An engaging sales cadence lets you start conversations with decision-makers and guarantees that your sales outreach always gets noticed.

However, it can be tricky to know where to start if you haven't created a sales cadence before. What channels should you focus on? How many steps do you need in your sales and prospecting cadence? What tools can help you create one?

In this guide, we’ll answer all of those questions and more. By the end, you’ll be able to create a sales cadence and start reaching out to qualified prospects for your business.

  1. What is a Sales Cadence?

  2. Why is a Sales Cadence Important?

  3. How Many Steps Do You Need in Your Sales Cadence?

  4. Example Outbound Sales Cadence Sequence

  5. How to Create a Sales Cadence: The Step by Step Process

Let’s jump right in.

What is a Sales Cadence?

A sales cadence is the schedule your sales outreach attempts will follow and the touchpoints it will include to give you the strongest chance of starting a conversation with a prospect. 

For example, a cadence could include:

The steps in your sales cadence will vary based on the goal for your outreach and the industry in which your prospects work.

Your sales cadence ends when your prospect replies or at a point where you stop reaching out due to not getting a response.

The term “sales cadence” is often used interchangeably with “prospecting cadence”.

Why is a Sales Cadence Important For Your Outreach?

Creating a sales cadence is vital for any team running cold sales outreach. Here’s why:

1. A Sales Cadence Makes Your Outreach Predictable

Without a sales cadence, setting up a system that helps your company scale using cold outreach can be difficult.

You might find that you end up sending different campaigns to each prospect. At the end of the campaign, you won’t know why you got the results you did.

On the other hand, if you set up a sales cadence with the same steps and use it for the majority of your sales outreach, you’ll start to understand how effectively it generates results and which touchpoints in your cadence are the most engaging for prospects.

Once you gather enough data, you can start to predict your response rate to your outreach and scale up accordingly.

2. Track Your Metrics at Each Touchpoint

Setting up a sales cadence lets you easily track your success metrics.

You’ll need to use a tool like QuickMail to schedule your campaign, as it lets you create multi-step and multi-channel outreach cadences.

As your campaign runs, QuickMail will track metrics such as:

  • Open rate

  • Reply rate

  • Click-through rate

  • Unsubscribe rate

You’ll know which steps in your sales cadence are generating results because you’ll see that they have high reply rates in your sales engagement platform or outreach software.

3. Boost Your Reply Rate to Outreach

Using a multi-channel prospecting cadence increases reply rates to your outreach.

The reason is simple: it’s harder for your prospect to miss your message. 

If you only reached out on one channel, there’s a strong chance they either don’t see your message or don’t remember your name.

When they see you reaching out on different channels, they’ll start to recognize your name and be more likely to open your message and reply.

As well as that, 64% of B2B buyers say that they read between two to five pieces of content before making a purchase decision. Your outreach can include content for them to read or consider, so by reaching out multiple times, you’ll make yourself a key part of their buying decision.

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How Many Steps Do You Need in Your Sales Cadence?

There is no requirement for any number of steps in a sales cadence.

Typically, three to ten steps across multiple channels will be enough to generate a response from your prospecting cadences.

This could be a combination of:

  • Cold emails

  • Cold calls

  • LinkedIn InMails and direct messages

More important than the number of steps in your sales cadence is the quality of each step.

If you personalize every cold email, phone call script, and LinkedIn message, your prospects will know that you’ve done your research and care about providing value to them and their business.

Between your sales cadence steps, you’ll need a delay. This ensures you don’t bombard your prospect with sales outreach, which would cause them to mark your outreach as spam and move on, even if there’s a potential fit.

Example Outbound Sales Cadence Sequence

If you’re wondering what a sales cadence will look like in practice, here’s an example. This outbound cadence is designed to start a conversation with a cold prospect.

You'll need to develop the message contents yourself, based on what you're selling, your prospect's business, and their unique pain points.

Day 1: LinkedIn connection request

Day 2: Send a cold email introducing yourself and the reason you’re reaching out

Day 5: Send a follow-up email 

Day 7: Send a LinkedIn InMail, and cold call later in the day if no response

Day 10: Send another follow-up email

Day 15: Send another follow-up email and a cold call if no response

Day 17: Send a LinkedIn message

Day 23: Send another follow-up email

A multi-step sales cadence like this ensures you always stay top-of-mind when reaching out to a prospect.

It’s also worth remembering that if a prospect replies to any of your touchpoints, you need to pause the campaign. Prospects are automatically removed from your campaigns when they reply if you’re sending your outreach using QuickMail, but if you’re running your cadence manually, make sure to pay attention.

Your sales cadence can have different steps from those mentioned above, but that’s a good starting point.

How to Create a Sales Cadence: The Step by Step Process

The best way to create a sales cadence is with QuickMail. Here’s a step-by-step guide to creating one.

1. Selecting Your Prospects

No matter how well crafted your sales cadence is, a poorly chosen prospect list will mean you don’t see the results you’re aiming for. 

Spend time on this process and create a prospect list that’s completely qualified for your product or service.

You can build a quality prospect list by using tools like BuiltWith, ZoomInfo, and Lead411

They let you identify sales leads and prospects based on criteria such as:

  • Company employee count and revenue

  • Location

  • Technology used on their website

You can also use LinkedIn Sales Navigator to help you prospect more efficiently on LinkedIn.  For example, as you're browsing the platform and searching for leads, you can save profiles to lead lists and later export them to your CRM or to use in your outreach.

