The Ultimate Guide To Sales Engagement

Monika Jahnavi

By 

Monika Jahnavi

Published 

May 12, 2022

The Ultimate Guide To Sales Engagement

  • Companies that prioritize lead nurturing generate 50% more leads at a 33% lower cost
  • 79% of business leaders say they wish to interact with sales reps who are trusted advisors and add value to their business
  • 77% of companies report that sending personalized, authentic, and transparent emails resulted in more engagement in the past year
  • Social engagement activities are helping 65% of salespeople to fill their pipelines in 2021
  • 80% of sales require 5 follow-up calls but 44% of salespeople give up after one follow-up call

Are these data points making you wonder if this is a blog on a list of sales statistics? Don’t worry, it is not. But since you are glancing at it, let me tell you the intent behind listing these statistics.

Hitting quota and performing at the peak is your topmost priority, right? And the above statistics repeatedly highlight that sales engagement helps you achieve this target. From the stage a lead is generated to the point where he/she converts into a customer it is the ability to engage prospects efficiently that helps you reach your sales quota. 

No wonder, sales engagement is considered their top priority by an overwhelming number of sales leaders. If you too aspire to consistently overachieve your quota, here’s a guide to sales engagement that will help you in this journey.

What is Sales engagement

Sales engagement is the combination of all activities that take place between a prospect and a seller throughout the sales cycle. The relationship established at the beginning of the sales cycle is carefully nurtured and enhanced through continuous engagement which ultimately converts leads into closed-won customers. There are various touchpoints throughout the sales cycle that enable you to engage with your potential customers.

It starts with a cold call or email that forms the basis for future conversations. Followed by this is a face-to-face meeting (these days done virtually) with them during which you give a product demo. During the demo, you get a chance to highlight your product’s unique feature and understand the customer's pain points and what he expects from your product. This conversation paves way for future communications.

You then have to follow up and follow through using various sales communication channels and ensure you are always on their mind. A sales cycle typically lasts anywhere between 4-6 months and depending on the ticket size it can either be more or less. If you are successful in engaging them and providing them with a product that is of utility to them, you will have a closed-won customer by the end of the sales cycle. 

Similar to sales engagement there is another buzzword - sales enablement. People often confuse it with sales engagement, but the two are far from being similar. Let’s see what it means and how the two differ from each other.

Sales engagament vs sales enablement

Sales enablement as the word suggests is enabling salespeople to achieve their sales targets by providing them with what they need to be successful. It is a scope of initiatives every organization takes up to help their sales teams achieve more. And this cannot be done by a single team within the organization as sales enablement is an amalgamation of various initiatives that many teams within the organization come together and contribute to.

Some popular initiatives undertaken are:

1. Coaching sales development representatives (SDRs) and account executives (AEs) to enhance their pitching and closing skills

2. Ensuring they are up-to-date with new product features being launched from time to time 

3. Investing in technology such as CRMs and sales engagement platforms (SEPs) to automate manual tasks and increase the sales team’s productivity

4. Developing content such as case studies, blogs, videos, comparison pages, and alternative pages among others that can be shared with prospects to entice them

5. Training sales folks on how to use the various tools to their advantage

All the above-stated initiatives, as mentioned earlier cannot be possible without numerous teams such as sales, marketing, customer success, product management, technology, and human resources coming together. All these teams within the organization must join hands and enable the sales team by providing value to them as well as the sellers.

Research by Aberdeen revealed that organizations that focus on sales enablement are highly successful. 24% of them achieved a better individual quota, 32% attained a higher sales quota while 23% of them saw a higher lead conversion rate.

If sales enablement within your organization is initiated efficiently it can enable you to engage your prospects well during the sales cycle. Because in the grand scheme of things, sales engagement can be seen as a subset of sales enablement. And the right way to nail engagement is by starting with its enablement.

To find out more about sales engagement vs sales enablement, check out our blog post here 

How sales engagement improves sales?

