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What is sales engagement? How to choose a platform

Sales Engagement
What is sales engagement?
What is a sales engagement platform? (and what to look for in one)
The 8 best sales engagement platforms
Final thoughts

With shifting buyer preferences, sales engagement has undergone significant changes. Customers now expect consistent interactions across many channels. The challenge is to deliver on these expectations.

A sales engagement platform can help you deliver customer-centric experiences at scale. It can also increase the efficiency and productivity of your sales team.

In this article, we explain what sales engagement is and why it matters. Then, we cover the eight best sales engagement platforms to improve the customer experience.

What is sales engagement?

Sales engagement is the process of interacting with your customers to build relationships. It includes every point of contact with a potential buyer.

Whenever your company makes contact with a customer, it’s a sales engagement activity. That means that everything from making cold calls to negotiating a contract is part of the sales engagement process.

Here are some examples of sales engagement:

  • Direct contact: Every time your reps make direct contact with a customer. For example, making sales calls, sending emails and responding to comments on social media.

  • Automated interactions: When a customer has indirect contact with your company. For example, visiting your website, filling out a form or messaging your chatbot.

Note: Sales engagement is not the same as sales enablement. Sales engagement refers to the interactions your reps have with potential customers. Sales enablement involves the resources they use to make these interactions more effective.

Why sales engagement is so important

The goal of sales engagement is to foster trust, enhance the customer experience and increase conversions.

Sales engagement strategies improve your chances of making sales. These strategies are critical for creating personalized messaging and overcoming sales objections.

Here are some of the tangible benefits of effective sales engagement:

  • Shorter sales cycles. When you engage with customers in the right way, you reduce the amount of time they spend on making a decision. Using multichannel engagement strategies to keep them in the loop speeds up their customer journey.

  • More organized and effective sales reps. Effective sales engagement strategies are data-driven. By leveraging engagement metrics, you can make better sales and marketing decisions.

  • Improved customer relationships. According to McKinsey, 71% of customers now expect personalized interactions. Even better, they’re willing to pay more for an improved customer experience. A sales engagement strategy helps you boost loyalty by providing meaningful interactions.

  • Increased revenue. Sales engagement helps you establish better relationships with your prospects and customers. These relationships can improve your bottom line through increased conversions, referrals and retention.

What is a sales engagement platform? (and what to look for in one)

Sales engagement platforms help track and manage customer interactions at every touchpoint.

Usually, sales engagement software will include content management, communication and analytics features. Most of the time, they also integrate with customer relationship management (CRM) systems.

Here are four key features to look for in a sales engagement system:

Multichannel communication support

Different people prefer different communication channels. A sales engagement platform should integrate phone, email, text messaging and social media. Multichannel support makes your sales reps as reachable and responsive as possible.

Personalizing communication this way helps provide a better experience and improve customer satisfaction.

Multichannel communication support also improves efficiency. It lets your reps maintain and track multiple conversations at once. They should be able to switch between channels, track conversations and reach out to more people.

Segmentation and personalization

Personalization is one of the most effective ways to boost conversions and customer success. Segmenting your audience lets you tailor communication to their preferences and pain points.

Your sales engagement platform should have in-depth personalization capabilities. It should let you add tags or labels to split customers into relevant groups. It should also automate some aspects of personalization.

For example, pre-filling a customer’s information, sending follow-ups and offering insights.

Workflow automation

Workflow automation helps by streamlining repetitive and time-consuming tasks. It gives your sales reps more time to achieve high-value goals.

Examples of helpful automations include:

  • Email campaigns: Create drip campaigns and send them to prospects at specific times (like when they fill out a web form on your website).

  • Task automation: Automatically completes repetitive admin tasks. For example, when you generate a new lead, the platform assigns it to a rep and creates a follow-up task.

  • Appointment scheduling: Integrates with calendar tools to automate scheduling. Your prospects can then select the most convenient time and the engagement platform will sync it with your sales reps’ calendar.

