Planning and preparation are central to success in sales. Without them, you can’t form a solid sales process, write a sales proposal, or set up a follow-up sales strategy, which stops leads from flowing into your sales pipeline and actively engaging with your company. The reality is these days; your sales team will have to follow up with prospects at least seven times before they’ll make a buying decision, which usually results in sales reps giving up and allowing opportunities to fall through the cracks. Clearly, following up once or twice just isn’t enough in today’s hyper-competitive markets. The only solution is to create an effective follow-up sales cadence that compels prospects to take action or continue to! Learn how to develop yours below and check out examples you can apply to your follow-up strategy right away.
What is “Following-Up” in Sales?
A critical sales skill for sales reps, following up is the process of continuing to contact your prospect or customer after the initial pitch or purchase to encourage them to take action. Sales follow-ups are conducted in several ways, usually by telephone, email and social media.
The Importance of Following-Up in Sales
Very few leads are ready to buy after just one discussion or interaction. IRC Sales Solutions reports that only 2% of sales are made during the first point of contact, meaning that businesses who don’t prioritise following up lose potentially 98% of their sales leads.
That’s why you need to make sure you have multiple ways to reach out to prospects, engage and influence them as they continue to make their buying decision.
However, the sales cycle doesn’t end when you close a deal. There’s still work to be done to retain and gain referrals from happy and content customers who are well-supported after their purchase.
Why Don’t Prospects Respond?
It’s as simple as remembering that your prospects are likely busy people, especially if you’re trying to connect with C-level executives.
Further complicated by the average professional receiving around 100 emails a day, you really do have to be serious about getting your foot in the door.
Your offering, deal or solution may not be their top priority – but that doesn’t mean you should give up altogether.
What is a Sales Cadence? The Best Sales Follow-Up Technique
A sales cadence (also known as a sales sequence) is a series of sequential scheduled touchpoints that connect with prospects to convert them later in the sales cycle – usually paced out over a fixed number of days and weeks.
The sales cadence starts with the first point of contact; then, sales reps (SDRs) follow up with a series of interactions such as phone calls, emails, or social messages until the sales prospect has converted into a paying customer.
While the type of cadence will differ significantly depending on who they’re targeting and what you’re selling, the key to a successful approach is that the frequency, method of contact, and communication time need to be structured and consistent.
Thankfully, some steps, such as email, are automated for ease, while some touches require live and direct communication with the sales rep through social media interactions or phone calls.
Sales Cadences: An Omnichannel Strategy
An omnichannel approach is where you reach out to leads through multiple channels. An example of the different ways you can connect with prospects and customers using an omnichannel strategy includes using a combination of the following channels: Email, Social (often LinkedIn), Phone and WhatsApp/Messaging platforms.
Advantages of Creating a Sales Cadence
Whatever your sales team size, implementing a clearly defined sales cadence can improve your efforts in following up with leads and existing customers to be more effective. Discover how below:
It’s relatively easy to juggle one or two clients, but when you begin working with more and hire a sales team to oversee them – scalability becomes your most significant issue.
Tracking each client’s position in your sales process can no longer be done mentally. Instead, keeping your sales strategy aligned across a small team requires applying a clearly defined sales cadence.
Typically, a small one-page flowchart is enough illustration for sales reps to follow, including new hires who can use this resource to begin interacting with clients straight away.
2. Easy Tracking = Easy Optimisation
Once you start following a clear sales cadence, it makes it much easier to not only scale but track and refine your sales process overall.
By identifying and noting subtle nuances in your sales cadence, you can use this data to optimise the approach and ultimately improve results.
3. Consistent effort 100% of the time
Is your organisation guilty of having a haphazard approach to networking and sales efforts with a generally unstructured effort? If you’ve ever lost track of where your prospects are in the sales process and sent the same email or made the same call twice, you know how highly embarrassing it can be, alongside how much it severely hurts your efforts.
Sales cadences take this issue away entirely. It’s easier to track where you are at any given time in the sales process, and with clearly defined rules about the sales strategy – you can rest assured you’ll never make the same phone call or send a duplicate email ever again.
4. Never miss an opportunity
Sales cadences ensure your leads don’t fall through the cracks of communication as they make their way through your sales funnel – never lose a high-scoring lead again!
The Anatomy of a Perfect Sales Cadence: 5 Core Elements
Every sales cadence includes a consistent set of variables and, depending on how they’re configured, directly impact the success of your sales team following up efforts. These five core sales cadence elements consist of:
1. Step Count
The first core element of a successful sales cadence is how many individual steps there are – typically, the best sales cadences will have between five and twelve steps. However, depending on the purpose, it can be longer or shorter.
