Ever feel overwhelmed by the thought of adding or replacing a sales engagement platform?
You’re not alone.
At the same time, you probably know how the right SEP can yield impressive dividends and keep your sales team ahead of competition.
The good news, is that it doesn’t really need to be so hard — you’re about to find out the 5 most important best practices for successfully implementing or migrating your sales engagement platform.
But before we get there, let’s take a step back to understand why it’s well worth the effort.
What’s All the Fuss About Sales Engagement Platforms?
While you may already have a CRM or marketing automation platform, they won’t actually help you engage with your prospects — that’s where sales engagement software comes in.
Engaging with your target audience is the key to guiding a prospect from knowing little about your solution to building awareness and converting them to happy (and hopefully) long-term clients.
Still not convinced?
A robust sales engagement platform can help you generate higher sales by uncovering valuable performance insights about the amount of time a prospective buyer engages with different types of content.
For example, an SEP allows you to find out how long a prospect viewed your webinar, whether they clicked a link from your blog to an eBook, or if they read an article about a specific topic you linked to in an email.
Using these insights, sales and marketing can easily identify which activities or tactics produce the highest levels of customer engagement. As a result, it improves the quality of your team’s outreach.
Moreover, an SEP tracks your team’s performance and gives you a snapshot of who’s struggling so you can provide more effective feedback, or what’s working so you can scale successful practices of top reps.
It makes your team much more effective at selling.
What Should You Look for in an SEP?
Of course, this depends on many factors, but in general, a solid SEP will have 5 components:
- Predictive analytics
- Sales content management
- Integrated communications
- CRM integration
- Partner applications
If any of these pieces are missing from your current platform, or if you’re considering your first purchase, read on to find out five key components to a successful sales engagement implementation or migration.
How to Migrate or Implement A Sales Engagement Platform
Now that we’ve shown why a sales engagement tool is at the heart of every well-oiled sales organization and well-worth your sales technology investment, let’s take a look at the best practices for smooth integration.
1.Define Clear Roles and Responsibilities
The first step, is to formulate a plan for the individuals who will help make your sales engagement migration or implementation successful.
If you are thinking about migrating, then it’s a good time to go back and clearly define who owns each step of the process to ensure your migration and relaunch go smoothly.
On the other hand, if this is your first time implementing a tool, creating established roles and responsibilities will ensure no balls are dropped and help you see results faster.
Here are the key responsibilities you need to identify at this stage:
- Content Creation and Optimization: You need to have one (or more) people responsible for creating the content for your various plays and cadences. Without somebody assigned to the constant creation and optimization of content, you will quickly see too many people involved and too many variations to track and optimize. Centralizing content creation and optimization is absolutely critical to making sure you have top quality content that is created efficiently.
- Building out the Structure of a Sales Cadence: Second, you need someone in charge of creating the phases or cadences within your sales engagement tool, as well as reviewing and optimizing, which brings us to the next role…
- Data Review: Finally, you need someone to manage the data review, ongoing authorization and coordination between the content and cadence/play building process. You need someone looking at how the machine is functioning at different stages and ensuring everyone adheres to best practices. Without this centralized governance and data review process, you’ll start to see multiple variations pop-up throughout your sales organization, making it very difficult to optimize the process over time.
2. Coordinate Sales & Marketing
Depending on the size of your organization and complexity of the sales engagement strategy, creating alignment between marketing and sales is critical.
To make sure your campaigns are successful, you need marketing and sales to meet and coordinate on a consistent basis. Typically, a series of biweekly meetings to review and track results from the current combination of nurturing and direct outreach works well.
Sales and marketing should also check that the nurturing activities successfully drive leads to take the direct call-to-action. Naturally, sales will need marketing’s support in producing value added content on an ongoing basis
Many of our clients use a combination of a marketing automation tool (such as HubSpot, Pardot, or Marketo) coupled with their sales engagement platform. You can then track the effectiveness of both processes in Salesforce for your CRM.
3. Support Internal Change Management
Believe it or not, many Sales VPs forget to oversee internal change management alongside new tools.
Typically, organizations deploy a training led by the sales engagement platform’s internal sales ops, implementation, or customer success team. However, for many teams, a re-enforcement plan is also critical.
Although training is an absolute must, and all reps and front-line managers need to have a fundamental understanding of how the tool works and performs, the way you roll out the tool is equally as important.
There are three key components of change management to take into account when implementing or migrating tools to ensure strong adoption.
