Buyer journeys are becoming more and more complex, not to mention competitive. To stay afloat, you should maximize every interaction you make with each potential customer. You need to focus on building meaningful relationships with your prospects through consistent personal interactions.
That is exactly what sales engagement is and, coincidentally, what this Process Street post is all about.
In this article, we’ll talk about the importance of sales engagement and give you some tips on how to get started. This is a brief overview of what’s to come:
- What sales engagement means (and why you should care)
- Getting started with sales engagement in three easy steps
- Best practices for effective sales engagement
- How to use Process Street to make your sales engagement work
What sales engagement means (and why you should care)
Let’s face it, these days, it takes more than one single email or website visit to convert (and retain) a lead.
That’s why sales engagement is crucial for all businesses.
In a nutshell, sales engagement refers to the combination of all interactions between (the seller (your sales team) and the buyer (your prospect).
This includes all the interaction opportunities that take place between you and your prospect during every step of the sales process; from the initial awareness and decision making stages through to the final purchasing and aftercare stages.
Sales engagement is typically measured in time and touchpoints across different sales channels, e.g. emails, phone calls, social media, or even direct mail.
This means that every email you send, every call you make, and every comment you post on LinkedIn will bring you one step closer to engaging that prospect.
While these types of interactions might seem insignificant, it’s these small exchanges that define the success of your sales process and help you build strong customer relationships in the long term.
According to this Gallup study, sales engagement can also offer companies:
- a 63% lower customer attrition rate
- a 55% higher share of wallet
- a 50% increase in productivity
On top of that, using a sales engagement platform (SEP) can boost your sales team’s efficiency through process automation and process optimization, driving up to 329% return on investment within three years.
To make the most of your sales engagement efforts, you’ll need to start with a solid foundation and understand how to implement and optimize it within your sales team.
Getting started with sales engagement in three easy steps
In sales, half of your success depends on how well you’ve prepared. The research, planning, and set up – all the work that usually happens behind the scenes – plays an important role in your sales engagement process.
Below are the three essential steps to help you get started with sales engagement.
Step 1: Preparation
This step involves laying down a solid foundation for your sales engagement efforts. This includes allocating specific roles and responsibilities to team members, mapping out the strategy, creating content, and choosing the right tools to help you orchestrate the sales engagement process.
Let’s go through these in more detail.
Allocating roles and tasks
Regardless of the number of team members you have, each sales rep should understand their role and be responsible for specific tasks within the sales engagement process.
As an example, this is how it works at Reply.
Our sales development representatives (SDRs) work together with the marketing team to find leads and put them into the sales funnel. Specifically, they are responsible for the research and initial prospecting.
Once the prospect responds to the outreach, our SDRs hand them over to the sales managers who conduct the demos and negotiate the terms of the deal.
After the prospect signs up for our product, it’s the customer success teams (or in some other businesses – account manager’s) task to make sure the lead stays with us and remains a paying customer.
Pro tip: Encourage regular communication and collaboration between your sales and marketing team to ensure your efforts are consistent throughout the process.
Building a high-level strategy
Now your roles and responsibilities have been assigned, you can start planning your engagement strategy.
First off, you need to identify your buyer persona – a generalized image of a hypothetical customer that’s a perfect fit for your product or company.
For example, this is one of the buyer personas we’ve been targeting in our sales engagement strategy: C-level, VP of sales, or SDR leader at a US-based computer software or SaaS company (11-200 employees)
Knowing who you’re going to target helps you map out their typical buyer journey and spot the key touchpoints that can make or break their journey to becoming your customer.
To do that, consider all the channels you use (or the ones you should use) to communicate with prospects and come up with channel appropriate messaging for each buyer persona.
Our team builds our sales engagement strategy around these three key channels:
- Email (manual or automated)
- Phone (calls or voicemail)
- Social media (mostly LinkedIn)
We also add suitable personalized touches to the sequence, like in-person meetings at events, or blog post comments, as well as account-based marketing (ABM) tactics, like campaign-specific ads on LinkedIn, Google, or Facebook.
Pro tip: You can adjust the number and order of the given steps, their timing, and frequency, within your sales engagement strategy, depending on your audience and industry.
According to research, 90% of B2B sellers find that the sales collateral they are given is irrelevant, outdated, or difficult to customize.
As a result, they spend around 22% of their time (which equates to 440 hours per year) looking for the right content to engage their prospects.
To avoid that, think of the content you might need, depending on your chosen sales engagement channels.
