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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.


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


Territory Management

Forecasts Predictive

Proposal Management

Incentive Compensation

Guided Selling


Strategic Account Management

Forecasts and Pipeline


Activity Management

Opportunity Management


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".


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