Last week on the Bowery Capital Startup Sales Podcast, we hosted Gabe Larsen, Director of Sales Strategy at InsideSales, to get his advice on sales cadence strategy. Gabe and I discussed the definition of sales cadence, what cadences he sees in the market today, and the importance of having a structured process to optimize outreach. From our chat, we’ve extracted 4 tips startups can use to improve their sales cadences strategies.
1) Understand How to Prospect Tactically and Educate. In the world of early stage startups, sales trumps just about everything. As such, the prospecting process needs to be optimized to establish a healthy pipeline and grow the company. The standardization of this prospecting process is what’s referred to as cadence. A successful sales cadence strategy should be a sequence of plays to advance the level of both contact and qualification of new prospects. One of the key mistakes made with sales cadences is thinking of interactions as 1-time occurrences per prospect. It takes multiple interactions tied together to form a tactical outreach strategy that not only leads to contact, but also educates the prospect through repeat exposure. This will result in deeper understanding, and a smoother conversations when a meeting is obtained.
2) Look at Sales Cadence as a Programmatic System. Gabe talked to us about how he often sees sales reps with a myriad of overdue tasks in their CRM. This lack of time management is a result of an ineffective cadence. More specifically, it is a result of a non-programmatic cadence that leads to lost opportunities and messy tracking. A sales rep should not be managing their out reach manually. A systematic approach is imperative to maximize contact and qualification rates. It may not always be possible for an early startup to construct this type of cadence before they have enough information, but it is important to always be pushing to develop best practices and convert away from manual as soon as possible.
3) Utilize the Foundational Cadences. We dug in further with Gabe to explore some cadence examples that he’s seen work. His research has indicated that the best starting point for a typical company establishing a cadence process is to aim for 3 calls, 3 voice mails, 3 emails, and 3 social touches over a 2-4 weeks period (for a total of 12 interactions). This is a great basis for any company to start thinking about what might work for them, and what they can tweak to cater more directly to their specific needs. Things like target and length of cycle should affect your approach. For example, and enterprise sales team may want to do 3 calls, 2 voice mails, 4 emails, and 4 social touches (for a total of 13 interactions). This is based on research that shows enterprise decision makers being more receptive to social and email. Conversely a startup with a high-velocity sales style may want to weight calls more heavily.
4) Consider the 5 Step Process for Constructing Your Cadence. To build a tight sales cadence strategy from the ground up, Gabe gave us 5 main points to consider.
1. Your company needs to have a game plan. Don’t put your sales reps in a situation where they are randomly conducting outreach. Establish a common method with a common target. This will make your process more effective, easier to track, and quicker to iterate on.
2. Understand your sales structure. Are you transactional or relational? What size of clients are you pursuing and what type of ACV are you interested in? Knowing this is mandatory for a proper sales cadence strategy.
3. Decide who you are targeting. Your conversation is going to be very different if you are talking to the CEO versus the Head of Sales. Figure out who the right target is and tailor your pitch accordingly.
4.Optimize your sequence in terms of spacing. Every 2 interactions should generally be 1-4 days apart. This will help keep the prospect engaged without being overbearing.
5. Lastly, have an agreed upon structure for your emails and conversations to both save time and increase conversion (don’t be afraid to get marketing involved).
The overarching theme of this sales cadence strategy framework is that sales needs to be a replicable process. If you are unstructured, reps are going to be contacting the wrong people, spending time in the wrong places, and likely falling well below the optimal number of touches to drive meetings and further interactions in your sales process. Gabe’s tips should put a startup well on their way to building an effective sales cadence.
If you found Gabe’s 4 Tips to Improve Your Sales Cadence Strategy helpful, listen to the full episode here and subscribe to get a new episode of the Bowery Capital Startup Sales Podcast every week! Also, be sure to check out some of Gabe’s posts on everything sales here!