This might include email templates and call scripts for cold outreach, or marketing collateral like blog posts, whitepapers, and video content that you can share with prospects.
When crafting your messages, make sure you pick the right approach and personalize it for your target audience.
Below are three Process Street templates that you can use to help you get your sales email and outreach messaging right.
Sales Email Sequence Process
Lead Nurturing Email Sequence Process
Cold Email Checklist for Sales Process
To get these templates, log in and them to your account. If you’re not yet a Process Street user, sign up for a free trial.
Pro tip: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket – A/B test your outreach campaign using different email templates, subject lines, variables, or calls to action to see which approach works best.
Choosing the tools
As the number of sales engagement channels grows (as well as the number of touchpoints required to reach a prospect), it’s becoming increasingly harder to keep track of all your engagement activities and prospect interactions.
This is where sales engagement software comes in handy.
A dedicated sales engagement platform (SEP) can not only help you orchestrate your planned activities across all your different channels, but it can also measure the efficiency of each channel by keeping track of all your prospect interactions.
When choosing your SEP, some of the critical aspects to pay attention to are:
- Supported communication channels
- Content management and advanced personalization
- Automation capabilities
- Scalability of the platform in terms of features and capacity
- Available integrations with other sales tools in your stack
- Performance analytics (for both the team performance and prospect activity)
Aside from that, make sure you check out un-biased user reviews on platforms like Capterra and look at software catalogs, like G2, that allow for a convenient side-by-side comparison of your shortlisted SEPs.
Step 2: Implementation
Once you have your foundations built and your channels, messaging, and platform sorted, you can move onto implementing your sales engagement strategy by creating a sales cadence.
“A sales cadence is a sequence of touchpoints with a prospect to establish a connection for an engagement or a sale. It is typically a schedule for sales reps to follow up with each prospect via phone, email, social media channels, etc…” – Sales Cadence: What is it and how to do it right, Freshworks
Start by deciding the order of the steps in your sequence and choosing the appropriate time and frequency for each of your touchpoints.
Below are two examples of a sales cadence that you can use for inspiration:
A 10-day sales cadence:
This is a short, slightly aggressive sales cadence example, which is spread out over the course of ten days:
Day 1. Phone call / Voicemail
Day 3. Automated email & LinkedIn engagement (eg. connection request, profile view, etc…)
Day 5. Personalized email & voicemail
Day 7. Phone call / Voicemail & LinkedIn engagement
Day 10. Breakup email & LinkedIn engagement
A 14-day sales cadence:
This sequence is less aggressive than the above example, and sales engagement activity is carried out over 14 days:
Day 1. Social touch & personalized email
Day 2. Social touch
Day 3. Voicemail
Day 6. Voicemail & automated email
Day 11. Automated email & phone call
Day 14. Phone call & breakup email
Pro tip: To find the framework that works best for you, break your audience into smaller segments and try different approaches for each one of them.
Now you’ve established your sequence steps, time, and frequency, you can move onto the technical setup of your sales cadence, using your chosen SEP.
Most platforms make it quick and easy to build out a sequence. In our experience, it usually takes us about an hour to get a sequence set-up and running; all we do is upload our contact list, create the required steps, add content for each one, apply the schedule, and hit launch.
Couldn’t be simpler!
Step 3: Optimization
Once your sales engagement strategy is live, it’s time to track and analyze its performance.
By making sense of the data in your campaign reports, you can source actionable insights on its effectiveness and optimize your strategy accordingly.
This is also another good reason to start using a sales engagement platform. SEP’s allow you to keep track of key campaign metrics, such as delivery statistics and open rates.
For example, this is a dashboard snapshot from one of our recent campaigns:
So, as you can see: 97% of our emails were delivered successfully, 79% were opened and 15% were interested in our offering.
The more data your platform provides – the better insights you can get about your prospect’s behavior.
Keep an eye on how the prospects react to each touchpoint within your sales engagement sequence and how they interact with the content you’re sharing. This can help you identify any flaws in your strategy and optimize it for better performance in the future.
It’s a common misconception to think of sales engagement as a one-time thing. A top-performing sequence might not be as effective in a year’s time; using the same template over and over again for months will only get you so far.
So, don’t let your sales engagement strategy get stale. Make sure to review it regularly and adjust it to the ever-changing market requirements, add new tools, try other channels, and experiment with the messaging.
Try using this Process for Optimizing a Process checklist to help you analyze and improve your sales engagement sequence:
You can use this to define which sequence you want to optimize, measure how it performs, analyze how it can be optimized, decide how to improve it, and then implement the improvements, with a plan to measure it and review it again in the future.
