Untitled presentation (1)

Sales Superpowers Need 'In-Context' for Sales Engagement

Authored by Ric Ratkowski on December 13, 2019

 

SiriusDecisions outlines “One Solution for Sales Superpowers”.  [Spoiler alert] - it is sales engagement.  

If it is “the one solution” to supercharge your revenue engine, why isn’t it widely used?   Why isn’t it the most popular application in the “sales world”? 

We will get back to that, but first lets make sure we are on the same page.

Sales Engagement Defined 

Sales engagement is defined as interactions that take place between the buyer and seller.  Sales engagement includes four core functions based on SiriusDecisions definition:  calling/dialing, email, calendarizing and reporting.

Sales engagement platforms provide sales reps with superpowers by increasing their productivity and effectiveness, shortening sales cycles and boosting revenue. 

Sales engagement can be managed manually by the sales rep, assessing the situation, determining the best sales asset to send the prospect(s), determine the right time to send it and then sending a one-off email to someone in the organization.  

It can be automated with sales engagement solutions like Salesloft or Outreach.io and manage the seller education process as a campaign rather than a one-off email[Good].

It can be measured quantitatively in terms of time and touch points by interaction type[Better].  

It can be measured qualitatively in terms of:

  • A sentiment score regarding the interaction
  • C\heck-ins from sales reps
  • Engagement score on webinars or phone conversations
  • By capturing the full text of the interactions from both the buyer and the seller
  • Having all the details about the interactions identified above readily available when needed to have a more qualitative feel for the opportunity[Best].

One Sales Application at Best, Two at Most

My thought is sales reps are optimally willing to use/tolerate one sales application at best, two at most.  The challenge is that there are over 21 different application categories for the sales*.  

The challenge is you can’t take a best of breed approach to the sales application stack and expect the sales roles to use more than two applications.  They will predominantly use one application, the second application will be a very distant second.  

This is why application “in-context” become important, because they can use more than one application without ever leaving their main application.  

Two Use Cases of “in-context” Sales Engagement

Here is an example how sales engagement works in an application “in-context” environment.  It embeds Outreach to allow sales reps to add Outreach sequences** to both early and late stage opportunities.  

Outreach sequences can be assigned to opportunities in two different ways:

  • Performance based
  • Activity based

Performance Based Assignment 

Ever had the situation where:

  • The opportunity is sold but they don’t have budget till next quarter or next year and you forgot to keep them warm by sending emails/content to let them know you are still interested?
  • The opportunity “isn’t there yet” and needs further education to understand how your solution is “advancing the state of the art”, you sent them an email but didn’t follow up.

These examples are a use case for performance based sequence assignment.  Performance based assignment allows the sales rep to assign sequences from within the Opportunity Detail View or Sales Pipeline View.  The sales rep assigns Outreach sequences to specific opportunity contacts while they are reviewing the opportunity. The list is automatically filtered to the appropriate sequence and the account executive doesn’t have to figure out which sequence would work best.

Performance Based Sequence Asignment

Activity Based

Ever had the situation where:

  • An important opportunity is in the danger zone because of inactivity and you missed your window to reach out because it slipped through the cracks?
  • You had a successful meeting but forgot to follow up because of other priorities

These examples are a use case for activity based sequence assignment.  Activity based assignment in an “in-the-moment” assignment that appears through an alerting engine.   It uses AI can understands when certain sales patterns are present and recommend the appropriate Outreach sequences to guide winning strategies.

Activity Based Sequences Assignment

In the above example the system created an alert to add three opportunities to the “Meeting Follow Up” sequence. 

Both of these use cases are prime examples where Outreach sequences managed through TopOPPS can keep the opportunity warm without overburdening the sales rep.

Summary

Both of these use cases are prime examples where Outreach sequences managed through TopOPPS can keep the opportunity warm without overburdening the sales rep.

This is the last blog in the series focused on the Sales Application Stack and the need for “in-context” application embedding.

In my first blog in this series I outlined 21 different sales applications beyond CRM, that help solve sales teams challenges.  It is crazy to think:

  • A sales team will buy 21 different sales applications from different vendors and be able to integrate them successfully.
  • One vendor will provide all of these functionalities in one application.

With application embedding to create an “in-context” user experience we are able to cover 15 of the 21 application areas. 

 

Sales Technology Application Categories

Contracts

Territory Management

Forecasts Predictive

Proposal Management

Incentive Compensation

Guided Selling

PRM

Strategic Account Management

Forecasts and Pipeline

Gamification

Activity Management

Opportunity Management

CPQ

Sales Content

Coaching and Appraisals

Sales Info Services

Sales Acceleration

Sales Training

Pricing Optimization

Lead Management

Contact Management

 

The next blog series will focus on tactical best practices to incrementally enhance sales pipeline management and sales forecast accuracy.  

-----------------------------------

* Twenty-one different categories were discussed in the first blog post in this series:  "The Emperor [CRM] is Naked".  These were compiled from industry analyst reports.

** Outreach.io Sequences are a series of scheduled touch points separated by intervals of time.  The include touch points like:  email, phone calls, meeting suggestions, LinkedIn outreach, text messages.  The are designed to automate steps in your sales process.  Outreach.io "sequences" are similar to Salesloft "cadences".

