An interesting question was recently posted to the Modern Sales Pros community--one of the most useful forums for sales people out there--and I had some thoughts that, I hope, merit sharing.
A member wrote how he had just rolled out a sales engagement platform (SEP) for his team and had three key questions about how to best utilize his CRM against his system of action, the latter term I use loosely since it wasn’t Outreach. Paraphrasing, the questions were:
I read through others’ comments, but many of them centered around the assumption that there has to be a set order of operations because the relationship between that specific SEP and SDFC works best with a particular data sync direction. I offered my two-cents based on my experience and incredible advantage of working with Outreach.
For me, I consider it best practice to let your reps work out of whichever platform they enjoy most, because people will do what they enjoy.
Personally, I'm not sure if there is a ton of benefit in working out of SFDC since it is just an ugly UI for data entry, but your SEP should be agile and well-designed enough to handle both scenarios so it shouldn't really matter. On a side note, I think forward-thinking revenue leaders are exploring just how expensive CRM is for being a database. Most companies have databases housing information that is just as valuable as the data in CRM but are paying pennies on the dollar for it.
For example, if you have outbound contact creation enabled, the platform should create the contact for you in SFDC.
Conversely, if you have inbound contact creation enabled, the platform should create the lead for you in your SEP after it’s created in SFDC.
One shouldn't be better than another unless there’s a key business process that needs to be supported by an SFDC-centric workflow, which should be uncovered during the technical requirements gathering phase of onboarding, or ideally, pre-sales.
We have customers who disagree with me, and I'll keep trying to change their minds, but I prefer to have reps work out of a system of action where they can actually do the things it takes to drive revenue: call, email, book meetings, iterate, and improve. This is also insurance for when SDFC might go down--our reps didn’t even flinch and were still able to crush their day even without SDFC. Because of our platform’s system architecture, all the data was saved in Outreach and synced once SFDC was back online.
I think there’s good and bad to both scenarios. Our best practice is that reps should best be able to understand who to engage, and running reports and lists to power how they attack their territory is a key part of that.
There are generally two buckets of contacts/leads: 1) those that require little human decision to route them, and 2) those that require some thought and judgement to make sure they are handled correctly.
A SEP should deliver a look across the different types of leads/contacts so you’re able to pull the levers that you need to in order to engage them efficiently.
In Outreach, teams can categorize contacts/leads to separate those that are quickly actionable from those that need to be routed through a more high-touch, thoughtful process. I don’t think there’s a need to have reps create a list for the prospects who just need to be routed through a process, and in fact, giving a rep the ability to intercept the process might be counterproductive.
More high leverage contacts, like those you’re engaging with during a deal cycle, should go into a saved filtered view so they’re cordoned off and easily accessed. This empowers a rep with the data they need to decide what to do with them.
In Outreach, reps are able to create lists to drill down and highlight the contacts or leads that may require more high-touch engagement or are already active in a deal cycle.
For new contacts that are already in your CRM, we have our reps create a saved filter that is a real time list of a customized view of contacts that meet certain criteria: title, seniority, industry, region, etc.
With Outreach’s multi-faceted sort and filter options, reps can quickly customize--and save--a number of views that allow them to quickly see a list of people and their status: active in a sequence, engagement patterns over the last 12 months, etc.
A SEP worth its salt should free your team to focus on what matters: engaging customers in meaningful ways and in the most streamlined way possible. A CRM is good as a clearinghouse for customer data, but I will always want my team selling out of Outreach, rather than searching their CRM. All things being equal, I want reps doing stuff that gets deals in the pipeline and moves deals forward.