If helping your sales team connect with prospects and close more deals is important to you – and we’re betting it is – sales engagement should be your top priority.
According to Gartner 90% of sales leaders plan to invest in technologies and processes to help their sellers engage effectively with prospects and customers. By 2025, 60% of B2B sales organizations will transition from experience- and intuitionbased selling to data-driven selling, merging their sales process, sales applications, sales data and sales analytics into a single operational practice to better engage buyers and customers.
But what is sales engagement? What’s the difference between sales enablement and sales engagement? How should you evaluate sales engagement platforms to make sure you get one that is the right fit for your organization? Let’s dig into the details.
What is sales engagement?
Sales engagement is the series of interactions that occur between a salesperson and a prospect during the entire sales cycle. The sales engagement process includes researching pain points, attracting prospects, turning prospects into leads, and building relationships to turn leads into customers.
That sounds like the way sales have always worked, right? So you might be asking, “Why the fancy name?”
These days, sales leaders are formalizing the ways salespeople engage with customers, rather than letting reps randomly determine what steps they will take and when.
Leaders can use sales data to build a sales engagement framework that tells sales representatives exactly when and how to connect with customers. The framework also ensures that the prospect gets what they need (and nothing they don’t need) at every stage of the buyer’s journey.
Sales engagement vs. sales enablement: what’s the difference?
Sales enablement is the process of providing your reps with the relevant resources they need to be more effective and improve their sales. This can include resources like:
- Research and statistics
- Onboarding and training
- Internal best practices
Sales enablement makes the buying process faster and easier, freeing up your sales reps’ time for closing more deals and driving more revenue.
During sales engagement, on the other hand, your sales team takes all the tools, resources and processes they get from sales enablement and uses those materials to engage with customers.
The sales enablement happens “before the hello,” getting the sales team ready to create more connections and optimize those connections once they occur. Then sales engagement measures the efficacy of sales materials and processes during sales reps’ interactions with prospects.
The biggest benefits of implementing a sales engagement platform
A sales engagement platform is a single solution where your company can plan, execute, measure and optimize interactions between your sales team and your prospects and customers, across multiple channels.
Here are the biggest benefits of implementing a sales engagement platform:
Workflows that adapt to your specific customer journey
With sales engagement software, you can design multiple workflows based on your organization’s specific channels, timing preferences, personas and messaging. Those workflows can include:
- Sequencing for phone calls and emails
- Automated email scheduling
- Templates for outreach and prospecting
- CMS integrations
- Social media posting and engagement
Understanding buyer behavior with built-in analytics
Sales leaders can measure the effectiveness of all sales engagement activities with the built-in analytics of sales engagement platforms. Reps and leaders can measure which engagement patterns convert to meaningful customer connections, meetings and sales.
You can track activities and KPIs such as:
- Sales rep phone calls
- Call types
- Open rates and views
- Content engagement
- Click-to-call ratios
- Meetings booked
Complete CRM accessibility
Sales engagement platforms can automatically send sales activity to CRM platforms, eliminating most of the data entry process that keeps CRMs from being fully populated with prospect data.
With sales engagement platforms, information in the CRM is consistently updated, and is available in near real-time, from anywhere, at any time.
Sales rep improvement
With in-depth analysis of sales engagement execution, guided selling, and conversational intelligence that records and analyzes conversations, sales engagement platforms enable reps to improve their tactics and increase close rates.
Increasing sales efficiency
The top sales engagement platforms enable sales teams to automate many time-consuming tasks. For example, sales engagement platforms can automatically send initial proposals to the finance team, eliminating the need for sales reps to send them manually via email.
A sales engagement solution can help you improve the quality and quantity of your company’s content by:
- Storing all sales and marketing collateral in a single location that supports all file types
- Recommending the right content for each sales stage, industry, or customer-facing role, based on engagement analytics
- Controlling and maintaining content access, to ensure customer-facing content is always current and accessible
The top 5 sales engagement best practices
The average consumer sees thousands of marketing messages every day. What’s the best way to cut through the noise and grab the attention of your most important prospects?
