With lead generation tools and email marketing software now available widely, it’s easier than ever to find and contact potential leads and prospects. That also means there’s a lot more competition to get their attention.
To stand out, high-performing sales teams rely on a strong sales cadence. By taking a more structured approach to outreach, a sales cadence helps salespeople improve their outreach, optimize their campaigns and ultimately drive more sales.
In this article, we’ll look at the meaning of a sales cadence, how to create a sales cadence for your business and some examples to inspire you.
What is a sales cadence?
Here’s a quick sales cadence definition: A predefined sequence of sales activities and touchpoints spread out over set intervals that a salesperson uses to contact a prospect.
Those touchpoints could include when and how often you:
Call (e.g., following up on the phone)
Interact with prospects on social media (e.g., messaging on LinkedIn)
Send them direct mail (e.g., a holiday card)
Text message prospects
Hold in-person meetings with prospects
In practice, sales cadences vary significantly based on factors like your industry, target audience and product or service. The key is to find a cadence that suits your specific situation and delivers the best results.
For example, a basic sales cadence might be:
Day 1: Email to introduce your company and its solution
Day 3: Follow-up phone call
Day 5: LinkedIn connection request with a personalized message
Day 8: Second email
Day 10: Second phone call
Sales cadences usually include additional details for each step, defining the format and approach. For example, emails could include plain text or personalized videos, while social media touchpoints can vary from commenting on posts to sending direct messages.
An effective sales cadence provides a roadmap for how and when your sales team interacts with potential customers, bringing predictability and order to your sales process.
The benefits of implementing a sales cadence
By ensuring regular, consistent contact with prospects at optimal times and through the right channels, a sales cadence plays a pivotal role in moving leads through the sales pipeline.
A properly implemented sales sequence is an essential tool for any sales team.
Increased sales efficiency
Sales teams have plenty of demands on their time; in our latest State of Sales and Marketing report, only 54% of respondents said they spent most of their day selling.
Which of the following tasks do you spend most of your day on?
Instead of using their limited time to decide when and how to reach out to each lead, sales reps should follow a predefined cadence. With one less decision to make, reps can focus on more high-touch activities like building relationships and closing deals.
You can use our sales calculator to work out how much time you need to spend each day on every sales activity to hit your targets.
For instance, rather than wondering if now’s the right time to call back or if it’s too soon, a sales rep with a predefined cadence knows they should make phone calls on days two and five.
Sales statistics show even a top-performing sales rep needs five touchpoints to book a meeting or otherwise convert a prospect. Your potential customers are dealing with challenges, distractions and issues. Your product or service isn’t always going to be their top priority.
By engaging regularly, you can reach prospects at the right time and mindset to make a purchasing decision. Following up is an essential part of the sales process and a strategic sales cadence ensures your company stays top of mind.
On the other hand, without a defined sales cadence, such opportunities either take longer to close or can slip through the cracks entirely.
One of the ways to build trust is through consistency. A sales cadence ensures every prospect receives the same level of attention and service, regardless of who on your sales team is contacting them.
For example, your sales cadence might include sending a personalized email after every sales call, thanking the prospect for their time. You could also ensure each touchpoint offers something of tangible value so every prospect has the same positive experience.
A consistent experience isn’t just good for the customer, however. A standardized sales cadence, where every interaction follows the same structured sequence, makes tracking your sales team’s effectiveness easier.
Consistency provides a clear, reliable dataset you can analyze to understand what’s working and what’s not, enabling you to optimize your sales process.
For growing sales teams, having a consistent and clearly defined sales cadence is a great way to onboard new sales reps. You can quickly get new hires up to speed, boosting confidence and reducing potential confusion. When everyone follows the same proven process, you maintain the quality of customer interactions and foster a sense of unity among your sales reps.
A scalable sales cadence also means you can manage larger volumes of leads. As your business grows and attracts more inbound leads, your sales cadence serves as an organized system to manage these relationships through the sales pipeline and ensure you don’t forget anyone.
While a sales cadence can be simple, creating an effective sequence requires a thoughtful approach and strategic planning.
By following these steps, you can develop a sales cadence that aligns with your unique business goals and then tailor it to your customers’ needs.
1. Identify your target audience
Before you can design your sales cadence, you need to understand your target audience.
For example, are you reaching out to CEOs of large companies, managers at medium-sized businesses or owners of small startups? Each decision-maker will have different communication preferences and availability, which you should reflect in your sales cadence.
Ensure you have a buyer persona for your ideal customer in place with all the details you need to create a tailored sales cadence, including:
Position within the company
Interests and objectives
Pain points and challenges
Online behavior (including any platforms where they’re active)
Next, use what you know about your prospective customers to determine which touchpoints will get the best results.
For example, a busy CEO may prefer a concise email or LinkedIn message, while a small business owner might appreciate a personal phone call.
