The most vital component of the sales process is engaging prospects and potential customers. However, you must ensure that you follow the right sales engagement approach.
The path to successful sales engagement involves various bottlenecks and challenges. From communication inefficiencies to reduced visibility in remote settings, improving the productivity and outcomes of customer-facing and revenue-generating teams can be a complex affair.
Thankfully, the correct sales engagement platform can empower your sales teams with the right tools to drive efficiency and productivity to attain desirable outcomes.
But before we start discussing sales engagement software or platforms, let's first discuss what sales engagement is. And what best practices can you incorporate to make the sales engagement process successful?
What Is Sales Engagement?
Sales engagement can be defined as the process of interacting and establishing valuable relationships with your potential customers during the sales pipeline.
- Sales engagement encompasses performing research, connecting, nurturing, establishing relationships, and closing deals with qualified leads.
- Simply, successful sales engagement represents a step-by-step approach or workflow that enables the sales team to close a deal and generate revenue for your business.
6 Phases in the Sales Engagement Process
Engagement in the sales process begins with strategizing a comprehensive engagement plan. The sales engagement plan should highlight the pain points you are trying to address and the techniques your sales team will apply to generate quality leads, influencing them and offering a valuable solution to the particular pain point.
Since sales engagement involves a structured process, it is also popularly known as the sales engagement model.
In the planning stage, the entire team prepares a blueprint for executing the sales engagement process.
The planning stage of the sales engagement is where your entire sales team comes together to figure out what you're going to do. You can use these few questions to determine your goals.
- What are your sales engagement goals?
- How will you measure success?
- Who are the key players involved in the particular sales engagement project?
- What resources do you have access to?
- What is the timeline for this project?
Prospecting and Researching
Gather correct information on the target audience before establishing the first touch point. This phase may include a series of questions and answers to understand the target audience's psychology.
Prospecting is the process of finding new opportunities. Researching is the process of gathering information about them.
In sales, these two processes are combined to form a strong pipeline of potential customers for your business. Prospecting is the first step in your overall sales strategy, but it's not enough by itself—you need to research your prospects before you can close them.
You can use lead bots and social media outreach activities to search for ideal leads.
In the research process you can use the following questions to dig deeper into your lead psyche:
- What your potential customer wants and how they want it?
- How much are they willing to spend on that product or service and what’s their budget?
- Will they buy from you or someone else? What’s your competitive situation? What’s the existing relationship of your lead with your competitor companies?
First touchpoint made by the SDR or first personalized presentation of your service to the client.
- The first pitch is a critical part of any sales engagement. It's the beginning of your relationship with your customer, and it sets the tone for all future interactions.
- The first pitch is traditionally used to introduce yourself and your product or service. It's an opportunity to show the world who you are and what you have to offer, so make sure that it's engaging, interesting, and relatable.
- The first pitch should be short and sweet. But it should include at least three different components: a description of your company; an explanation of how your product or service works; and an example of how it can be used (maybe an example of how it will help them solve their problem).
Lead nurturing is the process of Influencing the prospect about your product with valuable information and education insights.
- It involves engaging and building relationships with potential clients. It's a great way to get your prospects' attention and make them feel like you're genuinely interested in them as a person, rather than just another number.
- Lead nurturing can be a simple email sent out to introduce yourself, or it can be an elaborate process that involves many different touch points and interactions with your prospects. It all depends on what you want to accomplish with the lead—and which of your goals are most important.
- When you nurture leads effectively, they're more likely to become active buyers; when they do become active buyers, they're more likely to stick around as repeat customers and referrals for your business.
Closure is a critical element of the sales process. When the prospect is absolutely confident about your product, they may want to purchase your product.
It's when you get your customer to say yes, and it's when they're committed to doing business with you. That translates into successful closure.
The successful closure has four key elements:
- The customer feeling understood
- The customer feeling valued
- The customer feeling ready to buy
- The customer being willing to pay for the product or service
Here a quick example of the steps you can follow in the closure phase of the sales engagement process:
- Presentation: You need to clearly explain what you can do for your client and why it's in their best interest to work with you. This includes highlighting features of your product or service that make it unique, as well as showing how it will benefit their business.
- Estimate: After presenting the benefits, you'll need to provide an estimate on how much time it will take to complete this project. This should also include any follow-up tasks that might be needed after delivery has been completed.
- Ask: Once all of these details have been covered and agreed upon by both parties, it's time for final questions about how long things will take before delivery begins!
However, if a lead doesn't convert into a customer, you can tag it as a failed closure. Many sales engagement platforms such as Sales Simplify helps you enlist the reasons for failed closure to upgrade and improve engagement strategies in the future.
Here, irrespective of the outcome (successful or failed closure), the SDR collects reviews from the prospect to improve the product or the next approach respectively.
This can be done in multiple ways: through surveys or questionnaires, as part of a sales conversation, or even through text messaging.
