Sales Engagement is a Piece of Cake
Prepare for a sweet journey - with the right skills and tools
Sales and Growth
Prepare for a sweet journey - with the right skills and tools
Published : May 1, 2023
Sales and Growth
You must have heard of so many terms such as "sales engagement", "sales enablement", "sales process", and others. While so many terms may be confusing you, selling is still basically the same thing - find a product/service that other people want, provide it at a good price, and reap profit.
So, why are sales reps and sales professionals going through so many complicated sales processes to optimize interactions and achieve more revenue?
It is more difficult to reach customers now. You are not sitting in a marketplace anymore or if you are, that is not the sole place you exist.
Most businesses are on the web now and with all the noise competing for the attention of potential buyers, it is harder to engage the buyer in what you are offering. Competition is strife!
The average consumer gives you mere seconds of their attention - and in that time, it is important to be able to convey the USP of your product/service and clearly tell your customer what value it brings to their particular situation.
Here you have a definitive guide that discusses best practices to help you maximize sales engagement and improve communication with prospects.
But first, let's talk about what this phenomenon actually is.
Also Read: Social Media Retargeting: Touch Base Again
Sales engagement refers to the practice of getting into a two-sided conversation with a prospect through multiple channels, including email and social media. Through this communication, you move the potential buyer along the sales cycle: from awareness to consideration and from consideration to decision.
However, the only way sellers engage effectively with buyers is if they are experts in customer behavior and customer communication. This means that as a sales specialist, you are talking to the right person, at the right time, with the right message.
To illustrate the point, let's bring in Paul - a sales professional who is confident about the product he is selling. He believes he can score high on engagement as he knows what his software offers and point blank - he can talk up a storm.
The software has several advantages and is also attractive when it comes to price.
So, Paul goes to a large enterprise and has a meeting with the Head of Sales. He begins by introducing the product and working on piquing interest with his charming personality.
However, Paul begins his pitch by emphasizing the price of the product, which saves the enterprise maybe $200 annually. This is a negligible amount for a company that size and not a convincing point to change lead generation software. Plus, the company is already using a similar software, so they need to know key features that sets Paul's software apart.
Paul has about 15 minutes with the Head of Sales and he spends seven of those talking about the main features of the product and its price.
By the time Paul gets to saying anything important that may be a point of attraction for the client, he loses their interest. It seems like his prospects won't move on to the consideration stage - he hasn't been able to convey anything that would motivate them to consider letting go of the software they are already using.
What happened here? Paul did not send the right person, the right message, at the right time.
This company were already loyal customers of a competitor and they needed enough information to encourage them to give Paul's software a chance. Paul failed to understand the needs of his target audience and send them the right message.
Sales engagement consists of all the interactions that the seller has with the buyer through multiple channels. It involves everything from piquing the buyer's interest to providing them with more information and closing a deal.
Engaging with prospects has become easier now with sales engagement tools and other mediums that improve the sales cadence and take sales communication up a notch.
Here are a few channels, mediums, or tools that are popularly used to enhance engagement.
You have a sales engagement plan in place. You have scripts laid out, have your prospects details entered in a spreadsheet, and you are ready to make that impression.
Unfortunately, this isn't the way it works. There is much more to the mix.
Here are common mistakes sales reps and professionals are making with prospects:
No categorization of prospects
No process innovation
Picking the wrong communication channels
Using too many marketing and sales tools
Not providing sales enablement material
Treating inbound and outbounds leads the same
Using an email template repeatedly
Avoiding the use of a sales engagement platform
To improve the sales engagement process, here are a few best practices.
In the digital age, marketing teams know that the answer lies in personalization. The answer to what? The answer to succeeding at their jobs.
However, they do not always know that you need to delve deeper than that.
I personally loved the strategy Reply uses to categorize prospects: Perfect customers, Almost perfect customers, and everyone else.
Reply determines the level of personalization that their messages should have according to the category of customer they are dealing with.
Perfect customers are those that are highly likely to purchase from you, so it is important to have the right sales engagement strategy. They meet your buyer persona specifications and are currently displaying behavior that shows they may be likely to convert.
The prospects who are perfect customers deserve more attention and multiple touches of personalization.
The sales team should also reach out to them on multiple channels to ensure sales success.
The first most important channel to use to reach out is email as it is a less intrusive way to get personal with your prospects. Here are some examples of personalized emails.
This Spotify email is a great example of personalization to show the customer what they did on the app over the year and the "Guess which song is your #1?" adds that extra doze of personalization and exclusivity.
This next email from Sephora wishes the customer a Happy Birthday, mentions how many loyalty points they have, and then offers them a 15% discount.
Todoist personalizes the email when a customer is using a free trial to ensure that they are having a good experience and tell them how to make the most of the tool.
The examples above are automated personalized emails, but if you are sending cold emails and need to gather information regarding your leads, you can use predictive analytics to determine which category your lead should be in.
