The sales cadence that got me a meeting with a Fortune 100 company

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As sales development reps (SDRs), all we long for is that one opportunity after facing hundreds of rejections every day.

But it’s not easy to face a rejection and then bounce back with immense positive energy on the next call with a prospect who is all ears to your value proposition.

In fact, there are days when some SDRs get so demotivated that they pray for their next call to go unanswered, which, of course, isn’t helping them either!

While it’s not easy to get in touch with a prospect at the first attempt, a sales cadence which touches every possible medium increases the probability of getting an opportunity.

Definition of sales cadence

A sales cadence is a sequence of time-bound touchpoints you make with a prospect for engagement or sale. It starts at the first contact attempt and continues through a sequence of interactions until the prospect is either converted into a sales opportunity or exits the cadence and goes into the nurturing bucket.

You can read all about sales cadence and how you can go about creating one for your business in our recent blogs.

The mode of communication

Your prospects receive thousands of cold emails every day and if you are including emails to your cadence, too many may spoil the brand value of your company.

It is best to follow a one-size-does-not-fit-all approach. This means, not all your prospects would respond to one mode of communication. There are some who prefer a professional approach like sending an email before calling, while some are more responsive over social channels. As SDRs, you need to accumulate as much information as possible about the prospect and plug that information into your sales cadence.

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And that’s exactly what I did to the sales cadence that won me a deal with a Fortune 100 company.

The sales cadence that got me a meeting with a Fortune 100 company

At Freshworks, we follow Account Based Selling (ABS) so I have a sales cadence for each of my tier accounts. I include highly-targeted personalized cold emails and LinkedIn messages to my tier 1 accounts, while tier 3 accounts are put under a sales campaign.

Here’s an example of my approach with a prospect from a Fortune 100 company. I had to nurture, or rather pursue, the prospect for 9 months before scheduling a meeting with my Account Executive (AE).

Step 1: Requesting a LinkedIn connection and getting it accepted

A quick check on LinkedIn clearly stated that the prospect was the decision maker for the product I was going to offer. The bio read the following:

The term ‘Net Promoter Score’ in the bio was the trigger for me as it resonated with the product I had to sell.

So the first step on my sales cadence was to send a LinkedIn connection request and get it accepted.

The message I sent out was,

Hey XYZ, I would like to be a part of your professional network and share some thoughts on ITSM and its impact in your industry.

Although the prospect accepted the invite, I did not receive a response to my message. The prospect read my message but didn’t block me so that was a motivating factor to pursue the prospect.

Step 2: Trying a personalized email approach

After sending multiple messages on LinkedIn and receiving no response—assuming the prospect had a busy schedule—I shifted my medium to email.

I sent out an email with the subject line, “{first name}, Thank you for connecting!”

The body of the email had to be brief and at the same time grab the prospect’s attention. I used the term ‘Net Promoter Score’ on the email to talk in the prospect’s language. Here’s the screenshot of the email.

After two days, to my surprise, I finally received the first response.

Alright, not an exciting response. But the last line encouraged me to set up a reminder for December, two months from then.

However, the prospect went cold. In spite of sending multiple emails and sending a new year wish, everything went in vain.

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Step 3: Researching the prospect’s social profiles

When I didn’t get a response in email, I tried to understand the prospect’s social impressions. I looked up for the Twitter handle, read the tweets and retweets, hit follow and then sent out an email again, starting a new thread.

The email copy contained topics the prospect wrote on Twitter and the impact our product could make.

Step 4: Calling and leaving a Voicemail

My emails were opened but remained unanswered. That’s when I decided to use the aggressive approach—phone call. I called the prospect early hours and as expected, my call went unanswered.

I left a voicemail and sent out a follow-up email with the subject line ‘Voicemail Follow up – Date.’

Step 5: Sending emails with relevant information

On regular intervals, I started sharing some articles that might be helpful for the prospect—basically nurturing the prospect.

One fine day, I opened my mailbox and saw an email from the prospect.

Though it excites every SDR to see a response from the prospect, nothing is definite till we schedule a meeting with the prospect.

Step 6: Sending a tentative date

By this time, I really needed some expert advice on how to proceed further with this prospect. I consulted with my manager for the next step and he advised me to send a tentative placeholder, which was a month away. Before sending out the invite, I sent an email to the prospect for permission. For which, I received a positive response.

Step 7: Getting the meeting accepted 

It was the D-Day for me, after 9 months of persistence, when I saw that the prospect had accepted the invite!

I’m sure a lot of you have prospects who you’ve been pursuing for a really long time. Well, don’t give up just yet. Check out for signs—are they opening your email, are they responding to your email, etc—before actually taking the prospect off your sales cadence.

Being an SDR for more than a year, I would say that having a proper sales cadence, understanding the prospect, and being persistent till you get a strong ‘No’ (it is also important to understand the objection) would help us land qualified opportunities.

I would recommend all the SDRs out there to understand the behavior of the prospect, the medium to which they would respond and leverage on that medium to have that prospect on the calendar.

Good luck with prospecting 🙂

Cover image by Sailesh Gunasekaran
Thanks to Radhika Bhangolai, my co-author on this blog. 

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