You may be wondering, “What sales engagement software should we use?”
Before we tell you which tools are best, let’s define what “sales engagement” actually means.
Many people often think “sales engagement platform” means “CRM with automation features.”
In actuality, sales engagement includes a whole suite of tools that help sales reps optimize interactions with a buyer or prospect, before, during, and after communication.
For example, a robust sales engagement tool can tell you who on your video call is paying attention in real-time, then show you who read the content you sent after the meeting and how much time they spent on each page.
We think the best way to clarify what a sales engagement platform (SEP) is is by showing you how we solve for it at Bigtincan. We’ll also give you a few other tools to check out.
Note that we’ll specifically be talking about sales engagement for full-cycle sellers with a quota when discussing Bigtincan. As you’ll see, this is a bit different than sales engagement tools for SDRs, but by the end of the article, you’ll know the difference between the two and have a list of tools to check out in both sub-categories.
In this article:
- How Bigtincan solves for sales engagement.
- Other options in the sales engagement space.
- Other less robust options that aren’t quite sales engagement platforms but which have some sales engagement features.
Note: You can learn more about Bigtincan’s sales engagement tools and book a demo here.
How Bigtincan Solves for Sales Engagement
Sales engagement is about helping sales reps optimize interactions with buyers, meaning anything from the facilitation of a conversation to delivering the feedback and insights afterward.
This helps sales reps understand what activities have been most effective, organize their cadences, and more productively and intelligently interact with their prospects — so they can focus on the most engaged buyers, accelerate deals and increase win rates.
Below, we’ll show you exactly what that looks like in Bigtincan. Note that Bigtincan recently acquired ClearSlide to further build out our stable of sales engagement solutions for your sales team, so you’ll see us talking about their features throughout.
Interactive Web Conferencing Tools
There are a few great tools built into our web conferencing software to help boost engagement with prospects.
For one, our web conference platform features live engagement metrics on each participant, in the form of an alert meter that turns red if a participant is no longer paying attention. This gives sales reps a chance to recapture their attention through conversation, without the participant knowing they’ve been caught straying.
For example, on a large group call, one of your attendees might stray from the presentation to check their email. With the ClearSlide alert, you can ask that person a simple question to re-engage them and bring them back into the call if necessary.
For another, our web conference tool is browser friendly, meaning there’s no additional software or apps a participant needs to download to participate — just click the link, and the conference opens in their browser.
We also provide inconspicuous content search and screen share so reps can search for the content they need to answer prospect questions in the moment. No more “I’ll get back to you” to draw out the sales cycle with another phone call or email, which can decrease their chance of success.
After the call, reps can revisit the interaction in great detail, down to which slides sparked the most interaction from the buyer, so the sales rep knows which features or products to focus on when closing the deal:
Reps can also send pieces of the call to their manager or participants as necessary.
Ever wonder how well your emails will work, or whether they’ll even get through popular email servers’ spam filters? Our AI-powered spam detector helps you adjust your emails before sending to improve deliverability. Then our contact list validator helps remove unreliable emails from your send list to help protect your sender reputation.
Even better, to help keep your emails at the top of buyers’ inboxes, we also offer individualized automated send times — meaning you can click “send” on a batch emailing, but each email will be delivered at the best known time for each recipient, based on previous interactions in the ClearSlide platform. This helps deliver emails right before the recipient might check their inbox.
Email Engagement Insights
We also feature additional email open rate information on the prospect so you know whether and when they’re opening your emails. Then the sales rep can also see which part of the email the prospect clicked on and which subsequent page they viewed the longest.
This is helpful when figuring out which product features they’re most interested in, and subsequently, which marketing assets or even product experts you might want to pull into a meeting with the prospect, based on their interests.
Conversely, reps can also use these metrics to gauge which prospects might be a lost cause if they haven’t even opened your emails in weeks.
Sales Intelligence for Managers and Marketers
Our sales intelligence and metrics allow both managers and marketers to gain valuable insights into sales behaviors and successes.
Managers can pull up data on which successful salespeople are taking which actions, allowing them to see whether there’s a method or material they should implement to everyone to improve numbers across the board.
For example, if a particularly successful sales rep is always using a specific workflow pattern or marketing asset, it may be worth encouraging other sales reps to take advantage of the same sales process, playbook, communication channels, or assets.
Marketers can also view which of their assets successful salespeople are using and how often, know what’s working and needs to be maintained, updated, and disseminated. And if certain assets are never being used, they may need to be updated or abandoned.
Sales Engagement Platforms for SDRs
Now that you know how a sales engagement platform works for a full-cycle seller, we’ll show you what an equivalent tool would look like for an SDR specifically.
For example, let’s take a look at SalesLoft.
