You’re looking for a sales engagement platform that helps you book more meetings, but also need to find something that allows you to be flexible and try things out. So where do you even start?
In this article you’ll learn:
- What a sales engagement platform is
- Why it’s indispensable for sales reps
- What to look for in sales engagement tools (+ what 🚩🚩 to keep an eye on)
- And as always, real sales engagement examples!
Allez, let’s go!
What is a sales engagement platform?
Sales engagement is the actions a sales rep takes to engage potential buyers in a conversation. This includes multichannel outreach through email, calls, and social channels, with a combination of automation and personalization to create the most efficient sales cycle possible.
Generally, people turn to sales engagement platforms and tools to make this possible.
If you try to manage all of this yourself you will drive yourself crazy between all the channels, personalization, and backend management.
But seriously, it's not as scary as it seems. Sales engagement platforms are here to make sales managers and sales reps lives a heck of a lot easier.
Benefits of a sales engagement platform
When you're looking for a software you're usually trying to find one of two things: it makes you money or saves you time.
The huge benefit of sales engagement tools is that they do both.
Increase your sales with multichannel prospecting
Let's talk making money first. The point of a sales engagement platform is to organize all of your communication with a prospect - meaning every channel that you use... in one clean place.
Cold email is works really well alone, but when you combine it with social channels and cold calls... it's pure magic.
Need some proof? Just check out the results of one multichannel campaign we've run recently.
With cold email and LinkedIn combined, Daria's reply rate was 38%.
Why did it work? Because you’re reaching people on the channel they are more likely to respond on.
In real talk, this means you can send a detailed email to explain your proposition, but shoot over a friendly LinkedIn message or Twitter comment to connect on a more personal level. And this is where the real good stuff happens.
Just imagine: you get a cold email about a product that would be really useful for you and your team but your inbox is simply flooded with emails, and before you know it you're caught up with your to-do list. Sounds familiar, right?
But then, a couple days later, you get an intriguing LinkedIn message from someone asking if you saw their email. And hey, look at that, it's the same person that emailed you about the tool that can really help you.
Here's a an example from one of my multichannel campaigns:
So by combining the two channels, they reached you on the right platform at the right time, and the you're genuinely interested in the tool because you gave them all the info.
Automation for the win to save time
Okay, we’ve made some money, but how do we save time? Where sales engagement tools really shine is by combining different channels and removing the boring tasks out of your way.
Back in the olden days when I was doing multichannel prospecting, I had to send emails from my CRM, cold call using a completely different tool, and then spend hours scouring Facebook and LinkedIn to find the right post to comment on.
And none of it even connected so I was constantly taking notes on different platforms and things were getting lost in translation between me and the rest of the team (including my manager 😅).
Talk about a huuuuggee waste of time.
Turns out I just needed a sales engagement tool and it would combine all the channels I needed and keep my notes safe in one place.
Plus, as I explained earlier, there's only one report to go through that synthesizes all the information for me. So I get to focus on making the campaign better and not chasing down information.
This also would have been really helpful for my manager because I would have had extra time to actually get to know the leads instead of wasting time going back and forth between tools, taking notes, and basically creating my own reports.
Ultimately, any sales rep or growth marketer should have an ambition of using LESS tools to drive MORE positive outcomes, right?
Connect to your personal brand
If you're in the B2B sales world, you know that there is a bit of a hullabaloo around personal brands.
But it's for a good reason! It can seriously impact your company’s revenue, not to mention the personal benefits.
And in case you don't want to take my word for it, I'll just say this: at lemlist we've generated approximately $1M+ in revenue thanks to our personal brands.
Here are some of our DMs... :)
So, finding a tool that merges outreach and personal branding is the best. Sales engagement platforms make this possible with their LinkedIn integrations.
Although automation is great and everything, you should never act like a robot shooting out hundreds of random messages. It's a complete waste of space. A road that ends badly.
Outreach is about building trust and creating relationships. Never forget that.
For example, we like to start our sequences with a little social engagement to put our name in people’s minds.
So, what does it mean to connect outreach and personal brand in a more practical way?
- You target and qualify the right prospects
- You connect with them on LinkedIn
- You expose them to you content and engage on theirs
- You send over a cold email or a LinkedIn DM
You can't, nor should EVER automate number 1 and 3. What you do want to do is scale operations by automating the sending of 2 and 4, and use that time to craft a relevant and personalize outreach.
