December 27, 2021

What is the Best Length for an Outbound Sales Sequence?

Written by Karli Stone

It’s the ultimate question: how do you balance effective and informative outbound sales without overwhelming your potential buyer or damaging your brand?

How much contact is too much?

How much is too little?

These are the kinds of decisions that could make or break even the best outbound sales sequences. According to a study from Vantage Point Performance, B2B companies that have a well-defined and meticulously planned sales process experience 18% more revenue growth than companies that don’t. And those are numbers you can’t afford to ignore.

There’s a lot that goes into successful sales processes, but today let’s just focus on one: determining the optimal length and structure for your outbound sales sequence yet!

So, without further ado…

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An Introduction to Outbound Sales Sequences

Outbound sales sequences, or sales cadences, are sets of sequential touchpoints that salespeople carry out with potential customers. Sales sequences utilize a variety of different techniques and outreach methods to maximize success rates with prospects. Outbound sales sequences often provide a rep with a schedule to follow up with prospects via phone calls, emails, social messages, etc., at predefined intervals.

The overall goal of sales sequences is to establish timed activities and steps that eliminate all guesswork for a sales person, allowing your whole team to carry out best practice every time.

Right now you might be thinking: “Outbound marketing is dead! An inbound strategy is the only way to go”.

But don’t believe the hype.

Some benefits of an outbound sales strategy include:

  • Highly-targeted cold outreach
  • Immediate feedback and results
  • Improved customer service and personal contact with prospects
  • Better outbound marketing efforts
  • Control over pace and selling

An outbound sales process is still a strong cornerstone of a successful business strategy, and developing a sales sequence will only strengthen it.

Sales Sequence Step Types

What are the channel or step types you can implement across your sales sequences?

The best-performing sales sequences utilize multiple channels across their steps. Phone calls, video calls, emails, social connections, direct mail, LinkedIn messages, these are all methods you can use to diversify your sales cadence. 

According to Salesloft, 80% of SDR teams are leveraging a triple-touch strategy with their sales strategies consisting of three diverse types of steps.

But now the question remains, when and how often should sales reps execute these steps in a perfect sales sequence…

How Many Touchpoints Should be in Your Sales Sequence?

Like everything in the world of B2B sales, there is no standard rule. The perfect outreach method will look different for every business depending on their product, business model, target audience, etc.

That being said, most sales reps give up far too soon.

Studies have found that the average salesperson calls a lead only 1.3 times before calling it quits. That’s way too little!

Sales Hacker CEO Max Altschuler recommends implementing around 10 touches (aka any encounter or business contact with a prospect) in your sales sequences. However, after about 8 unsuccessful touches, an outbound rep may be better off spending their time elsewhere.

Either way, this is likely many more touchpoints than your outbound sales team’s current practice.

Moral of the story: don’t give up too soon!

How Many Days Should You Leave Between Sales Activity?

In order for the touchpoints in your sales sequence to have the right effect on a potential customer, they need to occur over a period of time that will maximize conversion rates.

According to Revenue.io, the most effective sales sequences occur at a ratio of 8 touches over 10 days at a minimum.

This, by no means, is a magic formula for outbound sales success. Effective outreach will look different for every B2B sales team. You should test different cadences and steps within them to find out what works best for your business. 

Consider using a sales engagement platform to automatically determine and manage contact schedules. A sales engagement platform allows a sales representative to automate the process of tracking every call they make, every email they send and receive and any other activity they conduct with their prospects and customers.

When it comes to determining the optimal length and time period of your sales sequence, using the analytics from sales engagement platforms like Apollo is your best bet.

Outbound Sales Sequence Templates

Although every sales professional may offer a slightly different recommendation, there are some sales sequence structures that are proven to offer great results.

Alschuler from Sales Hacker recommends this 10 day sales sequence to close B2B outbound sales:

  • Day 1: Email/LinkedIn Mail
  • Day 2: Nothing
  • Day 3: Email in the morning, Call in the afternoon (no message)
  • Day 4: Nothing
  • Day 5: Call in the morning, Call with a voicemail in the afternoon
  • Day 6: Nothing
  • Day 7: Email in the morning, Call in the afternoon with a voicemail
  • Day 8: Nothing
  • Day 9: Nothing
  • Day 10: Email and call in the morning

And Salesloft’s research has found that the companies that benefit from a longer outbound sales cycle could use a sales sequence that takes place over the course of six weeks. Check out their sequence structure below:

  • Week 1 – Day 1: Voicemail and Email
  • Week 1 – Day 3: Call
  • Week 1 – Day 4: Reply
  • Week 1 – Day 5: LinkedIn Messaging or InMail
  • Week 2 – Day 1: Call
  • Week 2 – Day 5: Email
  • Week 3 – Day 3: Reply to Email and Voicemail
  • Week 3 – Day 4 & 5: Call
  • Week 4 – Day 5: Email and Voicemail
  • Week 5 – Day 2 & 5: Email
  • Week 6 – Day 2 & 3: Call
  • Week 6 – Day 5: Voicemail and Breakup Email

 Looking at the whole structure laid out like this probably feels overwhelming to a lot of salespeople. I mean imagine conducting these sequences across 70 leads, each one in a different stage with different needs. Sales professionals will never meet their sales goals by trying to do it all manually.

Successful outbound sales sequences require a savvy sales engagement platform, capable of top-of-the-line sales automation and personalization.

With Apollo’s Sequences feature all that and more is at your fingertips.

  • Hone in on your ideal customer profile and create sequences to match each type of outbound prospect you wish to target. 
  • Create steps with automatic and manual messages, calls, and action items that speak directly to the value propositions that prospective customers are looking for.
  • Set the exact timing/spacing that you desire your SDR team to wait between each sequence step.
  • Leverage Reports to compare and optimize the efficacy of every unique approach you try and confirm the best times for every sales call or message to be delivered.
  • Utilize A/B test message templates, scripts, and strategies against each other to confirm the best version of any particular step in your sales process.
  • Customize Sequence Rulesets to protect salespeople from emailing the wrong people at the wrong time.

Sound compelling? Try Apollo for free today and create your perfect outbound sales campaign with Sequences!

Get started with Apollo

Karli Stone headshot Karli Stone

Karli Stone is copy writer and content creator living in Los Angeles, CA and a proud University of Washington grad. When she’s not wordsmith-ing, you can find her biking along Santa Monica Beach, following the Seattle Seahawks, or catching a flick at her local cinema.