4 Must-Have Touch Patterns For New Account-Based Sales Development Teams

In 2016, we had a great epiphany, and created what is now widely accepted as: Account-Based Sales Development. Since then, the space has evolved considerably — the tools, the processes, the playbook.

But it is important to know that Account-Based Sales Development is a journey not a destination. If you are early in your journey, we recommend looking at the process in three steps:

  1. Is ABSD right for you?
  2. Do you have the right tech stack in place?
  3. How do you start executing?


Executing the right Touch Pattern! 

This is where it gets very tactical.

In this infographic, we’re specifically focused on the “Touch Pattern” of your prospecting.

But, before going any further, it is super important for you to keep in mind: “Your Mileage May Vary!” What we mean by this is, your results are going to be dependent on many factors, such as: the stage of your company, the industry of the ideal customer profile of your buyers, the role of the key personas you are targeting, the skillset of your team, your solution’s product/market fit, etc.

We have provided a framework and recommendation, based on our own personal experience, as well as industry best-practices. And we have successfully implemented these touch patterns and strategies for our customers.

But keep in mind, these touch patterns are a starting point, not a perfect solution. Test, tune, and tailor them to your market.

Below is an interactive infographic that lays out 4 must-have touch patterns that we recommend for new sales development teams. 

We encourage you to click around, dig into the comments and best practices, and experiment with these touch patterns in your sales engagement tool.

Outbound vs. Inbound Touch Patterns 

Outbound and inbound touch patterns should be structured in very different ways. You should focus inbound on speed and frequency — think higher touch. Whereas, outbound should be much more strategic and methodical — focus on personalization and nurturing.

In both outbound and inbound, you should constantly be peppering in ways to add value to the prospect. In Josh Braun’s words, making “deposits”.

The “turing test” for this is: who do you find yourself talking about more? The prospect and their needs? Or yourself and what your solution does? You should always talk about your prospect, and solving their problems, more than you talk about yourself.

Outbound – Differentiated by Account Tiers

Understanding the potential lifetime deal value of a customer is super important before you even engage for the first time. Knowing the different segments, in this case, “Tier 1” (high deal value potential) and “Tier 2” (lower deal value potential), allows you to consider how to best allocate your time and resources. For instance, we recommend that you spend 80% of your time on 20% of your Tier 1 Accounts.

And even within a certain email or touch pattern, you may want to refer to The Pareto Principle and personalize 20% of the email, while having the other 80% be a template. Similarly, for an entire sequence/cadence, it typically makes sense to have 20% of the touch pattern be manual and 80% be automated.

Inbound – Differentiated by Lead Source 

Your messaging should be different depending on the inbound lead source. As a starting place, we recommend having two “tracks” and bucketing all potential inbound lead sources into one of those two buckets.

Generally, you want to be a bit more direct with a lead source like: “Demo Request”. Someone has explicitly requested your follow up – inviting you to reach out more frequently.

Whereas, a lead source like “Downloaded Whitepaper” requires a longer touch pattern and a more educational framework. The buyer has given a signal of potential interest – it’s still on you to personalize, educate, and add value in your outreach.


You should check out our friend, Becc Holland, over at Chorus.ai’s series on Personalization-at-scale.

As previously mentioned, you want to dedicate most of the personalization done by your rep(s) for accounts that have the highest potential deal value. If the company can pay you $200K per year, it’s probably worth spending more time per email and within each touch pattern, manually personalizing. For a company that could only ever pay you $5K per year, you should lean more heavily on a touch pattern that is mostly automated.

So how do you personalize? 

We use the framework to personalize around three areas:

  • Company level (ie: industry, location, size, etc.)
  • Personal level (ie: pain points associated with different titles)
  • Person-to-person (ie: a recent blog or social post by your prospect, went to same school, from same hometown, or some other connection that adds value to the conversation)

Closing Thoughts 

Be sure to click the orange “View All Comments” button to see more tips and tricks as you set up your Touch Pattern.

And again, keep in mind that your results will vary depending on many factors. But we are confident that if you implement these 4 touch patterns, you will have a huge jumpstart on your Account-Based Sales Development journey.

We are here to support and help however we can. As you start setting up your Touch Pattern(s), please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions, no matter how big or small! Contact us at [email protected]. And connect with us on LinkedIn: Lars Nilsson and Travis Henry.



LARS NILSSON, Co-Founder & CEO, SalesSource

Lars is currently the CEO of SalesSource, a premier consulting firm specializing in industry-leading best practices and advisory for the optimization of sales teams. He has served in sales executive roles at Cloudera, ArcSight/Hewlett Packard, Riverbed Technology and Portal Software – all four of which achieved IPOs. At Cloudera, he developed the sales methodology and coined the term Account-Based Sales Development (ABSD), which has transformed how businesses approach high-value targets.

Lars is also a special advisor at True Ventures where he helps True portfolio companies implement best-of-breed sales technologies and processes enabling efficient revenue operations. His unique blend of leadership skills and sales acumen has benefited dozens of startups in the Valley and beyond. Mentoring sales teams is one of his greatest passions.

TRAVIS HENRY, Partner, SalesSource

Having spent his career operating in every part of the revenue generation chain, Travis deploys his deep sales and marketing expertise to help clients accelerate their growth trajectories. He currently serves as a partner at SalesSource, advising sales and marketing leadership on the people, process, and technology necessary to building successful pipeline generation machines.

Previously, Travis led the Sales Development team at Bluewolf, the top global consulting partner of Salesforce.com that was acquired by IBM in 2016, after holding roles in go-to-market planning and marketing operations. He started his career in Oracle’s Sales Academy, first hitting the phones as an SDR and later selling enterprise database solutions to emerging startups. He received his BA from U.C. Berkeley, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa with High Honors.


Editor: Brendan Short (Owner, The Revenue Engine)