This is the true power of a sales engagement platform. But we'll go a bit into tactics later in this article.
Simplify audience research
If you actually take time to search for the leads that you know fit with what you're offering, and then personalize your message for them, that’s when sparks fly.
You'll have more conversions after the initial response, and the people that convert are much less likely to churn than the random people you contact that "might be a fit".
And how do sales engagement tools fit into this?
They make your life easier by enabling you to directly import your leads from LinkedIn search or Sales Navigator, and can even have options to write your personalized icebreakers for each lead.
If you wanna see this prospecting in action, check out this video.
How to select the best sales engagement platform
Excellent, we know what kind of benefits a sales engagement platform brings. But, how do we buy one? What are its main features?
- Multichannel outreach
- Social selling capabilities
- Email deliverability optimization
- Reporting for all channels
- Integrations with key tools in our funnels
But before I jump into the nitty gritty of these features I have one really important thing for you to keep in mind: the key to picking a sales engagement platform is finding the right one for your team and your goals.
To give you an example, if you’re a growing business that is setting up your sales processes, you don’t want to be stuck on an annual plan, or with a sales engagement tool that doesn’t let you test things out. You need to be flexible!
That was just one example, but there are many things that can be a priority for your specific needs, so keep these in mind.
Okay, now that that’s out of the way, let’s dive into the key features to look for...
So, essentially the multichannel automation features you should look for in a sales engagement platform are:
- email + social networks + call dialer all in one place
- automation so you don’t waste time on any extra steps
This one isn't rocket science, switching between tools is big pain in the ass. Especially if they don’t all integrate together and end up leaving with you some confusing as hell workflows.
Think about it like this - you start connecting with your leads on LinkedIn and Twitter to put your name out there, then send them an email to give them a bit of context, give them a call to put a name to a voice, then follow-up with a friendly message, and finish it off with another email.
If you aren't automating this process you are using 5-6 different tools here. Plus sending everything separately and keeping track of what comes next.
As a sales rep, you are wasting way too much time on this. And as a sales manager, you want your team to focus their energy on something a computer couldn't do.
Something like this...
The trick here is to automate structuring a sequence and sending campaigns, so that you can free time for the important stuff - writing personalized messages.
On top of that, you never wanna overdo it and send too many messages neither to their inbox nor in the LinkedIn DM. It's important to follow the exact rules email providers and LinkedIn have given and never spam people.
We'll talk about limits in a bit and I'll give you precise guidelines here.
Finally, you can create different kind of campaigns here.
- LinkedIn visit (day 1)
- LinkedIn connect (day 1)
- Engage on LinkedIn post (day 2)
- LinkedIn visit (day 4)
- LinkedIn DM (day 4)
- Cold email follow-up (day 7)
- LinkedIn visit (day 1)
- LinkedIn connect (day 1)
- Engage on LinkedIn post (day 2)
- Engage on Twitter post (day 3)
- Cold call (day 5)
- Cold email (day 7)
- LinkedIn visit (day 10)
- LinkedIn DM (day 10)
These are just examples obviously to get the brain wheels turning. But the possibilities are endless.
I know you might be over seeing this word, but hear me out. You need to show your prospects that you know them, otherwise they will assume that you're just randomly reaching out to them.
How do you do this?
Find the social network(s) that work best for your leads - aka where they are most active - and hit them up with meaningful engagement on that channel.
What sales engagement feature ties in with this? The ability to connect to social networks within your platform. This can either be through direct integrations, or with manual tasks that can be connected with links:
By reaching out like this, you aren't just doing outreach, you're creating real relationships. And by actually getting to know your leads, you'll be much more likely to help them solve their problems and they'll be even happier customers later on.
Check out this example from Nadja:
You’re adding value and building a relationship, all while increasing chances of conversion. That's what I'm talking about.
Some specific ways you can use this strategy in B2B are: when a company is raising funds, someone that worked for your top users just changed companies, and a company is doing mass hiring. So you can create specific sequences based on these factors, and then send personalized messages according to each lead.
These are all great opportunities for creating relationships that will lead to some deals later on when they are looking for tools!
Email deliverability optimization
(i.e., keeping your emails far away from spam & keeping your LN from being flagged)
So what does this translate to in terms of sales engagement features?
