You know the phrase “squeaky wheel gets the grease”. This is extremely relevant in successful outside sales tactics and processes. Any type of business and sales team should follow a sales cadence. Squeak enough regularly and you’ll end up getting your sales.
With the continued shrinking profit margins and increases in competition in today’s sales environment, 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. Ideally, according to sales cadence best practices, you should have several different cadences for different types of accounts. For example, 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.
As mentioned above, 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 any company is that 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 and sales cadence 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 new sales lost that could be very easily avoided.
Alternatively, not having a regular cadence can result in an over-excessive number of calls or emails being made that make 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, not being overly pushy, 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. Cadences help accelerate leads through the buying process as fast as possible and reduce bottlenecks in your sales funnel.
Another thing a sales cadence provides is a system of checks and balances, so to speak. It will keep your SDRs from mixing up communications with the clients. When cadences are not used, reps may find that that they inadvertently sent the same email to a prospect two days in a row. Or they have left a couple of voicemails but forgot to send an email. A clear sales cadence defines each step of the journey and exudes confidence and intentionality every time a customer or prospect is contacted.
But, it is just as important to make sure your sales cadence is built with the goal in mind for your team to have the highest chances of success. The key to being successful 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. Take the time to learn when are the best times to reach out to your prospects to have the highest chances of connection. For example, calling at times when you know your prospects are not right in the middle of trying to help their customers. Or not sending emails last thing on a Friday. Chances are if you do that, they’ll get buried in your prospect’s email box by the time they might check their email first thing Monday morning and they may never even see it.
“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.
Some Of The Top Sales Cadence Tools
Hopefully, now you understand exactly what a sales cadence is and why it is so important to put your sales reps on sales cadences to remain successful. Let’s take a look at some of the top sales cadence tools to make implementing them easier and faster than ever before.
1) Map My Customers
With Map My Customers, creating effective sales cadences, maintaining them, and automating your cadence management is easier than ever. You can organize your accounts and contacts within the platform by tiers or groups. Then easily set up specific sales cadence schedules per tier.
With the cadences, the innovative sales automation and territory mapping software that is Map My Customer shows 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. Any accounts in red are out of cadence and need a touch as soon as possible. With a platform like this, it’s almost impossible for your reps to lose track of sales cadence for any prospect. This will also help you improve the accountability of your sales reps.
The platform also enables your reps to set pre-scheduled activities and reminders per the proper cadences. For example, automated email follow-ups after scheduled visits or calls.
2) Hubspot Sales
Hubspot’s sales automation software power-charges your sales reps’ efficiency and helps them connect with more leads, book more meetings, and close more deals in less time and with less work.
One of the best sales cadence automation features that Hubspot Sales offers is automating follow-up emails. Your reps can send a series of timed emails to prospects so they never fall out of cadence. There is a list of message templates to choose from and reps can enroll a contact right from their inbox. This prevents any contacts from slipping through the cracks.
Each message template can be customized with specific details and contact and company information from HubSpot CRM or Salesforce added. Reps can then set exactly when it gets sent and move on to the next prospect.
With Hubspot Sales, you and your sales team can implement email tracking to single out which sequences are working the hardest for them. Email open, link click, and reply data helps you and your team hone in on which email templates and sequences are most effective. This allows for the optimization of emails to get the best results.
Once the best sequences have been pinpointed, share them with the rest of your team to scale efficiency.
3) Sales Cloud From Salesforce CRM
Sales Cloud is the Sales Force Automation (SFA) tool from Salesforce CRM. This platform will help your sales reps stay on cadence, close more deals, and allows you to understand the health of your entire business.
With multiple powerful features, Sales Cloud from Salesforce allows you to easily track whether leads are getting the attention they deserve from your reps and when. You can track cadence data, quickly determine things like 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 show things like the calls-to-closing opportunities ratio and call-to-connection percentage. This will show tweaks that need to be made to refine the cadence and increase sales success. Data like this allows you as a sales manager to provide feedback in real-time to your team. This can often happen while deals are in motion.
For some businesses, much of the sales reps time (and a roadblock to staying on cadence) is having to put together a lot of custom quotes for different prospects. Add this to already having to stay on top of daily tasks and cadences and things can get lost fast. This is what the sales automation tool Infusionsoft was built for. Its robust features and mature interface makes it quick and easy to get started.
The app walks sales reps through composing custom, pre-populated quotes by quickly pulling figures from your database. Those quotes can instantly be converted into live orders as well. Infusionsoft helps with much more than just quote creation. The platform keeps track of daily tasks, appointments, and next steps for your reps.
Since it is 100 percent web-based, Infusionsoft can be used just about anywhere and on any device. Lead nurturing on all the most popular channels, like email or phone call, is expedited. The app will help your team remember to follow up at key moments in the buyer journey and stay on cadence, removing one of the biggest roadblocks to sales success.
These are just some examples of the great tools available for sales cadence automation.
To Wrap It All Up
A sales cadence is made up of the timing and different types of outreach activities you and your sales team perform for your prospects and clients. Having a well-defined cadence for different types of prospects, especially high-value ones, will ensure each prospect is getting the attention they deserve. A successful cadence will ensure your sales team can close more deals quickly. Sales cadences greatly reduce the chance of critical opportunities falling through the cracks.
Do not expect to create a perfect cadence on the first try. Sales automation and cadence 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.