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Best Practices for Your Outbound Sales Prospecting Cadence

4 min readJune 16, 2020

The sales industry standard is that it takes up to eight attempts to contact a prospect. This best practice should be baked into any outbound sales prospecting cadence. For your sales development reps (SDRs) to hit their goals, they need to reach out to prospects with a regular cadence. For the unfamiliar, a sales cadence is a scheduled series of actions that dictate when and how reps reach out to prospects. This is usually accomplished using a sales sequence. Of course when starting out building a sales playbook, working from good sales cadence examples is key. The two major mistakes that salespeople make is not reaching out enough, and reaching out in the wrong way. Depending on the sales organization, a sales cadence should include phone calls, emails, social media activities, or all of the above. Sales managers should create a defined contact schedule to ensure that reps follow the necessary steps to accelerate leads through the buying process.

How Many Touch Points Should Be in Your Sales Cadence?

So, how often should sales reps reach out to leads with a sales sequence? While there is no standard rule, most sales reps give up far too soon. Hubspot found that the average rep only calls leads 1.3 times before giving up. That’s definitely not enough, since we’ve found it routinely takes up to eight attempts for SDRs to make contact with a lead. Sales Hacker CEO Max Altschuler recommends 10 touches (see more on that below). Generally, after about eight touchpoints, your SDR’s time might be better spent chasing other leads.

What Should Your Sales Cadence Look Like?

Sales Follow Up CadenceMany sales managers choose to have different cadences for inbound and outbound leads, as inbound leads a typically easier to engage. Because of their more sales-ready nature, inbound leads can be followed up with more often, while outbound leads require more nurturing and breathing room. You should test different cadences and steps within them to see what works best for your business. In order to ensure success, use a sales cadence tool to automatically determine and manage contact schedules.

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 an outbound sales cadence. During an interview with Altschuler, he shared his ideal 10 day sales cadence:

  • Day 1: Email/LinkedIn InMail
  • Day 2: Nothing
  • Day 3: Email in the morning, Call in the afternoon (no message)
  • Day 4: Nothing
  • Day 5: Call in the morning, Call with a voicemail in the afternoon
  • Day 6: Nothing
  • Day 7: Email in the morning, Call in the afternoon with a voicemail
  • Day 10: Email and call in the morning

Evan Robinson, Head of Professional Services at InsightSquared offers a slightly different recommendation. He says, “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 does advise, 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 prospects are:

  • Time: For calls, 3 pm and later local time, for emails, five minutes before and after the hour
  • 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 slows. 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 Your CRM

CRMs like Salesforce can easily track whether leads are getting the attention they deserve. Sales cadence tools will allow you to schedule and test different contact strategies to ensure success. To track follow up, pay attention to these metrics to judge success:

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

ringDNA also offers a variety of granular performance-based reports including calls to opportunities ratio, call to connection percentage and many more.

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