Sales engagement extensively helps businesses succeed by closing more customers and generating higher revenues. Gallup's report shows that companies that successfully engage customers perform 23% better than their competitors. They even report 63% lower customer attrition and achieve 55% higher wallet share. Even you and your sales team can leverage sales engagement to improve your sales. Following are some ways you can do it:

1. Utilize the organization's sales enablement initiatives

2. Tailor personalized customer engagement strategies

3. Drive brand recall

4. Achieve sales and marketing alignment

1. Utilize your organization's sales enablement initiatives

As stated earlier, sales enablement is a scope of initiatives an organization undertakes to enable its sales teams to perform at their peak and ultimately succeed. Teams are provided with intensive sales coaching along with extensive content resources to entice target buyers.

Additionally, best practices are initiated within the organization, and investment is made into various sales and productivity tools. All these sales enablement strategies help teams boost their win rates, productivity, and revenue.

If your organization too is invested in your success and equips your team with various sales enablement initiatives, you are in for a win. Because you can utilize the training, resources, and technology to your advantage and engage more with your buyers.

For instance, using a sales tool such as a SEP will automate all your manual time-taking activities. The tool will leave you with more time to focus on chasing potential customers and closing deals.  

2. Tailor personalized customer engagement strategies

You have a lot of competition in the market out there, which clearly means that your customers have a lot of choices when it comes to your SaaS product. How then do you become the trusted brand and the only choice they go for? Simply by providing a personalized experience wherein you create unique engagement initiatives that are tailored to individual customers. 

While face-to-face meetings play an important role in engaging the customers initially, providing a customized engagement experience post that makes a huge difference. Hyper-personalization ensures your buyers see, hear and feel what they have to in order to make an informed purchasing decision. 

Instead of doing email blasts that are intrusive and do not factor in the needs of the prospect, running a personalized email campaign goes a long way in getting you a positive response. Moreover, engaging prospects on more channels such as phone, LinkedIn, and messaging apps invariably help you race ahead of your competition. 

3. Drive brand recall

To many, engaging customers doesn’t go beyond the usual follow-ups, multi-channel engagement, and numerous touches that happen during the sales cycle. While these are crucial for closing a deal, you must note that true engagement is perennial in nature.

It doesn’t stop with a won or lost deal but happens over a long period of time resulting in the brand recall. Some ways to do this is by sharing your customer success stories, recognitions earned and new features launched that will help you get your customers' and future buyers’ mind-share. Keeping it authentic, instead of bombarding them with promotions will go a long way in engaging them and driving brand recall, signups, and even referrals at the right time.

4. Achieve sales and marketing alignment

In every organization, the sales team is the one that communicates with the prospects, forms a relationship with them, and gets to know their needs. And it is the various initiatives the marketing team comes up with, that help the sales team engage with the prospects during the sales cycle.

But imagine your marketing team working in silos and having an image of the ideal buyer that is not entirely true. It will go on producing content and running campaigns and initiatives that are not aligned with your buyers’ needs. And this in turn will cause disruption in your engagement framework which you simply cannot afford.

The solution thus is to align the two teams so both understand what the other team is up to and start functioning together and fulfill the ideal buyers' needs. Having the marketing team align with your sales goals will help you engage the prospects better during multiple touchpoints and eventually convert them into customers by the end of the sales cycle.

Leveraging sales engagement to improve your sales in this ever-evolving competitive world will prove beneficial for you. Now that we have established how vital sales engagement is, the next logical step is to explore how to action the engagement activities discussed above with the use of the right technology that is typically a sales engagement platform.

To learn about more ways to leverage sales engagement to the fullest, check out our blog post here

What is a sales engagement platform?

The rush you get after closing a sales deal is real. Imagine the joyous feeling, the euphoria, and a wave of happiness all hitting you at the same time and making you feel on top of the world. Now imagine the feeling of missing your sales quota (in spite of the small wins) because some non-selling activities kept you from chasing more and closing more. Makes you wish you had more time, right?

You are not alone, many sales folks out there, feel the same. In fact, data reveals that only 24.3% of salespeople exceeded their sales quota last year. Because apparently, unproductive tasks kept the rest (and you) from achieving the sales goals. Salesforce research indicates that sales reps usually spend 66 percent of their time on non-revenue generating activities. These include admin tasks, entering logging activity, answering emails, and preparing management reports among others.

