Call cadence is the structure and timeline of when salespeople call their prospects. It’s often accompanied by a similar cadence of voicemails and follow-up emails. It’s created based on the readiness of your prospect to buy, and is tailored to keep the salesperson top-of-mind without being overwhelming.
“You don’t have to swing hard to hit a home run. If you got the timing, it’ll go.” — Yogi Berra
Yogi Berra says the secret to hitting a home run is all in the timing. It’s not how hard you swing the bat that counts as much as timing your swings so they connect with the ball.
The same wisdom applies if you want to hit a home run in sales. Perfecting your sales cadence -- the timing and rhythm of your touchpoints with prospective customers -- can turn a so-so sales process into an awesome one. Time your outreach so it connects with and engages your prospects and you’ll increase your sales conversions.
Even if you primarily use phone calls to warm up leads and convert them into customers, you likely add emails and social media to the mix as well. But do you use the right blend of channels? And do you time each touch perfectly?
Without a delineated structure for your sales cadence, it’s likely your sales cadence is out of sync with the needs of your leads and prospects.
How Do You Know Your Sales Call Cadence Is Off?
It’s easy to tell when music is off beat, but how do you know when your sales cadence is off? According to The Sales Cadence Report 2017, there are a few signs:
Hitting just once
A baseball team won’t win the game if they only try to hit the ball once. The same is true for you. If you only call leads once, you’re highly unlikely to make the sale.
Equally dangerous to your sales outcomes, is to communicate with contacts nonstop. Such outreach is unlikely to meet your prospective customers’ needs and can also reek of desperation.
Stuck on one track
If you use just one media channel to communicate, you’ll probably be less successful than if you supplement telephone calls as necessary with emails and social media. For instance, make a phone call and suggest a white paper that might answer some of the prospect’s questions, then send the content via email. Alternatively, reach out to an individual via LinkedIn to schedule a call.
Ignoring the buying cycle
Don’t mistake your sales cycle for your customer’s buying cycle. Yes, you can influence the buying cycle by helping a prospect move through it. You first have to know, however, where an individual or buying team is in the buying process and then provide the information they need to move to the next step.
4 Steps to a Powerful Sales Phone Call Cadence
If you see any of the above telltale signs in your organization, use the tips below to correct your sales cadence and generate more revenue.
1. Plan to be persistent
While persistence is necessary, it’s unlikely to happen unless you build it into your program. In the US market, you’ll be most successful when your salespeople contact prospects between eight and 12 times. In other geographic markets, fewer attempts are necessary.
The problem, however, is the average rep only reaches out to prospects twice. Thus, you cannot rely on human intuition and drive to land naturally on the ideal number of touchpoints. Instead, you need to design and systematize a program that includes the right number of calls and other outreach.
2. Go beyond the numbers game
As mentioned, it’s not just about the number of times you reach out to individuals; it’s also the nature of that outreach. Each phone call should answer a question on the buyer’s mind or offer a new insight they might not have considered. As you provide this information, you also build human-to-human relationship and a healthy dose of trust.
The key is to approach your communication plan from the buyers’ point of view. If you take it from that perspective, you’ll not only build your brand but also increase the likelihood of sales conversions.
3. Let your buyer dictate the timing
Because every buyer is different, you can’t set your sales cadence in stone. Instead, monitor prospects’ interests and how they interact with your brand. Downloading a white paper, for instance, is entirely different than a contact request.
Below are a few call cadence examples of initial sales cadences to help achieve the best results from inbound marketing. The goal of each is to have a phone conversation with the lead. One sequence follows a contact request and the other is a response to a content download.
Once the rep has a phone conversation with the contact, the remainder of the sales cadence should be customized based on the outcome of the call and the contact’s needs.
On some days, both a phone call and a voicemail are listed. In these cases, the voicemail is appropriate if the rep is unable to speak directly to the contact.
On the days a phone call is listed without a voicemail, the contact will probably notice the missed call. Regardless of whether they respond to it or not, at least this reminder builds familiarity with your phone number and company.
Call Cadence Example 1: Lead Requests to Be Contacted
Phone Call #1 within five minutes, if possible
Phone Call #2
Phone Call #3
Phone Call #4
Phone Call #5
Call Cadence Example #2: Lead Downloads Content
Phone Call #1, within 30 minutes (You don’t want to appear like you’re stalking someone)
Phone Call #2
Phone Call #3
Phone Call #4
Phone Call #5
As you can see, the schedule for the lead who requests a contact is more compressed. That’s because someone who wants to talk with you is liable to be further along in the buying cycle than an individual who downloads content.
Thus, the cadence in the second example takes longer. Also, it includes more email touches to relay messaging that leverages the initial content.
4. Test and refine
As with everything in marketing and sales, the odds are against you landing on the best sales formula on day one. Luckily, technology today makes it easy to test and refine your sales cadence.
Also, try A/B tests to see how well prospects engage with your messaging. Use the best performing tests as your control until you discover something else that works even better. This process empowers you to improve your sales cadence continuously.
Ask yourself if there are flaws in your current sales phone call cadence. If so, make sure you build persistence into your process. Also, time and tailor your messaging to meet prospects’ needs. Finally, test and refine your program for maximum success.
Originally published Apr 3, 2018 7:30:00 AM, updated June 11 2021