Sales Engagement Platforms
Real talk: if your company is still just using a standard Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution in today’s sales environment, you are behind the curve.
While it can feel like there are now a dozen (or more…) different platforms for every facet of your sales and marketing efforts vying for your attention (and dollars), the reality is that your competitors are using a multitude of different Software as a Service (SaaS) providers to stay ahead of you and the rest of the competition.
In today’s sales world, your team has to use technology to not only keep up with the other guy, but to gain a competitive advantage as well.
Luckily, a Sales Engagement Platform can help you streamline your sales processes and keep your team doing what it does best: selling.
What is a Sales Engagement Platform?
If you find yourself here thinking “oh no, not another platform…” we can relate. Sales in the 21st century loves platforms. You’ve got sales enablement platforms, CRM, content marketing management, and about a hundred other things. It’s like acronym soup.
That being said, we think you’ll find that learning about sales engagement is well worth your time.
So, what is a sales engagement platform?
In simple terms, free from marketing and sales speak, a sales engagement platform is a tool that will help you make your team’s selling process more streamlined, more effective, and more trackable. It ensures salespeople have the access to the content marketing materials they need, it uses prescriptive analytics to help them figure out next steps, and it logs everything to your CRM.
If you’re looking to save time, stay organized, and increase productivity, a sales engagement platform can help you achieve the goal of turning leads into customers by helping your team at each step of the sales process.
How Does a Sales Engagement Platform Work?
Now that we know what a sales engagement platform is, let’s talk a bit about how it works.
Before computer guys figured out how to create all these various platforms to help teams achieve their goals, sales was a bit like magic (at least when it was working…).
Salespeople all had their own unique skillsets, techniques and playbooks they used to turn leads into customers, and so on. To keep that magic analogy going, a great salesperson was a bit like a magician in that he or she could do amazing things, but also in the sense that they weren’t always willing to show you how they made the magic happen.
Sales engagement platforms eliminate some of the mystery about how the sales process works by creating uniform protocols that everyone can follow.
Some have argued that this is “soulless” sales – in that it attempts to take something that is an art and turn it into a science. And while a sales engagement platform will attempt to make the sales process repeatable and scalable – at the end of the day, the salesperson still has to sell. The art of making deals remains.
Without getting super technical, a sales engagement platform helps sales professionals connect with potential customers by utilizing the following things:
- Content Management
- Integrated Communication
- Guided Selling Methods
Let’s dig a little deeper into each of these core components.
From various studies conducted over the past few years, we know that roughly 65% of content marketing materials are never actually used.
This is not because the materials don’t have value – in fact, many of them could help a salesperson close a deal by providing additional information the seller requires, case studies, white papers, and so on.
Instead, the issue is that content marketing materials are often stored in a variety of different places and not easily accessible. Even worse, they’re often poorly organized, so even if the salesperson did find what they wanted they might not even realize it.
Sales content management tools can eliminate this issue by storing your content all in one easily accessed, clearly labeled repository. Even better, a robust sales engagement platform can show you how often your content is being used, where it’s being used, how people are reacting to it, and even suggest the right piece of content based on your current needs!
One of the biggest issues with CRM software is that it only really works if your sales reps actually use it.
Unfortunately, most sales professionals are focused on making calls, setting up meetings, and actually selling product. Inputting all the details of their various customer interactions is way down on their list of priorities.
Sales engagement platforms can eliminate this issue by auto-logging every call, email, social media contact, and other type of communication your sales team makes.
Advanced sales management tools can take things a step further, using AI to actually transcribe phone calls, capture full emails, and so on. This is invaluable for a sales manager looking to track how his charges are performing.
Are your team members making enough contacts? Are they focusing their efforts on their best opportunities? Are the following your established protocols? You can tell at a glance.
This level of automation also helps the salesperson. With detailed reports, they can see where each deal is on the buyer’s journey, who they’ve contacted, who they still need to contact, and even get prescriptive results explaining who they should bring into the next call or meeting.
Communication is a key component of sales – and sales engagement software can keep things organized and orderly so you’re not letting leads die on the vine.
Great sales engagement software collects huge amounts of data, crunches it, analyzes it, and then breaks it down into easily digestible chunks. If you’re not using analytics to help inform your decision-making process, you’re basically firing blind.
Depending on how good your sales engagement platform’s analytics are, you can get a wide range of insights from your data.
If you’re using a sales engagement platform with prescriptive and predictive analytics capabilities, you’ll be able to see, in real-time, the probability of closing a sale based on where you’re at in the process.
Beyond that, a prescriptive AI tool can give insight on how to move the needle on the odds of closing a sale. If you’re at 50%, it could suggest bringing in another stakeholder or utilizing a piece of content, or one of millions of other options it has recognized by looking at all the data of your past sales.
This is invaluable. Your salespeople won’t have to rely on intuition and guesswork to get the deal done. Sales engagement software can give you actionable insight based on real data that will help everyone from your top performers to your newest hires meet and exceed their quotas.
Beyond that, sales managers can also take a macro or micro level view of every sale in progress. Is a sales team member underperforming? You can see why – whether it’s not making enough contact, deviating from sales scripts, not involving enough stakeholders, or not offering up the right support materials.
Data analysis here will also help ensure your people are expending the most energy on customers with the highest percentage chance of buying.
Every sales team has a variety of potential sales in progress at any given moment, but some are more likely to result in a win than others. Sales engagement analytic software can help you ensure you’re prioritizing your leads in the most effective way.
A great sales engagement platform can transform your business – and the analytic data alone can help you take things to the next level.
Guided Selling Methods
Building on the analytics we just discussed, sales engagement software also provides a guided selling experience that can be hugely beneficial to your team.
This is the place where some people think sales engagement takes all the art out of making the deal. They’ll argue that guided selling is a rigid, formulaic approach to a process that involves art, finesse, and more than a bit of psychology.
However, most people misunderstand what guided selling really is and how it works.
Yes, sales engagement software can lead you through the sale process step by step, telling you who to contact, how to contact them, what your odds of success are, and what you should be talking about – but at the end of the day, it’s still up to the human sales person to find the best way to make those suggestions work.
Beyond that, guided selling can help when a deal looks like it’s stuck or dead in the water. The suggestions offered, based on analysis of your data, can actually help you get a sale back on track while also ensuring everyone on your team is using the sales strategies you’ve found to be most successful.
Hopefully by this point of the article you’re realizing that a good sales engagement platform can be a real game-changer.
This type of software makes tracking all the different client contacts you have underway much easier to manage, it can also help you monitor team performance, ensure your content marketing materials are being used when appropriate, provide deep insight and guidance in how to proceed through every step of the customer journey, and also makes it easier to figure out where to focus to help your team achieve the best results.
Accent Technologies is the first and only SaaS company to bring together Sales AI and Content Management in a true REVENUE ENABLEMENT PLATFORM. We provide both sales and marketing with better visibility into the performance of their teams and their content. This drives revenue through intelligent recommendations for complex sales scenarios and provides the data for rich analytics that power better messaging, coaching, forecasting, and long-term customer support. Learn more about our solutions or request a LIVE DEMO to see it in action.
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