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The ULTIMATE (30-Step) Sales Outreach Cadence

Michael Hanson is the founder of Growth Genie, a sales consulting company that helps sales teams book more qualified meetings.

In this episode of The Salesman Podcast, Michael shares what he calls the “ultimate sales cadence” and the principles behind its success.

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Featured on this episode:

Host - Will Barron
Founder of Salesman.org
Guest - Michael Hanson
Founder and CEO of Growth Genie

Resources:

Transcript

Will Barron:

Coming up on today’s episode of The Salesman Podcast.

 

Michael Hanson:

I think the big thing is getting the messaging right. So I think if you think I’m just going to do 30 steps and because it’s 30 steps, that the messaging can be rubbish. Actually, because I do this high volume approach, I feel like the messaging actually becomes even more important. I slightly differ with the LinkedIn and email approach. I think it is good to get a meeting on that call and the only reason is because the phone is actually an interactive channel.

 

Will Barron:

Hello, sales nation. My name is Will Baron and I’m the host of The Salesman Podcast, the world’s most downloaded B2B sales show. On today’s episode, we have the legend, Michael Hanson. You can find out more about Michael over at Growthenie.co. And on today’s episode, we’re getting into the ultimate sales cadence. We’re going to explain what a cadence is, what goes in the beginning, the middle and the end of it. Does it even end? That’s the type of question I ask Michael in this episode and there’s a tonne of value if you’re doing any outbound outreach. Everything we talk about on this show is available in the show notes over at Salesman.org. And with that said, let’s jump right into it.

 

What is a Sales Cadence? · [01:20] 

 

Will Barron:

Right, so we’re going to dive into the ultimate outbound sales cadence and we’ll get into how we can define that, what that means in a second and how we can justify the title of this podcast episode. But Michael, for people who aren’t familiar and this would’ve been me four, five years ago. I wouldn’t have been familiar with a sales cadence when I was selling medical devices. What is a sales cadence, what does that term mean?

 

“Essentially, (sales cadence) it’s the steps that you need as a salesperson to reach someone.” – Michael Hanson · [01:35] 

 

Michael Hanson:

Yeah. I think it’s a good question and I definitely made the mistake myself of thinking everyone knows what a sales cadence is because some people call it a sequence. Essentially, it’s the steps that you need as a salesperson, to reach someone. So there’s different types of cadences. So you may have a cadence for a cold lead that you’re trying to turn into a sales opportunity or a qualified meeting or maybe you’ve already got someone in the pipeline, you haven’t spoken to them for a while, they’ve gone cold and you’re trying to get them onto another meeting. And then essentially, you’re going to come up with a formula, right? It’s steps that you’re going to use across particular channels. I know we’re going to talk about our one later but that’s 30 touches and it’s the touches across LinkedIn, email, phone or some people use other channels. Those are the three I recommend but some people are doing Facebook and all kinds of stuff.

 

Michael Hanson:

And then just to give you an example, for us, typically our cadence is we send an email, don’t ask for a meeting in the email. We connect with them on LinkedIn and then based on LinkedIn, we’ll do a bit of research and we’ll try to call them. Typically, people don’t pick up their phone nowadays on the first try so you have to try again two days later. So essentially, we’re doing steps like that every two days and you can use sales engagement platforms to essentially track that. So you could log in at the start of your day and it would say okay, you’ve got 50 contacts and you need to send them emails and give them a call and that’s essentially what a cadence is. It’s outlining what those steps are.

 

Is a Sales Cadence a Formula That Can Be Tweaked According to How a Buyer Reacts to it? · [03:01] 

 

Will Barron:

And again for someone who’s not familiar with this, you used two terms here which I think are really useful. Is it a formula in that if the buyer does this, then we do that and it goes into this tree of just a mess of potential opportunity and things that we do need software to keep on track of or can it be as simple as you outlined then, of email, LinkedIn, phone call and that could be considered a cadence.

 

“I think the big thing is getting the messaging right. So if you think you’re just going to do 30 steps and because it’s 30 steps, the messaging can be rubbish. Actually, because I do this high volume approach, I feel like the messaging actually becomes even more important.” – Michael Hanson · [03:20] 

 

Michael Hanson:

Yeah. I think the big thing is getting the messaging right. So if you think I’m just going to do 30 steps and because it’s 30 steps, that the messaging can be rubbish. Actually because I do this high volume approach, I feel like the messaging actually becomes even more important. And to answer your question about are they if they do this, you’ve got to do something else. I try not to think about that too much. 

 

“The idea with the cadence is just to have a conversation, that’s the thing that people forget about.” – Michael Hanson · [03:42]  

 

Michael Hanson:

The idea with the cadence is just to have a conversation, that’s the thing that people forget about. So when we released this cadence, it was our most popular bit of content and I think it wasn’t because it was such a great piece of content or that mind blowing. It was because people thought, “Wow, 30 touches, that’s insane, it’s so many touches.” But actually, the idea is just to have a conversation with someone. So it’s not like you’re going to have 30 conversations, it’s saying that you may need to call someone 10, 15 times just for them to pick up once or you may need to send them six emails for them to reply, essentially.

 

The Perfect Blend of Automation and Personalized Content When Building a Sales Cadence · [04:15]  

 

Will Barron:

Perfect. And that’s what I wanted to get out of you just to start the show with of the goal here isn’t just to set up a sequence of emails and automated voicemails and walk away, right?

 

Michael Hanson:

Exactly.

 

Will Barron:

We’re putting our plan of attack together as opposed to using automation to do a lot of the work for us, is that fair?