For business leaders, sales managers, and SDEs, a sales engagement platform offers valuable insights to increase the momentum of the sales process. A quality sales engagement tool can streamline workflows across various engagement stages and models to help individual reps improve productivity.
This video gives a quick outlook on how Sales Simplify can streamline your sale engagement workflow:
Why Is Sales Engagement Important for Your Business?
After understanding the concept of the sales engagement process and the various phases involved, let's take a look at how this process can be beneficial for a business.
Improved Lead Nurturing
Planning is the cornerstone of success. With a centralized sales engagement process in place, the sales representatives can proceed with lead interaction and nurturing in a streamlined way.
Ultimately, strategized lead nurturing will translate into better chances of conversion and more profit.
Proactive and Personalized Communication
The most vital component of sales engagement is communication. A sales representative can introduce personalized aspects during interaction by performing extensive research on particular prospects.
Having a predefined sales plan makes the advanced workflows for optimized sales interaction simpler and easier. Additionally, there are several automation tools such as Sales Simplify that can assist your team with personalization in the sales engagement process.
Helps in Enhanced Revenue Generation
A well-planned and strategically conceptualized sales engagement process can assist your team in accelerating the sales cycle. better selves interactions leads to effective pitching, improved lead nurturing, enhanced customer satisfaction and ultimately more conversions.
Consequently, with the smooth sales cycle you can easily scale up your business. Furthermore, integrating a sales engagement software will ensure increased productivity of your sales representatives and translate into generating more revenue for your business.
To unlock all the benefits of the sales engagement process, it is essential that you incorporate a comprehensive sales engagement tool and follow the best practices.
Sales Enablement vs. Sales Engagement
By definition, sales enablement is the process of conceptualization, arrangement, and careful formation of the entire sales team through a proactive process. The sales team is developed with the aim of generating profit for your business.
The sales enablement process involves the following:
- Recruitment of qualified sales professionals
- Training, upskilling, and motivating them about the organization's values and existing sales procedures.
- Onboarding sales professionals to essential sales platforms.
In comparison, the sales engagement process is executed by sales reps. As mentioned in the sales engagement definition previously, it is totally dedicated to valuable-exchange interaction and getting the best outcome from their prospects.
The sales engagement process is directly related to the sales enablement process. Therefore, from an organizational perspective, sales engagement is an external process, while the sales enablement process is an internal workflow.
What's a Sales Engagement Platform?
Sales engagement platforms are the digital softwares or tools that help sales reps interact with potential customers.
They can be used to track leads and nurture them, as well as send messages and manage conversations.
Sales engagement platforms help companies to track their sales pipeline, engage with leads more effectively, and make sure that they're interacting with the right prospect/ customer at the right time.
Evolution of Sales Engagement Platforms
- Previously, sales representatives were empowered and trained using marketing automation tools and CRM platforms. Although these tools streamlined the sales process to a certain extent, it wasn't the ultimate solution.
- After all, CRM and marketing automation tools weren't uniquely built for the sales engagement process. Armed their reps with CRM systems and marketing automation software to support their efforts.
- Enter a newer and more advanced technology solely built for sales engagement-- sales engagement platform (SEP). SEP tool offers 360 degrees solutions in the data process.
- Sales Engagement tools like "Sales Simplify" enhance existing workflows, streamline client and team communications, improve productivity, and more—all under a single umbrella.
- SEPs offer several functionalities and automation tools that save time. Your sales representatives will have more time to dedicate efforts toward things that require critical thinking.
What Factors to Consider While Selecting a Sales Engagement Platform?
While selecting a sales engagement platform, remember not all sales engagement platforms are created the same. Consider the following vital elements:
Easy Integration With Existing Systems
The tool should allow you to integrate your existing sales tools, such as email, CRM, monitoring, storage, and billing software.
You can easily access everything under the same roof with the requirement to switch between myriad tools. The tools should allow you to import data from your existing database.
Strategic Outreach Tools
A robust sales engagement platform should make the process of reaching and engaging prospects easy.
It should provide your teams with the right gear to track successful and junk leads, navigate easily through the sales engagement process, automate sales actions, schedule follow-ups, and much more.
In fact. modern sales engagement platforms like Sales Simplify allows you to manage all sales engagement activities in one place with built-in CRM and automation.
Create an account with the required credentials:
Click on the activity tab to add a sales engagement activity.
In the deals tab, you can easily use the drag and drop features to navigate between the pipeline and get a comprehensive view of the deal:
Insightful Analytical Functionalities
Select a SEP that tracks data across individual sales activities. With insightful datasets, your sales team can easily evaluate if they're conducting enough sales activities, if their sales approach is working, and what elements they need to modify for better outcomes.
In the Sales Simplify platform, you can customize dashboards, create reports, and include sales targets in the analytics section. Here's a quick overview of the analytics functionalities:
6 Practical Sales Engagement Tips
Understand Your Customer and Their Needs
To ensure a successful conversion through sales engagement, you need two elements of understanding.
- What's your target audience's main point? How can your product address the challenge?
