What is Sales Engagement and Why is it Important?

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sales engagement - cover photo

Did you know that it takes an average of seven touchpoints for a customer to purchase what you’re selling? From the first time they see your product or brand somewhere until they hand over their hard-earned cash, there is a lot involved.

However, there is a huge difference between sales teams slowly nudging the customer towards the purchase and a sales rep aggressively badgering the customer to buy. What happens in these seven steps is something called sales engagement.

Today, we’re going to find out what sales engagement is, what it means for your sales team, and how you can get better at it.

What is sales engagement?

Sales engagement is a broad term that describes all the interactions that happen in the sales process between the sales development representatives and the customer. If you want to improve your sales team’s success, investing time and money in your sales engagement strategy is one of the best ways to achieve this.

Sales engagement touchpoints can be any of the following:

  • Emails
  • Phone calls with sales reps
  • Face to face interactions
  • Website visits
  • Social media interactions
  • SMS messages

There are many channels for sales engagement and leaving them out to chance is dangerous and hurting your sales efforts. In order to improve your sales efforts, you need to be intentional about how you communicate with customers and when.

This is why many sales teams carefully analyze each customer interaction and invest in sales engagement platforms.

Sales engagement vs sales enablement

In many companies, the terms “sales engagement” and “sales enablement” are often mixed up, but they have two completely different meanings.

sales engagement vs sales enablement

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Sales enablement means empowering your sales teams with the tools, techniques and knowledge needed to do their jobs to the best of their capability. For example, purchasing new sales automation tools, investing in sales coaching and training your sales reps, and more.

On the other hand, sales engagement is the practical application of these tools and techniques.

Why is sales engagement important?

Naturally, sales leaders know that how and when they talk to customers is important for their results. But why would you really invest time and money in something like a sales engagement platform? Let’s find out.

Building trust and relationships with customers

As mentioned before, it takes an average of seven touchpoints for a customer to grab their credit card. To go from being aware of your brand to becoming a customer, you need to build trust in your brand and product.

You can hope that the customer does their own research, but investing in sales engagement is even better. By paying attention to each interaction your sales reps have with a customer, you can instill trust in them.

When the customer is ready to purchase, they’ll already be familiar with your brand and they’ll have a number of interactions with your sales leaders. You’ll be on top of their minds as a leader in your area of expertise.

Customer understanding

The best way to understand your customers’ pain points and problems is by listening. Sales engagement technology ensures you don’t assume what your customers want from your product or service.

Instead, each customer interaction is a new chance for your sales team to find out your customers’ needs, preferences and problems that keep them up at night. Only by listening to your customers can you perfect your sales operations, improve your rep productivity and personalize your approach to each customer.

Effective communication

The ultimate way to improve your sales strategy is to communicate better. Sales engagement means knowing when to listen, how to listen, when to speak, which information to deliver and how.

Communication is a key part of sales engagement because sales tactics essentially mean using various communication channels to convince the customer about the value of what you’re selling.

Following up at the right time

Ever visited a website only to have a sales rep call you five minutes later, aggressively trying to sell you something? Sales engagement refers to the art and science of when to follow up with a customer and how.

following up stats

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To stay on top of mind, sellers engage effectively with customers at just the right time. With the right sales engagement platform, you can find out if your sales team should call five minutes, days or weeks after that first website visit.

Adaptability

Sales engagement means being adatapble to different types of customers at different stages of the sales cycle. A good sales development representative should just as easily talk to someone who has no idea what a product does, as well as someone who researched five different competitors and has cash in hand.

Improved sales productivity

A great sales engagement plan allows your reps to be more productive and accelerate revenue growth. Armed with the right information, they can learn:

  • which customers are the most likely to close
  • which communication channels are the most effective
  • when to follow up during the sales process for the best results
  • which combination of outreach methods produces the highest number of closed opportunities

By using data from sales engagement platforms, you can refine your sales process and keep your reps more productive and with higher commissions.

Better customer retention

A sales engagement strategy is not just about closing new customers. It’s much cheaper to retain and upsell your existing customers than try and win new ones. A good sales engagement platform helps you understand how customers purchase, how long they stay with you, as well as what causes them to purchase and leave you.

Data collection and analysis

Every good sales engagement platform collects data across touchpoints. For example:

  • how often customers get in touch through phone calls
  • what your most successful outreach methods are
  • which sales reps close the most deals
  • what the best time is to reach out with an offer
  • what methods of personalization work the best
  • and much more

Sales engagement platforms allow you to go granular with your data and understand your best channels, sales team performers, sales pipeline stages and more.

Types of sales engagement tools

You can get away with using just one sales engagement platform. However, most sales organizations have at least a handful of them covering different aspects of sales operations. If you’re just getting started with your sales engagement strategy, these are the main types of tools to look out for.

