Updated: Feb 16
For salespeople, reaching out to prospects at the right time, with the right message, and in the right context, means the difference between wasted effort and booked meetings. SDRs that get their sales cadence right win business, while those who don’t continue wasting time on unanswered emails and phones.
Why your sales reps should use sales cadence - and when
Just in case you’ve forgotten, a sales cadence is the sequence of actions salespersons carry out to follow-up and close the sale. This sequence not only includes the message but also the frequency and channel preferred by the prospect.
The first reason behind using sales cadence is that few, if any sales, happen in the first meeting. On average, it takes about 5 follow-ups after the meeting to close 80% of the sales, but 44% of SDRs give up after the 1st follow-up (Source).
Among the other reasons to use a sales cadence are:
To stay on the top of the mind of your prospects, especially during long sales cycles
To establish the power of your brand, by periodically sharing valuable stuff
To make the most out of the client’s lifetime value
The more factors and people are involved in the decision of purchasing what you’re trying to sell, the more important it becomes for your sales teams to craft, test, and use a sales cadence.
Let’s assume you sell industrial lubricants. Factors like viscosity, consistency, temperature performance, and longevity, among others, are important to your prospects while evaluating your product. Your SDRs would want to educate prospects about each of these features and benefits, as they talk to prospects at different touchpoints. What you say, how often you say that and where say that will form much of your sales cadence.
Sales cadence and buyer persona
While there can’t be one single style of follow-ups that will suit all organizations, there are certain features that the businesses within the same industry share. Here’s a quick overview of the kind of message that’d resonate with a few industries
If you sell software products and solutions
For organizations that buy or pay for subscription-based software tools, the factors that matter the most include metrics, onboarding time, and data security. Your SDRs will find that PDF files, videos, or case studies resonate better with your buyer persona when they talk about these factors. In fact, the recently introduced regulations on data privacy require that you invariably highlight this element.
If you sell to manufacturing companies
If your buyer persona is that of a manufacturing industry, they’re more likely to care about supply and logistics, warranty and service, and quality and safety standards. When your sales cadence is centered around these factors, your prospect will respond better, because they know you’re talking their language.
If you sell to government agencies
Your sales teams already know that some government agencies take longer to decide, because of the answerability and paperwork involved. Hence, you will need to build long-term follow-up sequences. And don’t forget that compliance is something governments never take lightly.
If you sell to not-for-profits
Buyer persona of not-for-profits, more often than not, have factors like pricing and easier payment terms high on their priority list. Also, some not-for-profits may operate in far-flung locations, even if they’re headquartered in major metros. If you can build your sales cadence that deals with cost-benefit ratio or distribution and packaging, you’ll see a better response rate.
Different sales cadence for different roles
Would you talk to a CEO the same way you’d talk to a junior sales rep? No way, right? Then you’ll agree you shouldn’t be sending identical emails to the CEO and the junior sales rep.
Seniority and job roles are important facts that sales reps often fail to consider. When your email campaign is directed towards a C-suite executive, you should be talking about the bigger impact, like carbon emissions, strategic advantages, or quality of life. When, on the other hand, you’re writing to front-line SDRs, you must realize that sales quota and conversion are a great deal more important to them.
Multi-channel sales cadence
Anytime you mention sales cadence best practices, you’ll invariably cover multi-channel sales cadence. Because there are so many platforms for your prospects to be present on, there’s no way you can stick to just one medium and expect to be heard by all prospects.
Your B2B sales will find it most effective to have a channel-specific follow-up strategy, with a clear understanding of how they all can be combined. The idea is to never let your leads turn cold, because then they’ll stop engaging altogether and your chances for conversion will be all but gone.
Combining email and phone
The first thing to remember is to not follow-up on consecutive days. You want to remain on the top of your prospects but you don’t want to nag them.
One of the best ways of combining email and phone calls for your sales cadence is to start with email only on Day 1. On Day 3, you may combine a phone call and an email; if you email in the morning, make a phone call in the later part of the day. That way, you’ve given some time to your prospects to think about whatever you’ve mentioned in the email.
On Day 5, you could switch the rhythm by making a phone call in the morning and sending an email in the afternoon. You may use a voicemail on Day 7, because you’ve probably followed-up enough so you want your prospect to cool off a bit. Finally, you can conclude the sequence with an email and a phone call on Day 9.
