Over the last two years, sales engagement tools have become a staple of most SDR teams and full-cycle salespeople (those handling their own prospecting, possibly their own account management) looking to increase their daily effectiveness. If you don’t have such a tool already, then you need to think hard about investing in one in the very near future, as sales engagement tools like SalesLoft, Outreach, and others are quickly becoming absolutely essential to growth and success.
These tools help teams to better manage the engagement and follow up with everyone from unengaged prospects to mid-funnel prospects to current customers. Sales engagement tools are at the heart of every well-oiled sales organization and should be considered a core part of your sales technology investment along with your CRM.
Maybe you haven’t invested in a sales engagement tool or are currently using a sales engagement tool but aren’t seeing the desired results. If so, consider the following five key components to a successful sales engagement implementation or migration.
If any of these pieces are missing from your current sales engagement implementation, or if you’re considering your first purchase, these five components will guide you without fail..
Planning and Roles
First, you must formulate a plan for the individuals who will help make your sales engagement migration or implementation successful. If you are thinking about migrating, then now is a good time to go back and clearly define the owners of each step to ensure that your migration and successful relaunch go smoothly. If this is your first time implementing a tool, having established roles and responsibilities will ensure that no balls are dropped and that you see results faster.
The key roles that you need to identify here are:
- Content Creation and Optimization: You need to have one person (or persons) responsible for creating the content that will go into 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 that you have content that is created efficiently and in top quality.
- Building Structure: Second, you need to have someone in charge of building out and optimizing the phases or cadences in your sales engagement tool. One person needs to be responsible for this at all times.
- Data Review: Finally, you need to have someone managing data review, plus 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 that everyone is adhering 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.
Coordinated Plan with Marketing and Sales
Depending on the size of your organization and complexity of the sales engagement strategy, building alignment between marketing and sales is mission-critical. Many of our clients want to be able to coordinate a combination of activities that are typically considered nurturing or awareness-based activities with more straightforward outreach and clear calls to action.
To make your campaigns as successful as possible, you need marketing and sales to be meeting and coordinating on a consistent basis. A typical practice is a series of biweekly meetings to review the current combination of nurturing and direct outreach effectiveness, while utilizing tools to track the impact of nurturing on the more direct outreach. Sales will need marketing’s support in producing value add content on an ongoing basis as well.
Many of our clients utilize a combination of a marketing automation tool (such as HubSpot Pardot, or Marketo) coupled with their sales engagement tool. You can then track the effects of both processes in Salesforce for your CRM. Every two weeks, the two teams should be meeting to make sure that the nurturing activities are driving the direct call-to-action activities’ success.
Internal Change Management
A major factor that many teams forget to plan adequately for is internal change management within the sales team. The typical strategy that organizations deploy is a training series led by the internal sales operations teams and the implementation or customer success teams of the sales engagement platform but 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, what’s equally as important is how you roll out the tool and best practices to the team.
There are three key components of change management when implementing a tool for the first time, or when you’re migrating to a new tool and want to ensure strong adoption.
- Leadership Buyin and Belief: A successful rollout within a training plan starts with the organization’s leaders serving as an example. Senior leadership that’s not 100% involved in the ongoing support and system training often results in reduced
- Rep Belief and Understanding the “Why:” Additionally, many times the key to sales team adoption of a new sales platform simply comes down to helping them understand why this tool is important in the first place, and how they can utilize it without disrupting their established 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: 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 conversations coupled with best practices and masters classes or training on the tool.
Data and Tracking
If you’re not sure what’s working and what isn’t with your sales efforts, that’s another main reason to invest in a sales management tool or migrate to a new one. You’re going to want to track the effectiveness and efficiency gains that your purchase provides.
With data a strategy, you must first understand the most important data points to track. We’ve seen hundreds of clients either tracking too many metrics or not track the right ones.
For Sales Development Teams, with a sales engagement tool, our biggest way to track success had been how many replies we were getting to attempts to set up new meetings. We not only gain insights into what motivates people to reply, but also can experiment with our messaging, tweaking elements to try and get more positive replies. One client was receiving a 20-30% reply rate but only 5% were positive replies which allowed us to make key adjustments to the messaging to double the amount of positive responses. We have also found that open rates aren’t a great indicator of success, as too many companies can use interesting or bait-and-switch subject lines, getting very high open rates, but minimal engagement or follow-up.
For account managers or salespeople using sales engagement tools on a daily basis, you may also want to track the number of touchpoints or engagement points with a prospect or a current customer to stay in front of prospects. Tools such as Clari help you understand how process engagement can increase the likelihood of deals being closed and customers renewing.
Integration Systems Checklist
Next, a major advantage of partnering with a sales engagement platform is access to their API or integrations they have with other platforms. Many of our clients utilize 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 using a sales engagement platform who are looking for ways to keep prospects engaged throughout the sales process and unique ways to keep current customers excited about a product or service as well.
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: Many 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 a tool like Clari or InsightSquared for day-to-day management for sales reps and people. I is also great for lead generation teams.
- 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.
This world and your options are only increasing. And yes, we help hundreds of companies assemble this stack and select only the best tools based on your stage and bandwidth.
Whether you are making your first investment in a sales engagement tool or you are looking to migrate from your current systems, the above five points are the cornerstones of success. Recognize that, depending on the amount of technology your team currently employs, they may have an easier or more difficult time implementing a sales engagement platform. But you can rest assured that hundreds of teams are doing so because it works for their whole organization.
We are certain that sales engagement tools will be a must-have for all sales organizations over the next five years, similar to marketing automation tools in marketing. The sooner you master how to properly deploy or migrate your current tool and engage the best practices we’ve discussed previously, the larger the advantage you’ll have over companies that continue to do things manually.
To learn how 100s of companies are doing just the above, please contact Deb Berman @ Deb@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 other sales tools.