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What should your SDR cadence/sequence look like?

16 Min

[ This article is inspired by the commentary from a thread composed by members of the Modern Sales Pros community — an exclusive, invite-only, group of sales operations, enablement, management, and leadership experts. We are sponsoring membership for any of our readers who want to join the community — apply for community membership here and put us “MoData” down as your sponsor. ]

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What should your SDR cadence/sequence look like?

First off, sales cadences are those well-ordered and methodical sequence of sales actions (can also be called rules of touchpoints or sales activities)  that help your SDRs to generate and move the leads in the sales pipeline.

There could be different cadences for different sales cycles, for outbound and inbound leads. Unquestionably, as a sales manager, you have to give a tested and strong framework of cadences to your SDRs to follow. What should be the mix of automated and manual touchpoints?

Through this guide, we will discover and divulge more into best of the SDR cadences and the type of sequence of actions to be taken for each type of leads. It is extremely important for your business to have these cadences and sequences in place for optimum utilization of your company resources.


Elements of Sales Cadence

Email, Calls and Social Media are the three main elements of SDR cadence but which has to be applied when will depend on your sales cycle and the type of leads i.e., inbound versus outbound. Social media channel includes leveraging LinkedIn by sending invite, message or InMail. Calls include initial cold calls as well as leaving a voice message with relevant information. Similarly, emails can be automated and triggered at various stages based on your prospect’s interaction with your product and marketing materials.

However, the question is how much of this automation should be practiced and at which stage? You cannot rely on manual touches completely as it will drain your company’s resources. Similarly, having too much automation in the sales cycle, without human interaction will eventually lead to no conversion.

There has to be a combination of both automated and manual interactions, spaced carefully at various stages of the sales cycle.


A guide on how to derive the best cadence strategy

Here is a guide on how to derive the best cadence for your SDRs.

According to TOPO’s recent Sales Development Touch Report, “An SDR must average 16 touches per prospect”. Since inbound leads need to be nurtured slightly less than the leads through outbound channels, the number of touchpoints for inbound can be between 8-10 per prospect and that for outbound, it is between 14-16 touchpoints.


The most logical rule is to keep it to the maximum of 16 touch points.

SalesLoft has answered the questions around SDR cadences mathematically by analyzing 200 million sales interactions that happened on its platform. Here is what they have concluded after the research:



  • Be aggressive on day one by performing both- email and call.


“When examining DCs near 45 days and 13 touches in length, over 80% of the top 100 Cadences include a Call and an Email on the same day, and almost always on the first day.” Source: On Deriving Optimal Cadences via Engagement Score Maximization



  • Use a mix of channels.



It is important to note that phone could mean cold calling (in case of outbound leads)  and even delivering a voice message. Even though the phone is the best medium to get your voice heard, you can get the best result from the mix of multiple channels. Get your voice heard and get seen through every possible channel that you can use to elicit a positive response from your prospects.



  • Do more frequent and quick activities during the initial days of the sales cycle.



As the days progress the wait time between each action increases. This is when you have to give some time to the decision makers on the other side to think over your proposal before your next action. Meanwhile, your team can get ready with personalized messages and content based on the previous response.



  • Don’t follow a set pattern of scheduling actions.



For example, after every 5 days, your team is either sending an email or calling or using social media. Have a combination of activities in the cadence i.e., both phone call as well as triggering of the email on the same day for better engagement.



  • Don’t be aggressive and pushy.



These rules have to be followed with extreme sophistication by researching about your clients’ requirement, matching it with your product’s features and by tailoring the content based on the research.


How many days are ideal between each sales activity?

The above-stated rules lead you to another question: so how many days should you assign in between the activities in your cadence?

It’s sensible to follow some logical rules and have a mix of manual tasks plus automated triggers. With the aid of right collaboration tools, you can set up triggers and have more time allocated towards the closing of deals. For example-


  • If the email gets opened more than twice, have the tool send a trigger to the sales rep with the phone number to make a call.
  • If the mail is not opened at all, send the LinkedIn request and message.


Example of an ideal Cadence for Outbound Leads

It takes more time to nurture and evoke a response from the Outbound leads. The length and sequence of your cadence, content, and tone of your emails, calls will be different from that of the inbound leads.

Based on the insight derived from SalesLoft’s research, an ideal cadence for outbound leads should be something like this to get a better response from the leads:

16 activities spread over 30 days. Generally, in a B2B sales cycle, it takes 30 days to convert.

  • Week 1- Day 1: Voicemail and Email
  • Week 1-Day 3: Call
  • Week 1-Day 4: Reply
  • Week 1-Day 5: LinkedIn Messaging or InMail
  • Week 2- Day 1: Call
  • Week 2- Day 5: Email
  • Week 3- Day 3: Reply to email and voicemail
  • Week 3- Day 4 & 5: Call
  • Week 4- Day 5: Email and voicemail
  • Week 5- Day 2 & 5: Email
  • Week 6- Day 2 & 3: Call
  • Week 6- Day 5: Voicemail and Breakup email

Furthermore,  your SDRs can be extremely strategic by setting up some basic rules. For example, use of voicemails and LinkedIn automation on the case by case basis.

  • If the lead opens the email more than twice, call them.
  • If the lead hasn’t opened any of your emails (say, 2 emails were already sent) then send them LinkedIn invite or InMail.

Example of an ideal Cadence for Inbound Leads

For Inbound leads, it is important to take care of the response time for better conversion rates. Response time is the time taken by SDR to respond either via phone call or email or social media to the lead generated through your marketing materials. It should neither be immediate nor too late. Ideal response time is within an hour. The SDRs should take that one hour of time to research to get the quick insight into prospect’s requirements and tailor make the apt content with the aid of marketing department. They need to quickly validate the lead and find out what made them download your content or sign up for the trial account or attend the webinar.

Inbound leads, unlike outbound, take less time to nurture and convert. 10 sequence of activities for 20 days is an ideal cadence for inbound leads.

Here is an example of 10 touches over 20 days:

  • Week 1-Day 1: Voicemail and Email
  • Week 1-Day 2: Call
  • Week 1-Day 3: Call and Reply to email
  • Week 2-Day 2: LinkedIn Messaging or InMail and Voicemail
  • Week 2- Day 4: Call
  • Week 2- Day 5: Reply to email
  • Week 3- Day 3: Email
  • Week 3- Day 4: Call
  • Week 3- Day 5: Reply to email
  • Week 4- Day 4: Call
  • Week 4- Day 5: Breakup email and Voicemail


The takeaways

Explore other channels too like direct mail

There are some SDRs who swear by direct mails. In this age time when prospects are overwhelmed with emails and voice messages similar to your product from your competitors, don’t ignore the power of direct mails. Just sending a random personalized gift might not work. The direct mail campaign needs to be strategized and aligned with your online marketing collaterals.

Create and track the cadences

By now you would have realized that to keep your team focused and goal driven, you cannot ignore Sales Cadence or sales workflow. After having devised a consistent sales cadence, the next step is to track how your SDRs are performing at various cadences.  Another very important aspect of cadence is tracking where the prospects are in this entire sales flow. Study historical data to find out what has worked in the past and how each cadence performed against each other.

For eg., in some cases, direct mail might have worked better than LinkedIn Inmail or Request. You should be able to find out at which stage and after how many iterations does one action shows an effective result.

Use automation and technology to build a strong cadence

Sales cadence could be a lengthy process in the B2B landscape, where every lead needs nurturing, personalization and thorough investigation. While human touch is absolutely needed, you need to use automation wherever possible, especially in the case of emails and voicemails. Map and match technology to an activity to see where you can bring in the automation.


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