Sales Engagement Software Sucks – But Software isn’t to Blame

There is technology on the market right now that will help sales and marketing teams expertly engage targets, nurture customer relationships and inspire harmony between both departments. And it will likely be completely ignored by most salespeople.

In an Account-Based Everything strategy, the element of personalized orchestration is the answer to every single marketing and sales problem. It just so happens to also involve a step or two more of dirty work on the part of salespeople in order to work, which means its adoption is much less of a guarantee than its success. After all, it’s easy to participate in the feel-good activity of dumping someone into a 15-email sequence and letting them run.

Today’s popular sales engagement tools create a false sense of security that, because all prospects are plopped into a platform, they’re good to go.

Here’s the Truth

The simple truth is that it’s difficult to master customization. It’s also true that the response level for mass-blasted emails is embarrassingly low. They look terrible, they’re riddled with the cat .gif plague, they don’t speak in any relatable way to their recipient – they’re basically everything you wish automation wasn’t.

In my eyes, Engagio’s PlayMaker solution is the gold-standard of customizable playbook technology. But guess what? It doesn’t come with an easy button.

Anyone who gets a look at tools like PlayMaker all understand how great it is – sales gets more control over the customer relationship, and marketing gets more control over what sales messaging and activities. However, they look for a turnkey message and can’t find one. So they wonder who among their team is going to create the customized components (spoiler: no one wants to do it!) and opt for the cheaper solution that puts everything on autopilot – then sit back and wonder why it fails.

The truth is, most sales and marketing enablement tools are the wrong type of enabler.

Most tools only inspire people to get further away from understanding their audience and delivering content that can get results. They’re inexpensive and easy to set up, and they’re doing a great detriment to your sales team’s performance.

I get it – one-off customization of key messages can be daunting if you’re used to a set it and forget it strategy. Account-Based Marketing relies on orchestration, but okay, you’re afraid to start personalizing everything right away.

One Step at a Time

In that case, take some baby steps.

Remember, you’re already sending a lot of these messages – contract follow-ups, meeting requests, follow-ups on sales offers or demos – you just need to collect them in a repository and create a loose playbook. Even if you were to take those elements and start stringing them together in the most rudimentary play framework, you’d get a better response immediately vs. dumping people together in long sales enablement “solutions.”

Organization is your first baby step. Your next one is the resurrection of the relevant messages. Chances are you’ve sent a webinar follow-up in the past. Challenge yourself to personalize at least one line of it. It can even be the intro line! Something like, “you’ve watched this in the past, we think you’d enjoy this other piece of related content.”

Boom, you just brought it a little closer to home for your customer. Or maybe, “we recently helped a business similar to yours, check out what we can do for you.” It’s simple beyond belief, but at least it’s relatable. No more boilerplate garbage like, “hey, looks like you went to college, too!”

Most sales engagement tools now care about one thing: quantity. Just because you’re conducting activities doesn’t mean they’re good ones. In fact, focusing on quantity can get you in trouble. Challenge yourself to focus on benchmarks that really matter – how many of the people you dropped into that cadence decided to actually take a meeting? If your results are already off the charts using your current system, then more power to you. But I seriously doubt that’s the case.

In ABM, the measure of a technology’s greatness is its ability to organize the various players within your accounts and set your teams up for greatness. It shouldn’t do all the work for you as your talented salespeople sit back and press send on an identical batch of a dozen emails. Switching to an Account-Based program should mean less reliance on technology when it comes to crafting messages and creating content.

Being human in your interactions is more important than ever, and your tools should provide all the information you need to personalize all points of contact.

Justin Gray
Justin Gray
Justin is a serial entrepreneur serving currently as the CEO and founder of LeadMD, the world’s largest marketing automation consultancy having implemented over half of the Marketo user base. LeadMD helps clients achieve uncommon success using leading platforms such as Marketo, Engagio and Salesforce. In addition to LeadMD, Justin is also the Co-Founder of PaidSuite, a SaaS payment technology provider, and Greyson Organics, an organic farm in rural Missouri he co-owns and operates with his father. As a recognized speaker, Justin has been published over 300 times in industry publications and holds featured contributor statuses with Inc., Entrepreneur and others.

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