You need to play by the rules. And you need a tool that will support you on this by giving you an option to set daily limits for you and the entire team, maximizes your deliverability, gives you the algorithm you can trust, and is not trying to cheat the system.
Okay Bri, can you explain this in English, please?
Limits wise, here's what you need to remember:
Trust me, once you get on the bad side of Google, LinkedIn, and other giants, there is no going back. 🙈
Plus, there's really no point to do that.
If you send 300 requests a day, it means that you've typed "Head of Sales" in the search bar and connected with everyone on the list.
In other words, you've done almost no effort to qualify the prospects.
However, if you send 20, it means you've visited their profiles and qualified their potential interest in your product/service.
Big difference. The one that defines whether or not you will have great success with your outbound campaign.
The truth is that you can't build relationships by automating everything. And if you focus instead on reaching a smaller number of people but personalizing your outreach, you'll get even better results.
The same rules applies for cold emails or cold calls.
The trick is not to be the fastest to send most emails or make highest number of calls. The real trick is to have the highest reply and conversation rates.
Plus, you want to have a sales engagement tool that sends emails in the right way. Meaning, the algorithm needs to deliver cold emails one after the other, and not as a blast. It should give you your own server so you're not affected by the behavior of others who might be sharing that server with you.
Here's an interesting article if you wanna know more abou these things.
Be smart with deliverability. :)
Clear multichannel reporting
This one is pretty straight forward, you should look for sales engagement tools that simplify your reporting. I’m talking about being able to see the success of separate channels, users & campaigns.
This is especially important if you’re testing out multichannel prospecting to determine what channels are working best for your target!
Let's break one such multichannel report together.
Here we have one of Clémence's multichannel sequences, this time sent to a specific target of people that follow our LinkedIn page.
So at the top we have a brief breakdown of the stats for each channel. And you can see the appropriate stats for each channel, e.g. you can see how many LinkedIn invites were accepted instead of showing click rate.
Then, when you go down to the bottom chart you get every single thing broken down, and this combined with the activity log makes it easy as pie to analyze your steps to see what worked and what didn't.
So, the real question is: what can you do with all this data?
Well, in this campaign for example, I can click on the 70% invite accepted rate at the bottom and see when people accepted the invite, and then determine if the LinkedIn invite was sent at the right time in comparison and adjust for my next campaign if needed.
That's just one example, but the possibilities are endless! Data will be your best friend in creating your campaigns. It'll help you determine what channels and styles work for specific targets, so you can turn your outreach sequences into lead generating machines.
But again, keep your specific needs in mind. If you’re an agency, you’re probably going to want a feature like reports-access only so clients can see the results without modifying anything or seeing your other clients.
But then if you’re a leader of a sales team you’re going to want to see how your team is performing overall and individually, plus see which channels are working best for each one.
Bottom line - find what you need as a sales team, you shouldn't need to make your own reports between balancing all your types of engagement.
This section is definitely the one that will vary depending on your specific needs. Essentially you need to be able to identify:
- The sales engagement platform that fits your feature needs the best
- Amongst those, the ones that have the proper integrations for your team so that everything fits together seamlessly
For example, CRM will play a big part of these. Some sales engagement tools have a CRM built in, and a lot simply integrate with existing CRMs.
So if you already have a CRM that you know and love, it will be better to choose the sales engagement platform that integrates with it natively.
Another good example of this is calendar management tools like Calendy. If you want to offer the option of directly booking a call in your emails or messages, this will be another important integration!
And the list goes on, if the sales engagement platform specializes in email, calls, or social, you’ll need to make sure they either have the features or integrations for the other channels.
Of course there are a million other integrations that you could need, so make sure you take everything into consideration before committing to anything - especially a long-term contract.
Alright y’all, to sum it all up in one pretty picture, make sure you make a list of your “must haves” and “nice to haves” so you can properly analyze what you’re looking for.
Features to keep in mind for a good sales engagement platform are: multichannel automation, social selling, deliverability protection & limit reminders, clear reporting, integrations when needed, and some forward thinking features to help you stand out.
Ultimately, you have to pick the right tool for you, your team, and your funnel. My choice, as you might guessed, is lemlist. It crosses off all the features in the list. Personalization at scale, multichannel capabilities and its deliverability is spotless.
If you’re interested to test it, you can totally do that by clicking on this link. Hope to see you on the other side. :)