Your agency’s new business program needs a repeatable, scalable, and importantly, personalized, prospecting process to keep the pipeline full of meetings with dream clients. Without the right sales tools, your outbound efforts will not reach their full potential.
One new sales tool to emerge over the last few years is the sales engagement platform. While SaaS companies have been early adopters of these platforms, agencies have been laggards. If your agency is serious about its business development, it will invest in this tool. I believe it is the third leg of the tech stack stool along with a CRM and list provider.
What is a sales engagement platform? Think of it as a marketing automation program built for sales, designed to reach prospects more efficiently, while gathering data that can be used to optimize outreach. It allows you to create workflows and sync with your CRM and email. When used correctly, it makes you faster and your cold emails more effective at making connections with prospects.
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Missing with Mass Email
Sales engagement platforms replace the tired strategy of mass email, which is largely ineffective in reaching senior-level decision-makers.
Firewalls and spam blockers make it difficult to even get a mass email into the inbox of a prospect. The sheer volume of email that most senior leaders receive compounds the issue. Marketers can spot a mass marketing email in their inbox and often delete without even opening. To get their attention, you need highly personalized messages that are sent on a one-on-one basis to a targeted prospect list, not through a mass email provider.
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Without a sales engagement platform, you’re apt to use multiple sales tools: email, a spreadsheet program, your CRM, calendar program and tracking plugins. There are complicated and error-prone data pulls and merges.
The process is cumbersome and difficult to scale, track and follow-up on leads. The lack of integration means that you have few insights, if any, including basics such as whether your prospect even opened your mail.
If you’re going to get more meetings with dream clients, you need a better solution.
Transformation through Integration and Data
At Catapult New Business, I was skeptical when the sales engagement platform was introduced. “Great. Another sales tool to learn,” I thought. “Is this really going to help me?’
I had been in a slump and was juggling multiple agency clients. I gave it a shot.
From Day One, I was a believer. I immediately saw my outreach volume increase. Email opens, clicks and replies skyrocketed and I had better insights into what was working and what wasn’t. The platform helped me develop good prospecting habits that led to consistent and predictable results.
Top Features for Sales Development Platforms
These are the top 7 features in a sales development platform that I find most useful and impactful.
- Create Multi-Touch / Multi-Channel Sales Cadences
The platform should allow you to orchestrate a strategic targeted sales correspondence plan, injected with personalization. The sales cadences can be deployed to create multichannel touch point models catered to your buyer personas. Plan in advance the number of emails and phone calls each prospect will receive and at what intervals. With these preset activities baked into the platform, you’ll never miss reaching out to your prospects. These communication sequences optimize opportunity to engage each prospect for that persona’s pain points and patterns.
- Real, Human Email from Any Platform
You’ll want integration with your agency’s email provider which ensures greater deliverability. Your emails will be sent from you, one to one, and carry your agency’s domain.
- Real-Time Alerts
Get real-time alerts on every prospect action, from email opens to clicks to replies (some even include website tracking). Look for IP geo-location features and browser type detection so you not only understand when they’re opening your message but where and how it’s being read. A live feed feature will let you monitor activity and respond faster.
- Automated Activity Logging
The best platforms will automatically capture activity, including email responses and successful or unsuccessful calls, and populate the activity in your CRM. Your reps will not have to undertake mundane manual entries. Instead, they can focus on personalization and increasing the volume of outreach. You want reps focused on selling, not data entry.
- Personalized Email Automation
Whether you’re sending 1, 10, or 100 emails, you want the capability to customize email templates to create hyper-personalized emails. Which templates are the best? Through the platforms built-in analytics, you’ll have the insights to better understand which get the highest open, click and reply rates.
- Email Scheduling
To be most effective, you need the ability to schedule emails for future delivery, based on the expected availability of your dream clients. Each prospect’s location is identified in the sales tool, providing the ability to schedule emails to be delivered at the time of your choosing based on the prospect’s time zone.
Your sales activity generates a remarkable amount of data. Your sales engagement platform should report on email, template and cadence analytics (open, click and reply rates). The built-in analytics should also help pinpoint the best days of the week and local times that are most effective for engagement. The platform should also have A/B testing capabilities to help you decide which templates perform best.
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How to Get Started with the Sales Tool
SalesLoft, Outreach, and Inside Sales Box are among the top three sales engagement platforms on the market. Ask for a demo and experiment with each provider, being sure to zero in on each platform’s capabilities from the list above.
Making an Impact
Once you secure and implement a sales engagement platform, you’re apt to feel more control, which will lead to a more predictable pipeline. The sales tool will increase your outreach volume while making it more efficient and effective. Prospecting activity will be better organized and will generate more meetings with your dream clients, leading to more agency revenue