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“Relying on the rustics without being prepared is the worst crime; to be ready for any contingency before it happens is the greatest virtue.”
Although Sun Tzu’s Art of War is an old piece of literature, it contains valuable information such as the above quote. Although it’s poetically sweetened, the message is clear: sales is no less than Hunger Games. So prepare if this is something you want to do.
Sales cadence is what will keep you afloat. You may have seen sales cadence in many forms. These include transactional, relational and inbound.
This post will focus on the “outbound” aspect of sales cadence.
What is a Sales Cadence?
A salesperson follows a series of actions to close a sale and win a customer. These actions can be spread over a specified number of days and include all attempts to contact the prospect through various channels.
Cold prospecting is the best way to go about outbound sales. This allows them to determine if a particular person or organization is the right fit for your product and services.
When you reach out to prospects, the sales cadence process involves tools for creating brand awareness, educating leads and engaging them long-term.
Six elements are typical for every sales cadence:
Attempts: The number of contact attempts. Media: The media used to communicate with leads. Response Time: How long it takes to respond to leads. Content: The message used to educate, engage, and captivate audiences.
What is the purpose of a well-defined sales strategy for your company?
Do you wonder, “What’s the fuss about sales cadence?” Let us tell you.
It gives structure and organization to lead generation, qualification and prospecting, and transforms them into a free-flowing, well-defined strategy.
What can sales reps gain from a structured sales plan?
This section discusses the benefits of sales cadence for businesses. Sales cadence is actually a way to increase the sales capabilities of your sales team. This can be done in one of these ways:
It serves as the ultimate Sales Bible, tracing every step from the initial contact to the moment you ask for sales. It acts as a Sales Bible, allowing anyone to follow it, whether they are a veteran salesperson or a complete novice. Because so much of the work has already been done, there will be fewer opportunities missed.
8 Sales Cadence Best Practices
It is now time to put your sales cadence to use. To maximize the impact of your sales cadence, you should keep these best practices in mind:
1. Make a customer profile that is ideal
Broadcasting to a large audience might seem like a good idea. It will let people know about your business and its products. However, it is not worth creating awareness if it does not lead to something.
You must pitch customers who convert. You would be creating noise and wasting your effort.
This can be done by creating a customer profile that is ideal.
The ideal client profile, as the name implies, gives clarity to long-term paying customers in ideal circumstances. These parameters will determine the terms of your sales strategy and how you approach it.
Your customers could be categorized by their age, industry, geographical location, size, or other variables. To profile your customers, you should pick the most relevant, applicable, and appropriate characteristics.
After you have identified your target audiences, you can identify the contact who will give you information about the company. These contacts should be assigned an account-based priority based on their participation and weightage in the decision making process. This segmentation should be continued at an inter-company level.
2. List the Channels of Communication
The most popular outreach channels are email, text messaging and phone calls. A sales conversation must include all of these elements.
The degree to which these channels are used and how you alternate between them can vary depending on the buyer’s personality, the industry and their audience. This is why you’ll need to consider your ideal customer profile when making this decision.
You might be working in high-risk industries like finance and need to build trust and credibility. You may need to meet in person or communicate regularly over the phone. If you’re a SaaS-based start-up, you can still use social media to search for potential customers and pitch them through the site.
Plus, each mode of communication has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. For example, your contact may not be available at all times to attend your call, but when they do, you can be more convincing over a call and build a personal repertoire.
Conversely, an email gives them the convenience to get back to you when they are free and available. However, emails can drown in an overflowing inbox, and you may never hear back! Formulate a strategy that harnesses the advantages of each channel and offsets any disadvantages. Hubspot features an excellent sales cadence that utilized email, InMail, calls, and voicemails to land meetings. You could follow something similar or formulate something that speaks to your target audience.
3. Identify the Necessary Number of Touches
Here’s where everything gets extremely interesting – determining the number of contact attempts so that you do not come off as clingy or distant. You may be in constant turmoil having to choose between two diametrically opposite philosophies: “a salesperson never accepts a no for an answer” and “break up with a prospect when you notice the first signs of them not converting.”
What is this magic number where you must fold your cards?
Fun fact, there isn’t one!
In one of our podcasts, Jeb Blount did an excellent job of breaking down a 77-point cadence where the sales rep did not come across a push at all!
In other words, identifying the necessary and ideal number of touches is more of a trial and error experimentation subject to several factors. It changes from industry to industry, audience to audience, and even salesperson to salesperson.
Naturally, someone like Don Draper or David Ogilvy (if you are rooted in reality) would have greater success even with fewer attempts than someone who is learning the ABCs (Always Be Closing) of sales!
But, as a rule of thumb, a sales cadence should have about 8 to 12 touchpoints, with the former working as a reliable average. Start with a smaller and conservative number. After all, the law of diminishing return states that the activity will lose its impact and ability to drive results the more you try to push it.
Beyond this point, you will have to monitor the responses received to add or subtract the number of touchpoints.
While you are at it, you must also work out the timing. It is all about hitting the iron when it’s hot when it comes down to selling. To get the best out of every communication, you must determine the timing.
4. Clarify the Value Proposition
“Let’s take some time from my busy schedule to hear what this company has for me,” – Never said anyone.
Your target audience has one question when they interact with you or receive communication from you: What’s in it?
And if you waste time beating around the bush, you will lose their interest and a potential sale. Sure, someone may lend you a polite ear when you talk about how your company came to be. But it is all in vain if that’s all you can talk about! And to avoid losing any semblance of interest, you need to offer value at each touchpoint to maintain high engagement levels.
To articulate your value proposition, identify the fundamental problem that your product or service can solve and use it to drive home a point.