SalesLoft is a sales engagement platform that helps SDRs automate human interactions between buyers and sellers. That means they offer automation tools for outbound selling, including:
- Working through sales cadences
- One-click dialing and texting from anywhere
- Automatic CRM integration for all activities
- Analytics to tell leaders which cadences are working best or how many touches it takes to get a response
Outreach.io is a similar “customer engagement platform” that helps you automate outreach, and track it automatically in a CRM. You can use it standalone or in conjunction with your CRM (it integrates with Salesforce and other major CRMs).
Sales Enablement Tools with Sales Engagement Features
Many sales enablement tools offer some sales engagement features for full-cycle sellers. Bigtincan is one such example, though, after our acquisition of Clearslide, we are now a full-service sales engagement tool as well as a sales enablement platform.
Most other sales enablement tools do not have such robust engagement functionality. Still, if you need a few sales engagement features with robust enablement functionality, these tools are worth a look.
Seismic is more of a sales enablement solution that focuses a lot on content management, but it does offer a sales engagement piece that features email engagement tracking, web conferencing, the ability to personalize sales materials (which can fall under sales enablement), and insights that show which sales reps and content are driving the most engagement during prospecting or selling.
However, while their email engagement does feature page read time and other insights into how buyers are interacting with your content, there’s no mention of deliverability improvement or ideal send time scheduling.
Their web conferencing offers the ability to share live from their platform with any number of participants and presentation capabilities from any device, but there’s no apparent focus on live attention metrics or slide-by-slide engagement analytics after the call.
Showpad’s website breaks down their product offerings into two main pieces: Content and Coach — both of which are usually more heavily part of sales enablement than sales engagement. That said, they do have a page that explains their analytics offerings, which dive into some useful engagement metrics.
Their Prospect Insights offer the ability to track email opens, view page-by-page views of content, and see downloads and forwards. Like Seismic, these are helpful, but they offer information on the back-end of the email sending process, after the email has been sent; there’s no apparent email verification or individualized send-time optimization.
There’s also an Artificial Intelligence piece that centers on replicating the actions of top sales performers via automation, but with a focus on content, next steps, and coaching — again, falling more under sales enablement than engagement.
For web conferencing, Showpad allows users to present from one platform via integrations with Zoom and Google Calendar. You can see what meetings you have coming up, and you don’t need to leave Showpad to present, but there doesn’t seem to be any actual engagement assistance via an attention meter or slide-by-slide analytics as there is in ClearSlide.
Overall, Showpad is a perfect example of a sales enablement software that includes some sales engagement features. The engagement features are functional and helpful, but they’re not the main focus.
Like Seismic, Highspot focuses a lot on content and sales enablement. Their sales engagement offering features email integration with Outlook and Gmail, social media engagement with LinkedIn and Twitter, and web conferencing (via their native tool Slide Casting or integrations with tools such as Zoom or GoToMeeting). It’s unclear whether they have any presentation tracking tools similar to ClearSlide.
There’s also a strong focus on customization of content, engagement on many different platforms, and integrations with sales engagement solutions such as Outreach and SalesLoft — the latter of which suggests that they don’t offer sales engagement themselves so much as just integrate with other tools that do.
Like Seismic and Showpad, Highspot offers email analytics after the fact, such as notifications when emails have been opened or shared, time spent on page or slide, and analytics to help you “slice and dice engagement data by your organization’s most important dimensions,” though it’s not totally clear what that means. Again, there are no apparent tools for email validation or optimal send time support.
Other CRM and Sales Support Tools
As we mentioned in the intro, sometimes sales engagement software is considered to be just a “CRM with automation features.”
As discussed above, that’s not the case — instead, engagement software gives sales reps interactive tools they can use in the moment with prospects.
However, if you’re still looking for CRM automation solutions, there are a few you might want to consider:
- Hubspot Sales Hub is a standalone CRM that includes a “fully-featured sales CRM,” email templates and series automation, live chat, quote features, analytics and reporting, and the ability to integrate with over 500 tools available in their App Marketplace.
- Groove is a native SalesforceCRM integration that “automates non-sales activities” to give sales reps more time to build relationships and close deals. This includes email, calendar, and activity tracking; multi-channel campaign automation; workflow streamlining and task prioritization, and various other Salesforce integration perks.
- Mailshake is an email integration provider that offers to automate your cold outreach. It integrates email providers such as GSuite and Outlook with CRMs such as Salesforce, Pipedrive, and HubSpot, with additional helpful integrations (such as Calendly) via Zapier.
Empower Your Sales Teams’ Outreach with the Best Sales Engagement Platform
The right sales engagement platform goes a long way in improving how your sales reps can interact with customers, changing the customer interaction game.
Your sales strategy can move from emphasizing outbound email automation and follow-up reminders to an interactive experience in which sales reps can excel in completely new ways — all with a slight adjustment to your tech stack.
Ready to give Bigtincan with Clearslide a try? Book a demo today to see how robust sales engagement can streamlinesales cycles by actively engaging your prospects during sales calls.