Before reaching out to anyone, verify that they’re a perfect fit for your product or service. This will give your sales cadences the highest chance of success.

2. Creating a Multi-Step Sales Cadence

Once your prospect list is ready, you’ll need to find a tool to help you create your sales cadence.

In theory, you can do this manually, but using software lets you automate the process, even across multiple channels. The small cost per month or year will easily be made back in the extra productivity gains.

The first thing you need to do is create your campaign in QuickMail. 

Here, you can add multiple steps, such as emails, cold calls, SMS messaging, and extra tasks such as LinkedIn outreach.

Once you choose the step your prospecting cadence will start with, it's time to write your template. For this example, let's start with an email.

You can use attributes in the editor to personalize each email to your prospect.

An attribute like {{prospect.first_name}} will transform into your prospect’s name – taken from your prospect spreadsheet – when the email is sent.

Personalizing your emails is the difference between being seen as a spammer versus being seen as someone who has actively researched your prospect and cares about them and their business, so it’s an essential step.

When the first step in your cadence is done, you can add a delay and move on to the next step in your cadence.

You don’t have to stick with cold emails, either.

QuickMail lets you add cold calls to your cadence and integrates directly with Aircall’s cold calling software. You can make calls directly from your QuickMail campaign dashboard, and all of your notes will be synced with your Aircall records.

As well as that, you can add tasks and to-dos, such as ‘send an InMail’.

3. Ensuring Your Sales Cadence Always Lands in the Inbox

An often-overlooked part of a successful sales cadence is deliverability.

If your cold emails don’t land in the inbox, or your LinkedIn account is restricted from sending too many messages, your chances of starting a conversation drop.

Here’s how to improve your campaign deliverability:

First, email. You’ll need to warm up your email inbox

Warming up your inbox shows email service providers that when you ramp up your email activity as part of your sales cadence, it’s legitimate activity, and they don’t need to treat you as a spammer.

Warming up your email with QuickMail is simple, as it offers a a native integration for its users with MailFlow's free email warmup tool. 

All you need to do is connect your account to the Auto Warmer, and it will automatically start sending emails to other inboxes in our network.

You can track how your email is performing in terms of deliverability in the Auto Warmer reports, and the deliverability reports.

When it comes to LinkedIn, you need to follow a similar process and show the algorithm that your increased activity on the platform is real.

In the few weeks before you launch a high-volume campaign that involves LinkedIn outreach, spend time growing your network and messaging with people in your network.

When it’s time to scale up your outreach, the LinkedIn algorithms won’t flag your account activity as suspicious.

4. Moving from Outreach to a Meeting

No matter how many replies you receive, it doesn't matter if you don’t convert those into meetings.

In your cold outreach templates and in all communication with your sales leads, focus your call-to-action on moving a prospect to a meeting.

For example, rather than saying:

Is [pain point] something you have a problem with?

You could say:

Do you have 15-minutes on {{day}} to talk about solving [pain point]?

This helps show your sales lead that you’re actively interested in helping them solve pain points, and gives them an opportunity to share more information with you. Most decision-makers are busy and prefer a 15-minute call to 10 back-and-forth emails where it can be hard to keep track of what’s been said.

You can use tools like Calendly to quickly send meeting links to prospects, or, they might send you their calendar information for you to book a time.

Even if your prospect isn’t ready to use your product or service, having a call with them builds rapport and they’ll be more likely to remember you over other vendors they’ve only talked to over email or on LinkedIn.

5. Tracking Your Sales Cadence Success

You need to track the performance of your sales cadence at each stage to judge if it’s moving the needle in your business.

For most sales and prospecting cadences, you can expect to see a 10-20% reply rate at each stage. Based on data we've analyzed, only 25% of sequences have a 20% reply rate or more.

Depending on how personalized and relevant your outreach is, you may even see higher reply rates than that, but those reply rates are a good benchmark to aim for. If you’re finding that your prospects are replying at a lower rate than that, you should re-evaluate your campaign to see if it’s a good fit for your recipients – you may have a mismatch between your outreach messaging, and your prospect’s expectations.

QuickMail’s email tracking features automatically track your sales cadence metrics at every stage of your outreach.

When your campaigns are running, you’ll see an overview of how many emails are being sent and the number of tasks – like reaching out on LinkedIn –  are being completed, and see how many opens and replies you’re receiving.

QuickMail also lets you run A/B tests to experiment with value propositions and various outreach templates.

When you understand how well your campaigns are performing, you can make better decisions and ensure the message you're sending in your sales cadences will have the best chance to start a conversation with a qualified prospect. 

Wrapping Up

A sales cadence is a powerful way to engage with prospects. It gives you a sales process and framework for reaching out to someone in multiple steps, and on multiple channels, giving you the best shot at getting a busy decision-maker’s attention.

Most sales cadences rely on three main outreach channels: cold email, LinkedIn outreach, and cold calling. You can add extra channels, but in most cases, these three are enough.

On top of having a well-structured and engaging sales cadence, you need to ensure the people you’re reaching out to are highly qualified for your product or service. If they are, you’ll quickly start seeing replies coming in, and all you need to do is show you’re the right business or person to solve their pain points.

When you’re ready to start sending multi-channel sales cadences, sign up for your free trial of QuickMail.