Following that initial contact, determine the most effective way to follow it up.
Going back to the busy CEO as an example, you might decide to start with an introductory email followed by a phone call and LinkedIn message. By using a multichannel sales cadence, you can cater to different preferences and increase the chances of getting your prospect’s attention.
3. Set your timing
When you set up your sales cadence for the first time, working out the right number of contact attempts and how long to wait between touchpoints is one of the biggest challenges you’ll face.
If you follow up too quickly, you risk annoying your prospect. Wait too long, and the prospect might forget about you and your offer while someone else swoops in and steals the sale.
Ultimately it will depend on your target audience. Some prospects respond better to a more spaced-out sequence, while you might need a more concentrated approach for faster-paced organizations.
A general rule of thumb is to start with more frequent contact and gradually extend the time between touchpoints if the prospect doesn’t respond. That could mean as many as three different touchpoints on the first day (perhaps a phone call, a meeting and a follow-up email) but then spacing out later touchpoints by a few days or more.
For an email campaign, Yesware found the most successful sales cadence was six touches spread out over three weeks, with follow-ups spaced out by three to four days. Any longer and the chance of getting a response falls.
4. Script your messaging
To deliver that consistent customer experience, you’ll need consistent messaging. At the very least, you should know what you hope to achieve with each touchpoint.
Your messaging should take the channel and the stage of the sales process into account. For example, your initial email might introduce your company and its solutions, while a follow-up call might delve deeper into how your product can solve the prospect’s problems.
5. Test, monitor and optimize
Creating a sales cadence is not a one-and-done task. Implementing a new cadence is only the beginning. Monitor your results closely and be ready to adjust your cadence as needed.
For example, if you get low engagement when using social media touchpoints compared to the other steps in your cadence, replace them with a different channel. If many prospects churn when the first touchpoint is an email, try changing your order.
Keep an eye on relevant metrics like:
Engagement metrics: Monitor open rates, click-through rates and response rates for each touchpoint
Conversion rate: Measure the number of leads that convert into customers through the sales cadence
Churn rate: Identify potential problem areas by tracking how many leads drop off at each stage of your cadence
Sales cycle length: Assess how the sales cadence impacted the average time it takes for a lead to move through the sales funnel
Customer acquisition cost (CAC): Calculate the average cost of acquiring a customer through your sales cadence
Revenue: Measure the total revenue you can attribute to leads that passed through your sales cadence
You should also consider any qualitative feedback, both from your sales team and prospects.
For example, what kind of responses are you getting? Are your reps having more positive responses when they connect on LinkedIn before making a call? Are you converting more high-quality leads that match your ideal customer profile (ICP) when you include a valuable resource in your first touchpoint?
Use this opportunity to compare the performance of individual sales reps within your cadence and identify standout sales strategies or areas of improvement. If the sales cadence generally gets positive results but one or two reps struggle to replicate them, they might need more training or coaching.
Sales cadence best practices to drive results
Having a well-defined sales cadence is a good first step, but the right strategies and tactics can take it to the next level. By following these best practices, your cadence will more likely convert potential prospects into customers.
Personalize your messaging
Use the research you carried out and tailor your communication to your prospect’s specific circumstances. Including the prospect’s name or mentioning their company name in your touchpoints is a start, but you’ll stand out more by going deeper. To grab your audience’s attention, relevance is key. You need to personalize your message to their current objectives and pain points.
For example, suppose you’re contacting a marketing manager in the tech industry. Your messaging should speak to their unique challenges, like staying ahead of fast-paced technological advancements.
Similarly, if your prospect is a sales director trying to scale a high-performing team, you might highlight how your solution can enhance their productivity or streamline processes.
Your sales cadence should never be set in stone. Instead, be flexible and ready to adjust your cadence based on the prospect’s behavior, changing your communication channels, messaging and timing based on their responses.
Additionally, updates to the market landscape or within your prospect’s industry could mean you need to change things up.
For instance, the shift to remote work changed how businesses and prospects interact. Digital channels often became more effective than traditional phone calls when engaging with prospects. Businesses that adapted and used more email, social media and webinars were better positioned to take advantage of this change.
Similarly, a sudden increase in competition could mean it’s time to change things up. More competitors mean your prospect is likely receiving more outreach across different channels. As a result, you might need to increase your touchpoint frequency, focus on channels your competition isn’t as active on or emphasize differentiation in your messaging.
Lastly, keep an eye on technological advancements and new sales tools. These can provide new channels or methods for you to incorporate into your sales cadence, enabling you to connect with your prospects in innovative ways and get that early-adopter advantage.
Improve efficiency with automation
By itself, a sales cadence is a plan, a sequence of steps and directions for your sales reps to follow. To get the right results, you should ensure every step happens at the right time for every prospect.
By automating certain parts of your sales cadence, you can ensure consistent and timely follow-ups, allowing your sales team to focus more on relationship-building and less on administrative tasks.