Use these best practices to optimize sales engagement:
Do your research
Conduct in-depth research so you understand your prospects’ biggest pain points, and identify unmet needs. Demographics like age, income level and gender are important, but dig deeper to discover what prospects are struggling with and how they will use the product to solve their problems.
Collect qualitative and quantitative data using surveys, interviews, forums, focus groups and even usability testing.
Personalize content that aligns with the buyer's journey
With a sales engagement platform, you’ll have the ability to automate many of your workflows – but make sure your sales reps aren’t just sending out a barrage of templated, boring emails. Prospects expect personalized communications that offer useful content.
Build personalization into all your emails and social media communications, and emphasize the importance of customized content during your team meetings and individual coaching sessions.
Work with marketing
Align with your marketing team to create targeted communication sequences for social media or email that help you engage with prospects. Ensure your sales team contributes to the content creation process to ensure the content supports your team’s needs.
Invest in the right tools
Using a sales engagement platform will enable you to build, optimize and analyze your sales strategy and use a data-driven approach to increasing your sales.
With your sales engagement solution, you can map out a path for effective engagement that will guide your reps through every step of the customer journey. This can include activities like direct mail, email, social media, phone calls and more.
When you operate through a sales engagement platform, all of these activities can be tracked so your business can use data to drive sales strategy decisions.
Use insights to continuously optimize
Use the data you get from your sales engagement platform – including all the calls you make, email messages you send, and prospects you follow on social media. Use that data to optimize your team’s sales performance for maximum conversions.
For example, you can determine the best times and days of the week to call, the best messaging to use, and the number of times you should follow up for each customer segment and industry. You can also figure out the most effective ways for different customer-facing roles to engage with prospects.
The future of sales engagement
In the sales technology market, Gartner is seeing more and more customers using sales engagement technologies to support their teams. Tools and platforms that used to be called “inside sales technologies” eventually evolved into “sales acceleration technologies” and are moving towards “revenue enablement platforms”.
Now we’re entering the next step in sales evolution: Sales engagement tools that support different roles within an organization.
Hybrid and remote sellers need synced insights and data, as well as automation of manual and repetitive tasks. Sales leaders and sales reps alike want to automatically track the outcomes of all steps of the sales engagement process, to maximize sales and create the best possible sales teams.
Furthermore, the reach of sales engagement tools started with prospecting roles, and has now expanded to all customer-facing roles.
Set up your sales engagement plan with Pitcher
With Pitcher’s sales engagement solution, your sales reps can build better relationships with prospects while improving conversion rates and landing bigger deals.
Pitcher’s sales coaching enables you to have better coaching conversations with every rep, while built-in analytics facilitate a data-driven approach to sales engagement and enable goal-setting and progress measurement across your entire sales team.
Find out more about how Pitcher can help you deliver high-quality sales engagement.
Sales engagement FAQs
Why should I use sales engagement software?
Using sales enablement software helps your sales team optimize their customer interactions to maximize sales, while minimizing or eliminating the amount of time they spend on tedious manual entry into CRM platforms. Sales engagement software has built-in automation that keeps track of every prospect touchpoint, and also provides detailed analytics so you can continuously improve your sales process.
Why is sales engagement important?
Sales engagement gives you insight into the entire buyer journey, so your sales team can track how their activities are shaping the prospects’ experiences. Your team can use these insights to improve the efficiency and quality of the sales process.
How do you increase sales engagement?
You can increase sales engagement by conducting in-depth customer research, personalizing content so it aligns with the customer journey, and working closely with marketing teams to ensure top-quality content that meets the needs of sales reps. It’s also important to invest in a comprehensive sales engagement platform and use the insights you gain from that platform to continuously optimize your sales process.