- Ensure Leadership Buy-In and Belief: A successful rollout starts with the organization’s leaders serving as an example. When senior leadership is not 100% involved in the ongoing support and system training, you’ll see reduced adoption by the rest of the teams.
- Help Reps Understand the “Why:” The key to team adoption of a new sales platform often comes down to helping them understand why this tool is important in the first place, and how they can integrate it without disrupting their established rhythm. Too often, we focus on the training alone and let sales representatives figure out how to work the tool into their daily schedule–a surefire formula for poor adoption.
- Constant Reinforcement and Follow-Up: Successfully implementing a sales engagement tool in a two week or three-month rollout (strategy depending on the size of your team) means combining the initial rollout plan with ongoing support over the next 2-3 months. This usually includes a role-playing or situational conversation coupled with best practices, masters classes or training.
4.Use Data To Track Gains & Optimize
Once you invest in an SEP or migrate to a new one, you’ll want to track how much more effective and efficient it makes your team.
But first, you must understand the most important data points to track; we’ve seen hundreds of clients either tracking too many metrics or not tracking the right ones.
For Sales Development Teams using a sales engagement tool, one of the key ways to track success is the number of replies received to attempts at setting up new meetings.
This gives you valuable insights into what motivates people to reply. You’ll then be able to experiment with messaging and tweak certain elements to see what elicits more positive answers.
Let’s take an example:
One of our clients was receiving a 20-30% reply rate but only 5% were positive replies. This information told us the client’s open and response rates were strong, but the problem was in the messaging of the content itself. By adjusting and trying out different variations, our client doubled the amount of positive responses.
What’s more, we found that open rates are not a great indicator of success since many companies can use interest, curiosity or bait-and-switch subject lines to get high open rates, which then result in minimal engagement or follow-up.
What other data should you be tracking?
As a VP of sales, you should make sure your account managers and salespeople use the sales engagement tool to track the daily number of touchpoints or engagement points with a prospect or a current customer. This will tell you whether they’re staying top-of-mind with prospective clients.
Beyond that, your teams should track engagement by looking at the frequency of interactions, duration and core user actions. Tools such as Clari help you understand how process engagement can increase the likelihood of closed deals or customers renewing.
5. Integrate With Systems That Fit Your Goals
Needless to say, a major advantage of partnering with a sales engagement platform is access to their API, and the integrations they have with other platforms.
Many of our clients use a variety of third-party tools that hook into a sales engagement platform, diversifying and increasing the overall effectiveness of sales engagement outreach or campaigns.
This is especially true for sales representatives and account managers who are looking for ways to keep prospects engaged throughout the sales process and to keep current customers excited about a product or service.
Some examples of core pieces to integrate would be:
- Data tool for Clean Contacts: Lead Genius is great for custom data; DiscoverOrg is the best if you need direct dial information; and ZoomInfo is a good all-around tool for private and public companies.
- Account Selection or Predictive Tool: EverString and DataFox both use lookalike modeling to analyze current customer data and better predict which companies to target.
- Call Recording and Analysis: For clients that need a more complex system use Choris.ai or ExecVision. We’ve found Noteninja to be a great lightweight tool for those wanting more
- Activity Performance Reporting: We recommend using either Salesforce reporting or implementing tool like Clari or InsightSquared for day-to-day management for sales reps and people.
- We use Sendoso for our direct mailing efforts.
- Vidyard or Videolicious for making videos.
- Terminus for nurturing in the early stages of a cadence.
- Bombora for intent-to-purchase behavior.
And these are just a few of the available options.
Skaled helps hundreds of companies assemble this stack and select the best tools based on stage and bandwidth.
Whether you’re making your first investment in a sales engagement tool or want to migrate from your current systems, the five points above are the cornerstones of success.
And remember, the amount of technology your team currently employs will determine whether they have an easier or harder time implementing a sales engagement platform. Even so – hundreds of teams chose to do so because it benefits their whole organization.
Over the next five years, sales engagement tools will become a must-have for all modern sales organizations, just as we’ve seen with marketing automation tools.
The earlier you master how to properly deploy or migrate your current tool and engage the best practices we’ve discussed in this article, the more advantages you’ll have over companies that continue to do things manually.
To learn how 100s of companies are doing the above, reach out to Matt Lopez Matt@skaled.com for a free consultation and make sure to subscribe to our blog for more amazing content on the future of sales engagement and technology.