 

Michael Hanson:

It’s a mixture. So there’s certain things you can automate and certain things that should be personalised. So a great tactic that we’re using at the moment is sending polls. So you could either do this on LinkedIn, LinkedIn has got this poll function that you’ve probably seen or you can just send an email, would love your quick feedback as a VPSL as what’s your top outbound sales challenge right now. So that’s one we send that’s very relevant to our business and I can put implementing sales technology, relevant messaging, et cetera. And then that can actually be automated. You can just be like, “I’m going to send that to VPs of sales.” Then if they respond saying relevant messaging, then I can send them a personalised message afterwards that relevant to that challenge. Obviously if they don’t respond, I’m going to send a different type of email. So certain parts can be automated and then other parts, we recommend personalising.

 

Michael Hanson:

Something I typically do is we see as a lot more email automation tools. There is LinkedIn automation tools as well but I’ll try not to go into that now but typically, automate emails and then you can do a more personalised approach on LinkedIn and calling, that can be one approach. Or again, you could maybe have four emails that are automated, four emails that are personalised. It just depends on the resources and talent and research that you have internally.

 

The Primary Goal When Building the Ultimate Outbound Sales Cadence · [05:50] 

 

Will Barron:

Got it, cool. That makes perfect sense. Okay, so if we are going to build the ultimate outbound sales cadence then, Michael. What is the goal here, what’s the end outcome, what goals can we set that we can tick off as in this is the greatest sales cadence of all time? What do we need to achieve to make that happen.

 

“Typically at least the first few touches both on LinkedIn and email, we never ask for a meeting. We do the whole “give before you take” approach.” – Michael Hanson · [06:20] 

 

Michael Hanson:

Yeah. Like anything in sales, the ultimate goal is revenue, to close deals. But essentially, what you’re doing with a cadence is almost nurturing someone into a conversation. So like I said, typically at least the first few touches both on LinkedIn and email, we never ask for a meeting. We do the whole give before you take approach like if I knew a company was hiring SDRs, for example, I’d send their VP of sales, an email saying, “Hi, I noticed you’re hiring SDRs at your company. Would you mind looking at a list of interview questions that maybe help in the hiring process.” Just giving them something that’s relevant and then warming them up that way.

 

Michael Hanson:

But to answer your question, it’s essentially the goal is to get a qualified meeting, to have a conversation with that person on the phone to discuss what you do. And then from there, obviously the goal is to actually close a deal, right? Essentially the cadence, the main goal of the cadence is to get someone on a Zoom call where you can discuss further information with them and what you’re doing through those 30 steps Is nurturing them towards that.

 

Will Barron:

Got it. So if we had to put a number on it, we would look at a number of sales qualified leads that we have at the moment, number of closed deals and we need to beat that by being more effective or efficient.

 

Michael Hanson:

Yeah, exactly. That’s totally it. So it’s a mixture of the formula as you said, how many touches are you doing on these channels and then of course the messaging. So that’s typically what I’ll do with companies, I’ll go in and say send me your cadences at the moment or your sequences as I said, as some people use that term. And then I’ll be like, okay, we need to change the messaging or we say the messaging is quite good but I think we should add more touches. Maybe they’re going in for the meeting straight away but the meeting email is good. And I’m like, let’s maybe give a piece of content away before asking for that meeting.

 

How Brand New Salespeople Can Identify the Pains the Ideal Buyer Persona and Build an Effective Sales Cadence · [08:10]

 

Will Barron:

Sure, cool. Okay, so let’s start from scratch then. Let’s say that Sam is a salesperson, we’ll talk about automation tools and stuff in a second. We’ll get into that. I feel like that’s all the fun and easy stuff to spend money on and talk about later on. But say Sam, brand new salesperson. He’s only ever done with no real thought about it, LinkedIn message, email message, call and that’s what he does. He’s got a CRM, so he’s tracking-ish the amount of contacts that he’s doing to individuals but where’s the starting point for Sam with all of this?

 

Michael Hanson:

Yeah. I think everything starts with the pains of your buyer persona, right? Or your ideal customer profile. It’s the thing that every sales consultant or trainer will tell you but unfortunately, there’s still so many people that are product pitching. I’m sure a lot of people listening have had that where someone connects with them on LinkedIn, straight away, they get a 10 paragraph email pitching a product or service. So think about in those opening LinkedIn or email messages, think about the pains that your ideal customer profile are going through then align with marketing. A lot of my background is actually marketing which is why I’m big into this give before you take. Then think about pieces of content that are essentially giving them advice that can help with those challenges.

 

“The people that you’re targeting is normally where campaigns go wrong from all the clients that I’ve worked with, especially with using automation tools. Automation can work very well but only if you segregate your lists into different buyer profiles.” – Michael Hanson · [09:44] 

 

Michael Hanson:

I mentioned one before, I know if a company is hiring SDRs, what do we look for in an SDR because there’s a lot of different things. Some people say you should hire someone experienced, some say it should be someone green who you can nurture. So that’s why I send a piece of content related to that. Obviously in your business, you need to think about what are the challenges of your buyer and how you can get around that. So that’s the approach for LinkedIn and email. And then the other thing as well, I missed actually a very important part here which is the data and the data is actually the people that you’re targeting is normally where campaigns go wrong from all the clients that I’ve worked with. So especially with using automation tools, automation can work very well but only if you segregate your lists into different buyer profiles. So you can either do that by job title.

