If the past six months haven’t convinced you that you need to digitize your processes, then I’m not going to try to convince you of that here. Simply putting your head in the sand and waiting for the pandemic to end will leave your business highly vulnerable now and after the pandemic. Your competitors now understand that sales, marketing and support need to be digitally mediated. Instead of trying to convince you of this, I’m going to skip the digital strategy pitch and offer multiple digital strategies for revenue teams to consider.
Sales Engagement platform help unify your communications across all of your revenue teams. Sales Engagement platforms support
Automated Cadences that schedule multi-channel communications across email, voice, social, and direct mail. Features include e-mail templates, phone scripts, playbooks, click dialers, power dialers, voice mail drops, inbound call routing and alerting, and LinkedIn SNAP integrations.
A/B testing for refining your email templates and cadences.
Reporting and analytics for tracking remote sales performance, analyzing message performance, and identifying what coaching individual reps need to elevate their performance
Account Prioritization which dynamically adjust call/email lists throughout the day.
Next Best Actions for moving accounts forward and identifying strategic gaps and risks
Sales Coaching for both reps and managers
Integrated Meeting Scheduling
Some vendors have Meeting Analytics built into their service (Outreach KAIA and SalesLoft) while others partner with conversation intelligence vendors. Calls are recorded, transcribed, indexed, and analyzed; allowing sales reps to be more present during meetings. AI-based real-time analysis provides live coaching during calls with recommendations and short advice cards.
Integrated Partnerships for conversation intelligence, social media integration, e-gifting, video, chat, etc. Some vendors have formal app partners (Outreach Galaxy, SalesLoft App Directory) while others integrate a smaller set of partners without building a formal partner ecosystem.
While they initially focused on the SDR team, Sales Engagement platforms now support the full revenue team including account executives, managers, operations, and customer success.
Sales Engagement solutions require significant training and setup, so if you are considering them now, you need to act quickly to have one in place by December.
Sales reps are expected to keep track of their activities (both previous activities and future tasks). Fortunately, Sales Engagement Platforms (SEPs) such as Outreach, SalesLoft, VanillaSoft, XANT, Yesware, and ConnectLeader do most of this automatically. As touches are completed, they are automatically logged to the SEP and synced with the CRM. The SEP also tracks outcomes (call answered, voicemail drop, email view, email click-through, etc.), records and analyzes calls, and offers recommendations (best practices, next best actions).
This is a fairly new category of software which is mostly used in technology sales but beginning to extend into other B2B categories. Initial functionality focused on Sales Development Reps (SDRs) but richer functionality is being added which assists all sales positions.
These platforms set up cadences / sequences of planned activities that include email, phone, social, text, inbound, etc. Throughout the day, the system recommends the next best action. Because much of the work is scheduled by cadences, reps do not need to record most follow up tasks. Cadences include A/B tested email templates, scripts, and schedules so reps can be confident that they are employing a tested strategy. Email personalization is encouraged to improve click through rates and convey authenticity.
Recording, Transcription, and Analysis of calls and video meetings. Key moments are indexed for review (e.g. Next Steps, Pricing, Competitors, Feature Analysis, Talk Length and Ratios, Junk Words, etc.) and coaching. Call snippets may be forward to managers for questions (How should I handle this situation next time? Can we support this request?). They can also be forwarded to customer support (what is the status on this problem? Could you open a ticket?) and customer success (Is this feature supported?). Some vendors even support video libraries for training and coaching purposes.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator (SNAP) integrations
Cadence Pause (e.g. out of office) and Stop (e.g. Meeting set)
A/B testing and analytics for Sales and Marketing Operations
Opt-out tracking in general (do not contact) and specific (do not contact via text or phone, but email is OK).
If you are interested in evaluating SEPs, I wrote an overview that discusses the value proposition, key features, and questions to ask vendors.
Clari is the latest vendor to join the SalesLoft app directory of over fifty partners. Clari’s Connected Revenue Operations Platform “automatically tracks sales activity data and engagement for your entire revenue operations team so you can measure the health of your pipeline and forecast more accurately,” announced SalesLoft. “Increased signal intelligence helps reps and managers understand which opportunities are trending in the right direction, and which can use more engagement to drive them forward.”
engine analyzes SalesLoft engagement activity including email opens, calls made, and LinkedIn messaging to help “reps focus on
the right deals and managers make more accurate forecasts.”
noted that the buyer’s journey is complex with enterprise deals touching eight
buyers and influencers at enterprise prospects. Thus, “it can be tough to
know what activities have occurred with which personas and even tougher to know
which activities to attempt next to move the needle.”
joint solution provides a single pane of glass for assessing sales rep
activities, determining which activities move deals forward, and planning for
“Too often, go-to-market teams operate in disconnected silos. We’re fixing this by using AI and automation to connect real-time business activity with back-office systems and processes so teams spend less time entering data, and sales, marketing, and customer success are always on the same page. Bridging these silos makes every campaign, QBR [Quarterly Business Review], and forecast call more data-driven and actionable.”
Clari CEO Andy Byrne
Besides SalesLoft, Clari application partners include Outreach, Yesware, LinkedIn Sales Navigator, DiscoverOrg, Salesforce, Marketo, Slack, Gmail, and Outlook.