Sales intelligence and predictive analytics

Your sales engagement platform should help you better understand your prospects and customers. By tracking metrics and generating reports and insights, it can improve your sales reps’ decision-making.

For example, the platform might track sales metrics like call volume and meetings scheduled. Sales reps can analyze reports to get insight into their sales performance and productivity. They can then identify key areas for improvement.

The platform might also track metrics like email open rates, click-through rates and conversion rates. This data might help you improve your communication strategies.

The 8 best sales engagement platforms

Sales engagement solutions are diverse, ranging from CRMs to communication-based platforms. The best platform for your sales team depends on your needs and industry.

Here are eight top sales engagement platforms to choose from:

1. Pipedrive

Pipedrive is a sales CRM that helps sales teams manage their customer interactions and streamline the sales process. With a user-friendly interface, easy onboarding and a range of features, it’s one of the best sales engagement platforms on the market.

Pipedrive provides several sales engagement features:

  • Centralized data hub. Store and manage customer data, track leads and monitor the progress of deals from a single dashboard.

  • Automation. Pipedrive automates repetitive tasks like follow-ups, scheduling and data entry.

  • Multichannel communication support. Connect with customers through email, phone and social media.

  • Analytics. The Insights feature provides data on sales performance and campaign effectiveness.

  • Integrations. Pipedrive integrates with hundreds of popular third-party tools, so you can connect your workspace and avoid context switching.

  • Plans: Pipedrive offers five affordable pricing tiers for sales organizations of all sizes.

The bottom line: Pipedrive is a powerful sales engagement platform for sales teams small and large. It’s built for salespeople, by salespeople, and it has every feature you need to increase conversions and drive profitability.

2. Mailshake

Mailshake is a sales engagement tool that focuses on large-scale personalized email outreach. It also enables companies to engage with prospects through phone and social media, all via a single dashboard.

Some of Mailshake’s key functions include:

  • Tools that increase email deliverability. For example, an email domain setup assistant and free email warm-up to strengthen your reputation with email providers.

  • Analytics to track rep productivity and find out which type of outreach is most effective for each prospect

Mailshake also integrates seamlessly with Pipedrive. Users can create deals for each recipient and then track activities for each deal.

For example, if a customer opens an email, you’ll receive a notification. Then, you can move that deal forward in your pipeline.

Plans: Mailshake offers a single plan with unlimited dialer minutes, LinkedIn automation and more.

The bottom line: Mailshake focuses on outreach. However, it excels when paired with a fully functional CRM solution like Pipedrive.

3. Klenty

Klenty offers a suite of sales engagement tools. These tools help streamline sales tasks, improve sales team productivity and optimize communication.

From multichannel communications to in-depth automation capabilities, Klenty makes outreach easy.

Klenty’s key features include:

  • A sales dialer that automates phone calls and voicemails

  • Advanced email personalization tools, including video embedding and pre-filled email templates

  • Multichannel cadences that let you achieve repeatable sales outcomes

Klenty shines most when it’s integrated with a powerful CRM solution like Pipedrive. With Pipedrive’s Klenty integration, you can easily sync data between the two platforms.

For example, you can sync email engagement metrics, call notes and recordings. You can also auto-import data, update deal stages and perform all activities from the Pipedrive dashboard.

The bottom line: Klenty is a powerful outreach and sales engagement platform that has something for every sales team. It offers several features that can help optimize your sales process, especially when combined with a CRM solution.

4. CloudTalk

CloudTalk is a call center sales technology that helps you manage customer communications in one easy location. It connects your team and customers in the cloud and customizes your customer journey using data intelligence, AI and machine learning.

It allows your reps to quickly and easily automate their workflows. It also provides sales managers with built-in reports and analytics so they can identify areas for improvement in real time.

Some of CloudTalk’s helpful features include:

  • AI that transcribes and summarizes sales conversations in real time to generate deeper insights

  • Automated call distribution that ensures incoming calls are directed to the right rep or agent.

  • An after-call-work (ACW) feature that provides reps with simple follow-up workflows to ensure customer satisfaction.