 

Michael Hanson:

So for example, if I’m selling Growth Genie, we typically have three job titles we sell to, a head of marketing, a head of sales or a CEO of a small company but they’ve all got different challenges, so I’m going to separate those. I’m going to separate by industry. So a good idea is to target industries where you’ve got case studies that can get their attention and then a last one which actually, a lot of people don’t think about are triggers, right? So a trigger could be hiring SDRs like I mentioned for us or hiring another position that’s relevant to your ideal customer profile. Using a particular software that you integrate with, company is going through a merger and acquisition, company is launching a product and these are all things that you can build lists using various different vendors out there and then you can actually send automated emails and they seem personalised even though they aren’t because you’ve essentially used these triggers.

 

Michael Reveals the Tools He Uses to Uncover Trigger Events That Highlight Customer Pain Points · [10:52] 

 

Will Barron:

Sure. Let’s dive into deeper, this idea of triggers for a second. Are there any tools or automation we can do, to uncover some of these trigger events, especially such as a merger or acquisition, something like that. I monitor this within the sales industry just by following companies on LinkedIn but it’s not very efficient but I’m also only really targeting for ad space for the podcast and stuff like that, say 50 companies. So it can be done at almost a glance, a couple of times a week, I can pull some of this out. But what do we do if our target market is far broader than that? Is there any tools that we can use to automate the trigger event side of things.

 

Michael Hanson:

Yeah, sure. So you’ve got companies like Apollo or like ZoomInfo is a bigger one or Cognizant as well from the UK and some other ones like I mentioned, I can literally find lists of companies who are hiring SDRs, I just put that in Cognizant and it will pull up a list of companies and then I can get the job titles, et cetera, rounds of funding. These are all things that you can actually used. So again, your messaging can be based on triggers and you haven’t had to like you said, go on the internet, do an insane amount of research. You can just do it with a click of a button through these tools.

 

How to Present Value in the First Email of the Sales Cadence Before Asking for a Meeting · [12:09] 

 

Will Barron:

So when we come onto the messaging because I feel like what we’ve discussed so far is it can be done. A blog post can describe a lot of the steps that we’ve just outlined there, Michael but the messaging is clearly copywriting is an art as well as a science, right?

 

Michael Hanson:

Yeah.

 

Will Barron:

So how do we go about crafting that first message? Is there a series of rules, is there somewhat of a template that you use? How do you go about that first giving email before we ask for a meeting?

 

“You don’t want huge paragraphs about them, just go on their LinkedIn, add one line of personalization and I think the reason to keep things short and concise is that there’s so many channels nowadays. I think especially this year, it’s become harder and harder to essentially get people’s attention.” – Michael Hanson · [12:58] 

 

Michael Hanson:

Yeah. I like to keep things super short. I think even though everyone is going this way, I still think a lot of people I work with are very shocked by how short that I keep things. And say it’s that first email, I would do either one sentence about the pain. Typically, a VP of sales like yourself has X pain. Here’s a piece of content that I think can help you solve it or a trigger, right? This has happened at your company, here’s a piece of relevant content. That’s more of an automated approach. If it was a personalised approach, you can also add a line of personalization. Again, you don’t want huge paragraphs about them, just go on their LinkedIn, add one line of personalization and I think the reason to keep things short and concise is that there’s so many channels nowadays, I just mentioned three, phone, LinkedIn and email. People are on Instagram, Facebook. C-level people at enterprise companies are using email as well, I think especially this year, it’s become harder and harder to essentially get people’s attention.

 

Michael Hanson:

I’m a small business owner with a few people in our company and I get a 100 prospect emails a day. So people at bigger companies than us, they must literally be getting 1000s. So I think you can still get their attention, but the messaging has got to be super sharp and essentially hitting their pain straight away.

 

When to Insert a Call to Action In Your Sales Cadence · [13:46] 

 

Will Barron:

And is there a call to action in this email or is it here is content and then I’ll follow up with you in the future?

 

“A thing that some people may not know watching this is if it’s a completely cold lead. So it’s not an inbound lead that’s come to your website, their email server hasn’t recognised your email address. So it’s actually best practise not to include links in the first email.” – Michael Hanson · [13:58] 

 

Michael Hanson:

Yeah, there’s different approaches. I like to do first email. So you give a piece of content. A thing that some people may not know watching this is if it’s a completely cold lead. So it’s not an inbound lead that’s come to your website, their email server hasn’t recognised your email address. So it’s actually best practise not to include links in the first email. So typically, what I’ll do, I’ll say here’s a pain you may face, we’ve got a piece of content. Would you be interested in seeing it? And then essentially, they may say, yes, right? I can send it. Also, the good thing about them replying on email even if it’s just a yes, it’s got their phone number in. So you can then give them a call and have a conversation with them. So that’s one approach.

 

Michael Hanson:

Another approach if it’s further down the line, you may just want to give a piece of content, as I said, giving without taking. And then the goal as we were talking about, is to get sales qualified leads. So further down, you do want to start talking about case studies but again, very much about their challenges. Not talking about your product. We helped another company in this industry solve a challenge that you may be going through, would you like to explore more about how we can help you? And with things like calls to action as well, Gong have great content as I’m sure a lot of people who are listening to this know and they said how actually, if you put are you interested in exploring more rather than would you like to have a five minute call, it increases your reply rate quite a lot. So that’s another tip that I have on calls to action.

