Sales enablement is all about giving sales organizations the tools they need to succeed. For marketing teams, this means providing qualified leads, nurturing leads until they’re ready to buy, and in providing sales collateral such as data sheets, testimonials, or white papers. But there is another important piece of the puzzle that marketing teams can assist with when it comes to sales enablement. Enter: the sales cadence.
What’s a sales cadence?
A sales cadence is a sequence of touches in a specific order that a sales rep follows. Think of it as a template for sales outreach. Sales cadences are time-based, meaning they last for a certain number of days or weeks, and are usually triggered by an activity a lead takes. After that time, the prospect exits the cadence and will likely be entered into a nurture step. Each step within a cadence is either initiated manually by the sales rep or through automated enrollment with a sales automation tool.
Some sales teams are probably used to setting their own sales cadences. And depending on the org (and the product), they’re most likely heavily call-focused or email-centric. But that’s not the best practice. A good sales cadence is well-balanced and includes calling and leaving voicemails, emailing, and connecting on social media.
Why not just put leads into an email nurture?
While email nurtures are an effective tool for keeping leads from going completely cold, they aren’t personal. You might say that you can include personalization tokens and make sure that the author of the email is someone they could actually talk to, but it’s still a more informal way to engage with leads. And it’s just email.
When a prospect is regularly getting social media messages, voicemails, and emails from one person around how their product can solve their problem, it’s a more personal interaction—regardless of it being a completely or semi-automated interaction.
Email nurtures are more rehearsed and clearly come from the marketing department. They’re informative and helpful, and they have their place in the buyer’s journey. However, the sales cadence is a much more effective tool for enabling sales to convert more deals. And the best part? It’s still a marketing department win.
How about that sales and marketing alignment?
How many sales cadences should I make?
The answer to this question will depend on your organizational goals and targets. Generally, you want to create sales cadences that are based on targeting a certain buyer persona, industry, or product.
However, within that single cadence, you need to create A/B tests. For those marketers looking to engage with multiple buyer personas and industries, consider creating a general sales cadence first to test and optimize. You can use the learnings from one sales cadence and apply them to another.
It’s important to optimize your sales cadence over time. The sales cadence is not static. As your prospects engage with it, you’ll learn how effective it is. Measure your results and make changes to when your emails around, the time of day you call, the messaging used in emails and collateral. When you look at your results, you’ll get a better idea of when leads are more likely to engage and what content they’re interested in.
And of course, make sure your individual cadences speak to the personas or industries you’re targeting while staying true to the product you’re promoting.
You’ll create multiple cadences over time as your audience inevitably changes. You might add more products, and others might become defunct. The important part here is to be comfortable with the evolution of your sales cadence. Lean on it.
What’s the first touch?
Should you send an email, pick up the phone, or connect on LinkedIn as the first touch in your sales cadence?
While there isn’t a right answer, research has shown that a call immediately followed by an email is the most effective first communication. After all, each step in your sales cadence is meant to lead into the next. A phone call to introduce yourself paired with an email that says “I just called to talk about x, y, and z” continues the conversation without anyone needing to respond.
As always, test different opening sales cadences to see what works best with your audience. But make sure to include both calls and emails in your tests.
When does the sales cadence end?
Your sales cadence should be long. After all, the sales cadence is a tool that allows you to dedicate time (often daily) to certain leads. Putting leads into a cadence guarantees engagement, as opposed to calling off of a general list where some contacts may get ignored over time and grow colder than you want them to.
Back to the question at hand: you should create an outbound sales cadence that is at least 27 days long based on metrics provided by SalesLoft. That doesn’t mean you reach out to someone every single day over those 27 days. This is about continued engagement over a period of time.
Which type of engagement should I prioritize?
All engagement is valuable. Don’t snub the dialing software, and don’t abandon social media. Your sales cadence should ideally be as balanced as possible, leaning more heavily on dials and voicemails than anything else.
While some have questioned in the past if cold calling is dead, studies have shown that it isn’t going anywhere. It is often the most important part of the sales process, as many people are still more likely to pick up the phone than respond to an email.
But the emails (and content in those emails) as well as the messages you send via social media are just as important. You’re looking to connect with someone across different channels, and varying your engagement strategy means you’re more likely to reach them. No matter what type of engagement you decide to prioritize, make sure your messaging is consistent across the board.
What is your offering? Which problems do you solve? How about your company culture, your voice? Don’t stray from that, and you’ll be more likely to find success.
Where do these leads go once they’ve completed the sales cadence?
Once your prospects have concluded their 30-day (or more!) sales cadence, you need to find somewhere else for them to go. Most often, they’ll be funneled into a general nurture after a 7 or 14-day wait step. You’ll add them to the lists to receive email blasts or newsletters.
You might even create a new cadence with more time between touches to put those leads into.
But the one place you don’t want your leads to go is cold. You might minimize your interaction, but don’t stop engaging until you make the sell or hear no. Until then, there’s always a chance.
That’s DemandZEN’s philosophy on outbound sales. For more about our thoughts on sales and marketing, drop us a line.