How To Build a Winning Sales Cadence + Examples

2023-09-05

Whether you’re looking to scale up sales outreach efforts or simply standardize your outreach strategy, a sales cadence might be exactly what you need. It gives your team a basic outline to follow based on their leads’ needs and habits so they can concentrate efforts on higher-value communication. A consistent sales cadence is also easy to track — allowing your team to easily identify successes and areas for improvement.

In this guide, we’ll cover reasons why you should build sales cadences for your team, some best practices, and tips to help your team hit their quotas and revenue targets.

What is a sales cadence?

A sales cadence is a sequence of basic steps for sales teams to move a prospect through the sales funnel. It could include a variety of touchpoints and communication channels, guiding teams to success based on your offering, target personas, and your leads’ pain points.

For example, your team should approach outbound leads differently than inbound leads. This is because you know an inbound lead is already interested, so you can communicate more often — even a few times a week — without seeming too pushy. However, this could turn off an outbound lead, so you might want to add more space in between communication attempts.

Why you should use a sales cadence

Sales cadences are like maps sales teams use to guide their work. Let’s discuss some of their benefits.

Scalability

Is your team scattered in their approach to outreach, to the point that no one strategy is the same? A sales cadence offers a templatized approach that can scale across your entire organization, aligning everyone with a uniform strategy. This also minimizes confusion, allowing your team to make more connections without sacrificing the quality of their outreach. It’s like sharing the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe with everyone so that nobody’s left guessing ingredients or proportions.

Concentrated outreach

A sales cadence also defines pathways sales professionals can use to target different types of clients and boost outreach ROI. This enables team members to categorize leads and personalize their approach without creating a new schedule or plan for every lead. In turn, this frees up your team’s resources and energy to focus on other tasks, such as research and prospecting, which might otherwise get neglected.

Tracking abilities

A proper sales cadence clearly defines your team's workflows, allowing you to zero in on what works best to help convert leads. For example, does the second call from your sales reps get consistently ignored? It might be worth A/B testing a different follow-up time to see if your team has better success.

How to build a sales cadence

Now that you have an idea of how a sales cadence can help your team, here’s some guidance on how to create one.

1. Define your goal

A clear goal is the key to creating a sales cadence that actually works for your team. 

Instead, choose a measurable and achievable goal that sets clear expectations for the team. Metrics like new meetings scheduled per week or the number of qualified leads give your team the structure and guidance they need to work on sales development.

2. Narrow in on your target audience

Just like specific goals help guide your team to work more effectively, a defined target audience guides your sales cadence so you can focus on high-impact communication. Lean on your team’s expertise to narrow down which types of leads convert most and which are more often dead ends.

Create buyer personas based on data from your sales team or customer surveys. Note demographic information, goals, pain points, and career insights, compiling this information into a clear picture of your ideal customer.

For example, a basic buyer persona for online software that helps teachers create online quizzes might be young teachers ages 24 to 30 who work in suburban area schools and are looking for ways to better engage their digitally-native students. A young teacher might get overwhelmed, so reach out via a channel they already use every day, such as social media or email. These channels will likely be more engaging than a phone call or meeting, which would require more effort.

3. Determine communication channels

Once you’ve defined what your ideal lead(s) look like, do some market research to determine the best channels for reaching them. Communication channels are the methods you use to reach out to prospects. For example, a simple phone call or a LinkedIn direct message are two common communication channels in sales. The more detail you add to your sales cadence, the more it will help your team’s sales efficiency 

Include a suggested communication channel for each touchpoint so your team knows when and how to contact their leads. If you use a variety of channels across a cadence, this allows leads to choose their preferred communication method. Consider what channels your buyer personas are most likely to use. For example, younger audiences may lean toward texting and social media, whereas more senior audiences may prefer phone calls

4. Optimize timing for each touchpoint

A sales cadence should give your team a communication timeline. However, each client will have different needs, so you should know when to contact them outside of that timeline or when to skip a touchpoint to increase your likelihood of converting the lead.