 

Will Barron:

Sure. And this is a side note, I know a lot of marketers listen to the show as well, Michael. So this might be useful for them. But just to reiterate what you said, I know for us, we’ve got our email list, it’s about 110,000 people now. And we changed our first email when you sign up from a big resource page with loads of links, content to training and videos which is a great, value packed email. We changed it from that to an email with no links that just asked people to reply to that email with their biggest problem in sales and we used this to create content on the back of. We tracked, I’ve got on my board in there, basically a tally chart of different groups, different individuals and what their problems are and we created podcasts and content on the back of that.

 

Will Barron:

But our spam hitting the inbox rate, or the opposite of that, not being in spam went up by it’s like 3000%. The numbers are insane, by just getting a reply from a lot of people that email went to because I guess email servers are getting more and more sophisticated to try and combat all of this spam that we’re all facing, right?

 

Michael Hanson:

Yeah, that’s really interesting and a good example. I’ll use your example when I’m next explaining that to my clients because a lot of them don’t believe me. They’re like, no, you can use links, it’s fine. Yeah, maybe 20% will open your email but what if you could get 50% by excluding links?

 

How to Curate Your Email Cadence Approach When Emailing a Personal Email Versus a Corporate Email Address · [16:40] 

 

Will Barron:

Yeah. It’s mad. Here’s a question for you then because a lot of our emails are going to for example, Gmail, Outlook, wherever. People’s personal email addresses. How does this change with cadences if you’re sending an email to Salesforce, I assume they have their own mail servers with their own algorithms and spam filtering. Does our approach have to change if we were emailing a personal email address versus a corporate email address?

 

Michael Hanson:

I’ve never done that. I’ve had which I always find interesting. This whole sales cadence actually, one of the reasons it became a viral bit of content. I essentially didn’t create a landing page but I knew our biggest following was on LinkedIn. So I did a LinkedIn post saying, would you like to see the ultimate outbound sales cadence, 30 touches. That got people’s attention. And then I got 1,600 comments underneath. I actually had to hire a team of people in the Philippines to go through it. But the reason I’m saying this is I was surprised because a lot of people when we followed up and said what email should we send the cadence to? They actually replied with their personal emails, right? So I was thinking this is strange.

 

Michael Hanson:

A lot of people don’t like having personal emails as well, there’s a lot of websites where you essentially have to put your business email address but I haven’t really changed the approach and I think you could actually look at personal emails as even better in a sense because you have your personal email for life whereas you only have your business email while you’re with that business and most people are changing jobs more than ever before. So I think that’s slightly interesting. But from a marketing perspective, I don’t know if you can do this anymore with GDPR but I’ll tell you about something we used to do at my last company is typically, people have personal email addresses on their LinkedIn.

 

Michael Hanson:

There used a function on LinkedIn that’s not there anymore where if you were connected with someone, you could get their personal email address. We used to take those and then put them into Facebook targeting because also on Facebook, people have their personal email addresses. So it’s much easier to target people on Facebook through personal email addresses rather than business email addresses. So actually, people hate personal emails but they have their advantages as well.

 

How to Write an Effective LinkedIn Connection Request · [19:15]

 

Will Barron:

Yeah, we do exactly the same. Maybe we’ll go into it but all kinds of pixeling and stuff that we do with people who visit the site to the podcast and stuff. We do right this second, we do zero marketing on anything for our sales training product or the paid marketing other than on Facebook and Facebook just blows everything else out of the water. We tried LinkedIn, we never managed to get LinkedIn to be profitable. YouTube worked but we didn’t have the ROI that Facebook did. YouTube is something that we need to reinvestigate in probably towards the end of this year. But yeah, anyway, we’ll put all the marketing nonsense to one side for a second, Michael. Okay, so we’ve got this first email. We’ve laid it out now, hopefully people can go away from this and they can create a really great email from that. Whether we get a reply or not, what is the next step of our cadence?

 

Michael Hanson:

After you’ve done the email, essentially?

 

Will Barron:

Yeah.

 

“People put out content because they want you to listen to it, right? So if you can complement their content, a lot of people will accept (LinkedIn requests).” – Michael Hanson · [19:55] 

 

Michael Hanson:

Yeah. I normally send them a LinkedIn request. For the LinkedIn message, there’s either two things. One which is controversial is where I don’t say anything at all because I think if you send a really long message as a LinkedIn request, people instantly think they’re trying to sell you something. So either don’t say anything at all or literally send one line, that’s it for a connection request and say we love your Salesman Podcast and that’s it because people put out content because they want you to listen to it, right? So if you can complement their content, a lot of people will accept.

 

Michael Hanson:

And then from there, I actually typically do a phone call after that and I like to pair the LinkedIn with a phone call and the reason I do that is because when you’ve gone on LinkedIn and you’ve had a look at their profile and then you can use some of those nuggets. So say I was a marketing agency for example, I could say, “Hey Will, noticed you’ve got this brilliant Salesman podcast, noticed you had Michael Hanson on as a guest. What’s your strategy to increase your YouTube followers?” And it’s highly personalised rather than we do digital marketing, SEO, blah, blah, blah and we’re the best which is what a lot of people are doing, unfortunately.

 

How to Qualify a Prospect in Your Sales Cadence · [20:40] 

 

Will Barron:

So if the first email is to introduce yourself and lead with value so you’re not immediately shoving your pitch down people’s throats. Then you’ve done the same on LinkedIn, you’ve connected with them again holding back from shoving your pitch down people’s throat. So immediately, you’re in people’s good books, right? Especially an executive, someone who has funding rather than just a mere mortal like me who has no funding for nothing but is yet again, pitched all the time. If we do get them on the phone, what is the point of that phone call? Is it again, to give them more content, insights, to have a conversation with them or is it to then perhaps pitch the pitch in a future phone call.