- Making the customers aware of why they absolutely need your product? Who else has purchased it? What is the current price offered by the competition? Your product's USP, etc.
Sales Simplify has a dedicated "notes" section for each lead where you can add important research findings for sales engagement.
Always Keep Your Customers Informed
Don't hide information from your customers. Hiding information might backfire with reputational damages in the industry.
Whether there's a policy change, upgradation of the product feature, modified pricing, etc., keep your customers informed.
Provide Adequate Training to Your Sales Team
No matter how excellent your product or service is, if your sales team isn't up to the mark, you're going to have a hard time making sales. That's why it's important to invest in training your sales team.
Training your sales team differs from one enterprise to another depending on your organizational values and business requirements. But every business should focus on the following training:
- In-depth knowledge of the product
- Building valuable customer relationships
- The art of closing deals
- Technical expertise to smoothly operate the sales software
- Researching competitors
- Handling objections and criticism.
The best engagement platforms don't just empower your business with software tools. These platforms such as Sales Simplify also come with a gallery of educational videos to train your SDRs on the basics of sales engagement.
Address Customer Concerns Quickly
Want to keep your prospects happy? Solve their issues or address their queries at the earliest. A quick resolution will keep them engaged with your company. Results? Happy and satisfied prospects. They'll be more inclined to purchase your product in the future.
Send Personalized Follow-Up Emails
Your research will go in vain if you don’t spice up your emails with personalization. A slight garnish of personal touch can make your prospect feel special and more inclined to invest in the deal.
A report by Statista, highlights that email personalization can incredibly improve email open rate by 18.8% and CTR (click through rate) by 2.1%.
Isn’t that a great start for your business?
Sign-Up With a Community
In the sales engagement realm staying updated is of utmost importance. Being a part of the community helps you with the following:
- Learn personalized hacks for sales engagement
- Connect with sales veterans
- Build your personal brand
- Get access to best sales engagement resources
For example, at Sales Simplify, we help sales people connect with each other and learn by joining our community Salesbyte. BTW, if you don't mind learning good things in sales and connecting with some incredible sales experts, I invite you as well to join!
Future of Sales Engagement
So what does the future of sales engagement look like? Which components of sales engagement should you focus on to improve your outreach efforts.
- Subject line MATTERS. So keep your subject line relevant, crisp and clever. Data published in Superoffice shows that 33% of people open emails based on the subject line alone.
- While social media platforms are great choices for lead engagement, email still wins the race. Email is noted to be almost 40 times better at acquiring new customers than popular social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter. (The Brevet Group)
- Another amazing use of social media is for researching prospects and their businesses. Infact, 55% of sales professionals utilize social media for research purposes.
Sales engagement landscape is evolving and transforming. You can leverage these future and trending sales statics to tailor your sales engagement strategy.
Practical Sales Engagement Process Examples
Several research and industry experts experienced that it takes minimum 6 touch points to make a lead genuinely interested in your product.
Here are a few templates and practical examples to get you started:
Example 1: Petco
Petco did an amazing job with their customized “Welcome Message”. Their open rate saw a 50% increase!
Example 2: Prose
Prose did a fantastic engagement outreach with value based email engagement. Value based email engagements are great for lead nurturing and improving customer loyalty.
Example 3: Flipkart
Flipkart knows how to nail the email subject line. Crisp, clear and on-point!! AS mentioned previously, enticing email subject line can immensely improve open rate:
Example 4: LinkedIn
LinkedIn leverages its own platform to engage with new prospects and new customers. Similarly other platforms can also use LinkedIn to present an introductory message about service and offerings. The strategically placed CTAs can be a game-changer!
Example 5: Hotstar
A marvelous sales engagement outreach by Hotstar!! Here they combined hyper-personalization with correct timing to entice leads to sign-up for paid plans.
Frequently Asked Questions on Sales Engagement
Who uses sales engagement platforms?
While Sales teams can derive immense value from sales engagement software, the leadership, marketing, customer success, and account management teams can derive precious insights from the sales platforms.
For example, leaders can evaluate the reasons for the deal loss and implement steps to improve outcomes. Marketing teams can benefit from customer persona research.
Are sales engagement software just fancy sales activity trackers?
The new-age sales engagement platform activity tracking is just the tip of the iceberg. You can do so much more with a sales platform. From importing existing data to automating workflow--- a plethora of features and functionalities awaits to be explored.
What is the difference between sales enablement and sales engagement?
Sales enablement involves supporting and empowering the sales team. But sales engagement deals with cultivating, maintaining and optimizing customer interactions. Sales engagement improves prospect-seller bonding through strategic communication, data-driven insights, and feedback.
Overcome your Sales Engagement Roadblocks with Sales Simplify
The goal of using workflows and other practical features such as activity creation and tracking, task execution, cadence automation, analytics, and multi-channel integration is to help your sales reps generate valuable one-on-one conversations throughout the potential customer's journey—and do it seamlessly at scale.
Wondering about how to empower your sales team for better engagement? Try Sales Simplify for free!