For example, if you wait days to respond to a lead that tried to call you back to inquire about your offering, they’re not going to feel valued and may take their business elsewhere. Or, if you continue to reach out daily to a lead who’s clearly not engaged, you could be wasting your time and even actively harming your brand image.

5. Plan touchpoints

Set recurring check-ins so your team can provide feedback on your sales cadence. At least quarterly, the team should have an opportunity to discuss common issues and propose solutions to improve the cadences. This is a great time to adapt templates, try new communication channels, and gather feedback from converted leads about their experiences.

Be careful not to change too much after these check-ins. It’s still a good idea to A/B test any changes and start small because there’s always a chance your adjustments will be less effective.

6. Create strategic content

Don’t neglect the power of content to help support conversions. Create quality content and share it with your outbound leads via your sales cadence's touchpoints. For example, use an email as an opportunity to share your new eBook on a topic that may interest your readers to direct them down the sales funnel.

Here are some types of content you can generate to support your sales team:

  • Case studies
  • Original market research
  • Blogs 
  • Videos

Each touchpoint should have some sort of meaningful message or content to share. This will provide a reason for the outreach and help the lead feel like they are getting something of value. It better prepares them in the buying process and learns more about your offering at the same time. 

7. Automate when possible

The more time your sales team has available to focus on making connections with leads, the more they can nudge them through the sales funnel without experiencing sales burnout. Smith.ai’s live agents can also tackle outreach, lead qualification, and scheduling so your sales team can focus on what matters most. Here are some other software that can help you automate your sales activities:

  • Outreach: automates prospecting and pipeline management so your team’s sales process is always optimized using the latest internal data
  • Calendly: automates scheduling meetings so you don’t have to waste time emailing back and forth to find a time that works for everyone
  • ActiveCampaign: automates email marketing campaigns so you never miss an opportunity to connect with a prospect or forget to follow up

8. Track results and optimize accordingly

It’s easy to determine KPIs for a well-defined goal. For example, qualifying a set number of inbound leads per week is simple to track and analyze across teams.

Different teams or communication channels may have different KPIs, but choose some specific metrics you can track across the board to help identify problem areas. Some valuable KPIs to track include:

  • Speed to lead: the average amount of time it takes to respond to any form of communication from a new lead 
  • Average deal size: the average amount a client spends on your offerings, calculated by dividing the amount of sales revenue from new clients by the number of new clients for a given time period
  • Customer acquisition cost: the average cost to gain a new customer, including metrics such as sales team salaries and ad spend

Sales cadence examples

Now that you understand the basics of an effective sales cadence, let’s go over some examples of what they look like in action.

Inbound sales cadence example

Inbound Sales Cadence

Inbound sales occur when a lead reaches out to the company first. Because you already know the lead is interested, you can reach out more often without worrying about turning them off. Here’s how your inbound sales cadence might look:

  • Day 1: Phone call
  • Day 3: Social media message
  • Day 5: Email 
  • Day 10: Phone call
  • Day 15: Text message
  • Day 30+: Text message once per month

Start your inbound sales cadence with a phone call. This is a direct and personal communication channel, so it helps an inbound lead feel valued. Then, correspond via a social media direct message and quick email with two days between each touchpoint to avoid being too pushy. Two days later, you can share some resources and touch base again via email to see if the lead has any specific pain points you can resolve.

Give the client time to digest any information you’ve shared and follow up in five days with a phone call for a more in-depth discussion. At this point, you’ve reached out quite a bit, so give them some breathing room by waiting another five days before checking in via text and, finally, sending monthly texts to keep engagement up.

Outbound sales cadence example

Outbound Sales Cadence

Your team takes the lead on outbound sales, so simplicity helps them cast a wider net and book more meetings with potential customers. For outbound sales cadences, starting small and gradually ramping up helps build momentum and interest for leads. Here’s what that might look like:

  • Day 1: Text message
  • Day 2: Email
  • Day 7: Phone call
  • Day 10: Email
  • Day 15: Phone call
  • Day 20: Email

For outbound leads, you’ll usually want to start your communication with a text message. It’s a casual way to build awareness without overwhelming a lead with information. The next day, you can send an email with more information they can review on their own time.

