How a Strong Sales Cadence Keeps Your Sales Team Marching Forward Together
Research shows that in order to maximize your conversion rate you’ll need to touch a prospect 8 to 12 times, in part because 80% of leads do not close on the first call. Typically, this series of “touches” will occur as a combination of emails and phone calls on the part of your sales team. These multiple attempts to communicate with a prospect are more than just tasks to keep the sales team busy. Rather, these touches should make up the foundation of your prospecting strategy. You therefore need a plan for all of these communications, to ensure sales reps are consistent in their use of them.
The best sales team management accomplishes this by following a sales “cadence.” Ideally, this cadence is determined by testing, to determine the best time to reach out to prospects and how (i.e., with what message and via which channel). However, there is another kind of cadence that’s critical to an effective sales prospecting strategy: The cadence that gets and keeps your team marching in the same direction toward the same goals.
High-performing sales organizations put processes in place to ensure their salespeople focus on the highest value sales opportunities. That’s because the repeatability and consistency that come from such a cadence will drive effective sales planning. In addition, if you maintain a predictable cadence with regard to territory, account and opportunity planning, you’ll forecast more accurately and reps can more easily build a healthy pipeline.
A good cadence of this kind is like glue that keeps everyone together. It takes key elements of success into consideration, such as strategy, structure, individual skill sets and processes. The cadence you choose to establish is less important than having one. A cadence can follow any sequence based on the needs of your organization, such as these four meetings suggested by The Sales Benchmark Index.
That said, according to sales influencer Jim Keenan, a good sales cadence must cover these five critical elements:
- Daily meetings – Meet with your team every day to keep on top of the day-to-day things that can be overlooked. These might be meeting quotas, tracking deals, reviewing pipelines, reviewing products, or other topics specific to your organization. Although regular sales training is important, and 55.6% of companies invest more than $1500 annually training sales reps, according to the 2015 CSO Insights Performance Optimization Study, these kinds of daily check ins can be invaluable in keeping everyone marching to the beat of the same drummer.
- Coaching – Sales team management has another role to play beyond keeping reps on track: coaching. And providing that coaching on a regular basis is an important element of your sales cadence. A predictable and consistent coaching schedule demonstrates that support for individual team members is always available, in addition to creating more effective sales reps. Coaching is essential to the success of a team, improving sales performance by up to 19%, and it can be particularly beneficial to the middle performers.
- Planning meetings – Reviewing quarterly and yearly plans and how well your team is attaining those goals is critical. Have the team regularly report on progress during these meetings. B2B companies that don’t align sales and marketing teams around the right processes and technologies have lost upwards of 10% or more of revenue per year, according to IDC.
- Performance reviews – Nearly 50% of sales managers cited increasing sales effectiveness as a top sales objective in 2015, according to the 2015 CSO Insights Performance Optimization Study. However, almost half of all sales teams don’t have a playbook. The solution? Performance reviews. Performance reviews provide individual team members with a benchmark for them to gauge against desired results and behaviors. These kinds of reviews can be the apex of career planning, performance improvement plans and motivation.
- Team and organization reviews – Your sales cadence is not only about individual sales reps, but also about the team. And the best way to put together a great team is to constantly review the make-up of the team and how well they operate together. Assessing the team on a consistent basis ensures you’ll have the right team in place to be successful. In addition, you’ll have reps who are engaged as a team, and engaged organizations grow profits as much as three times faster than their competitors.
There isn’t any set cadence you can download from the Internet and put into place. The sales team management at your organization will need to determine the best cadence, one that improves sales prospecting on a continual basis. Nor will determining this cadence affect only the sales department. “Ultimately, sales cadence will involve adjusting internal processes for the whole organization, and will probably hinge on learning how to redeploy or redesign the organization’s CRM in order to more efficiently track, manage and organize information across all divisions,” according to Salesforce.com.
Still, it’s worth it, even if developing a sales cadence might seem like a bother, and more work to add to your already overflowing plate. Think of it like rowing a boat. Initially, it can be hard to keep the boat straight. Once you find the right rhythm the momentum of the entire team will increase and you will move together almost effortlessly.