Customer relationship management (CRM) tool

CRM software is the central hub for all your customer and sales intelligence data. These tools store information such as your customer’s:

  • name and contact data
  • point of contact
  • company size, location and budget
  • their stage in the sales cycle
  • the previous touchpoints they had with your business
  • and many others

A CRM tool such as Capsule, Hubspot or Salesforce is the starting point to great sales performance. Many of the tools we’re about to mention rely on having a CRM as your central information database.

Email communication, tracking and automation tool

Email is still the most effective channel for business communication in 2024, with return on investment as high as $40 for each dollar spent. Once you have a list of customers’ email addresses in your CRM, the next part of your sales engagement strategy should be to get in touch.

Woodpecker dashboard

Tools such as Woodpecker allow you to create effective sales processes by sending out carefully crafted, personalized emails.

Emails are a key part of every good sales engagement strategy, because they allow you to:

  • segment and target specific audiences
  • personalize each message according to the data in your CRM
  • target customers at different strategy in the sales funnel
  • send them out automatically based on actions your (potential) customers take

If you’re looking for a sales engagement platform that can help you send personalized cold emails at scale, Woodpecker can help. Grab your free trial and get started today!

Sales enablement platforms

These are tools that help your sales team get better equipped for doing their jobs. Sales enablement software provides training, content and sales tools for getting more efficient in their day-to-day operations.

Examples of these tools include Seismic, Showpad and Highspot.

Sales dialers

One modern sales tool that no team can do without is a sales dialer. It connects to your CRM and allows you to engage prospects by calling them straight from your CRM tool. The advanced phone capabilities allow you to use phone scripts, advanced auto dialing, IVRs, call forwarding and masking and many other key features of modern dialers.

Examples of sales dialers include 8×8, Five9, Ringcentral, and others.

Sales analytics and reporting tools

To optimize interactions with your prospects and customers, you should be aware of how your sales team is performing. For this part of your sales engagement strategy, the answer lies in analytics and reporting tools.

These pieces of software connect to your sales stack and crunch the numbers in a central database. This allows you to see which sales reps are underperforming, which channels need more attention and many more useful bits of information.

Examples of these tools include Tableau, PowerBI and Luzmo.

Document management tools

A sales engagement platform requires some level of document management and processing. Whether it’s a contract, invoice or some customer information, you need a platform for storing these documents as well as getting signatures online.

Examples include Pandadoc, Docusign and Adobesign, among others.

Chat and messaging apps

A modern sales engagement platform relies on your website as your main communication hub. Before someone hops on a call, they are more likely to get in touch through chat. Whether you’re using chatbots or have someone behind the screen talking to customers, these apps are worth their weight in gold.

Notable examples of chat apps are Intercom, Drift and LiveChat.

Key tips for sales engagement

No matter the size of your business or the type of customers you sell to, some general tips can help with sales engagement. If you’re just getting started or looking for some tips for improvement, you’ll find these helpful.

Understand your audience

Before hopping on a sales call or writing your first email, do detailed research about your target audience. Find out where they spend time, what kind of pain points they have, what motivates them to buy and why they’re not purchasing from your competitors.

Not even the best sales engagement platform can help when your knowledge of customers is based on assumptions. Make a conscious effort to listen in to sales calls, do research in your customers’ preferred communities and gather as much feedback as you can.

Practice active listening

Every good sales rep knows that following a script is a great way to get prospects and customers to purchase. But scripts often focus too much on talking and not enough on listening.

By listening actively when you get on customer calls, you can close more deals, refine your product, learn what buyers find valuable in your product, why they don’t purchase from competitors and much more. It’s your not-so-secret weapon to increasing sales.

Personalize your communication

When a customer goes through multiple touches with someone from your team, they get a good sense of who you are as a business. According to research from Google, 90% of businesses state that personalization increases profitability.

Since you’re already collecting vast amounts of data in your sales engagement platform, put it to good use. From using the customers’ names in your cold outreach emails to personalizing the offer based on their location and business size, you can do so much to make your sales tactics more efficient.

Provide value first

Your sales engagement platform will show you that just like any other business out there, you don’t close the deal on your first touchpoint. So, don’t pressure the customer into purchasing from the first point of contact. Before the sale, the customer should see value.

Think about sending personalized educational content, case studies, free calculators or any other type of lead magnet you have in store. You want to show that your ultimate goal is to solve a problem and not grab their money and run.

Wrapping up

Sales engagement is not just another nice-to-have activity for your sales team. It’s an entire philosophy of providing value to your customers, building relationships and prioritizing the customer over making the sale at all costs.

There are many sales engagement platforms to choose from, and it can be overwhelming to just get started. We suggest focusing on the most important aspect of sales – communication.

With Woodpecker, you can get in touch with your customers through cold email and actually break through the noise. Grab your free trial today to get started.