 

Michael Hanson:

Yeah. I slightly differ with the LinkedIn and email approach. I think it is good to get a meeting on that call and the only reason is because the phone is actually an interactive channel. So I think the first goal is to identify if they have a pain that you can help with. So that’s why I asked that question of if I was trying to sell digital marketing for you, what’s your strategy to increase your YouTube subscribers and your strategy maybe brilliant and I’m like, “Okay, they don’t need help with that. I’m going to ask about something else.”

 

Will Barron:

So we’re qualifying them, right? Is that we’re looking at?

 

Michael Hanson:

Yeah. It’s qualifying and probing. You ask a qualifying question like if I’m switching now to Growth Genie, I may be like, “I noticed on Indeed, you’re hiring SDRs. Is that correct?” And that’s a qualifying question because I know maybe Indeed, the data is wrong, sometimes they aren’t actually hiring. And if they say yes, then I may start probing how succesSful are your SDRs at the moment and what types of playbooks do you have in place, et cetera. And then if they say everything is perfect, outbound is not a problem, we need help with inbound. Then we’d be like, well that’s not actually my expertise, I’m not going to try and pitch them. But if they start telling me they’ve got a load of pains when it comes to outbound, then I’m going to start having a conversation and essentially try and get them on a next meeting.

 

“That’s why the phone is still so powerful for outbound and even though the connects rate on a phone can be as low as 2% and you have to call someone 30 times just for them to pick up once, people still do it because you can have a lot more of an interactive conversation rather than a LinkedIn message or an email.” – Michael Hanson · [22:34] 

 

Michael Hanson:

So that’s why the phone is still so powerful for outbound and even though the connects rate on a phone can be as low as 2% and you have to call someone 30 times just for them to pick up once, people still do it because you can have a lot more of an interactive conversation rather than a LinkedIn message or an email.

 

Why Salespeople Should Consider Calling the Prospect After Zero Responses Throughout the Sales Cadence · [22:50] 

 

Will Barron:

Would you consider after either a series of emails or a series of even voicemails and LinkedIn messages. If you’ve had zero response, would you still consider that you pick up the phone as a cold call?

 

Michael Hanson:

Yeah, it’s a good point that you make. I think less about warm calling. So I think that’s the other thing now, people are talking about cold calling still like cold calling doesn’t work, et cetera. But I think it depends how you define a cold call because if you do your research. Like I said, if you go on LinkedIn and find out that Will Baron does The Salesman Podcast or go on my LinkedIn and see that we are teaching people how to do cadences, then it makes that call a lot warmer. And again yeah, if you’re seeing that people are clicking on your email content, if they’re opening your email multiple times, it’s 30 opens, they probably forward a bit to someone. Then yeah, it makes that conversation a lot warmer potentially.

 

Michael Hanson:

The only issue with that is like we were talking about email security earlier, a lot of companies now, they’ve got email servers that will essentially click on your links and open it multiple times. So you have to be careful of that, it’s not always the case. But yeah, certainly everything is connected like you’re saying. So if they’re interacting a lot, the phone is the best channel to actually get a meeting like I said but if they’re interacting a lot on LinkedIn and email, then it makes it a lot easier to put that meeting on the phone.

 

Will Barron:

Yeah, I just wanted to emphasise that because I feel like especially on LinkedIn and especially when people are trying to get attention but they don’t know how to get attention. Everyone is saying cold calling is dead. Cold calling is not dead, it’s a stupid conversation, right? Well no one has my number so no one can cold call me. There’s an open challenge to the audience, I think there’s $500 I put on it. Anyone can cold call me and I’ve not given them my number for a business deal that we do on something else, then I’ll just give them $500. So that’s an open thing to the audience, right? No one has my number, so no one can cold call me.

 

Will Barron:

But if someone did cold call me, it would have to be an incredible, open two, three seconds for me to really give them any time because we’re all busy, right? But if someone had emailed me and I’d opened it and gone, “Okay, it’s not for me.” Then they added me on LinkedIn and then another email and a voicemail and they got through to me on the phone, I’m almost because I want salespeople to win, right?

 

Michael Hanson:

Yeah.

 

Will Barron:

And I think most people with a budget, even if they never thought about this, they probably are of a mindset of I’ll give them a chance and I feel like if you just show that effort and if it is targeted and tailored towards me content wise, I feel like I would give that person at least the opportunity to speak with me. So I know this is massively anecdotal but I just wanted to emphasise that of I’ll go one step further than you, Michael. I feel like we really are warming up calls with a cadence and I feel like if we did have the numbers on it, it would make a massive difference.

 

Michael Hanson:

Yeah, 100%. And I feel like I want to do this challenge. I’m up for trying to use my network to get your number.

 

Will Barron:

Go for it. Honestly, if you can do it, $500 coming your way. I will put it this way, I had I don’t know if I’ll name him. I’ve had someone with one of the biggest database companies, CEO of the company try and get my number and he’s emailed me a couple of times now and every time it’s been the wrong number. So I don’t even know where the numbers he’s pulling are coming from but it’s nowhere near. So yeah, good luck if you want to try that. Again, open offer for the audience there. So with that, let’s say that this is all going to shit and we went in with good intentions and now we’re cursing Michael and Will because nothing’s happening, no emails are getting opened, no replies, no one has responded to us on LinkedIn. Somehow we’ve got the number, we’ve called a few times, we’ve left you messages and we’ve had zilch back but it’s a potential great account and so we want to keep going at it. What happens in step two, three, four and when do we give up on a cadence.

