While most of us don’t race cars, you can visualize the keys to winning: the vehicle, the terrain, and the weather conditions all impact your speed and your approach to navigating the course.
Sales cadence is the same idea. You want to have a plan (how to approach the track), focus (when to speed up and slow down), and momentum to keep the conversation going (what pace).
Understand the industry, demographics, and target persona. The manner and speed in which you reach an executive at a Fortune 500 company will differ from the manner and speed with which you’ll reach a startup director. Similarly, getting the attention of someone in an energetic urban environment may require a different strategy than getting the attention of someone who works in a calmer, rural lifestyle. If you have multiple target groups, create a cadence for each.
Once again, know yourself, too. What do you want to accomplish? Every time you reach out to someone, be clear on the objective, whether it’s to learn more about their needs and pain points, to reach the right decision-maker, or to close a deal. My daughter’s first-grade teacher once gave her an award for “beginning with the end in mind,” and that’s a great reward here, too.
You want to move forward without being annoying to the prospect. After contacting someone, give them time to review and consider what you told them, but not so much time that they forget you. Wait at least one weekday in between contact attempts, but no more than four weekdays.
If you connect, clarify the best channel (e.g. email, video chat, messaging) and timing for future outreach.
If you are not getting a response but feel there could be a good fit, increase the amount of time between contacts after each subsequent attempt—up to six or seven weekdays—to stay on their radar without being too intrusive and offer "gifts" along the way e.g. industry insights, business referrals, event invitations, and relevant case studies.*
“Ambition is the path to success.
Persistence is the vehicle you arrive in.”
– Bill Bradley
Sales literature firmly insists that it takes many attempts to connect with someone. It often requires a minimum of four and sometimes up to seven touchpoints to get a prospect’s attention. Consider following up over weeks and even months if you have something new and interesting to offer.
One study showed that salespeople who make twelve or more outreaches perform almost 20% better than their colleagues who stop at eight attempts.**
Persistence is critical because, in many instances, the lack of connection affects others' lives. We’re all incredibly busy and distracted as our needs change over time.
When circumstances change, and the prospect becomes open to your product or service, being the first responder greatly increases your likelihood for success. In other words, people may not be available until the need presents itself clearly; at that point, they’ll likely want an immediate solution.
The goal is a consistent, optimized, and productive process. You want to prepare materials that can be used with most prospects to send a clear message.
Shorten the sales cycle without creating an adverse impact. Look at the process holistically and by breaking down each part of it. Then perform A/B testing on timing, communication, and different approaches.
Key Takeaway: Prepare and optimize your sales cadence to know when to apply the brakes (timing) and when to hit the gas (persistence). Apply feedback to “tune up” your sales engine and make improvements.
Picture from Hanson Lu who can be found here.
* See post on Giving Before Receiving for more ideas
** Sales Development Metrics & Comp Report from The Bridge Group
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