for success by aiming for 10-15 touches per prospect in your sales cadence. You can test and adjust this number over time to find what works best for your target audience. (We’ll go over testing your sales cadence in more detail later in this post.)
Key takeaway: Sales cadences are not a quality > quantity game… quality and quantity are equally important in this case.
4. Test your sales cadence and adjust as needed.
It’s important to experiment with your cadence in order to nail down what works best with your target audience.
You won’t be able to assess how effective your sales cadence is if you’re not looking at the right metrics. You’ll definitely want to track the following:
- How many emails or phone calls (touches) it takes to get a response
- How many touches it takes before (1) moving to a prospecting call and (2) closing a sale
- Open and click-through rates (CTRs) of your prospecting emails
- Which types of content get you the highest response rate
- How many prospects ultimately convert into customers
The more information you can gather on what works and what doesn’t, the better your future sales cadences will work.
To start testing, you can A/B test two different sales cadences and see which performs better. From there, A/B test the winning cadence with a new one that incorporates any potential for improvements you caught during your last test. Repeat this process to improve your sales cadence on a continuous basis.
Use these sales cadence examples as inspiration.
Below are two examples of sales cadences. One is for inbound prospecting and one is for outbound prospecting. That’s right—you can have more than one sales cadence for different lead segments. In fact, it’s good practice so that you can target them as effectively as possible.
Example 1: Inbound sales cadence
Inbound prospecting means you’re dealing with people who have already expressed some sort of interest in your company. So, it’s safe to try a phone call right away.
The frequency of the first few contacts may also be close together as the prospect has either explicitly or implicitly indicated they’re okay with being contacted.
Example 2: Outbound sales cadence
In the case of outbound prospecting, it’s good to make your first contact attempt either via social media or email. This way you can introduce yourself and your company and give them a chance to warm up to you before jumping on to a sales call.
The contacts should also be spaced further apart and may be fewer in number as well than in inbound prospecting as you don’t want to, well, annoy them.
Go on, create that sales cadence.
To recap: timing matters (a lot), you need to reach prospects through the right channels, getting the quantity of your content is just as important as the quality, and you need to test often to continuously improve your sales cadences.
Hopefully, these tips will help you optimize your existing sales cadence—or create a brand new one from scratch. Either way, you’ve got this!