 

When to Give Up on a Prospect · [26:10] 

 

Michael Hanson:

Yes. I think you mentioned at the start, it’s 30 touches which I appreciate again, some people think it’s madness. And the reason is typically looking at 10 to 15 calls, six and eight emails, six and eight LinkedIn messages. But there’s a lot of background for this. One is that I used to work with an outsourced SDR firm, helped grow the business but also a lot on the operations side, with seeing what worked, what didn’t work with different industries and clients and I noticed that when our accounts are doing 20 to 30 touches versus 10 to 20 touches, they were a lot more successful which is how this came about. My colleague, Lawrence as well, he’s very old school hustler mentality. He actually I think changed my opinion a lot because I was before, one of those 10 to 15 touches people and forget 30 touches, I would see him get meetings on the 45th touch with this approach.

 

“Typically the connect rate for a cold call, and I think this data comes from a company called ConnectAndSell who’ve analysed millions of calls through their dialer, is I think on average, about 4%. So that means literally you need to call someone over 20 times to get them to pick up once.” – Michael Hanson · [27:44] 

 

Michael Hanson:

To look at the science behind it, right? As I said earlier, typically a connect rate for a cold call and I think this data comes from a company called ConnectAndSell who’ve analysed millions of calls through their dialer is I think on average, about 4%. So that means literally you need to call someone over 20 times to get them to pick up once. So that’s a bit why you need to do like I said, 10 to 15 calls but you can do 20 calls. I always recommend double dialling as well. So you call someone once, if they don’t answer, you call them again and the logic behind that is how many times are you going to miss a call from your aunt or your grandma or whatever. So a cold number, you’re not going to answer that first time often. And then if you look at an email, and again, some of the vendors who do sales engagement like Apollo or Outreach or any of these people, they advise their clients to do more touches because they know across their accounts, the guys that are doing six touches versus three touches, they’re getting more meetings.

 

“Even though the messaging has to be right, it’s also numbers because if you’ve got six different emails, you’ve got six different opportunities to connect with someone or six different subject lines to get them to open versus just three.” – Michael Hanson · [28:43] 

 

Michael Hanson:

Even though the messaging has to be right, it’s also numbers because if you’ve got six different emails, you’ve got six different opportunities to connect with someone or six different subject lines to get them to open versus just three. So it’s essentially expanding that and you can do different approaches, right? If you’ve just got two emails, you’re probably not going to do my whole giving on the first email, you’re going to go straight to the meeting. So it’s just a bit more opportunity to nurture, et cetera. Yeah, that’s the logic behind that.

 

The Power of Staying Top of Mind and Perfect Timing · [29:16] 

 

Will Barron:

And I’m not putting you on the spot here, I’m going to ask you in case there is data on this, Michael. How much of this comes down to the fact that the first two emails you send are at the time when the person has different priorities but by the time you’ve sent the 30th call or email or bit of cadence, things have quieted down for them or the company has changed or they finally made that acquisition that you were preaching about and pitching on the first instance. How much of this comes down to just the fact that if you go at people long enough, circumstances will change and then you’re likely to get a deal from that.

 

“Even though I think your messaging needs to be really good, you need to also accept, from a timing issue, if you go after a bigger group of people, it’s going to be the right time for some of them.” – Michael Hanson · [29:57] 

 

Michael Hanson:

Yeah, 100%. I think sales is that balance between quality and quantity and then like we were talking about earlier, personalization and automation is coming into it. But yeah, a lot of it is timing which is where even though I think your messaging needs to be really good, you need to also accept from a timing issue, if you go after a bigger group of people, it’s going to be the right time for some of them. So yeah, a 100%. By the end of the cadence, maybe they’re warmed up and that’s why I never finish a sales cycle with someone. Even though someone goes through your 30 touches, I would put them in a marketing nurturing sequence and then three months later, contact them again.

 

“The only thing worse than sending a really bad sales email is sending nothing at all and the reason is even if you do that really bad sales email, that product pitch, it may resonate with 0.01% of the audience who they just have the need at that time.” – Michael Hanson · [30:52] 

 

Michael Hanson:

So yeah, everything is timing and think the other thing and this could be very controversial for a lot of people because I see loads of abuse about this online and I see a lot of these sales influencers on LinkedIn having a go at junior sales people for these terrible product pitches that they’re sending and I try to be empathetic. I was the same when I first started in sales, my messaging was terrible, I used to send long emails pitching products with six different questions. So I sympathise with those guys and I say the only thing worse than sending a really bad sales email is sending nothing at all and the reason is even if you do that really bad sales email, that product pitch, it may resonate with 0.01% of the audience who they just have the need at that time. So that person has got away with being a salesperson.

 

Michael Hanson:

And if you start as well, you’re going to get feedback. I try to give back to the community sometimes if I get a really bad email. I actually did this, this morning and I said, “Look, just have one sentence and one question. Don’t send me eight paragraphs and you’ll be more successful.” So I think you’ve always got to start somewhere and I think a lot of these sales influencers, they can’t look back at the start of their career and the mistakes that they made.

 

Why It’s Never a Good Idea to Mass Send Sales Emails With No Personalisation · [31:49] 

 

Will Barron:

I’ve rinsed people for a really crappy emails in the past but I guess I’m coming from a different perspective of rinsing people because it was not necessarily the contents of the email, I just feel like I’m being spammed at. You can either have thoughts on this or you can tell me your thoughts, Michael. But is it ever okay for a salesperson just to have a list of a 1,000 people and just send them, not even put their first name at the beginning of the email or get the first name wrong. Is that ever appropriate for a sales cadence?