Accordingly, gather information about them and manually personalize emails to turn cold leads into warm leads. Here is an example of a personalized cold email.
The prospects who are almost perfect customers also deserve plenty of attention from sales reps and a high degree of personalization, but maybe a little less than perfect customers.
These are those people who do fit your buyer persona but may be lacking in one or two characteristics.
Everyone else are the people you are not sure about or who do not exactly fit the perfect customer profile, but are still worth a shot.
They definitely shouldn't be ignored. In fact, the sales team should do due diligence, but the degree of personalization in messages can be a tad bit lower than the other categories.
Sales teams should work on saving time by pushing more prospects through the sales pipeline instead of personalizing emails for people who may be at the top of the funnel. These people are not very aware or in need of the product/service at that time.
If you are not using sales engagement technology, that may not be that big of a blunder, but if your sales teams are still using the same sales process that you were using 5 years ago or even a year ago, you might be hampering customer interaction.
Phone calls may be a great way to get in touch with prospects who have already expressed an interest in your product/service but they are intrusive and not a great way to explain how your product/service attends or caters to the pain points of customers.
Direct mail used to be great, but it's not the first thing a prospect looks at every morning and it takes a while before your message is delivered.
Depending on your product/service, you might want to choose the channels you use more effectively such as using social media engagement, email, and perhaps virtual coffee meetings to discuss solutions in detail.
You can also make explainer videos to illustrate the usefulness of your product. You can first set up a meeting, follow it up with enablement material via email, and then do a quick follow up on the phone later on. On the other hand, you may begin with a phone call, send an email, follow up on social media, and then land a meeting where you close the deal.
Speaking of coffee, some sales teams ask prospects whether they would prefer tea or coffee and then have their preference delivered to them before the meeting.
While this used to work, it is now being overused by sales reps in many companies - basically, this doesn't work anymore. So it is important for sales leaders to remain top-of-the-game. Coffee may be a thing of the past now when it comes to sales meetings.
You may want to offer an Amazon gift card as a token of appreciation for their time or offer a meal voucher for after the meeting. You need to get creative when designing your sales process - and make sure it is not obsolete.
While you may want to double up on your communication efforts, this in no way means that you should try to contact your leads on all the communication channels available. Don't waste your time on channels that may not be effective or overburden your prospects with too many messages.
You might want to stick to email and LinkedIn or use a phone call and email. You can also use email followed by an offline event.
Make sure you are armed with the right sales communication material or sales enablement content and write effective messages for the channels you use rather than sending half-baked messages on multiple platforms.
How do you choose the right channels?
Pick the right communication channels according to your product/service and where your target market is likely to be found. For example, if you are a SaaS business, you might want to use email and LinkedIn. You might also add Facebook to the mix. However, you might not be as successful if you use TikTok or Snapchat.
If you are using the right tools for marketing and are also using a sales engagement platform such as Hubspot Sales Hub or Salesloft, then there is no need for sales leaders to believe that customer success means investing in more sales engagement technology.
If your sales rep has all the skills needed, rep productivity is maximized, and your sales organization has invested in sales engagement software, there is no need for more.
Don't waste time on vetting all of the sales engagement platforms or letting your sales team purchase every tool ever created to help with sales engagement.
A lot of sales engagement is about writing the right content or copy and providing the right materials to convince or persuade the potential customer. It is also about reaching them through the right channel.
However, you don't need multiple software to help with this process. Limit the use of tools so that your processes are streamlined and they offer a positive ROI.
Sometimes you have the right product, you write a message that is very convincing, and your sales engagement strategy is great.
Also, your sales engagement software ensures that you are able to get in touch with your prospects through different channels - and on autopilot.
Your product/service is a little complicated and you do not have sales enablement material to support the discussion with the potential customer.
Sometimes, you may have multiple stakeholders involved in the decision-making process and you need material to encourage customer adoption based on their particular requirements. This plays an integral part in sales communications.
Sales enablement material is essential for the sales engagement strategy and can be in the form of a sales deck, demos, videos, blogs and articles, tutorials, etc.
Your sales rep has to be equipped to answer any and all questions thrown at him/her regarding the business, the USP, and the product/service. Make sure you prepare enablement material before meetings and to support the sales cadence in the awareness stage as well.
We gave an example of Paul saying the wrong thing to the wrong company and losing a deal. In the same way, you can't treat all of your leads the same.
Inbound leads have contacted your company themselves, while outbound leads have probably been contacted by a sales rep. Therefore, they both need to be treated differently.
Outbound leads may need a little more nudging and more basic information regarding the product/service.They may be at the top of the funnel and may need to see testimonials, product tours, and thought leadership content and you may need to craft initial interaction scripts.
However, inbound leads may need content, sales decks, demos, or a sales meeting to answer particular concerns and go more in-depth. Inbound leads may be in the middle of the funnel and may now require more information to be pushed towards the bottom of the funnel and to conversion.
