Sales Engagement is a vital process of customer interaction, relationship building and bringing profit to an organization.This process holds major responsibilities and is executed by the sales team of a company.
According to a study of Sales for Life, every SDR (Sales Development Representative) does around 94.4 sales engagement activities every day. This shows a clear picture how important it is for an organization to have a proper sales engagement process.
In this article we will be learning about all the aspects connected with Sales Engagement and the best ways to scale your business.
What is sales engagement?
Sales engagement is the process of research, connection, nurturing, relationship building and deal closure with your prospects. It is the workflow that helps the sales team in generating revenue from the prospect.
The sales engagement process starts with designing the engagement plan, deciding the pain points, getting quality leads, influencing them and providing them with a valuable solution. The whole structure of building a sales engagement process in any organization is also referred to as a sales engagement model.
For better understanding, let us check it with an example from a successful sales engagement model:
- A sales representative starts its work from the planning stage, where the whole team decides how to execute the sales engagement process.
- After planning, the salesperson starts prospecting and researching for getting connected with the targeted audiences.
- Next process is commonly known as the first pitch where the SDR makes his first move towards the prospect. This step helps in making the prospect acknowledge the product and relationship building.
- The above step is followed by lead nurturing which makes the prospect get influenced about the product.
- Further is the closure stage where the prospect starts buying your product and expects a good outcome in their business.
- The final stage is the feedback stage, where the SDR collects reviews from the prospect and improves the product and service.
You can also check our Beginners guide to sales cycle to know more about sales cycle stages in detail.
How sales engagement is different from sales enablement?
Sales enablement is the process for development of the entire sales team in a proactive manner which makes them efficient enough to generate profit for the company.
Sales enablement process includes the recruitment of sales professionals, training and motivating them about the organization’s sales procedures. It also includes equipping the sales team with essential tools for generating and evaluating their sales.
On the other hand, sales engagement is totally dedicated towards communication and getting the best from their prospects. Sales engagement process is the outcome of the sales enablement process followed in an organization.
In short, a sales engagement process can be defined as an external process and sales enablement to be an internal process.
Why is sales engagement important for a business?
After learning about the effectiveness of the sales engagement process and how it proves beneficial for the whole sales team, let’s check how this process is helpful for a business.
1. For better understanding of sales representatives
Maintaining a sales engagement process in an organization helps you with proper onboarding of new sales executives. Whenever a new salesperson joins a company, he can check the sales engagement process and start his process accordingly without any bottleneck.
2. For better lead nurturing
As it is said Planning is the key to success. Whenever an organization has a proper centralized sales engagement process, it becomes easier for the SDRs to proceed accordingly. They can move ahead with proper lead prospecting and nurture them efficiently. This will return you with good profit and take you closer to your goals.
3. Proactive and personalized communication
Communication is the most important aspect of any sales engagement process. A SDR needs to add all the personalization extracted from the research in the communication for best results. So having a sales engagement plan makes these processes simpler and easier. Furthermore, there are many automation tools that help you with personalization in the sales engagement process.
4. Sales engagement platforms are user friendly
As described above, there are N number of sales engagement tools to automate your work processes. Sales engagement tools are so user friendly that anyone can start to use it in the first try itself. These tools help you with designing the sales work flow and automating all the sales engagement activities. These sales engagement tools also provide you with engagement reminders, so that you won’t miss a chance of nurturing your leads.
5. Helps in generating revenue
A sales engagement process helps you in accelerating your sales cycle. This helps the sales team in better pitching, better nurturing and effective closure with customer satisfaction. These processes will make your sales cycle smoother automatically scaling up your business.
Further adding a sales engagement tool, will make the sales reps more productive with their work and generate revenue for the organization.
To get all the benefits from a sales engagement process it is also required to build effective sales engagement solutions with the best practices. Below we will be explaining about the procedures and the best practices of a sales engagement solution.
How to create a sales engagement solution?
1. Joint meeting with the team members
Before starting any sales engagement solution for a business, the first step should be a joint meeting with the whole team. The main agenda of the meeting is to decide the sales roadmap of the organization.
Along with the sales goal, roles, responsibilities and timelines are decided for every team member. They also need to decide the complete work plan of the sales engagement solution for a certain period of time (either quarterly or yearly).
2. Design the customer journey with touchpoints
After getting the approval for the sales engagement solution, the sales team needs to decide the process for execution. A detailed plan with a flow chart is made for complete understanding of future work flows.
