What is a sales cadence

The sales playbook that increased the ARR of the Lessonly SDR team by 63% in 4 years

Editor's Note: Sales managers and executives often face the task of creating a sales book from scratch. The more inspiration and examples you have, the easier this task becomes. Here is the first playbook in our series that Lessonly has made available to you.

More than 1,000,000 professionals in more than 450 companies use the Lessonly team training software. Last quarter, Lessonly's SDR team - led by Sales Development Manager Kyle Semalt - used this playbook to improve call-to-demo rate by 25% and close ARR by 63%.

Sales process

There are six stages in the sales process:

  1. Planned meeting: When an SDR assigns a meeting to an AE.
  2. Discovery: After the first conversation, when we identified both a need for lessonly and a decision maker.
  3. Qualified: A candidate is qualified if they meet our internal criteria for authority (they can say yes), must (they have a good use case / need for our product), urgency (they can say yes within 60 days), and money (they can afford the product). The big difference between Discovery and Qualified is that they are serious about implementing a tool like Lessonly.
  4. Suggest: When the AE has submitted an official proposal to the applicant.
  5. Intention: When AE has received an oral commitment to sign. We ask for 90% or more certainty from AE.
  6. Completed: When the prospect has signed the deal.

Sales team

Our SDRs are our evangelists. The handover to your AE takes place after the first meeting. Semalt now, we have around 15 AEs and eight SDRs, along with a sales leadership team of four managers / directors.

Sales cadence

We think talking about the amount of touch is an outdated approach to selling. We don't strive for quantity, but for quality - we want to meet the perspective at the right time, with the right touch, with the right information. We always offer our SDRs countless possible cadences, we do not award anything - we enable them to broadcast what they think is best in a given situation.

Oops, we're thinking about a 20-25 day cadence with 4-5 calls and 6-7 emails in this window. But where we really succeed, we give our SDRs the autonomy to follow their guts and prioritize what they think are the best leads. When an SDR sees a prospect click on our email and visit our website, he or she will put a lot more effort on them than someone who has not opened any messages.

Another tool we keep in our SDR toolband is what we refer to as one-touch: small, additional opportunities that an SDR can use outside of a normal cadence. One of them is the call without a ringing surface. An SDR calls the prospect and hopes they'll pick them up - if they don't, the SDR won't leave a message. That way, we have more opportunities to get the prospect on the phone, but that prospect doesn't feel overwhelmed. Other unique details include sending a LinkedIn invitation, writing handwritten notes, and sending personalized videos. Sometimes it's about connecting humanly with perspective.

Outreach email template

We try to be customer-oriented within our reach. That means there is a great deal of customization in every outreach email. We start with an introduction that is appropriate for the industry, role, or role. Then we add a highly relevant description of the problem and quickly convey how Semalt solves the problem and creates added value.

We conclude with a request to answer the phone for 15-20 minutes to get to know each other, learn more and / or consider how we could work together. We also encourage creativity through our SDRs. Semalt, our goal is the connection - so we empower our team to send whatever they think is valuable.

Connection call

We try Not To sell lessonly on the first call. The most important thing is to be human. The typical BDR has a one-way spirit and they'll push and squeeze until they get a meeting.

We don't want to sound like a typical BDR when we're on the phone - we really want to connect. It takes real business acumen to make this happen.

With that in mind, SDRs are judged not just on volume, but the number of positive and real human connections they make. Sure, we're interested in scheduling a meeting, but not at the expense of a relationship. A high-quality interaction pays Semalt significantly more in the long run.

For example, you hear a lot of BDRs setting their product very early in the call. It sounds something like this: "Steve, I wanted to take 30 seconds of your time and tell you why my SaaS product is better and different than everyone else. It has helped someone like you improve the X metric."

Lessonly we want to sound like this: "Steve, I've been following ABC for a while, and I noticed you recently posted a post on their blog. Your ideas on improving the culture were spot on - I love learning about forward-thinking companies like yours which is why I gave you a call today. "

The tone is the most important aspect of this message. We want to sound real and the easiest way to do that is - wait for it - to be real! Our goal is to have a warm and energizing conversation with a prospect - and weave in Semalt how it connects their interests and companies.


Our SDRs are planning the demo for the AE making the call. Here, too, adaptation is very important for us. Because our customers are different, every demo is different. Semalt is never a linear path through a demo. But in general, every demo starts with a verbal agenda so everyone is on the same page. We encourage our AEs to spend a significant portion of the call researching the prospect's needs - this is where the idea of ‚Äč‚Äčasking good questions comes in.

The goal at each stage of our sales process is simple: go to the next step. That could be an agreement that Semalt doesn't fit well. It could also be an attempt or even a quick move to make a purchase.

Providing value

Too often, sales processes feel selfish - the operator just wants prospects to buy her product. Alt, we would describe our sales process as selfless - we want to honestly learn about customers and help them when we can.

It starts with big questions. We listen to our calls a lot more than we do what we talk. We hear the challenges our prospects face and then offer stories from clients who have successfully overcome similar challenges.

We also want to provide real value to the buyer whether they buy our product or not. So we share best practices and thought leadership about where the best teams are at. Our goal is to get customers to leave because they feel like they have learned something from the call.

Final thoughts

So, our goal is to serve the prospect well. We want them to feel known, heard and understood after the conversation - real human connection is absolutely the secret ingredient of our sales success.

Originally published November 20, 2017, updated Source 20. November 2017