Two important points: One, make sure you personalize your communications so that every time you reach out, your prospects realize you’ve done your homework. And two, it’s not a good idea to send text messages, unless the prospect has invited you to.
Using LinkedIn Inmail
LinkedIn, we strongly believe, is a highly underused prospecting platform. And a major reason behind this is that there’s a clear dearth of tools that you can use along with LinkedIn. As a result, most B2B sales teams have found it cumbersome or difficult to automate LinkedIn messages.
Just like short emails make the cut more often, LinkedIn Inmail also works best when they’re short. Of course, that doesn’t mean long messages never work, but because of falling attention spans, your prospects want you to cut to the chase faster.
The success of your sales cadence lies behind framing truly personalized contextual messages. Study the LinkedIn profile of your prospect to see something that will immediately build a connect. Maybe you two went to the same high school or university, maybe you two care about the same cause, maybe your prospect is planning to attend the same conference as you…
The only challenge is to scale this. Fortunately, there is a powerful tool that will help you automate this strategy. More about it later.
Sales cadence for inbound vs outbound leads
Your sales teams know this, but the point is so important it’s worth one more mention. Inbound sales and outbound leads come with different levels of understanding about your product and features. Which is why you want to frame different sales cadence for each.
Sales cadence for inbound leads
Inbound leads already know something about your product, your brand or your service. That’s a great start and you can take it further.
It means that the sales cadence for inbound leads can describe the features and benefits of your product. In other words, you can minimize or skip the introductory part.
Also, inbound leads are more likely ready for purchase (you know that because they have reached out to you, not the other way round). That means you can also be a little more direct in asking them to buy your product.
Sales cadence for outbound leads
Outbound leads may know little or nothing about your product. And even if they do, they haven’t made the first move; you have. That means your sales cadence will involve some sort of concept selling, where you define and aggravate the problem they might be facing.
Next, outbound leads need more cajoling, more nurturing, so they are more likely to be longer. What’s more, if they don’t know anything about you, you’ll have to first work on building trust before taking them further in the sales funnel.
Finally, your B2B teams already know this, but all the same: you can’t be very persuasive in the sense of hard-selling when it comes to outbound leads. It may take a few emails, phone calls and Inmails before you suggest a purchase.
In rare instances, you’ll find a few outbound leads that might be called ‘informed’ or ‘educated’ outbounds. They know a great deal about your product and service. Although they haven’t made the first move of reaching out to you, they are, for all practical purposes, an inbound lead. Just don’t hurry in labeling an outbound lead an informed outbound, because then you might come across as the pushy salesperson who’s interested in only making a sale and nothing else.
Testing your cadence
Testing your sales cadence to understand how effective your follow-up sequence is, actually is a huge topic in itself, so we’ll only skim through the surface.
Because your sales are dependent mostly on how effective your sales cadence is, you want to keep testing it regularly for effectiveness and result. Without testing, your follow-up is little different from shooting in the dark.
Next, make sure you document your cadence pretty well. That will keep you from reinventing the wheel every time you decide to follow up the new set of leads your webinar or event might have generated.
Finally, don’t forget to keep testing and optimising. By making sure each series of follow-up emails is better than the previous one, you are always on the improvement mode.
Is any one channel better than rest for a strong sales cadence?
When we mentioned multi-channel cadence earlier, we had mentioned LinkedIn Inmail. When compared to regular emails or phone calls, Inmail brings better results due to a number of reasons.
As we said, you’ll need to personalize each Inmail, but unless you can automate it, the process won’t be very efficient. Thankfully, OneShot has the exact solution.
OneShot uses intelligent tools that will ‘understand’ the LinkedIn profile of the prospect you’re targeting. Based on that, it will automatically frame a personalized message and let you send it whenever you choose to.
Because the message is highly personalized, because you’re using a professional platform, and because you can efficiently scale the whole operation, LinkedIn Inmail turns out to be a better prospecting channel than any other.
A well-designed, efficient, and automated sales cadence compliments your marketing and sales efforts like nothing else can. It nurtures your prospects exactly the way it should be done: building trust gradually.
As we mentioned earlier, you’ll want to keep in mind your buyer persona and your industry in mind while designing your sales cadence strategy. Also, don’t forget to be clear what’s the role of your prospect you’re reaching out to: an email to a CXO can’t be the same as one you write to front-line salespeople.
Finally, it’s important to remember that the tools you equip your teams with will make a substantial difference in the outcomes. So be sure to choose wisely.