 

Michael Hanson:

No, it’s not at all. So it goes back to what I said at the start which is segregating your lists, right? So if you’ve got a 1,000 people, segregate into job titles, segregate into industries, segregate into triggers and then you may have 10 lists of a 100 people and you can still automate but your messaging is going to be relevant to those 10 different groups. So that’s what I’d recommend and then I think that if you get the name wrong, unfortunately with automation, that comes down to the data, right? You’ve got bad data and you’ve got the Person’s name wrong in the spreadsheet.

 

Will Barron:

And look, I’ve sent emails before. Of course if you put the wrong name on or you copy and pasted or something but I don’t mind that as long as there’s an email that follows five minutes later going, “Shit, Will, I’ve screwed up here.” That’s fine, it perhaps even humanises you as long as you’re not using it as a tactic, right?

 

Michael Hanson:

Yeah.

 

Michael Reveals the Content of His Messaging in The Middle of a Sales Cadence · [33:00] 

 

Will Barron:

Okay. So final one on this before I want to get into just a brief look at the software and how we implement some of this. What does the messaging look like in the middle of the cadence? Perhaps it’s email nine. Are we still just doing short emails with a piece of useful content, hopefully on the back of a trigger event or do they funnel people more and more towards a call to action or a pitch.

 

Michael Hanson:

Yes. It’s more a pitch. So I think as you go through the email sequence, almost going further down the funnel. So as I said, things like sharing a case study, make sure the case study is relevant to their industry or their job title. So say I helped another sales leader in the cybersecurity SaaS space with their SDR team book four times more meetings than they were before. Would you like to see if we can replicate the results for company name, right? So that’s the kind of approach. So still messaging that’s very relevant to them but more bottom of the funnel, right? This is essentially what we can do, this is the benefit and how we can solve your challenge within your industry. So yeah, things like case studies are great.

 

“There’s a report about SDR metrics that says, on average, having interviewed 1000s of sales leaders, it takes three months to ramp up an SDR team.” – Michael Hanson · [34:11] 

 

Michael Hanson:

I also find talking about the content approach. Maybe a little bit before that case study, take something from that content. So it’s not even a report that we have but there’s a report about SDR metrics and says on average having interviewed 1000s of sales leaders, it takes three months to ramp up an SDR team. I know that a pain for buyers is the time it takes to train and ramp up an SDR team. So say according to the Bridge Group, it takes three months to ramp up an SDR. How long does it take your company? And then that gets them thinking. If I then call them and get on a conversation with them. So you’re proposing all these questions, getting them thinking and then by the time you present that case study and ask for a meeting, they’re often a lot more open to it like you said because they feel like you can actually help them rather than just being another salesperson.

 

Inception Selling: The Art of Planting an Idea in Your Potential Customer’s Mind · [34:50] 

 

Will Barron:

Yeah. I feel like there’s a level of inception that can be right here, with just an almost offhand comment like that, you can change people’s paradigms with a simple comment like that of they might think that it is appropriate for six months to ramp up a SDR team. They might think that I’ve done this at the last five startups that I’ve been at, they might not realise that other people are doing it in three months. So is that fair to say that we can incept them a little bit and put things at the back of their mind that will eventually lead them to our product or service.

 

Michael Hanson:

Yeah, a 100%. My aim is to get them thinking and to get them to challenge what their current process is because you’ve got two types of leads like we were saying before. You’ve got that person who just has that need at that time and you can get really lucky and even with bad sales messaging. But then you’ve got the ones where they almost don’t know they have a challenge. So like you said, it’s almost like inception, you’re trying to make them aware they’ve got this challenge and then when they realise it, they’re like, okay, Will or Michael, they’re the person who made me realise I have this challenge. I need to speak with them.

 

Will Barron:

Yeah. Immediately, you’re at the forefront of the conversation at that point, right?

 

Michael Hanson:

Exactly. It’s almost like a marketing type tactic where how you would have digital ads in front of someone or your YouTube videos, et cetera. After people are following your content and it’s very relevant to the problems that they have, they’re naturally going to come to you.

 

Is it Fair to say That Numerous Positive Impressions In Front of Prospects Can Have a Massive Influence on People’s Perception of you? · [36:20] 

 

Will Barron:

Yeah. I don’t know if you agree with this, I think a lot of marketing whether people agree with this or not or people think it’s more sophisticated than this. I think a lot of it is just impressions. If I see Michael enough times on LinkedIn, I’m going to go, “He’s probably all right, him. There’s something to that.” And I meet people who listen to the show, not that there’s been any conferences this year but at conferences and events and they come over and everyone is excited, I’m excited to meet people as well and they feel like they know me because they know all about the car and the jiu-jitsu and all this kind of stuff and I don’t know who they are or what they do. Is that again, something to fair to say again to say that the number of impressions that you have in front of someone over and over and over again as long as they’re positive ones, that has a massive influence on people’s perception of you.

 

“If I have six emails versus three, I’ve got six chances to resonate with someone. It’s the same on LinkedIn. If I’m posting five days a week instead of one, I’ve got five opportunities to resonate with someone rather than one.” – Michael Hanson · [37:19] 

 

Michael Hanson:

Yeah, definitely. And that’s why there’s the big thing around people saying you should try and post on LinkedIn on as many days as you can. I think the algorithm doesn’t like you to post too much but that’s why I try to post Monday to Friday and again, the algorithm will favour that but it’s also just about getting my content in front of people, right? Like we were saying about the sequence. If I have six emails versus three, I’ve got six chances to resonate with someone. It’s the same on LinkedIn, if I’m posting five days a week instead of one, I’ve got five opportunities to resonate with someone rather than one. So yeah, completely agree about the impressions.

