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Best Practices for Your Outbound Sales Prospecting Cadence

4 min readMarch 4, 2022

There has never been more pressure on revenue teams to drive pipeline than there is today. And to keep up with growing demands, sales teams are increasingly adopting multichannel, multitouch engagement with buyers. 

Many companies are going one step further: using AI-based guided selling to determine who to reach out to and how to reach out.

But whether you’re using AI-powered cadences or not, we’ve assembled some sales cadence best practices that your SDR and account executive teams can start using right away to connect with key decision makers via email, phone, text and social media.

What is an Outbound Sales 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 (also known as a sales sequence) is a scheduled series of actions that dictate when and how reps reach out to prospects. 

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.

Sales Cadence Best Practices

Since Revenue.io offers an AI-powered sales cadence engine, we have conducted a lot of internal research around best practices for creating sales sequences. To help your team hit the ground running, we want to share some of our findings with you. 

Of course, depending on what you sell and who you sell to, the “perfect touch pattern” is bound to vary. But, from working with hundreds of top performing sales teams, we have noticed some patterns.

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. 

You know what else we’ve found? Sometimes it takes more than eight touch points. In fact, our own SDR team routinely uses a touch pattern for cold leads that has 12 touch points—I’ll share that touch pattern with you in a bit.

Cadence Best Practices for Inbound Vs. Outbound Leads

Many 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. While we will offer some guidelines below, be sure to test different cadences and steps within them to see what works best for your business.

When is the Best Time of Day to Reach Out with Sales Sequences?

We recently presented some original research about the best times to cold call prospects. It appears that decision makers are more likely to engage in the late afternoon. With peak engagement during the 4-5pm hour. This window is followed closely by the 3-4pm  and 5-6pm hours. This research is not just applicable to calls. Decision makers are likely to engage more across any channel during those hours, since they’ll have more bandwidth to do so.

Getting even more granular, Jeff Hoffman, author of Your Sales MBA, wrote in an article for Hubspot, to send emails 5 minutes before or after the hour. He also prefers Thursdays and Fridays.

Sales Cadence Examples

Outbound Cold Opener Sequence

Overview: This sequence is used when an outbound rep (typically an SDR) needs to reach out to a prospect cold and start a conversation. It’s long (12 steps over 25 days). But we’ve found that persistence and multi-channel engagement often pays off.

DAY 1

Step 1: Task – Immediately connect on LinkedIn

Step 2: Call 

Step 3: Manual email with personalization

DAY 2

Step 4: Call w/ Voicemail

DAY 5

Step 5: Call (do not leave a voicemail)

Step 6: Manual email – with a different value prop for their persona

DAY 12

Step 7: Automatic email

DAY 17

Step 8: Call with Voicemail

DAY 21

Step 9: Task – engage with content on LinkedIn

Day 22

Step 10: Call (no voicemail)

Step 11: Manual email with personalization

DAY 25

Step 12: Automatic Email

Hot Inbound Lead Sequence

Overview: This sequence is used to follow up with leads that you want to contact immediately, such as demo requests. Why is speed to lead so important? Organizations that contact a lead within the first hour are seven times more likely to qualify the prospect than an organization that responds in two hours.

DAY 1

Step 1: Task – research and connect on LinkedIn

Step 2: Call – use a template for
 a specific person in this sequence

Step 3: Send a manual email with personalization 

Day 2

Step 4: Call with voicemail

DAY 4 

Step 5: SMS – Use persona template

DAY 9

Step 6: Call – use a template for specific persona in this sequence

Step 7: Manual Email – a template for specific persona in this sequence

DAY 14

Step 8: Call with voicemail

These are just a couple examples of sequences. You can check out our five most popular email sequence templates (including email examples) by downloading this eBook.

How Have Sales Cadences Changed in 2022?

Our 2022 Customer Acquisition and RevOps Benchmarks report shows an increase in guided selling applications. It’s no surprise that many high-performing sales teams are adopting AI-powered sequencing solutions like Revenue.io’s Guided Selling to help them scale their efforts and drive more revenue. 

Top analysts are predicting that this adoption will increase more dramatically over the next several years. In fact, Gartner predicts that 75% of B2B sales organizations will augment traditional sales playbooks with AI-powered guided selling solutions by 2025.

Catch this replay of a webinar showing why why top analysts are calling guided selling the “next big thing” in sales:

About the Author

Jesse WestDirector of Lifecycle MarketingringDNA

Jesse Davis West is Director of Lifecycle Marketing at ringDNA, focusing on improving the experience and maximizing the lifetime value for customers across their entire journey. Drawing on 9 years of B2B marketing experience, Jesse is passionate about communication, branding and strategic marketing. He also plays a mean lead guitar and can throw down at karaoke.