Engaging prospects and customers is a vital aspect of any sales process. But getting sales engagement right doesn’t come without its challenges. Workflow inefficiencies, communication gaps, tool sprawl, and data silos are a few. You may wonder if it’s even possible to improve the impact of your customer-facing and revenue-generating teams.
Enter the sales engagement platform. It’s the force multiplier companies need to drive efficiency and improve results across the sales cycle. For sales leaders, managers, and reps, sales engagement increases the impact of pipeline-building activities. It can also streamline workflows across different teams and stages. As a result, seller productivity increases, and they close more deals.
Before you put sales engagement into practice, it’s crucial to understand what it entails and how it differs from other sales concepts. Sales engagement is the umbrella that covers all interactions between buyers and sellers. These interactions can happen via calls, emails, face-to-face meetings, video conferencing, and social media. And sales engagement includes outreach quality and consistent measurements of feedback and data.
Companies that successfully engage customers see the results. They perform 23% better than their competitors, report 63% lower customer attrition, and achieve 55% higher wallet share. So, it makes sense why the sales engagement technology sector has grown. 90% of sales leaders plan to invest in tools to help their sales reps better engage prospects and customers.
More and more organizations use sales engagement platforms to align their teams, improve visibility into processes, and gain more predictability over business outcomes.
Prospect engagement is a small but mighty piece of the sales engagement puzzle, focusing on the early stages of the buyer’s journey. Two significant challenges can hinder successful prospect engagement: an overabundance of competition at this stage in the funnel and meeting buyer expectations.
Fortunately, there are some best practices you can follow for improving prospect engagement:
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Sales managers used to arm their reps with CRM systems and marketing automation software to support their efforts. But modern organizations have realized that, while these tools offer value for certain parts of the sales process, they don’t cut it when it comes to successful sales engagement.
Thus, a new kind of technology was born to address the challenges of end-to-end sales engagement. A sales engagement platform (SEP) helps sales teams avoid the issues that arise from disjointed point solutions. Instead, it simplifies and automates prospecting workflows, streamlines communications increases efficiency, and more—all in one centralized place. SEPs offer time-saving functionalities that keep reps organized, prepared, and ready to meet (or exceed) their quotas.
But it’s important to remember that not all sales engagement platforms are created equally. Before you run out and invest in the first SEP you come across, make sure it includes these critical elements:
The terms "sales engagement" and "sales enablement" are sometimes conflated, but while the two are certainly related, it’s important to understand how they differ from one another.
Sales enablement is the practice of preparing your reps for increased job performance and overall sales through proper support. Enablement focuses on arming reps with the right training, technologies, and tools for communication to ensure they can close deals as efficiently as possible.
While sales enablement hinges on your organization’s ability to support its sales team, sales engagement instead aims to help reps foster and enrich each customer interaction. At each stage of the buyer’s journey, a sales engagement strategy enables sellers to provide a valuable, highly-personalized customer experience through systematic communication, actionable data, and regular feedback.
In a nutshell, the goal of sales enablement is to boost rep performance and company revenue by properly equipping them with everything they need; sales engagement instead helps organizations build a better framework for connecting with buyers, integrate existing systems for a seamless customer experience, and convert more leads into prospects.
What it is: A strategy for cultivating and optimizing buyer-seller interactions.
The goal: Enable sellers to deliver a highly personalized customer experience.
What it does: Helps organizations build better frameworks for connecting with buyers and integrate existing systems to deliver a seamless customer experience.
The outcome: Convert more leads into prospects.
What it is: The practice of properly supporting and preparing your sales reps in their role.
The goal: Enhances your sales reps' overall performance.
What it does: Arms reps with the right training, technologies, and communication tools to efficiently close deals.
The outcome: Attract more high-value opportunities, accelerate sales cycles, and produce more revenue.
Organizations that implement a solid sales engagement strategy — backed by a powerful SEP — gain a variety of key benefits. In fact, 92% of sales development organizations say their sales engagement platform is critical to their team’s success. For t sales leaders, managers, and reps, a sales engagement platform offers three distinct advantages:
When you equip your sellers with a single platform from which they can execute all their daily activities, you remove barriers to productivity. Sales teams don’t have to shuffle between multiple tools to complete their work. Instead, they can access and manage all activities — across phone, direct mail, email, text, social media, and more — in one streamlined place.
Modern sales engagement platforms can also automate repetitive, administrative tasks that eat into reps’ time. They can automatically send follow-ups and other communications on the reps’ behalf. That frees them up to focus on high-value customer engagement and sales.
It can be difficult (if not impossible) to pinpoint what’s working and what’s not if you don’t have transparency into your sellers’ daily activities. A strong SEP provides real-time analytics so sales leadership and managers can identify the activities that lead to more opportunities, those that are falling flat, and where they need to tweak their strategies.
Reps, too, can view which engagements are successful to build a collection of best practices from which they can operate and scale. What’s more, managers can easily access data to help them provide individual or team coaching, as needed.
Sales engagement platforms offer deep insights. And organizations can use those to make more comprehensive, strategic decisions based on industry, vertical, or buyer persona. Actionable data makes it easy to build effective playbooks based on specific business needs and goals by determining which strategies have generated the most revenue.
Without the right tools, sales engagement can feel like a shot in the dark. Modern revenue teams need the capabilities that help them get the right message to the right prospect at the right time – so they can create quality pipeline and increase productivity. The basics of which are automation for streamlined workflows and data syncing and AI-powered insights for understanding buyer sentiment and what content leads to the most opportunities.
But it’s not as simple as that. Revenue teams won’t just have a sales engagement platform that automates prospecting. That’s not enough to give them a complete picture of the entire sales cycle. Rather, they’ll require a complete sales execution platform with capabilities that offer sales engagement, conversation intelligence, deal management, forecasting, and more. These types of platforms ensure a system of execution that merges engagement and intelligence – both of which are needed for true visibility to build pipeline, run meetings, navigate buying committees, and manage deals to close.
Successful sales engagement starts with a strong process for ensuring great customer interactions at every stage of the buyer’s journey — but it doesn’t end there. To gain a competitive edge and help reps sell more efficiently, boost communication, and drive stronger results, you need intelligent technology that pulls everything together.
Outreach is the only Sales Execution Platform that offers sales engagement, conversation intelligence, deal management, forecasting, and more in a single platform.
Combined, these capabilities work together to gives sales teams a complete picture of the entire sales cycle — so they can increase deal velocity, pipeline conversion, and rep productivity. At the same time, sellers have all of the capabilities and insights they need to build pipeline, run meetings, navigate buying committees, and manage deals to close.