Sales engagement platforms have become a competitive advantage. Research shows that today’s top-performing sales reps use data, intelligence, and productivity tools 30% more than average performers. Whether it’s to gain visibility into pipeline activity or decrease ramp time, sales engagement platforms provide an opportunity to improve efficiency and lead to sustained growth and profitability.
For many organizations, purchasing a sales engagement solution is uncharted territory. As more companies look to adopt sales engagement platforms to manage their leads and prospects, they are quickly realizing there is more to it than an average technology purchase. To make your investment in a sales engagement platform successful, it’s vital that you understand what functionality your sales team needs.
Here are five things every organization should consider when deploying a sales engagement platform.
5 Considerations When Deploying a Sales Engagement Platform
1. Your Lead Management Process (Is There One?)
There’s no shortage of research sharing staggering statistics around the benefits of sales engagement solutions. However, research also shows that many sales organizations have not yet achieved a level of process maturity. Therefore, they are not realizing the full value of their investment in sales engagement.
I’ve met with numerous sales teams that are paying significant amounts for technology but using it at a low capacity. It’s like spending $1,200 for an iPhone XS, but only using it to make calls. (Is that even part of its function anymore?)
Organizations are well-served by developing and analyzing a formal lead management process. This alone will help you maximize the return on your investment. It’s a great practice to whiteboard your process out and then formally document it for all involved departments to review.
Before diving into a sales engagement platform, consider the following:
- Develop buyer personas. Identify your ideal customers and what their buying questions are. In understanding their common pain points and areas of interest, you can develop the right materials to address them.
- Create cadences for personas. Personas represent individuals. Individuals have different needs, which you can tailor your communications to with cadences. Start small then grow it.
- Set up lead scoring criteria. A points-based system helps move leads down the funnel when the timing is right. Leads accumulate points for behavior and demographics such as persona type, engagement, buying stage, and velocity.
Once these process areas are developed, a sales engagement platform will be easier to successfully set up. Conversely, not having these processes in place before an implementation leaves you with very little to automate.
2. Your Team’s Skills
Implementing any new technology is usually met with a groan. However, doesn’t have to be painful, but definitely needs to be strategic. Lining up the right people that possess specific skillsets helps the process go smoothly.
Here are the resources I recommend enlisting:
- SalesForce Admin: This person is invaluable to help with field configuration and building report/dashboards from platform data.
- IT/Security Team: It’s not sexy, but you’ll be in pain without this team to configure VoIP network, enable SSO, etc.
- Marketing Team: This team should be deeply involved with the creation of cadences using persona-specific content. Marketing also plays a role in ensuring the flow of inbound leads is accurate.
- Sales Manager(s): Responsible for ongoing maintenance of cadences. In general, cadence structure should be consistent over time, with the exception of deliberate changes made as a result of testing. Content, however, needs to be updated on a quarterly basis, or more frequently, based on necessity.
- Sales Enablement: This function ensures the ongoing success of a sales engagement platform, which will capture much of the information, content, and tools used to help salespeople sell more effectively.
3. Your Content Strategy
It’s imperative that you have relevant content that will foster dialogue along each stage of the buying cycle. Dust off your sales playbook, review your sales process, and get feedback from sales leadership. Gather all existing email templates and examine them critically. Sit down with your marketing content strategist and review existing materials (eBooks, case studies, blog posts, testimonials, etc).
Your goal throughout this process is to ensure that your messaging and content are up to date and reflective of your go-to-market strategy. Inevitably, you will identify some content gaps. Work with the appropriate team to fill those holes so that your sales team is properly armed.
Once the legwork is done, my suggestion is to start simple. Remember this KISS principle? Start with a simple cadence and set a goal to build out more in the coming months. Keep yourself accountable, but don’t overcomplicate it and risk getting burned out up front.
4. Your Change Management Rollout
Change requires strategy, communication, and buy-in to be successful. If salespeople sense that a change may be a burden, it will negatively impact adoption. Selling the benefits of a new technology is an important aspect of change management.
Consider creating in a small group of advocates from the sales team provides an opportunity for leadership to receive feedback and refine future communication before it reaches the rest of the organization. This select group intimately understands their team and the frustrations associated with change. They can help develop talking points and ask questions that leadership may not have considered, which provides insight into potential roadblocks.
Collaborate with your implementation team on the technology training agenda. If you’re using SalesLoft, your Onboarding Consultant will do the majority of the education work for you. An interactive training helps reps retain the information as you walk them through using templates, launching cadences, and best practices.
5. The Big Picture
As you consider a sales engagement platform, take an honest look at your current state. Examine your sales process, available solutions, their complexity, and the KPIs. The maturity of your sales operation matters. Any sales technology is only as good as the people, communications, and processes you have in place. Otherwise, you’ll be paying for a service that you’re not using — but you should be!
There are a lot of considerations when it comes to selecting the right sales engagement solution. Know your ideal customer, enlist the right people to help strategize, and track the metrics that matter. If you do these things, you will be on the right track to successfully deploying a sales engagement platform… and to building a killer foundation that leads to sustained growth and profitability.
To make your investment in a sales engagement platform successful, it’s vital that you understand what functionality your sales team needs. Here are five things sales leaders should consider.
Looking for more on what top performing sales professionals are doing to succeed? Don’t miss this new TOPO research!