Guest post by Mike Paschke, Executive Director of Mid-Market Sales at BrainCheck
After 10 years of working in sales, you learn to appreciate what good sales execution software can do for your sales goals. As a sales leader, Outreach has been a critical part of my sales tech stack. So much so that I’ve implemented it at four different companies during the span of my career. As you might expect, I have become somewhat of an old hand with the platform.
My job as the Executive Director of Mid-Market Sales at BrainCheck is to drive revenue in the mid-market. I need to know that the numbers I’m promising our executives are realistic for my sales reps, so it’s vital for me to have an overhead view of what’s making or breaking our sales pipeline.
BrainCheck is a SaMD platform that helps medical professionals more accurately, and objectively, diagnose dementia, Alzheimer’s, and other forms of cognitive impairment. Being classified as Software as a Medical Device, or SaMD, puts us in mostly uncharted territory from our ideal buyer’s point of view. Our sales team targets everyone from small-practice physicians and neurologists to mid-sized health systems who can use our software to more quickly and accurately diagnose cognitive disorders — something that makes a big difference for patients who might normally wait much longer for a diagnosis and its corresponding treatment.
That’s powerful stuff, but it puts us in the position of having to educate and inspire trust in our buyers for this new technological sector, while also selling our product. This can add substantial complexity to our sales process. Having the power of Outreach on our side has been invaluable for keeping our reps out of the weeds with administrative work and focused on getting the BrainCheck platform both into the hands of our customers and helping the patients that need it.
After using Outreach not only at BrainCheck, but a handful of different companies over the last several years, I’ve certainly experienced some trial and error with the platform. In putting together this list of seven best practices, I hope to pass along some tips that have helped me along the way and get you off to a great start with this platform.
Here I’ll cover how to best implement Outreach by:
I can’t stress enough that you can’t skip steps during the setup process — you have to take your time. I know it can be tempting to fast track your way to using the platform with customers, but being hasty with setup can cause setbacks. It’s likely that you’re already using some sort of sales enablement software at your organization, so there’s no reason to rush here. If you want your sales reps to take full advantage of this platform, you need to add content in all areas you’d like them to engage — including snippets, templates, and sequences. That way they will be more likely to have the content they need on hand to help them reach their sales goals.
I would strongly recommend going through each piece of content in Outreach and identifying any missing parts. Keep your old system in place for reps to use until you have all your resources loaded into the platform and ready to go. Don’t wait to build templates, don’t wait to create snippets — sequences are not the only important thing to have ready pre-launch. For best results, you want to have content in every piece of the software.
Tags are labels you can apply to sequences and templates to make them easier to find, but I’d guess most people aren’t using them to their full potential — a big mistake. Part of the power of this platform is its ability to manage a large amount of content, which allows you to develop motions by persona, segment, industry, customer lifecycle, and more. But a large capacity can do more harm than good if you don’t keep it organized. Tags can be a huge help — I tag everything.
Tags are most effective when you apply them to sequences and templates as soon as they are created, but even if you’ve been using Outreach for a while, it’s better late than never. Plus, the bulk editing feature makes it easy to retroactively apply tags to many sequences at once and quickly get you back on track.
If you don’t control what you are communicating to customers, you don’t know what’s working. In my experience, keeping messaging consistent with this platform can be achieved by limiting the number of sequences active in the platform at once, and keeping sequence creation at the leadership level.
To limit the number of active sequences, I would recommend organizing sequences by role, and making sure each role has a maximum of five sequences assigned to it. Take advantage of the platform’s customizable permissions for each sequence to manage who has access to which ones to reduce the likelihood of a rep using a sequence not optimized for their current goals. It’s also important to stay on top of deactivating old sequences so they are not inadvertently used by sales reps after they are no longer in official rotation.
When it comes to creating sequences, here's my strong recommendation: don't leave it up to the reps. Sequence creation requires a strategy. Whether that’s a dedicated resource, or in partnership with sales leadership, you want a strategy that drives consistency. Naming a responsible person, or responsible few, not only establishes a single source of truth for your messaging, but it allows you to track how successful each sequence is in a meaningful way.
The way you onboard your team will directly influence how effectively they’ll use the platform. The most important aspect of onboarding? Consistency in configuration. To solidify this consistency for my team I like to kick off rollout day by hosting a live onboarding session.
During this session, I guide the team through the configuration process together in real-time. I send my team their invites to the platform about five minutes before the onboarding training call, and once the call has begun, I share my screen and walk them through the entire process.This ensures that a small technical difficulty is less likely to cause issues with any of your reps and delay optimal usage.
On top of going through the setup process together, I like to be available to my team throughout that first day so that questions and problems can be dealt with immediately and my reps feel supported and confident in being able to succeed with the new software. If you can make the time, I strongly recommend clearing your schedule on rollout day so that anyone can pop in at any given time to ask questions.
By giving visibility across the entire revenue cycle, the platform makes it easy for managers to pinpoint issues and make smart decisions when course correcting. This makes it possible to articulate to your team — and not to mention executives — exactly what needs to change and why.
As you progress with using the platform, I’d advise letting everyone in on what’s working and then backing that up with data to foster trust amongst teams and leadership. This data will also give managers hard evidence to back up their actions to executives. Regular check-ins with your team will keep them pushing a sales strategy that keeps up with the market in real-time, driving revenue for your organization and success for your sales team.
Always remember that even with a platform like Outreach, seeing results can take some time. It’s important to be patient with the process before making adjustments to sequences and other content.
Allow the necessary time for results to unfold. Don’t run a sequence for a week and say, “Oh, we haven’t gotten any results.” Instead, let everything run its course until you have actionable data and can make meaningful changes to your sales process.
I can appreciate that this tip can be a doozy for some teams. When I use the platform with my teams, I make adoption a requirement. Without universal adoption, it will be more difficult to work out the kinks in your process and see where your team is going wrong because the data you collect won’t paint a full picture. I’ve found the secret is telling employees that the team will be using Outreach, not asking.
Just like a team sport, sales transformation requires team support, and having buy-in from all the key stakeholders has made everything much easier on myself and my teams. And don’t worry — in my experience, once reps see what the platform does for their personal sales goals, they’re unlikely to have any complaints. Heck, some will be so attached, they’ll make sure Outreach is part of their tech stack for future roles (or like me, come in and rip out incumbent solutions as fast as possible).
Remember, sales is a science; there is a math equation behind how we achieve what we achieve and which goals we choose to set. My lengthy experience with Outreach has certainly paid off and revealed that science for me. I hope you find these best practices useful. Happy selling!