2. Step Types
The most successful sales cadences feature multiple communication channels. For example, does the step use phone, email, and LinkedIn voice messages? Often salespeople will use multi-touch strategies consisting of 3 or 5 multi-channel steps to increase connection and response rates.
3. Step Timing
Determining the specific time between sales touches is crucial; sometimes, they might be on the same day, same week or even spaced out weeks at a time – it really depends on your sales cadence objective.
4. Cadence Length
Often mistaken for the number of steps, the sales cadence length is the number of days between the steps. This element doesn’t correlate much to the outcome but will require trial and error to see what works well for your lead or customer demographic.
5. Cadence Type
The type of cadence you choose to develop can be determined by the variables already mentioned. From this framework, you can decide whether your sales cadence follows your cadence intent and objective well. For example, is your sales cadence approach supposed to be too fast and aggressive, or is it slow and steady?
9 Tips for Creating an Effective Follow-Up Sales Cadence
Did you know that following-up is ranked as the third most significant challenge for sales teams? This is no surprise if you consider that today, consumers have more choices than ever before. It’s fair to say that competition is fierce, so to stay relevant, you need an effective follow-up sales cadence.
Ready to dive in and develop your own revenue-winning sales cadence for following up with leads and customers? Check out our tips to inform your approach below:
1. Test and Optimise
It’s essential to experiment with your follow-up sales cadence to determine precisely what sequences work best with your target audience. To do this, you’ll need to be following and tracking the right metrics, such as:
- How many emails, phone calls, texts or videos(touches) does it take to get a response
- Open and click-through rates (CTRs) of your emails
- Identifying types of content get you the highest response rate
- How many of your prospects ultimately convert into customers
2. Define the Objective
What’s the final objective you’re hoping to achieve by developing your follow-up sales cadence? When you’ve set a clear goal for your cadence, you’ll be able to use this to inform all the messaging and ensure it’s uniform throughout your CTA’s, text messages, voice messages, phone calls and emails. What’s your endgame?
For example, you could be trying to follow up with existing customers to educate them on new cross-selling or up-selling opportunities, or maybe you just want to increase the number of cold leads that convert into paying customers.
3. Articulate your Value Proposition In Every Touch
“People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole!” right? The fact is, there is a good chance that how you talk about your company’s product or service is very different from how your targeted customers do.
Each group has a unique vocabulary and social references based on age, ethnicity, or social status. So if you want to make the most significant impact on your target customer – you must practice using their authentic communication style and articulate your value proposition in each touch seamlessly.
4. Personalise Communications
Building rapport with customers is one of the most critical steps in the sales process. A strong relationship with a customer creates mutual trust and a lasting relationship that can lead to repeat business. As the saying goes, ‘People do business with people they know, like and trust’.
One of the most effective ways to be personable is to use the recipient’s name and, probably more critically, know how to pronounce it! It helps you connect with them because they feel heard, and well, people love the sound of their names.
5. Provide Valuable Content
When considering buying complex products or services, customers often need far more in-depth knowledge. Content such as e-books, articles, or product sheets are ideal; however, if your customer asks you for a resource you don’t have – it’s imperative to feedback on this information to your marketing team.
6. Define the Next Steps
One of the biggest mistakes salespeople make is forgetting to give prospects a clearly defined step they need to take to drive the sale forward. Tell your prospects explicitly what you want them to do next, whether that’s meet with you for a 15-minute phone call or simply ask them to sign up for your newsletter for more actionable, helpful tips.
7. Refine Subject Lines
Senior executives and decision-makers constantly prioritise their time, especially when it comes to their emails – with the average professional receiving around 100 emails a day, you have to be serious about getting your foot in the door when following up.
How they respond in that first moment either makes or breaks your chances of connecting with them to solve their challenges, so you can understand how a generic subject line will just immediately be ignored.
This modern challenge is why you need to focus on crafting something enticing that will make them want to know what you have to say. Unsure where to start? Simply copy and paste one of these 51 Sales Email Subject Lines to increase your open rate.
8. Keep it Short
Leads and customers are busy people -they don’t have time to decipher a code or essay -so cut your follow-up sales cadence steps to the chase!
As a rule of thumb, your follow-up emails should be no more than six lines in total length -around 100 words.
Likewise, your follow-up phone call should generally last no longer than approximately ten minutes – remember you’re aiming to motivate them into taking action!
9. Know When to Give Up
Unfortunately, you can’t follow up forever, and if you did – it’d be a waste of your precious revenue-generating time. At a certain point of repeating your sales cadence, following up becomes forceful, overwhelming, and pointless.