One way to do this is by listing out your target audience’s pain points. Then, you need to posit the brand as the ultimate solution for a maximum number of issues. Of course, while doing so, one needs to be practical and result-oriented. Your customers want to see value in quantifiable and tangible terms rather than vague and sweeping statements – for instance, rather than claiming how your digital marketing service put a brand in the spotlight, talk about how the brand enjoys presence across X continents, how the conversion rates have increased by Y%, and how the Y-o-Y growth of the company is now pegged at Z%. Tap into the experiences of your existing customers and use them as case studies on how you can enrich your prospect’s organization.
Chisel out all the excess details until you are left with the bare bones – why your customers should buy from you. Then package it nicely in a message that your prospect understands and appreciates to nudge them down your sales funnel.
5. Finalize the Media and Content Types
Since we are on the topic of “packaging” the value proposition, the importance of content bears special mention here.
The way you open a cold phone or send an email can make or break the interaction. Outbound sales require trust-building activities that are more extensive than those for inbound. Content is your friend when it comes to getting your message across.
Your first contact should be short, clear, concise, interesting, and unambiguous to maintain engagement. Your communication should answer four key questions.
What is your value proposition to the receiver? Who are you? How can you deliver the same to the receiver?How can the organization benefit by starting a long-term business relationship?Companies that have benefited from your solution, and how did they achieve it?
To delight prospects, you must focus on providing a mix of content in all formats and forms. We are all short of time and will not be able to read through endless amounts of text.
A survey found that 72% of consumers prefer product or service videos to their textual counterparts if they had the option. In case you haven’t figured it out, video is now the new blog!
You can also add videos, whitepapers and infographics to spice things up, or even memes. Engage your prospects in multiple ways to win their trust and attention.
6. Space out the Attempts
The frequency of your communications could be the line that separates persistence that is worth rewarding from desperation that should be avoided. Sometimes it’s all about the white noise, rather than the constant blabbering that can help prospects evaluate the value of your offer.
It’s like a Tinder match. It is important not to bombard your match with pings every day. You don’t want it to appear that you aren’t interested in them. Give them enough time to decide if they want to engage with your company. You need to plan the time delay between each touchpoint.
How long should you wait to make another attempt at contacting your prospect? Give them at most two days. You should also ensure that they are not interrupted for more than two days. This will allow you to maintain a consistent sales pace.
7. Optimizing and Testing Your Cadence
Sales requires that you learn, unlearn and relearn every step of the way. Testing and optimization are an integral part your sales process.
We have already said that there is no magic bullet or shortcut to achieving a high-performing sales team. It all comes down to making the most of what you already have and optimizing it for efficiency.
After you have created a sales strategy that works for your business, it is important to track its effectiveness in delivering the desired results. Imagine your audience not opening your emails. To increase open rates, you could improve your subject line and add video introductions. Video increases email open rates by 13%, and converts by 21%. This is a great place to begin. Making your CTA buttons easier to find can also improve metrics such as click-through rates (CTR) and other metrics.
Your prospects may be more open to your calls on Wednesdays or Fridays after work hours. Instead of putting off cold calls for Monday mornings, schedule them now.
Keep track of all the responses you get to your sales calls using a CRM application. To identify the successes and failures, compare notes and analyze saved data. You will find that clients and prospects appreciate consistency when you start to refine your sales process.
Simply put, you should find what works best for you and continue to work on it until you discover ways to improve it!
8. Know when to break up
The final tip is to know when it’s time to quit.
Ideally, consider investing anywhere between two to four weeks to see where your talks go. However, it depends on your industry, pitch, decision-making process, point of contact, and several other factors. Hence, this stage is mostly intuitive.
In cases where your calls go unanswered, and your emails remain unopened, you can terminate contact at the two-week mark. For prospects that display a tepid amount of interest, you can engage them for about four weeks. But if you find yourself going around in circles, it would be smarter to abort the mission and concentrate your efforts and resources elsewhere.
In contrast, you can extend this duration upon receiving a positive response, except for a few sales objections that you can overcome effortlessly.
Before you press the eject button, get to know the prospect.
An example of an effective B2B outbound sales strategy
You will need to use both emails and phone calls to make a B2B sales campaign successful. Keep the number of touchpoints to six to seven, as this is a cold outreach. It is important to maintain contact with prospects and move the deal forward.
Here’s an example of a sales cadence you can use:
Day 1: Send a personal email. Day 3: Send an email pitching the product/service. Day 6: Send the second follow-up video email. Day 8: Call in the evening. Day 1: Leave a voicemail, or send an email, if you are unable to reach your caller. Day 8: Make a phone call in the evening.
You can vary the time you send follow-up emails to encourage a response. You can end the sales conversation with a breakup email but you should follow up the next quarter to ensure you meet their expectations, budget, and any other objections.
What are the best sales cadence values? Based on the many elements in your sales cadence you can find the following: Attempts: 6-8 Media: Minimum 3. Duration: 14 days. Spacing: 2 days.
What are the best ways to create content for outbound sales? Voicemail: 30 seconds. Text messages: 160 characters InMail: 150 words.
Automation is an important part of the sales cadence framework. It must be consistent. This can only be achieved reliably with automation. CRM applications are sales automation tools that allow sales reps to create a cadence, measure its effectiveness, and scale it. It can also unlock additional benefits like message personalization, omnichannel presence and effective use of resource.
Your yellow brick road can be a well-defined outbound sales strategy.
There will be variations as the interactions unfold. This can change the course and alter the script. It will still be uniform for all leads and salespeople.
It will also eliminate the guesswork and estimations involved in your sales strategy. This will give your sales rep confidence while guiding them to success.