Have you ever tried to operate and grow a sales organization using just Salesforce? It’s doable, certainly, but a lot of time is spent manually checking off tasks and inputting email and call data. Keeping Salesforce data clean and up-to-date can be so time intensive that many busy salespeople will just skip over updating account, prospect, and opportunity data. This can lead to miscommunications, mishaps, and lost opportunities—yikes.
Is there a software designed just for salespeople that integrates seamlessly with Salesforce and minimizes data entry. Is there a platform that can 10x sales productivity and scope?
Enter the sales engagement platform (SEP).
The sales engagement technology space is relatively new (and fast-growing), so we’re going to break it down to help you figure out if this type of software will increase buyer engagement with your revenue-generating teams. We’re going to take a look at what an SEP is, what it can do for you, and how you can get started.
What Is a Sales Engagement Platform and What Does It Do?
Meaningful engagement with buyers has never been easy, and doing it at scale, across a variety of different channels and using a full sales tech stack, is even harder.
That’s where a sales engagement platform (SEP) comes in. It makes omnichannel engagement—communicating with prospects across multiple channels (email, phone, text, social media, etc.)—easier to execute and track results.
Sales representatives use an SEP to unite existing workflows across disparate tools (Salesforce, email, phone, CMS, and more) into a single, simple platform so they can work more quickly and more effectively.
Here are the different components of the top SEPs.
Sequences are semi-automated processes where each step is conditional on the completion of the previous step. The beauty is that you can customize how automated you want each Sequence to be.
The individual steps in a Sequence and their order depend on your team’s goals and strategies. Most sales reps include personalized emails, automated emails, and phone calls in their Sequences. Additional steps may be LinkedIn messages, direct mail, and more. Automatic steps and manual tasks can even be set up to respond to certain triggers, such as a customer opening an email, viewing a certain page, commenting on a post.
Many highly-effective sales teams have a separate Sequence for each persona of their ICP. This way, each prospect receives messaging that is most relevant to their specific pain points.
If you’re not sure about which kind of messaging would be the most effective and get the most positive replies, Sequences make it easy to A/B test a variety of messaging strategies. Sequences with the highest open and reply rates (these metrics are all visible in the SEP) can be analyzed for best practices, while Sequences with the lowest success can be turned off with just one click.
The key to every sales engagement strategy is the native, two-way integration with the SEP and Salesforce. Think of the relationship between the two systems like a rockstar and their manager: the SEP is the face that all the sales reps see and drives in revenue, and Salesforce is essential to storing data and being the single source of truth for all teams on the backend. Both systems’ datasets are unified and improved by the other.
All of your calls, emails, and touches, get logged into your CRM automatically, preventing conflicts with what touches and communications a prospect has received. The CRM also keeps the SEPs database up-to-date with information gathered from all over the organization making sure that you always have the most recent data to work with when dealing with a prospect.
Machine Learning and Analytics
Now that you have all that data, SEPs use machine learning to analyze and make recommendations on how to increase engagement.
For instance: How many times do you email? When do you email? What do you say?
Because SEPs collect and organize data from all of the customer-facing teams, SEPs can give holistic recommendations and more accurate analytics since it looks at customer engagement throughout the entire buyer’s journey, not just their journey through sales.
For example, if you’re A/B testing email messaging in your Sequences, the natural language processing capabilities in the SEP can show you what percentage of replies were positive, versus negative or just flat-out unsubscribes. A simple reply rate won’t show you if your messaging is actually creating opportunities or not.
Now that you know what an SEP is, and what it can do, how do you get started?
Choose the Right SEP For You
Evaluate your team’s goals as well as your company’s goals when shopping around for a SEP. In addition to evaluating the SEP’s capabilities for bidirectional data sync with your Salesforce (here are four criteria you should test for), you may want to consider the following: Do you want access to a suite of new sales software integrations? Advanced data analytics? Simple to use interface? Ability to scale to other revenue-generating teams?
Include marketing and customer success in the decision-making process—getting their buy-in early will smooth integration and increase alignment, especially if they may want to implement the SEP with their reps later on.
Define Roles and Responsibilities
SEPs are easy to use, but you will still need someone to oversee implementation, keep it up-to-date, and ensure that it’s being used properly and effectively by all teams.
Some roles you might want to assign are a project manager or champion to help with implementation and strategy early on, and a platform administrator to keep data clean, manage integrations, and train the team on its usage.
Set Up Reporting Procedures
Set up reporting procedures to monitor individual and team performance so managers can be proactive when a Sequence or specific piece of content isn’t generating replies or conversions.
Connect Your New SEP to Salesforce
If you have already defined a platform administrator, this will likely be their job.
Before you connect the two systems, you need to determine what records need to be brought into your new SEP and how. Should it be automatic, manual, or a mixture of both?
There is so much more to learn about SEPs and how they can help improve your team, but this should give you a starting point to determine the right SEP for you and get started quickly.
If you’d like to learn more about the wonderful world of SEPs, this eBook goes into more detail about advantages of a SEP for executing key sales workflows, integrations with your existing sales stack, core functionalities that solve historical problems, and real-life examples.