Standard Touch Patterns Make SDRs More Efficient and Effective
Touch patterns matter. The job of a sales development rep (SDR) is to contact prospects with engaging, value-based messages so that the prospects will respond and ultimately schedule a meeting. The biggest challenge for an individual SDR is not having enough guidance from management for the touch pattern activities that make up their primary job function.
Contacting prospects starts with selecting the right channel. Once they decide which channels to use, SDRs must determine how often to use each channel and how many touches to execute in each channel.
Standardized Touch Patterns Drive SDR Efficiency
A touch pattern is a progression of messages distributed across multiple channels during a set number of days. Touch patterns are built on groups of touches with a similar theme across multiple channels over a three- to seven-day period. There are numerous channels SDRs can choose from (see Figure 1), with the most common being email, phone, and LinkedIn.
Thirty percent of sales development leaders say that detailed touch patterns for SDRs are the most important factor contributing to their sales development success (Source: 2019 Sales Development Benchmark Report, TOPO). A well-defined touch pattern helps SDRs focus their time on customizing messages for prospects, not on the channels, frequencies, or intervals of those messages.
Touch Pattern Benchmarks
TOPO recommends that sales development organizations create touch patterns based on TOPO’s benchmark data and analysis of the world’s fastest-growing companies (see Figure 2). These touch patterns should be rolled out to the entire SDR team, backed by proper training and coaching.
Creating Touch Patterns
SDRs should not create their own unique touch patterns for every prospect. Standardized touch patterns should be created for the SDR organization as a whole for three primary situations: outbound prospecting, responding to inbound prospects, and re-engaging prospects. The SDR can modify a touch pattern themselves, but the reason for organizational touch patterns is to minimize the planning time required for an individual prospect.
- Outbound touch patterns: Outbound touch patterns are designed to gain attention and build trust at target accounts by repeatedly providing relevant messaging across multiple channels. The standard outbound touch pattern should include 21 touches over the course of 24 business days using email, phone, LinkedIn, and video. Use triple-touches—email, phone, and LinkedIn on the same day—to increase the probability of response rates by as much as 14%. An outbound touch pattern targeting an executive would include fewer, more personal touches. Additional channels to consider for all outbound touches are direct mail and text messages.
- Inbound touch patterns: Inbound touch patterns are created to follow up with prospects who have initiated contact. An inbound touch pattern should include 17 touches over the course of 19 business days using email, phone, and LinkedIn. Fifty-eight percent of SDRs respond within one hour to an inbound lead. Even though quicker response times lead to higher conversion rates, SDRs should take the time to send the right message. Use a shorter touch pattern to make contact quickly with a hot lead (a prospect who requested a demo or submitted a contact form), while a longer pattern is more appropriate for a warm lead (a prospect who downloaded a piece of content).
- Chat is a means to collect contact information. If a prospect does not convert directly from chat, engage them in an inbound touch pattern to schedule a meeting. Best practices for how to convert from chat are still emerging.
- Re-engage touch patterns: A re-engage touch pattern helps SDRs contact prospects in the future without using the same messaging from other touch patterns. A standard re-engage touch pattern should include 10 touches over the course of 13 business days. A specialized nurture touch pattern features triple-touches focused on sharing relevant content every 30 days for three months before re-engaging. The primary channels are email, phone, and LinkedIn, but SDRs can consider adding video to re-engage.
Each touch pattern suggestion is based on TOPO benchmarks and industry best practices for successful engagement and response. Start with these recommendations based on activities carried out by the world’s fastest-growing companies to build touch patterns and train SDRs on their use before modifying them based on team performance. If you’d like to learn more on this topic, join us on August 8th for our Touch Pattern Play Webinar.