Although it’s hard to determine when to give up, when you do, notify the lead with a breakup email.
This way, if the prospect was interested but hadn’t got around to replying to you, this will drive them to action. If not, they know not to expect to hear from you again.
3 Examples of Successful Follow-Up Sales Cadences
Below, we’ve put together this list of top follow-up sales cadence examples for you to browse through and copy ideas from; we hope they’re helpful:
Example 1: Following Up with Inbound Leads
First up is our sales cadence for following up with inbound leads. This cadence framework is straightforward, and for a good reason – inbound leads almost always receive the same drip sequences downloaded from Google and have quickly become fatigued by them.
However, with this sales cadence, your speed is vital. You mustn’t let your leads go cold – many who make this realization suddenly panic and end up scrambling to reach out while these leads are still interested.
- Day 1: Email
- Day 2: Phone Call
- Day 3: Phone Call
- Day 4: Phone Call
- Day 5: Email
- Day 6: Phone Call
Example 2: Following Up with Outbound Leads
Next, outbound follow-up sales cadences need to be a little more persistent – for this reason, they’re usually high in touches and leverage almost all of your channels of communication. After all, as Michael Hanson, the Founder and Sales Consultant at Growth Genie, says, “That’s the most frustrating thing when I hear SDRs say, ‘I spend 50-60% of my time researching and building lists.’ You want them to be spending their time actually reaching out to people.”
- 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
Example 3: Referral Follow-Up Cadence
There are, on average, about two hundred connections behind every person, a prime opportunity for gaining referrals to your product or service. Genuine relationships are becoming the face of sales, and when people talk – they boast of their satisfaction with your product or service, and all of a sudden, they’ve advertised your business for free. Testimonials are everything; they’re authentic and invaluable to generating new leads. That’s why we’ve included a simple sales cadence for following up with customers after their purchase to encourage the chances of a referral:
Day 1 [First day as a customer]: Email
Day 3/5: Phone call
3-4 weeks: Text
1 month: Phone call
2 months: Email
3 months: Email
4 months: Text
5 months+: Phone call [periodic check-ins]
4 Step Follow-Up Email Template To Engage Unresponsive Prospects
When faced with the sudden silence of an unresponsive prospect, most salespeople give up because they interpret silence as rejection. When the reality is, if you want to book more meetings, close more deals, and ultimately be more successful – you need to have a plan for following up with quiet leads. We know interacting with unresponsive prospects can seem daunting, and many worry they’ll “get it wrong” – but we’re here to show you the right way – our way. Below is the best 4 step follow up email template sequence you can find.
Stop allowing prospects to fall through the cracks. Follow our 4 step follow up email template sequence to secure more meetings with prospects whether you’re using email, social media or another communication platform:
Email 1. The Initial Follow Up
Did you get a chance to see my message about [product name]? I know it’s a busy Wednesday, but are you available this week to discuss [product name]?
Thanks, [your name]
Email 2. The Unresponsive Call Setter
Last week I sent through our brochure that details our [product name]. I haven’t heard from you since and just wanted to check if you received it, and if you had any questions?
I’d like to organise a quick call to talk it over. Would Tuesday at 3PM work for you?
Email 3. The Reminder
Hi [first name],
Just floating this to the top of your inbox in case you missed it.
Email 4. The Drop
Dear [first name],
I’m writing to touch base on [product name]. I have called and e-mailed a few times and I haven’t heard anything from you and I’m not sure how to move forward.
My sense is there is something going on that is keeping the project from moving that might be either:
1. You really are too busy to look at it.
2. Something has changed and the project is no longer a priority
I don’t know if any of these are right. Either way it’s ok, all that I ask is that you let me know. Then we can decide to either move forward, or not and then I can move on.
Final word: Leverage Automation for the Best Results
Now you’ve got a glimpse of what it looks like to handle so many leads successfully, make sure you can still scale your results quickly so that you don’t need to slow down.
To do this, you’ll need to take advantage of the many sales cadence automation tools out there.
Ultimately, your sales team will always need support navigating the rough revenue generation process and creating a consistent working momentum.
Likewise, you’ll always need a specific and consistent way to measure their performance – that’s why our tips above have been chosen to help you craft and optimise your own follow-up sales cadence to be a revenue winner.
Like blood to a body, a full sales pipeline is necessary for your business to survive. The thing is, prospecting has evolved, and old methods just aren’t useful anymore.
Join Prospecting Power and learn how to ensure your customer acquisition strategy is creative, persistent and, most importantly, generates real results.