For example, after an introductory email, you can automate the follow-up email if there’s no response within a specified time frame. Similarly, the system could remind a sales rep to make a call after a certain number of days pass.
Setting up automations in Pipedrive is simple. First, pick your trigger event; that could be an updated deal, a new person, a specific activity or any other relevant change to a project or organization.
Decide what you want to happen when the automation triggers, like a notification reminding the sales rep to follow up. You can add multiple actions for each automation and use integrations with other popular sales tools, including Slack, Microsoft Teams, Asana and Trello.
Given the power of automation, it can be tempting to view your sales cadence strictly as a numbers game. The goal of a good sales cadence, however, isn’t to bombard your prospects with as many sales emails as possible. Instead, focus on providing quality interactions that add value for the prospect.
That could mean sharing a relevant article, providing a solution to a problem they’re facing or offering helpful advice.
For example, if a prospect launched a new product recently, a quality touchpoint might be an email congratulating them on the launch and offering some friendly advice on promoting it.
As with personalization, a high-quality sales cadence depends on high-quality research. When you know what’s most important to your prospects, adjusting your sales cadence to meet those needs is easier.
Implementing these best practices in your sales cadence will improve your chances of reaching your sales goals and provide a more enjoyable and personalized experience for your prospects. With patience, persistence and continual refinement, you can create a sales cadence that delivers impressive results.
High-converting sales cadence examples
Trying to create the best sales cadence for your team can sometimes feel overwhelming. In these situations, it’s handy to have sales cadence templates to use as a foundation.
As you look through these examples, think about which ones would be most relevant to your audience and how you might adjust them based on what you know about your solution and sales cycle.
1. The traditional B2B sales cadence
This sales cadence is suitable for businesses targeting traditional industries where decision-makers prefer face-to-face or phone communication.
Day 1: Initial phone call attempt
Day 2: Follow-up email asking to book a meeting
Day 4: Second phone call attempt
Day 7: Personalized video message sent via email
Day 10: Third phone call attempt
Day 14: Final follow-up email
2. The digital-native cadence
Ideal for targeting tech-savvy prospects or those in digital industries, this sales cadence focuses on digital channels, especially social media.
Day 1: LinkedIn connection request with a personalized message
Day 3: Followup email introducing your product or service
Day 5: Engagement with the prospect’s content on social media
Day 7: Email sharing helpful content (e.g., report or infographic)
Day 10: Personalized mini-pitch sent via direct message or LinkedIn InMail
Day 14: Final follow-up email
3. The hybrid cadence
This sales cadence combines traditional and digital touchpoints, offering a balanced approach suitable for outbound leads in a wide range of industries.
Day 1: Initial cold email introducing your company and product
Day 2: Follow-up phone call if there’s no response
Day 4: LinkedIn connection request with a personalized message
Day 6: Second email attempt with more product information
Day 8: Second phone call attempt
Day 11: Engagement with the prospect’s content on social media
Day 14: Final email offering a demo or consultation
4. The high-intensity cadence
Ideal for businesses with short sales cycles or high-urgency offerings, this high-intensity cadence aims to keep your brand top-of-mind for the prospect.
Day 1: Introductory email
Day 1: Follow-up phone call
Day 2: LinkedIn connection request with a personalized message
Day 3: Second phone call attempt
Day 4: Follow-up value-add email
Day 5: Direct message or InMail on LinkedIn
Day 7: Third phone call attempt
Day 8: Final follow-up email
5. The value-focused cadence
While every cadence should offer some value to the prospect, this inbound sales cadence doubles down on high-value conversations over a longer period. That makes it ideal for businesses selling expensive or complex solutions, where lead nurturing and overcoming sales objections play a key role in the sales process.
Day 1: Introductory email that outlines the unique value proposition of your solution
Day 3: Follow-up phone call offering further explanation or a free consultation if there’s no response
Day 7: Email sharing a relevant piece of content (e.g., a case study, white paper or detailed guide)
Day 14: Second phone call attempt offering to discuss the previously sent content and how it relates to their business challenges
Day 21: LinkedIn connection request with a personalized message related to your offering and shared content
Day 28: Final email offering a personalized demo or consultative meeting to address their unique needs
Each of these sales cadences is effective when used in the right context. The key to success is adapting your cadence to your prospects’ preferences and needs, staying persistent and offering value with each touchpoint.
While flexibility and creativity are undoubtedly an important part of the sales process, a sales cadence adds a repeatable, consistent pattern that serves as a foundation for your outreach.
Once you’ve found a sales cadence that works for you, keep experimenting with improving it. That might mean changing the number of touchpoints, the intervals between them, the channels, the content or even adding an entirely new cadence for a different audience segment.
By continually measuring results and optimizing campaigns, you can keep enjoying the benefits of your sales cadence now and in the future.
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