May 22, 2018 | Product News

The Evolution from Sales Engagement to a Customer Engagement Platform

Chelsey Feldman's Avatar

Chelsey Feldman

Product Storyteller

Last year we took on a big challenge. We set out to overturn the sales software landscape and create an entirely new category of software that holistically served the needs of sales teams. Sales intelligence, sales automation, and other technologies are all extremely valuable point solutions, but we believed there was a need for one comprehensive, end-to-end solution to manage sales workflows and drive revenue growth, while solving the common pain points, like context switching and time wasted on manual work, that we saw on every sales team.

And thus, Sales Engagement Platforms were born.

We’re proud to have started this movement, and we are succeeding in our mission to help sales teams drive predictable revenue growth and work more efficiently across teams. We have helped teams scale up activities immensely with intelligent automation, and connect with their buyers on a deeper level without the burden of manual tasks wasting precious time and energy.

But then it hit us: Why should this amazing revolution in sales engagement be limited only to sales teams?

As we began testing what drove revenue efficiency for our company, it was clear this need was not limited to just sales. Revenue efficiency is only possible if all ways of driving revenue are optimized -- from closing new business to retaining existing customers to expanding business with existing customers. No matter how your teams are organized to accomplish those three revenue goals, Outreach can support your entire revenue-driving organization.

That’s why we've expanded our mission to equip all customer-facing reps for pre-sales and post-sales, and the managers who make them great. This includes Sales Development, Account Executives, Account Managers, Customer Success, and other customer-facing roles.

To achieve this, we’re building the first Customer Engagement Platform.

In today’s customer-centric world, it’s no longer enough to just optimize your sales interactions. Instead, you have to continuously work to earn your customers’ loyalty and keep them engaged, especially after a deal closes. After all, your customers have endless options, so it’s critical that they stay enthusiastic and feel supported throughout their entire experience with your business. This is where Customer Engagement Platforms come in.

What is a Customer Engagement Platform?

Many of the critical elements that make a great Customer Engagement Platform are similar to what made Outreach a great Sales Engagement Platform. However, Customer Engagement Platforms manage interactions even after the sale closes, across the course of the customer lifecycle.

A Customer Engagement Platform is a single platform that optimizes every touchpoint throughout the customer journey to drive better outcomes for customers, throughout all their interactions with your business. These touchpoints include all the disparate sales tools your team uses to engage customers - Salesforce and CRM, your inbox, dialers, calendars, social media, notes, and more.

This solution is perfect for Account-Based Revenue teams who are looking for something that keeps them organized and revenue efficient while driving stronger results across all their selling, retention, and expansion activities.

And honestly, we can’t even take the credit for this idea. It was our amazing customers, who are already using Outreach for their Account Executives, Customer Success Managers, Content Marketing teams, Recruiters, and more who paved the way.

Why are Customer Engagement Platforms critical for modern revenue teams?

You can have the best sales reps and account managers in the world, but with a system reminiscent of a prior era in place, you’ll without a doubt lose to teams who are working smarter through technology. With last decade’s cutting-edge technology becoming this decade’s baseline, how do you stay ahead of the competition?

Much like a Sales Engagement Platform is the ultimate sidekick for sales teams, a Customer Engagement Platform is the ultimate sidekick for any customer facing rep in the revenue organization. Imagine having to get to work every day without a car, Lyft, bike, bus, or [insert your transportation of choice here]. That’s like trying to manage your business and customer interactions without a Customer Engagement Platform. You might get there eventually, but you’re going to waste a lot of time and energy before you even sit down at your desk for your first call of the day.

Customer Engagement Platforms deliver endless value to revenue teams, but they can be summarized in two primary categories: driving more efficient revenue growth, and optimizing every customer interaction to deliver a world-class customer experience.

A larger bottom line and happier customers? We won’t leave you hanging.

Customer Engagement Platforms drive revenue efficient growth.

At the end of the day, your customers are paying you for the best service or product that you can provide. And you’re only able to deliver on that promise if you’re generating enough revenue to invest in R&D, hire the best customer-facing reps, and deliver returns for your shareholders.

It’s critical for the survival of your business to drive predictable and measurable revenue growth in the most efficient way possible. A Customer Engagement Platform will empower your business to do this with a data-driven customer process that enables your team to:

  • Implement and execute processes that serve each and every customer scenario
  • Measure the outcomes of every process for all customer scenarios
  • And understand how those outcomes directly impact revenue, not just intermediary metrics.

Technologies like data science and machine learning help teams understand their customer interactions like never before. A/B testing and conversation analysis empower customer facing teams to take a quantitative approach to measuring formerly qualitative activities, using data to drive the right outcomes faster.

Actionable analytics give teams visibility into the actions and processes that drive revenue lift, so every action can have maximum impact on a team’s bottom line. And measuring revenue attribution for every action taken helps teams determine which activities will drive the biggest revenue lift and which activities are actually detracting from revenue growth.

Customer Engagement Platforms optimize customer interactions to drive amazing customer experiences.

But revenue isn’t the only thing that matters (no, seriously!). Your business is nothing without customers who love being your customers. That’s why it’s equally important for a Customer Engagement Platform to help you deliver a best in class customer experience.

And that starts with a simple rep experience so they can spend less time focusing on low value or manual tasks and more time delivering unbelievable value to customers -- whether they’re selling, onboarding, or managing and expanding accounts. This simple experience consists of:

  • Bringing all key actions and touchpoints (email, calling, social, notes, and meetings management) into one place to streamline workflow and allow collaboration and information sharing across teams. Reps and teams should have all the tools they need to make their customers happy, in one place.
  • Using the power of intelligent automation to take low value, non-customer facing tasks off reps’ plates and simplify their days. From scheduling meetings to following up to proactively monitoring and reaching out to accounts who are at risk or ripe for expansion, reps can automate their grunt work to deliver great work for their customers.
  • Helping reps know what they need to focus on at any time. A worthy Customer Engagement Platform is more than just an aggregate list of tasks - it’s an orchestration engine that guides reps to the right actions so they can deliver the highest level of value for their customers.

By using the right technology to help accomplish your team’s goals and drive results, you can spend more time focusing on what really matters -- delivering a best in class customer experience that will keep your base loyal for life.

Sounds unbelievable! So, now what?

If you’re looking for the advantages of increased revenue efficiency and world class customer experience, it’s in your best interests to ask not what you can do for your CRM, but what a Customer Engagement Platform can do for your business. Don’t be a slave to your technology at the expense of your customers’ satisfaction, and don’t limit the technology that drives real results to only one team in your customer-facing revenue organization.

Are you ready for stronger, more efficient growth and happier customers? Talk to us today to learn more!

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