Give them plenty of time to look over this information, then reach out via phone call in five days to establish a more personal connection with the lead and resolve any of their concerns. After that, reach out three times over the next 15 days with two more emails and a phone call (ideally alternating between the two) for consistent communication. 

B2B trial sign-up cadence example

B2B Trial Sign-Up Sales Cadence

Customers who have tried your offering already have one foot in the door. Check in with the lead throughout the trial period for feedback to learn what it will take to turn them into an actual customer. These sales cadences are based on emails and phone calls because that’s how customers typically expect to be contacted. 

For example, if the trial is for 30 days, your cadence might look like this:

  • Day 1 (trial starts): Email
  • Day 4: Email
  • Day 12: Phone call
  • Day 15: Email
  • Day 20: Email
  • Day 25: Phone call
  • Day 27: Phone call
  • Day 30 (trial ends): Phone call
  • Day 35: Email
  • Day 45: Email
  • Day 50: Phone call

During the trial period, your touch points can be more frequent to help your lead explore the product and address any concerns on demand. After the trial ends, you’ll want to continue reaching out but less frequently to avoid overwhelming the lead.

Reach out on the first day of the trial via email to establish contact, and a couple of days later to check in. Give the lead some time to explore the product and check in about a week later with a phone call for a more in-depth conversation about their experience. Reach out every three to five days until the end of the trial, and be sure to call the lead on the last day of the trial to see if you can get them to make a purchase. If not, send two check-in emails over the next 15 days and finish with a call as a final attempt to discuss your offering. 

Sales cadence best practices

Looking for a quick way to level up your communication? Follow these tips to help create an effective sales cadence for your business.

Designate buyer personas

Knowing target personas saves you time so you’re not stuck creating an endless stream of cadences. Different consumers have different needs and even communication preferences, so focusing on your main personas gives you a baseline for creating a sales cadence that works. 

Contact prospects at the right time

Consider your lead’s time zones and ensure you’re reaching out during regular business hours to avoid bothering leads or losing deals. It’s usually best to reach out in the late morning or early afternoon and avoid contacting leads on Mondays or Fridays for your best chance at hearing a “yes.”

Limit touchpoints and channels

When you’re trying to establish regular communication, you want to give your lead options for how they prefer to communicate. But it’s easy to overcomplicate things. Try to limit communication to a couple of channels max once you learn their preference to keep yourself organized and ensure no lead goes uncontacted.

Get clear on the value you offer

You should know your offering inside and out, but you might need to communicate values differently to your leads. Consider their pain points and get comfortable speaking in clear, specific language about how your offering solves their problems.

Pivot your strategy as a relationship develops

Sales teams need to think on their feet — as you develop a relationship with a lead, you should tailor communication channels, product education, touchpoint timing, and even your tone to suit what they need. 

For example, if you discover that your client isn’t tech-savvy, they might prefer an in-person meeting or appreciate you taking more time to talk through how your product works. This personalization will go a long way in helping you convert leads into real opportunities, and build better relationships with clients.

Execute a seamless sales cadence with Smith.ai

Sales cadences keep your team on track so they can focus on building key relationships with consumers and driving conversions. When you’re ready to automate more and free up your team’s time, get in touch with Smith.ai.

When you partner with Smith.ai, you get access to an entire team of sales-trained agents who work 24/7 to support your sales team. We’ll help conduct ongoing sales outreach, screen leads, and book meetings

If you want to learn more about how Smith.ai can help your business, book a free consultation.

Tags:
Primary
Sales Development
Lead Generation
Written by Maddy Martin
Maddy Martin is Smith.ai's SVP of Growth. Over the last 15 years, Maddy has built her expertise and reputation in small-business communications, lead conversion, email marketing, partnerships, and SEO.

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