Best practices for effective sales engagement
Sales engagement clearly plays an integral part in any sales process.
Regardless of what industry you’re in, the products you offer, or who you’re trying to target, it’s important to focus on building meaningful, human connections with your prospects.
Yet, there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy to do that.
The winning approach might vary, but there are three key elements that should remain a constant consideration in every sales engagement strategy.
Sales engagement strategy key element #1. Sales and marketing alignment
It takes a combined effort and a 100% alignment between your sales and marketing team to build and execute an effective engagement strategy.
After all, 70% of the buyer’s journey happens before they make their first contact with the sales team. Your sales engagement strategy is probably already running in the background, attracting prospects, long before you’re even aware there may be a new lead.
That’s why it’s so important to keep your messaging consistent across all channels.
Also, full alignment between the sales and marketing teams is the only way to ensure a seamless prospect hand-over, without disrupting the buyer experience.
Sales engagement strategy key element #2. Personalization
According to the CMO Council, irrelevant content is the number one reason for lost engagement between brands and buyers and, according to VisualizeROI, 57% of businesses say high-quality content is their top driver of sales.
This is why you should identify your buyer persona’s early on, during the preparation stage – before working on your strategy and content.
Knowing exactly who your prospects are and what they want can help you create tailored, personal buyer experiences, and deliver value through every interaction with them.
Sales engagement strategy key element #3. Automation
Aside from personalization, top-performing organizations are also twice as likely to automate their sales processes. And outreach itself, especially the follow-ups, should be at the top of your list when it comes to automation.
By automating the outreach process, you can speed up your sales engagement while reducing the operational costs and significantly boost its success rate.
To find out more, watch this webinar, hosted by Process Street, about automating processes:
How to use Process Street to make your sales engagement work
In our experience, sales engagement has turned out to be an amazing tactic offering tons of tangible, long-term benefits. It’s more than another ‘buzzword’ or a one-off experiment to quickly boost your conversions.
Sales engagement can be a valuable investment in your long-term growth strategy; from building an extensive pool of sales opportunities to nurturing personal relationships with your prospects, and eventually turning them into loyal, returning customers.
I’ve given you access to four Process Street templates, throughout this post, that will help you create, implement, and maintain a successful sales engagement strategy.
But who is Process Street? I hear you ask.
Process Street is super-powered checklists. We are state-of-the-art Business Process Management (BPM) software that helps you manage your processes and workflows effortlessly.
Watch this short introductory video, or read this help article on getting started with Process Street to find out a little more:
So, as you can see, Process Steet allows you to create templates and run individual checklists from each one. You can create tasks, assign them to team members, send them for approval, and even connect them to thousands of apps via Zapier, webhooks, or API integration, to automate your processes and save yourself heaps of time.
Check out these added features that you can use to get the maximum benefit out of your templates and checklists:
- Stop tasks
- Dynamic due dates
- Task permissions
- Conditional logic
- Approval tasks
- Embed widget
- Role assignments
A tool like Process Street is one of the best ways to help you manage your sales engagement. Find out more by casting your eyes over these related articles.
Sales engagement related articles
- 10 Ways to Use Personalized Marketing to Boost Your SaaS Sales
- Outlook Add-ins for Sales: How to Best Convert Prospects into Customers
- Learn How to Sell: Sales Basics With Champion Jeffrey Gitomer
- The Most Effective Sales Negotiation Skills to Boost Customer Satisfaction
- How Global Ag Input Solutions Uses Process Street to Communicate With Sales
- 9 Tips to Improve Sales Process Adoption in Your Organization
- 7 Reasons Why Social Selling Is A Must For Every Salesperson
- What is Conversion Rate Optimization? 5 CRO Hacks to Boost E-Commerce Sales
- 3 Ways To Save Time and Automate Your Sales Process
- Ten Ways Sales Managers Can Motivate and Inspire Their Teams
- How To Handle Sales With Fewer Employees
- How to build a scalable sales process (Q&A webinar)
- 100+ Sales Statistics to Drive Your Strategy
From working through your sales cadence to optimizing your sales engagement strategy, creating sales engagement processes that the whole team can access, follow, and improve over time, will not only save you time and effort, but it will also allow you to focus on the things that matter. Tasks like prioritizing the quality of your prospect contacts, keeping your communication consistent and personal (even at scale!), and reviewing and improving your processes time and time again!
We’d love to hear about your sales engagement tips, tricks, and techniques in the comments below. Who knows? You may even get featured in an upcoming article!