But you can’t keep doing these activities manually if you aspire to consistently overachieve your quotas, can you? Because let’s face it, closing a deal is not an easy feat; for that you must outsource the non-selling tasks and focus completely on selling. Only then can you keep the prospect constantly engaged and turn them into customers. And what better than using a sales engagement platform that can automate all the manual, time-taking tasks and leave you to do what you are meant to - sell!

Wondering if that’s really possible? Well, it is. Let us tell you a little more about the tool.

A sales engagement platform (SEP) is a tool designed exclusively for sales teams to prospect efficiently, close deals, and achieve their revenue targets while automating all the manual tasks. Integrating with many different sales tools and sales channels, a SEP enables users to efficiently manage opportunities, schedule meetings, measure and track important touchpoints and engage prospects across multiple channels all on a single interface. 

For a comprehensive guide on the sales engagement platforms, read this blog post. 

How do sales teams benefit from a Sales Engagement Platform?

Sales teams have immensely benefitted from sales engagement platforms in the past few years which has led to the tools' increased adoption everywhere. There are many key benefits contributing to this rise and can broadly be classified into the following three parts:

1. Multi-channel sales outreach

2. Sales campaigns automation

3. Key analytics tracking

Let's see each of them in detail:

1. Multi-channel sales outreach

Your prospects today are available on all sales channels and limiting yourself solely to cold calls or emails will not get you as many meetings booked as being where your buyers are will. And since it is the age of multi-channel prospecting you must utilize all the channels to effectively engage with them throughout the sales cycle.

But that doesn’t mean you have to engage with them by toggling between email, phone, SMS, LinkedIn, and Twitter one after the other. A SEP brings together all applications on one platform and eliminates the need to jump between them. It truly amplifies your prospecting efforts and makes sales outreach via multiple channels seamless. 

2. Sales campaigns automation

As an SDR, at any given point you have multiple leads and opportunities to handle. And keeping a mental note of which prospect belongs to which stage of the touch campaign is not humanly possible. And even if you write down or set several reminders, it becomes difficult to handle everything by yourself beyond a certain point.  

But when it comes to a SEP, its integration with a host of sales tools such as Salesforce, Hubspot and others helps automate all these outreach touches for you. Once you get a lead, the tool automatically updates data on the CRM, sets up scheduled series of touchpoints such as emails, SMSes, messages, and call reminders, and also notifies you when a prospect takes any noteworthy action. 

3. Key analytics tracking

Every day you engage with several prospects on multiple channels. And to understand the effectiveness of your outreach efforts, it is necessary to keep a track of the activities. But manually entering data on various sales tools and extracting reports is a cumbersome job. A SEP, on the other hand, shows all the key analysis metrics in one place, owing to its integration with different sales tools.

Presenting detailed analytics on email open rates, click rates, and booked meetings the platform makes sequence tracking effortless. The analytics provides a 360-degrees view into the ongoing and upcoming deals; which aids in taking corrective action where deemed necessary and also in predicting future revenue. Beyond analytics the leaderboard also reveals top sales performers, driving higher engagement and insight.

Read our blog to know how Outplay’s features can help sales folks prospect efficiently 

Sales teams the world over have immensely benefitted from sales engagement platforms such as Outplay and they are increasingly being seen as a must-have tool in every sales team’s arsenal. Gartner has thus rightly ranked SEPs a level 1 technology, in other words, a mandatory purchase for the success of sales teams of all sizes. 

And now with increased adoption of the tool and with sales folks spending a majority of their day using the technology, it is only a matter of time before the platform becomes more advanced. 

Talking to Max Altschuler, the Founder, and CEO of Sales Hacker, Matt Millen recently said, “SEPs will soon encompass all the tools that you are using now in one solution. Conversational Intelligence, forecasting, customer success, and more will all ultimately live in one tool. SEP innovation will result in awesome breakthroughs to help sales teams engage in the optimal next best action in real-time.” Matt is the Chief Growth Officer at Sapper Consulting.

Having read about the sales engagement platforms, are you convinced you need one, but confused about which one to choose? Don’t worry we have analyzed the top 5 sales engagement platforms in the market for you. So read our blog and choose the one best suitable for your needs.

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