The workflow includes all the strategies related to lead prospecting, nurturing, touchpoint responses and deal closures. The whole sales journey process should be smooth and should be easily executable by each team member.
3. Work on centralized email campaigns
Email campaigns are the most essential part of every sales engagement process. 81% of the SMBs use email as their primary source of communication which makes email campaigns the most effective way of sales engagement.
While proceeding with email campaigns to multiple users from multiple accounts, you should manage a centralized email campaigning platform for productivity. These sales engagement software will help you with managing your email campaigns from one place, scheduling follow-up stages and in making smooth closures.
Sales engagement platforms like SalesHandy helps you with personalized mail merge campaigns, automating the follow-ups and also check the performance of your email campaigns.
4. Launch the sales engagement solution with training
Once you are ready with your sales engagement process, get a tool, and you are all set to launch it. All your SDRs need to complete a training of the sales engagement process to clarify all their doubts. A training session will also help the sales team in getting acquainted with the process and make sure everyone is on the same page.
After completion of the training session, the sales engagement process should be launched under trial basis to check for any real time issues. Necessary changes should be done if required. If everything works properly, the execution process should be initiated.
After starting your sales engagement process, it is also required to follow its best practices. This will boost your sales process and provide much better results. Below we are listing some of those best practices that will be helpful for your sales team.
Sales engagement best practices
1. Prospect research
While speaking of best practices, it matters how you start your work till you end it. Prospect research is an essential step of the sales engagement process. It is required to do proper research about your prospect, their needs, their problem as well as how your solution is going to help them. These homeworks are very essential before you reach out to any prospect.
2. Centralized content platform
Every time the SDRs do good research about a prospect and then pitch them. It might go good or bad afterwards, but what about the time and research done. You can store it in a centralized content platform, which can be referred by anyone in the team in case of a similar situation. It will be both time and cost-effective.
Maintaining a centralized content platform for your organization can also help your sales and marketing team in content management and sharing activities. Anyone from the team can directly access the information without disturbing anyone’s schedule.
3. Send emails with personalization
All your research goes to waste if you don’t add personalization in your emails. Also, adding personalization in your emails makes the recipient feel special as the email is dedicated to him.
According to a report by Statista, email personalization can improve your email open rate by 18.8% and click through rate by 2.1%. What’s better than this for any salesperson!
4. Always follow-up
Follow-up is one of the most important parts of the sales engagement process. 80% of sales require 5 follow-ups but 44% of salespeople give up after one. Following-up with your prospect reminds them about the initial message and pulls them towards taking a first action.
Your follow-up emails should be planned along with your first pitch. The follow-up should also be gentle pitch in the same email thread with a reminder of the primary email. It’s better if you can also provide some additional information regarding the prospect’s problem that will be helpful to him.
This will create an eagerness in the prospect’s mind for connecting with you and discussing more.
5. Continuous sales training
Sales technology is evolving at a faster rate. So to keep yourself effective for doing proper sales, it is essential to have a continuous training program. Salespersons need to learn new things every time even if they don’t need that now.
The basic sales training that is required for scaling your business should be mostly focused on lead prospecting and nurturing. These training can be gained by hiring sales trainers, reading various books and case studies and implementing some hit and trial methods.
Your sales team should be trained efficiently to improve the sales engagement process and train others with the best strategies. This will help you in improving both your engagement process as well as your skills.
Make sure your team members attend various training meetups or webinars to increase their potential. You can also use tools like Livestorm that will in return provide you with better results.
Take care of the new joinees too, because the techniques they learnt from previous organizations might not work here or might be a boom for you.
6. Continuous sales process audit
While moving through the sales cycle, the sales team should focus on the benchmark timing of each process. The average time of a lead for getting converted is 84 days, but 6% of your leads move to the opportunity stage followed by closure in just 18 days. With a proper sales audit, you can fix the blockages in your sales engagement process and get your prospects closed in much less duration.
A sales audit can also help you with optimizing your process for having a faster sales cycle which will be also applicable for your future leads..
Apart from that, a continuous sales audit will help you in finding the loopholes, challenges and roadblocks with your sales team which eventually provides you with better results.
7. Align with marketing team for insights
There is a myth that a marketing team’s task is limited to creating content, branding, promotions or bringing organic prospects. It’s much more than that.
