Best Practices for Your Outbound Sales Prospecting Cadence

One of the biggest mistakes that a lot of salespeople make is not following up with prospects enough. In order for your sales development reps (SDRs) to hit their goals, they need to be reaching out to prospects using a regular cadence of activities. For the unfamiliar, a sales cadence is a schedule of when reps should reach out to prospects. While it’s vital to reach out to prospects enough times, it’s also important to diversify your approach. After all, some people respond better to calls, others prefer to respond to email, etc. Depending on the sales organization, a sales cadence should include phone calls, emails, social media activities or all of the above. By creating a defined contact schedule sales managers can ensure that reps are taking the necessary steps to accelerate leads through the buying process.

Concept image of a Calendar with the reminder: Follow UpHow Many Touch Points Should Be in Your Sales Cadence?

Our customers often ask us how often sales reps should reach out to leads. While there is no hard-and-fast rule, most sales reps give up far too soon. According to the Hubspot’s blog, the average rep attempts to call leads 1.3 times before giving up. That’s probably not enough, since we’ve found that it routinely takes up to eight attempts for SDRs to initiate contact with a lead, and SalesHacker CEO Max Altschuler recommends 10 touches (see more on that below). However, generally after around eight touch points, your SDR’s time might be better spent chasing other leads.

You might also choose to have a different cadence for inbound vs. outbound leads. Inbound leads are typically more sales-ready and easier to engage. Therefore, I like to follow up more aggressively with inbound leads, while giving outbound leads a bit more breathing room. Your cadence shouldn’t be set in stone. Try to test different cadences to see what works best with your business.

Sales Cadence Examples

While most respected inside sales leaders agree that a sales cadence is vital, there are different philosophies on exactly how to structure a sales cadence. During our recent interview with Altschuler, he revealed his ideal sales cadence:

  • Day 1: Email/Inmail
  • Day 3: Email in the morning, Call in the afternoon
  • Day 5: Call in the morning, Call with a voicemail in the afternoon
  • Day 7: Email in the morning, Call in the afternoon with a voicemail
  • Day 10: Email and call in the morning

Evan Robinson, Director of Sales at InsightSquared offers slightly different recommendations. According to Robinson, “Here at InsightSquared, we use a minimum 8-touch model for following up on inbound marketing leads. Our salespeople reach out twice a day, every other day – once with email and once with a phone call for two full business weeks.” Robinson advises, however, that the 8-touch model is only a minimum.

When to Reach Out

Jeff Hoffman, author of Your Sales MBA, stresses the importance of when you reach out to prospects. In an article for Hubspot, he advises the best times to reach prospect:

  • Time: 3 pm and later local time (call), five minutes before and after the hour (email)
  • Day of week: Thursday and Friday
  • Date: 28th – 31st

He therefore plans his sales cadences around these windows. He recommends calling prospects later in the day when their workload is winding down. According to Hoffman, “Five minutes before and after the hour is the span of time when buyers walk to and from meetings, and check their email.”

As far as an overall cadence, Hoffman recommends reaching out at the beginning of the month to introduce yourself. Then waiting a while before following up with more urgency. He offered the example cadence:

  • First attempt: May 1st
  • Second attempt: May 13th (12 days later)
  • Third attempt: May 19th (six days later)
  • Fourth attempt: May 22nd (three days later)
  • Fifth attempt: May 24th mid-day (one and a half days later)

Track Cadence Data in CRM

CRM offers the power to track whether leads are getting the attention they deserve. Basic metrics to track your sales development team’s success include:

  • Email response rate
  • Number of leads converted to contacts
  • Number of meetings booked
  • Number of opportunities created

For more predictive outbound sales analytics, RingDNA offers a variety of granular performance-based reports including calls to opportunities ratio, call to connection percentage and many more.

Our free eBook offers tips that can help SDRs triple their sales engagement rates!

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About the Author

Jesse Davis

Jesse Davis is a sales and marketing strategist and Sr. Content Marketing Manager at RingDNA. Over the past decade, Davis has honed his business communications skills working as an inside sales manager, business writer and agency marketer. He is a proponent of utilizing platform technology and evidence-based methodologies to optimize creative campaigns, marketing ROI and sales performance.

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