What happens when seller and buyer engagement goes full throttle?
You see real transformation take place. A 35-person sales team at Cloudera, a data analytics company, saw a sixfold jump in their email open rates with a 30% email open rate. The increase in response rates was even greater, going from 3% to as high as 30%.
Similarly, Docusign, the country's a leading eSignature company, saw its marketing development reps gain an extra 10 hours of productive time per month. This led to more pipeline for the 100-person team and their AEs were able to close more deals.
Video conferencing provider, Zoom, finally found a way (hint: A/B Testing) to fine-tune their messaging based on the specific persona--role, line of business, etc.--each sales rep engages at any given time. The solution, according to the sales director, was nothing less than a “game changer.”
These success stories share a common denominator: a sales engagement platform (SEP).
The Case for the SEP
At the center of a multibillion dollar industry, the sales engagement platform (SEP) is the force multiplier companies need to drive efficiency and improve results at every stage of the sales cycle.
Sales engagement platforms provide insight for every role and delivers momentum for every goal in the process, enabling organizations to:
- Align all teams in their revenue engine
- Gain visibility into all the moving parts of their sales process
- Secure control and predictability over business results
SEPs supercharge the sales process by making it easier for salespeople to do their jobs. SEPs automate tasks, standardize workflows, and enable a high degree of personalization when it comes to messaging. They also unify sales and marketing, track seller activities and buyer behavior, and bring all your communication channels (call, email, social, text, etc.) under one roof. Many platforms have an AI and data layer that enable precise analytics and A/B testing features.
They may seem highly technical, but the vast majority of SEPs are meant for daily use by your sales reps. Most can be integrated with your CRM and marketing automation.
What is a Sales Engagement Platform (SEP)?
How Sales Engagement Impacts Your Team, Customers, and Performance
Ideally, your sales engagement platform runs on top of and parallel to your sales process. It shares the same playbooks, milestones, and customer touchpoints. The only difference is the amount of science it lends to your selling activities and the superpowers it grants your sales reps.
Here are the areas where a sales engagement platform upgrades your sales process:
Strategy Formulation and Sales Process Buildout
For managers, sales engagement can streamline workflows across different teams and stages, driving interdepartmental synergies and helping individual reps improve productivity. It provides a single coherent platform for strategic planning and for strengthening the impact of each customer-facing and revenue-generating team.
Most SEPs grant visibility into whether reps are engaging every prospect with the right messaging and approach. Built-in analytics and A/B testing features also enable sales leaders to generate useful insight and tweak any element, sequence, or tactic to optimize results.
Finally, a well-designed platform supports your onboarding, training, and coaching processes to ensure professionals on the sales floor are always fully engaged.
Prospecting and Sales Development
By tracking activities and schedules, your sales engagement platform helps sellers become more organized and less likely to see their leads fall through the cracks. Through smart automation, SEPs give reps more time to engage more prospects and to perform tasks that directly impact the team’s revenue targets.
Your sales engagement platform bolsters lead generation and nurturing by making the following aspects of your sales process easier to execute:
- Task management
- Centralized prospecting
- Omni-channel messaging (phone calls, email, social, SMS/text, video, live chat, etc.)
- Automated and personalized email communications and tracking
- Integrated sales intelligence
Lead Qualification and Nurturing
Your SEP ensures that all leads that enter your sales funnel go through a predefined Sequence of touches. These Sequences provide the personalized messaging and customer experiences needed to transition prospects into sales-qualified leads.
For this stage, SEPs provide a range of features designed to ensure high-quality conversations that lead to stronger relationships and a higher number of booked appointments. Some of these features include advanced analytics, intent-cognizant AI, and A/B testing.
Deal Closing and Account Management
A healthy number of sales qualified leads with the intent to purchase is the gold standard for any sales development team.
SEPs eliminate much of the guesswork and perform the heavy-lifting when it comes to prepping and closing opportunities. Using the automation and analytics features of the SEP on top of your sales process should improve the number scheduled meetings, meetings held, close rates, and other metrics. Your sales process should also have a follow-up sequence involving every channel (voice, email, text, social, etc.) to ensure no leads that have gone this far would ever fall through the cracks.
For corporate accounts with many decision makers, SEPs are provisioned for account-based selling (ABS). A good platform allows you to create, test, and improve persona-based sequences and account-based playbooks.
It’s not enough to close a deal. Your team’s next job is to delight the customer in order to optimize their lifecycle value.
The hyper-personalized messaging and proactive experiences of the SEP can help your customer success process in the following ways:
- Drive adoption, renewals, referrals, and cross sells using dynamic sequences and playbooks
- Regularly monitor customer health and satisfaction to minimize risks and attrition rate
- Configure alerts to notify account executives as soon as risks or growth opportunities arise
Sales engagement has transformed the culture of selling and customer success in many organizations, and has become the new normal for competitive B2B companies.
Want to learn more about sales engagement? Get the Sales Engagement Book and listen to The Sales Engagement Podcast to get you on the right track.
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