At Upsales, we’ve worked with hundreds of businesses. And we’ve found that poorly-structured sales cadences can easily backfire, driving prospects out of our clients’ funnels rather than down them. 

As a sales rep, marketer, or business owner, it’s essential to understand what makes an effective outreach strategy. In this post, we’re going to show you how to avoid common pitfalls and create a sales cadence that works for your company rather than against it. 

What is a sales cadence? 

A sales cadence is a general template for structuring your sales outreach. It’s an ordered set of interactions, consisting of emails, phone calls, and in-person appointments designed to convert leads into clients. 

A typical sales cadence looks something like this:

  • Day 1: Send the first email with the subject line “Are you interested in an appointment?”
  • Day 2: Contact the lead via phone to request an appointment. 
  • Day 3: Send a second email with relevant content like a white paper. 
  • Day 4: Send a follow-up email with the subject line “Did you get my last email?”
  • Day 5: Final follow-up email with the subject line “Are you the right person?”

Sales cadences are helpful because they give reps a systematic, repeatable framework that’s very easy to test. If you run any kind of structured outreach program, you already have a sales cadence, whether or not you refer to it as such. 

It’s also worth mentioning that sales cadences aren’t necessarily linear. If a prospect responds positively to an email, for example, they may be contacted several times via phone in conjunction with any subsequent outreach, or be added to a separate email sequence. 

What’s the problem with sales cadences?

So what’s the problem with sales cadences like the one outlined above? 

Here’s the short answer: when they’re done badly, they’re annoying as hell. 

If you’re a CEO or a Sales Director, you probably receive dozens of similar emails every day.

Below is an example that could easily form part of a typical sales cadence:

Hi Jane, 

Did you get my last email below? If you didn’t see it, we are a provider of widgets. Do you have fifteen minutes for a quick introduction to discuss if/how we can help you with your widget challenges? Meanwhile, please check out our website for more information.


If sales cadences aren’t well-crafted and original they’ll quickly end up in the trash folder, and that’s usually in a best-case scenario. If a recipient is extremely busy and regularly bombarded with poorly-written outreach, it can be tempting for them to send a reply venting their frustration:

Yes, I got your email! Now leave me alone!”

4 steps to structure your outreach strategy for optimal results

At Upsales, we’ve found that sales teams can achieve excellence by focusing on the following four areas: 

  • Call scripts – Don’t make calls without a plan. The best salespeople have a step-by-step outline, a methodology, and, crucially, a script. They also have a clear goal for every phone call they make. 
  • Cold-calling – Despite what you may have heard, cold-calling isn’t dead. That’s usually just an excuse from people who don’t do it right! Cold-calling is still a fantastic way for businesses to generate sales opportunities and should be woven into your sales cadences. We know from personal experience that many successful SaaS companies are leveraging it as a strategy. 
  • Schedule prospecting – Make prospecting a mandatory and scheduled activity. Set a time when your sales team sits down together to brainstorm new leads and lead-generation strategies. 
  • Strategies for “no” and “maybe” prospects – Developing strategies for clients that don’t appear interested or are on the fence isn’t about being pushy. Rather, it allows you to be prepared for the worst-case scenario. For more details about this approach, take a look at our post: How to speed up growth with active prospecting and micro-engagements.

Integrating each of these components into your sales cadences will ensure that you avoid common pitfalls while limiting the number of leads that drop out of your funnel. 

What does a well-executed sales cadence look like?

Here’s an example snapshot of a top-of-the-funnel sequence: 

  • You cold-call a prospect and they say, “No, I’m not interested.” 
  • Instead of saying, “Thanks for your time”, and hanging up the phone, you instead ask, “What system are you using right now?” or “How do you deal with problems X, Y, and Z?”
  • If they engage with you, you offer them an appointment to discuss how you can help.
  • If the answer is still no, you offer them free material that will likely be of value. You might say something along the lines of, “I fully respect that. May I send you an interesting report, webinar, video, etc., that I think will help? Is it OK if I send that to you? If so, what’s your email address?”
  • If they agree, you send the resource in a plain text email and don’t make any sales pitches. This is important!

Focus on making positive micro-engagements

Successful email cadences are about driving lots of positive micro-engagements. These are small, value-providing interactions that cultivate a relationship over time. The more you generate micro-engagements, the more likely you are to nurture a sale. 

When you send emails containing high-quality content, your prospects will appreciate your outreach and get back to you when they’re ready to make a purchase. This rarely happens with automated emails asking empty questions like: Did you get my last email?”

Remember that when you annoy clients with overly-aggressive sales cadences, they are much more likely to turn their back on you and contact a competitor instead. 

Make sure your sales cadence is well crafted so that you drive your leads down the sales funnel instead of out it.