 

Subscribe to our newsletter!

Leverage these best practices with automation and AI driven by TopOPPS

Learn how our customers are winning with artificial intelligence in their CRM:

  • Predictive Sales Forecasting
  • Automated Pipeline Management
  • Significantly More Updates from Reps

Watch Videos

More Recent Posts:

January 21, 2020

Best Practices for B2B Sales Pipeline and Forecast Management

New year, new blog series!   The new blog series will focus on “Best Practices for B2B Sales Pipeline and Forecast Management”.   This covers a big area so this series could take most of 2020 to complete and its frequency will be more often than once a month.    The reason for this blog series is companies continue to rely on human intuition and instinct to produce sales forecasts.  They continue to spend significant time managing, manually reviewing and updating the sales forecast despite advances in sales technology. ...

Sales Pipeline Management, AI for Sales, Guided Selling, best practices

January 21, 2020

Brainshark and TopOPPS Form Partnership to Combine Sales Readiness with AI-Driven Sales Pipeline and Forecast Management

The Integrated Solutions Will Provide Deep Insights into Pipeline Activity and Forecasting - Enabling Targeted Learning that Elevates Sales Performance WALTHAM, Mass. and ST. LOUIS, Jan. 21, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Brainshark, Inc., the industry's only data-driven sales readiness platform, and TopOPPS, a leading provider of artificial intelligence (AI)-based sales pipeline management and forecast predictability solutions, today announced they have formed a strategic partnership. The partnership – which includes an integration of Brainshark and TopOPPS solutions – will empower sales organizations to deliver "in-the-moment" guidance that improves reps' skills at key points throughout the sales cycle. ...

AI for Sales, Sales Enablement, Guided Selling

December 13, 2019

Sales Superpowers Need 'In-Context' for Sales Engagement

  SiriusDecisions outlines “One Solution for Sales Superpowers”.  [Spoiler alert] - it is sales engagement.   If it is “the one solution” to supercharge your revenue engine, why isn’t it widely used?   Why isn’t it the most popular application in the “sales world”?  We will get back to that, but first lets make sure we are on the same page. Sales Engagement Defined  Sales engagement is defined as interactions that take place between the buyer and seller.  Sales engagement includes four core functions based on SiriusDecisions definition:  calling/dialing, email, calendarizing and reporting. ...

Sales Operations, Sales Tools, Sales Pipeline Management, Strategic Partnerships

November 25, 2019

Strengthening the CFO-CRO Relationship Through the Sales Forecast

  The sales forecast is the linchpin of a company’s future.  If it is right and can be trusted the companies’ operations run smoother and its financial stability is more secure.  Typically this isn't easy.  The sales forecasting process is shared by the Chief Revenue Officer[CRO] and the Chief Financial Officer[CFO].  The challenge is both have different motivations on its accuracy and neither have a complete vision of its drivers or its accuracy.   When the forecasting process is trusted and transparent it relieves stress on both the CRO and the CFO.  This blog reviews how this can be accomplished.  ...

Sales Operations, Sales Tools, Sales Pipeline Management, Strategic Partnerships

October 23, 2019

Where 1 + 1 = 3 in the Sales Application Stack - Sales Enablement

  In my previous blog I outlined 21 different sales technology categories for the Sales Application Stack .  These categories were consolidated from various industry analysts research. That blog highlighted the difference between data integration and application embedding and highlighted the benefits of application embedding and selecting software vendors who have strategic partnerships with other software providers in the CRM application space.   The concepts of application embedding needs to be expanded with the concept of “application in context”.  “Applications in context” is applications working “in context” with applications to solve a series of problems in a consistent and cohesive manner without derailing the users thought process. ...

Sales Operations, Sales Tools, Sales Pipeline Management, Strategic Partnerships

September 20, 2019

The Emperor [CRM] is Naked

  One of the things I like to track are stories I heard in kindergarten that persist through life.  The Emperor’s New Clothes is one of them.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in meetings, listening to what is being discussed and ideas explored and wanted to yell out, “THE EMPEROR IS NAKED”. ...

Sales Operations, Sales Tools, Sales Pipeline Management, Strategic Partnerships

August 16, 2019

AI For Sales - Business Examples

  The last seven blogs provide a business-case approach to infusing AI through the entire sales process.  One of the purposes of this blog series was to demystify AI by using AI for Sales as an  example.  Media tends to portray AI as a magic bullet.  Actual implementations show the less “black box” an AI solution is and the more “glass box” approach, the more utility it provides to the user.  The utility is created by uncovering the key drivers of an outcome and managing those drivers to increase results. ...

Sales Operations, Sales Tools, Sales Pipeline Management, AI for Sales

August 6, 2019

TopOPPS + Outreach Galaxy: AI Enhanced Guided Selling to Increase Win Rates

  Ever had the situation where: an important sales opportunity is in danger because of inactivity and it goes unnoticed; the opportunity is sold but they don’t have the budget till next quarter so the sales rep needs to “stay close”; or the opportunity wants to buy but “isn’t there yet” and needs further ongoing education?   ...

Pipeline Optimization, Artificial Intelligence, Sales Pipeline Management, Guided Selling, guide winning behaviors