It is also important to note that inbound leads may not have ample information because they have contacted the business themselves and have not spoken to a sales rep yet.
Therefore, it is essential to give them more information regarding your product or service, but do remember that you have already sparked initial interest. You need to go more in depth to facilitate conversion. Sales enablement material will help here and this is where sales reps need to personalize the process.
Both leads need to be dealt with differently as adopting the same approach wouldn't be effective. They require different types of information and content to progress on the buyer's journey and they may be at different stages of the sales cycle.
If your sales reps and marketing team do not know how to write good copy or an engaging sales pitch, they probably are not very good at their job.
Re-using email templates and sending potential customers a different version of more or less the same message over and over again is one of the worst practices for customer engagement.
It is important to create a customized drip campaign and use your chosen sales engagement platform to get in touch with potential buyers at the right time. Email templates cannot give you that personalized touch.
Keeping track of the behavior of leads is important for a business so they can decipher a warm lead from a cold lead and see which leads they need to engage further with and which should be left alone. Once you have information regarding lead behavior, you can customize/personalize your messages.
Choose to personalize messages according to where the lead is in the buyer's journey. Someone further along needs more specific information, perhaps needs to see comparison charts, articles, or be given a customized pricing plan. Someone in the early stages needs an email explaining the USP, the value, and asking for permission to share more detailed information.
That is how buyer engagement is maximized.
In fact, account executives need to stay in touch with customers after making a sale as well - to ensure the business is providing great customer service and that customers are likely to purchase again.
Yes, we mentioned above that going after too much technology is also a farce but not using any at all isn't good either. You cannot engage with buyers one by one, you need to create a whole system that automatically helps you accelerate the process and helps your organization achieve customer success.
A sales engagement platform is a unified platform that allows sellers to create and implement processes that are beyond their regular customer relationship management system.
The system automates manual tasks, interprets data, and then records engagement metrics and provides results to the business so they can re-design and implement better engagement strategies. The better the sales engagement strategies, the higher the potential revenue.
Your sales engagement platform helps you target customers on different platforms. As social sales are skyrocketing, sales organizations cannot ignore social media as a platform for contacting buyers.
Phone calls, emails, and virtual demos may all be part of the package, but sellers must also re-engage on social or find their prospects on social if they have not responded on other channels. Even if someone isn't answering their phone, they are probably still posting on social or checking their email - so that's where you find them.
Sales engagement platforms make this possible by sending an email to a high-value prospect and if they do not respond to that in a particular timeframe, following up with them on Linkedin or other channels.
Sales engagement platforms are NOT CRMs, but there are other advanced functions that they take care of, such as:
Automate tasks such as message flows
Provide insights into rep productivity and performance
Tell you which sales cadence is performing better (or worse!)
Click-to-call, voicemail templates, etc.
A/B testing of messages and suggesting optimized message-sending times
Providing clear and thorough insights on your sales activities and customer behavior
Therefore, a sales engagement platform makes the professional lives of sales reps much easier and more organized.
Here are three sales engagement platforms that you can use:
This platform shows you information pertaining to your leads in one place and shows you exactly where certain deals are going. For example, if you have a demo scheduled with a certain prospect, it will tell you that. If another prospect has not replied to your last few messages, it will also highlight that so you don't waste your time on leads that may not convert.
This is a great platform for B2B businesses, but may not be a great choice for B2C businesses.
If you want to provide a highly personal experience to prospects, HippoVideo lets you create great custom videos that you can use throughout the sales process - from arousing interest to educating and then providing after-sales services.
You can also integrate HippoVideo with email marketing software to automate video messages to a whole email list and create a full-fledged video campaign.
If you aren't that keen on communicating via video, you may want to pass this option up.
Salesloft is a reliable sales engagement tool that uses AI to predict sales patterns and the probability of a certain prospect converting. It also automates communication and keeps a record of all types of communication whether on the phone, email, social, or offline.
The best part about SalesLoft is its its sales forecasting function. This is a great tool for both B2B and B2C businesses to manage their sales communication and optimize processes.
Sales plays a pivotal role in how well the business does - in fact, it plays the main role. Therefore, to ensure you strike it big with potential clients and make a strong impression, it is necessary to pay proper attention to sales engagement.
You should also pay attention to other complimentary processes with sales engagement which include content management, marketing and advertising, lead generation, and sales enablement.
Sales engagement can be a piece of cake, if you master the process, apply the skills, and create a great sales engagement strategy. It is mainly about reaching the right person, at the right time, with the right message - and doing it as quickly as possible.
Speaking of sales engagement, you need to use excellent email marketing software to ensure you use email - one of the most popular sales mediums - effectively.
Pribox has all the features required to make email marketing interactions successful - including an email verification tool and AI writing assistant.
Sign up now to start using our free plan!
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