There’s a big difference between having the right tools and leveraging them effectively. You could give JaMarcus Russell a slightly deflated football and he still wouldn’t be a Tom Brady-level quarterback. The same goes for winning sales cadences.

Cadences allow sales reps to follow specific, top-performing playbooks in order to be efficient and effective in their sales process. Using the best cadences can massively improve the performance of a sales team, but only if they are set up and implemented effectively. Don’t rely on your gut. The data your sales engagement platform provides should inform the structure of your sales cadences.

If you want to continuously improve your team’s cadence game, you need to understand all the variables in order to optimize them. Our data science team analyzes millions of sales interactions every year to help you do just that. They are continually surfacing insights to help customers optimize sales cadences to improve outcomes while reducing the time and number of steps it takes to get there.

You don’t have to be a data scientist to understand how each of these elements might change the results generated from a cadence. It’s worth pointing out, no matter how you adjust these variables, our data science team has seen a “best-performing cadence.” The one that outperforms all other similar ones in this group.

Once you determine the configuration of elements that will work best for your next cadence, you may want to read more about the role personalization plays. If you apply it correctly, it could double your reply rate!

Understanding Cadence Elements

Each cadence includes a consistent set of variables. Their configuration has a direct impact on the success of your sales team. There are 5 Elements of a Winning Sales Cadence.

Each cadence includes a consistent set of variables. Their configuration has a direct impact on the success of your sales team. There are 5 Elements of a Winning Sales Cadence. They include:

Step Count

How many steps are there in the cadence? A step is a single action a rep takes over the course of a cadence. As a general rule of thumb, the best cadences typically have between five to 12 steps in them. For the purpose of this discussion, we consider longer cadences to consist of 8 or more. Shorter cadences have between 5 and 8 steps.

Step Types

What is the channel or type of each step? For example, does the step use phone, email, and/or LinkedIn messages? The best performing cadences all feature multiple channels. In our recent cadence benchmark eBook, we shared that 80% of SDR teams are leveraging a triple touch strategy, composed largely of email, phone, and LinkedIn. Channel additions such as video and direct mail are starting to result in more “5-touch” patterns, in the effort to increase connection and response rates.

Step Timing

The timing between sales touches matters. Some of the most successful cadences our data science team has seen to date start with a phone call and include an email follow-up on the first day. For example, more than 80% of the top 100 cadences our data scientists analyzed included a call and email on the same day. These almost always occurred on the first day of the cadence.

Cadence Length

Not to be confused with the number of steps, cadence length refers to the number of days between steps. This is one area in particular where cadence length has little correlation to an outcome – though finding the right cadence pace will require some trial and error for most sales cycles.

Cadence Type

Cadence type can be determined by the variables we’ve already mentioned, but we include cadence type as a variable, as it has more to do with the team’s intent and possibly behavior over the course of a sales cycle. When considering your cadence variables, it’s worth noting if your cadence is intended to be “slow and steady,” like a long-term nurturing effort, or “fast and furious,” more aggressive approach.

What Do Your Current Cadences Look Like?

On average, a great cadence is one that results in a successful outcome 85 to 95 percent of the time, according to Roi Ceren, SalesLoft’s lead data scientist. Ceren adds that among the ‘great’ cadences, longer cadences – those with 8+ steps – tend to convert higher than shorter cadences of 5-8 steps.

How are your team’s cadences performing today? What types of adjustments should you make to test new cadences against your current approach? If you’re not getting desired results, try adjusting one of these variables and see if your performance improves. Alternatively, create a new cadence that better matches your team’s DNA. Yours might be the next Tom Brady-level cadence the data science team is talking about!

These are the variables you need to consider when constructing your cadences. If you want more specific help, SalesLoft’s professional services team is at your disposal.


Interested in learning more about cadence best practices and benchmarks? Check out our latest report here.

Best Practice & Benchmarks for Sales Cadences