The sales teams require some of the insights about their prospects background, targeted companies details, information about the happenings and mishappenings of different sectors to boost their sales productivity.
In these scenarios, the marketing team can help you by providing realistic insights, market scenarios of a particular industry and can also help you with the behavioral insights of your prospects.
So, get up and get the best from it now!
While executing a great sales engagement solution, you might move towards some unseen mistakes. You might get delayed before you point out those mistakes. Below we are listing some of the mistakes that usually happen and should be taken into account.
Common sales engagement mistakes
1. Improper goal
As discussed in the first step of creating a sales engagement process, you need to decide a goal and then sub goals. With time, the sales team tends to forget the real goal and move towards the sub goal in an inappropriate manner. Further it leads to loss for the company. So, it is very essential to keep the main goal in the mind whenever you move with the process.
2. Focussing on sales rather than relationship
Sales is one-time, relationship is life-time.
Sometimes sales people try to do sales in the early stage of the buyer journey which leads to failure. Proper nurturing is highly recommended before doing any sales.
You should make your prospect satisfied with the solution you are providing and create a trust in their mind.
The moment you help your prospects by solving their problem, they start believing in you and ask you for every suggestion and help. This is how salespeople create relationships with their prospect and remain as customers in the long run.
3. Prioritizing on wrong leads
It is the responsibility of a sales representative to prioritize his leads according to their need and your importance. In case you have multiple leads to handle at one time, you should know which prospect is more valuable for you and your organization. Sometimes leads with high ticket values stay for short duration whereas leads with small ticket value will be your life time partner. So be careful while prioritizing your leads.
4. Not checking the right time to interact
Not managing the time is a major mistake done by the salesperson while selling their solutions globally. Prospects at different time zones respond to you according to their time zones. It becomes difficult for salespeople to manage their time accordingly.
So, you need to plan your strategies in a better manner to focus on prospects of a particular time zone at a single time rather than getting in splitted all here and there.
Also using a sales engagement tool like SalesHandy can help you with scheduling your emails according to the prospects time zone and make your work easier.
5. Emailing mistakes
As discussed above, emailing is the most effective way of communicating with your prospects, it is also essential to follow the best practices of emailing and make sure you don’t make any of the below mentioned mistakes.
- Not sending sufficient emails
Never stop yourself from making your prospect feel less engaged. Continuously help them by sending them solutions, follow-up emails and keep the interaction mode on. The study by Demandgenreport found 47% of buyers check for 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with the sales representative.
Don’t restrict yourself from providing your valuable solutions to your prospects before they move back from the engagement. While nurturing your primary motive should be to influence your prospect till you close the deal.
- Not sending personalized emails
Personalized emails help you in getting a higher open and response rate. You are sending the emails to your prospects and not personalizing it means you are making a mistake. 65% of business buyers are likely to switch brands if they don’t receive personalized emails from the sales development representatives. The same cost and time to be used but using a bit more effort can provide you with better results.
- Not including unsubscribe links
Unsubscribe link is A Friend, Not A Foe.
Many salespeople do not add an unsubscribe link with their emails thinking the prospect will run away. Rather, adding an unsubscribe link helps you from staying away from the SPAM filters. If your emails are not relevant for your prospects, he will block you anyway. If he doesn’t find your unsubscribe link he will SPAM you which is way more dangerous.
Check how to write a sales Email to know more about best practices of emailing.
6. Taking rejections personally
Getting approvals and rejections are part of every salesperson’s work.You should not get disturbed for some negative response or no response at all. 50% of your prospects are actually not a good fit for your product. So, even if you encourage a recipient to open and reply to an email, it still stays uncertain. You may receive an unexpected response after 2 months. So be focussed on your work and move towards the next prospect.
While creating a sales engagement process, you have a lot of to-dos, interaction and other activities that makes a SDRs work tedious. Adding a sales engagement tool for the team helps them in automating most of their interaction tasks and helps them in providing more time towards research (the most important part).
To streamline your sales engagement process we have curated the list of best sales engagement platforms.
Take control of your sales engagement
Sales engagement process is always made with a long term goal and a plan for getting success for your business. It is not an optional process which can be carried forward to be done in a free time.
If you wish to scale up your sales, then it is a very essential task to create a sales engagement process. Help your sales team by making their tedious task a step simpler. This will sky rocket your sales productivity and boost your organization growth together.