Articles | Outbound Sales
Sales engagement platforms (SEPs) are software that’s designed to help reps engage more effectively with prospects and improve rep efficiently to help sales teams sell close deals faster and increase revenue. SEPs combine information across CRM, the inbox, phone, social media, and more to save sales reps time, keep them organized, and drive stronger, faster results for sales teams. It seems like a no brainer to adopt technology that can promise all of these process improvements. And according to Forrester Research, 77% of sales leaders are using, planning on using, or interested in using SEPs for their sales teams.
But before you whip out your credit card, take a step back! Not all sales tools are created equal, and it’s important to do your research. While Outreach is the market leading sales engagement platform, it’s worth asking this question: how do other sales software solutions compare? Are any other tools on the market viable alternatives to Outreach?
Let’s take a look.
Inbox-first solutions (sales email tools)
Many sales teams consider email tools for their sales teams. While these solutions are undoubtedly effective at optimizing outbound emails, the most effective teams use a multi-touch solution when prospecting.
By using only email tools, teams experience gaps in effectiveness in other mediums like calling or social. Additionally, to support sales meetings, teams using only email tools would need to purchase supplementary solutions.
When combining so many disparate solutions teams may find that things fall through the cracks or there are issues transferring data. Additionally, support is difficult when one solution with many dependencies has an outage.
Email tools is an effective solution for teams that only email. However, deals happen over the phone or during in person meetings. Many sales teams find that email automation is helpful when they first start out, but these solutions don’t scale effectively as teams grow and adopt more sophisticated playbooks.
An important part of a sales rep’s day is spent on the phone, so it’s understandable that teams would consider a dialer-first solution. But how do you get a prospect on the phone? An important part of building the familiarity with a prospect to get them on the line happens over email and via social media. Additionally, calendaring solutions play a huge role in getting the time carved out to have those phone conversations.
Much like an email-first solution, dialer-first solutions solve for one part of the puzzle, but ultimately cause issues with a fluid workflow and support when many disparate solutions are combined into one. And we know, that while these solutions may work for reps who are only hitting the phones, the most successful teams prospect across multiple channels.
Marketing-first solutions (Marketing automation)
Many teams confuse marketing automation with sales engagement. Marketing automation is a strong solution for lead generation, one-to-many communications like e-newsletters, and drip campaigns. However, it lacks many features critical for the one-to-one sales rep and prospect relationship. Marketing automation helps you generate demand, and Sales engagement turns qualified leads into prospects by cultivating relationships across many channels. Sales engagement picks up where marketing automation leaves off.
Marketing Automation platforms can be extremely robust and require operational expertise, therefore not operable by individual reps. Having to rely on marketing resources to create and manage campaigns is not scalable for most teams.
Marketing automation is effective for newsletters, event invites, and other nurture-type one-to-many marketing communication. It is not effective for outbound sales sequences requiring 2-way communication because it lacks reply detection, and therefore the ability to pause a campaign when a prospect engages with you. It cannot be used effectively for multi-channel outreach (like calls).
Usually Marketing Automation vendors provide in-person or on-demand training that could range from a few days to full weeks. For this reason, companies usually send their marketing operations resource and leverage their expertise across the platform to enable other users in just the aspects they need. Sales reps are rarely onboarded as the marketing automation administrator usually is required to create campaigns for reps.
Using Salesforce on its own
Salesforce is a top-notch CRM system, and many teams consider using Salesforce on its own. However, it stops at its CRM functionality. Let’s explore why it’s worth investing in supplementary technology to simplify and enhance Salesforce’s feature set.
Salesforce is a fantastic system of record, but it’s highly technical and complex to use to execute sales tasks. Sales teams need a quick, intuitive solution to execute and log tasks. With a multitude of fields and an extremely intricate and technical interface, Salesforce slows down many reps.
Salesforce does not show sales teams their tasks in an intuitive, actionable format, nor does it help reps prioritize and analyze how they’re spending their time. Ultimately, reps need to spend their time selling, not logging tasks, and Salesforce does not provide an effective way to do this without the addition of a Sales Engagement Platform.
No better choice for market-leading innovation, proven ROI, and predictive support
Since Sales Engagement is such a new space in the market, many of the alternatives consists of linking multiple disparate sales technology to “hack” together an engagement solution. While these point solutions may on the surface solve the same needs as an all-in-one platform, there are bound to be compatibility challenges, data sync issues, and, ultimately, sacrificed efficiency and lost deals.
Among the many choices on the market for sales acceleration and automation, nothing beats the all-in-one feature set and scalability of a sales engagement platform. And no sales engagement platform beats the pace of innovation, investment in customer success, and ROI of Outreach.