 

Using Sales Engagement Tools to Build a Potent Sales Cadence · [37:40] 

 

Will Barron:

Cool, okay. So you’ve got the content in the first three emails, we’ve got the content in the middle and how it’s pushing towards getting a meeting. We’ve got what we should say essentially on the phone, we’ve got this element of inception. How do we now all put this together and build this cadence? Do we need expensive software, can we do this on the cheap if our company isn’t going to pay, they want to see it in action before they invest in your outreach or someone. How do we go about implementing this, Michael?

 

Michael Hanson:

Yeah. I’d recommend getting a sales engagement tool. I’m pretty vendor neutral. So we partner with all of them, they’ve all got different strengths and weaknesses. I think if you’re going to do this like you should in any process as a buyer, look at different ones. But yeah, we partner with Outreach, Salesloft, Apollo. Apollo is quite a good one if you’re a small business because it also comes with data included as well. So you can get the data and then actually contact those people as well. And essentially, you want a tool that helps you organisation the cadence so you can build a cadence and it will say like I said, you login first thing in the morning, it says okay, you’re going to call these 50 people and you’re going to email these 50 people and send them a LinkedIn message. So you want something that’s got that capability. So as long as it’s got a dialer, as long as you can do email automation and it can set up tasks, that’s essentially all you need. The three I mentioned are good and there’s a tonne of different platforms out there that I recommend.

 

The First Step in Building a Sales Cadence · [39:00] 

 

Will Barron:

Good stuff. And I know you’ve got a new ultimate outbound sales cadence that hopefully we’ll be able to put in the show notes retrospectively when the show airs because we’re recording this before it’s gone out. But is that a start point. The starting point is to work with yourself, right? But other than that, is it to get a blueprint and then meld it to our own messaging?

 

Michael Hanson:

Yeah, definitely. Like I said, I think the step before a cadence, we help SDRs build cadences. We try to do it with them rather than write it for them so that they’re the ones learning but the step before that is essentially, to write a playbook because once you’ve got a good playbook. The term playbook means different things to different people. So I’ll explain our terminology of playbook is essentially a centralised messaging document that’s not for any specific channel, it’s just what are your buyer challenges, what are some probing or discovery questions you can ask related to that? Some qualifying questions, what are the triggers like you mentioned, what are some questions you can ask around the triggers, what’s your value proposition? Essentially your pitch and it’s always got to be about solving those challenges that you’ve identified and then objection handling, competitor analysis, et cetera. I recommend build if you don’t have that centralised messaging document, build that first. That’s a messaging document that every new SDR can have and then once you’ve got that, then you start building the messaging across email, LinkedIn, phone, et cetera.

 

The Common Misconceptions About Building Sales Cadences and Where Most Salespeople Get it Wrong · [40:25] 

 

Will Barron:

Got it, cool. And then final thing to wrap things up there, Michael. What is one misconception about building sales cadences or what is one thing that you see especially from sales experts on LinkedIn that you just want to smack your forearm into your head every time you see it? What is someone is getting wrong that we shouldn’t be getting wrong.

 

“I think people who really have a hate of automation like automation is terrible, I think it’s just because they’ve been on the receiving end of terrible automation and they think if they’re going to do that, then they don’t want to be like that terrible automation they’ve received.” – Michael Hanson · [41:09] 

 

Michael Hanson:

Yeah. I think that if you’re doing 30 touches, you’re essentially just spamming people and that you shouldn’t automate everything and you should have a three touch super personalised email cadence. Yeah of course, that can work but for me it’s like what you were saying, it’s the timing issue of it as well. So if you can add more content that’s super relevant as long as you’re keeping it super relevant, that’s fine. So I think people who really have a hate of automation like automation is terrible, I think it’s just because they’ve been on the receiving end of terrible automation and they think if they’re going to do that, then they don’t want to be like that terrible automation they’ve received. So I think don’t hate automation, just put a lot of effort into your data and those triggers and industries like I mentioned and then essentially, your message can seem personalised even if it’s actually automated.

 

Parting Thoughts · [41:36] 

 

Will Barron:

Perfect. Well, with that Michael, tell us where we can find out more about you, everything you’re up to in case anyone wants to bring you in because this is getting complicated, right? To bring you in to lessen the burden here.

 

Michael Hanson:

Yeah, sure. So our website is Growthgenie.co, not .com unfortunately, we couldn’t get the domain. And then email address is [email protected] And finally, connect with me on LinkedIn. So I’m Michael Hanson, Growth Genie. If you type that into LinkedIn, I’ll come up. As I’ve mentioned earlier in the show, I try to post content Monday to Friday and always happy to connect with anyone whether you’re an SDR, VP of sales, whatever. Happy to connect and always share advice.

 

Will Barron:

Good man. Well, I’ll link to all that in the show notes of this episode over at Salesman.org. And with that, Michael. I want to thank you for your time, your energy in this and I really appreciate the content you do post on LinkedIn. Everyone should listening now, go and find you on there. And with that, I want to thank you again for joining us on The Salesman Podcast.

 

Michael Hanson:

Thanks so much, Will. It’s been a pleasure to be here.

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