Lack of a particular feature rarely kills a company. Lack of sales does. 42% of startups fail even after investment because they don't hone a sales process. Since sales is highly competitive, little research is shared on what works at a tactical level. That's why the recent research by Roi Ceren, data scientist at SalesLoft, is so interesting. Salesloft helps customers like Facebook, Dell and Mulesoft create a sales cadence through calls, emails and social outreach. 

Modern sales touches are trackable

Ceren and his team analyzed 2 years of customer data to create a dataset of 200 million sales touches. He reduced that data down to14.9 million successful interactions and then hunted for patterns with machine learning. He discovered some of the rules of engagement that help modern sales organizations smoke--or choke. 

"Depending on the overall structure of the cadence, we often see three to four touches in the first week of a sales engagements. Touch counts are higher with cadences using double taps or multiple touches in the same day," Roi shared with me. Here are the two big things they discovered in the data:

1.     Double taps--use email and phone same day

The research indicated that the most successful sales interactions--ones that resulted in a close in a reasonable amount of time--started with a phone call and included an email that same day. Ceren calls it a double tap.

  • More outreach, including outreach twice in one day, is associated with three times as much success as spreading touches out evenly--the "nurture approach."
  • Interestingly, calls and emails are by far the most effective pairing. Email alone, with no call, lowered the effectiveness of the sales effort almost 98%.

The takeaway: afraid to put folks on the phone? Don't be--there's gold on the line. 

Jordan Rackie, Chief Revenue Officer at QASymphony, shared with me that the freqency of touch is one of the secrets of their fast growth. "We ranked #108 on the Inc. 5000 last year, which wouldn't have been possible without the proven cadences we use today. Cadences are the sales equivalent of a franchise manual, a proven process to generating predictable, consistent results. SalesLoft helps us manage, optimize, and improve our cadences to get the best results possible."

2.     Use multiple channels

While Ceren mentioned this research is young, the data indicated that the most effective sales organizations also added some social or direct mail to their combined phone and email outreach. Matt Amundson, VP Marketing and Sales Development at EverString, shared his reaction to the research with me in email: "There's always been a level of guesswork for figuring out the optimal cadence for reps. Figuring out how to generate a response from contacts earlier in the sales cycle with the least amount of touches is exciting. SalesLoft's derived cadences research gives us a framework we can use to help us evolve our approach in a more scientific way and consistently select the cadence with the greatest probability of success."

In a time when many sales organizations are using email marketing but not pairing it consciously with phone outreach and social outreach, this research points a clear finger at how to create more successful sales. The implication is, a tighter correlation with email marketing, phone and social creates is a must-have. Studying cadence has provocative implications for organizations that want to improve their sales effectiveness.

Published on: Feb 19, 2018
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.