You know the phrase “squeaky wheel gets the grease”? This is extremely relevant in successful sales tactics and processes. Squeak enough on a regular basis and you’ll end up getting your sales. With the economy’s still shrinking margins, it is harder and harder to meet sales quotas and KPIs. Not properly following up with prospects is one of the top and most common mistakes salespeople make. How frequently you stay in contact with your sales accounts and prospects, especially your larger accounts, can make or break your client relationships. This of course directly impacts your bottom line.
"It is not your customer's job to remember you. It is your obligation and responsibility to make sure they don't have the chance to forget you.”
-Patricia Fripp CSP, CPAE
Ideally, you want to find the perfect balance between not calling or meeting them enough and being too pushy and driving sales away. When you can develop a good regular cadence to where you are staying in the front of your accounts’ minds and still seem helpful, you have developed a winning strategy. Developing a good cadence of touches is crucial in today’s sales environment. By utilizing a few new strategies, the automation tools available to you, and some logical tweaks to your processes, you can set yourself and your sales team up for success both in-office and on the road.
Let’s take a deeper look into what exactly sales cadence is. You can’t make a successful improvement in an area that you don’t understand 100%. Knowing what cadence is will allow you to easily implement some actionable strategies that can help you up your sales game today.
What Exactly Is Sales Cadence?
A sales cadence is the scheduled series of actions or tasks that dictate when and how sales development reps (SDRs) reach out to potential prospects. Higher profile accounts and prospects will have a higher number of touches set on a more regular cadence.
Depending on the organization, your sales cadence will include things like phone calls, emails, social media activities, in-person meetings, or a mixture of all of the above. When you set a specific schedule and template of when these events will happen on a regular basis you are setting a cadence. An example of a minimum cadence for a prospect is:
Recap email or LinkedIn InMail sent on Day 1 after your first initial phone call or in-person meeting to summarize what was discussed and the next steps
Send a follow-up email in the morning two days later to circle back and see if your prospect has any follow up questions. (Especially if you haven’t gotten a response from your recap email) - Day 3
Follow up with a phone call in the morning (No Voicemail) two days after your last email follow up. Call with a voicemail in the afternoon - Day 5
Follow up with an email in the morning and a phone call with a voicemail in the afternoon. - Day 7
This would be a regular cadence on a minimum level. Higher profile clients should require an additional four touches at the least. A cadence like this will ensure your prospect is not left waiting for you or has unanswered questions. This will help accelerate leads through the buying process as fast as possible.
Depending on the potential value of prospects, the sales manager should set an appropriate cadence for each tier of leads. Two of the most frequent problems in SaaS companies is salespeople are not reaching out enough or are reaching out in the wrong way at the wrong time. According to HubSpot, the average sales rep is only calling leads 1.3 times before giving up. This is far below the recommended 8 attempts to make contact with a lead.
Why You Should Improve Your Cadence Now
If your accounts are not separated by some type of organized strategy then you are almost guaranteeing that some necessary phone calls or visits are going to fall through the cracks. This will result in clients canceling services or lost new sales that can be very easily avoided. Alternatively, not having a regular cadence can result in an over excessive amount of contacts that makes it seem like you are desperate and will drive potential customers away.
Having a regular sales cadence set will ensure your prospects and clients are getting the attention they deserve, are getting their questions answered, and will allow your sales team to succeed. A successful sales team thrives on all components of the sales process following regular standards and schedules, like cadences.
The key is you want to time your cadence and sales outreach so that it actually CONNECTS with your prospects. Plan your sales cadence around the idea of looking at it from the buyer’s perspective.
“Time is an illusion, timing is an art.”
How Do I Do It? Strategies To Improve Cadence
1) Start By Making Sure Your Accounts Are Organized Per Tiers
Accounts that are high profile should always get more touches than those accounts that bring in less money regularly or have been long-term regular customers of yours for a while now. You always want to view these accounts as requiring more “hand-holding” and will often require 10-12 touches versus 6 touches.
So, you want to separate all of your accounts into organized tiers that are divided by things like potential revenue, length of term, etc. You also want to have separate tiers for inbound versus outbound leads. Inbound leads are usually going to require less contact before converting into a sale that outbound leads will. Most inbound leads are already halfway through the buying process when they pick up the phone to reach out to your company. Outbound leads always start at the very beginning of the sales process and require action on your part to generate interest in your product or service.
It is crucial to have your accounts and prospects separated by clearly defined tiers before you can create effective cadences.
2) Organize Your Cadences Per These Sales Tiers
As we just touched on, you want to set a higher cadence for your higher profile clients. Then your most regular and/or long term accounts will get a less regular cadence but still get the attention they deserve. A client that is seeing good results and is happy will not mind not hearing from you every other day. But a high profile prospect that could net your company high figures needs a little more push off the fence.
Make sure you clearly define the applicable sales cadence per tier of prospects you have established and make sure your entire sales team is on the same page with each cadence. This will almost guarantee you have a sales team running like a well-oiled machine and closing deals.
3) Look At Your Cadences In A Map View
With an increase in automation tools for the sales industry, an important one to utilize is something that shows you all of your prospects in a map view along with their set cadences. This allows you to see in one glance which accounts are in cadence and which are out of your ideal cadence.
Tools like the innovative Map My Customers show you visual and interactive depictions of all of your prospects and accounts in color-coded categories. The accounts in white are all within cadence and haven’t fallen through the cracks, while the accounts in red are out of cadence and need a touch as soon as possible. With a platform like this, it’s almost impossible to lose track of sales cadence for any prospect.
4) Implement Automated Reminders Per Cadence
Along with the mapping, you can also receive regular reminders to ensure you stay on top of cadence. Automatic reminders ensure needed touches on accounts are not falling through the cracks. You and your team of sales reps can plan their day by quickly looking at your touch reminders for the day and ensure time is best utilized where necessary.
5) Keep Track Of The Best Times & Days To Reach Out
According to Jeff Hoffman, author of “Your Sales MBA”, the best times for phone calls are 3pm or later local time. With the best time for emails being five minutes before or after the hour. This will allow you to catch them before or after meetings that are usually scheduled on the hour and they are checking their emails. Jeff also states that the best days to reach out to prospects are Thursday and Friday as they are wrapping up their weeks. Even more specifically, the best time of the month to follow up is between the 28th and 31st of the month.
If you align your team’s sales cadence with these specific timing strategies you can improve the percentage of times you will successfully connect with the prospects/clients. This may also allow you to shorten your sales cycle.
6) Track Your Sales Cadence Data In Your CRM
There is a multitude of CRMs available, like Salesforce, that allow you to easily track whether leads are getting the attention they deserve and when. If you track your cadence data, you can quickly determine things like your email response rate, the rate of pick-up on phone calls and specifically what days and time, and how many closing meetings are being scheduled.
There are also performance-based reports available that dive deeper into the data and can show you your calls to closing opportunities ratio and call to connection percentage. This will show tweaks that can be made to refine the cadence and increase success.
Data like this will allow sales managers to provide feedback in real time to their team. This can often happen while deals are in motion.
To Wrap It All Up
The sales cadence is made up of the timing and different types of outreach you and your sales team perform for your prospects and clients. Having a well-defined cadence for different types of prospects, especially high value, will ensure each is getting the attention they deserve and you can close more deals quickly.
Do not expect to create a perfect cadence on the first try. Technology and automation tools available today make it easy to test, refine, and perfect a sales cadence that works for you, your team, and your product.
But setting a clear cadence that your sales reps are following will ensure your team is running at peak efficiency and can help maximize your profits.
Tell us about your cadence! What have you found that works most successfully for you and your team? We want to hear from you!