You can make your calls even more efficient and effective with Pipedrive’s CloudTalk integration. It allows you to make calls directly through the CMS and sync contact and interaction details across both systems. It also lets you automatically log important information from every interaction directly into Pipedrive.

Plans: Cloudtalk offers four plans: Starter, Essential, Expert and Custom (for integrations, you need the Essential plan or higher). Each plan is customized to fit your company size and needs.

The bottom line: CloudTalk focuses on boosting your team’s productivity and improving the quality of your business communication.

5. Outplay

Outplay is designed for fast-scaling small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).

Outplay’s main sales engagement features include:

  • Multichannel outreach across email, phone, SMS, LinkedIn, WhatsApp and website chat

  • Sales and email automation tools to save your reps time on repetitive manual tasks

  • Conversation intelligence that analyzes conversations and extracts actionable insights

  • Seamless sync with many CRMs, including an Outplay-Pipedrive integration

The integration allows you to automatically import your prospects from Pipedrive. You can then enroll these prospects into Outplay sequences to help automate your sales process. You can sync activities with Pipedrive and nurture your prospects more effectively.

Plans: Outplay offers a free plan that includes automated email sequences (up to 50 emails per day), as well as email tracking. It also offers two paid plans, Growth and Enterprise. These plans are targeted at larger organizations that need to scale quickly.

The bottom line: Outplay is a great choice for SMBs that want to improve sales efforts, increase conversions and scale their business.

6. Outreach

Outreach is a sales engagement platform that offers a comprehensive set of features. It helps increase productivity, improve communication and automate the sales process.

With Outreach, sales reps can manage outreach, track interactions and improve sales strategies. Some of its key features include:

  • Streamlined workflows for email sequences and sales playbooks

  • Automatic data syncing with integrated CRMs

  • Machine-learning-powered A/B testing to improve engagement

  • AI-powered sentiment analysis and insights to help capitalize on opportunities

Plans: Outreach pricing is on-request only, so you’ll need to contact their sales team to find out more.

The bottom line: Outreach offers a wide range of data-driven features for improving efficiency. However, the software has a relatively difficult learning curve.

7. Reply

Reply is an engagement tool that focuses on sales development representatives (SDRs) and prospecting. It helps companies find new prospects, create new opportunities and automate multichannel touchpoints.

Reply’s features focus on four areas: Prospecting, engaging, selling and improving processes. Its sales engagement features include:

  • Automated multichannel communication via email, calls, SMS and messaging platforms

  • Scalable social selling with automated connections, messages and task generation

  • Streamlined cloud calls via web browser

  • Jason AI, a conversational marketing chatbot powered by ChatGPT

Plans: Reply offers a free plan that helps users find and reach out to a limited number of B2B clients every month. The company also offers three plan tiers: Starter, Professional and Custom (for enterprise companies).

The bottom line: Reply is perfect for companies that need an SDR engagement platform to generate more high-quality leads.

8. Clearbit

Clearbit is software that helps B2B sales teams enrich, qualify and score their leads more effectively. Using first and third-party data, Clearbit ensures that your sales team has access to the most accurate information. You can then create your ideal customer profile (ICP) and route leads more efficiently.

Clearbit’s sales engagement features include:

  • Access to a huge, up-to-date B2B database that helps discover key decision-makers

  • Lead identification, qualification and scoring tools

  • Easy integration with several CRMs, including Pipedrive

When integrated with Pipedrive, Clearbit enables you to gather leads based on custom criteria. You can automate sales processes so your sales team can focus on promising prospects without distractions.

Plans: Clearbit offers a free plan that helps you de-anonymize site traffic and determine your ICP. The Business plan provides lead scoring, advanced personalization and intent-based outreach tools.

The bottom line: Clearbit helps sales professionals get more prospects and develop better go-to-market strategies.

Final thoughts

Sales engagement platforms are necessary for businesses to streamline the buyer’s journey and close deals. With the right platform, you can improve sales strategies and convert more prospects into loyal customers.

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