B2B Sales

Choosing The Right Tools: Sales Engagement Platform vs. CRM

In most industries, sales are the heartbeat that fuels growth and profitability. But with buyers becoming more complex and markets constantly changing, traditional sales approaches may not cut it anymore. That's where sales tools come in. These tools empower sales teams, streamline processes, and create exceptional customer experiences.

Get ready to explore two game-changing options: sales engagement platforms and CRM systems. We'll shine the spotlight on FORWARD, an innovative sales engagement platform, and compare it with CRM platforms to find the ultimate solution for turbocharging your sales. 

We'll also take you through their features, benefits, and how they can revolutionise your sales operations. Whether you're a sales pro, manager, or business owner, you’ll walk away armed with the knowledge you need to make a smart decision and amplify your sales efforts.

Understanding Sales Engagement Platforms and CRM

Let’s unpack the basics of sales engagement platforms and CRM, highlighting key features, roles, and how they differ in functionality and focus.

Explaining Sales Engagement Platforms

Imagine having a supercharged toolkit that empowers your sales team to streamline and optimise their sales activities. That's precisely what sales engagement platforms are all about! These platforms hyper-focus on enhancing sales team productivity and optimising customer interaction throughout the entire sales process. 

With a sales engagement platform, your sales reps can effectively manage their communication and gain valuable insights into how prospects engage with them. Ultimately, sales engagement platforms play a far more active role in regard to executing the sales process. 

Did you know that 65% of sales reps say they can't find content to send to prospects? Sales engagement platforms like Forward help solve this problem by centralising all the necessary information and resources in one place, making it easy for sales teams to access and share relevant content.

Overview of CRM Platforms

Now, let's talk about CRM platforms. These systems are widely used across industries to manage customer relationships and track interactions throughout the customer lifecycle. While CRM platforms have evolved to include sales functionalities, their main focus is managing customer data, tracking interactions, and providing a holistic view of the customer journey. 

CRMs act as a one-stop database where you can store and organise customer information, manage leads, track sales opportunities, and collaborate with your team. In short, CRM platforms help you nurture and maintain strong relationships with your customers.

Differentiating Sales Engagement Platforms and CRM:

So, what's the difference between sales engagement platforms and CRM platforms? 

Sales engagement platforms are all about boosting your sales activities. They provide specialised tools for prospecting, communication, and engagement, helping your sales reps execute personalised outreach, track customer responses, and manage sales content with ease. 

On the other hand, CRM platforms are all about managing your customer relationships. They focus on customer data management, pipeline tracking, and customer service functionalities.

While CRM platforms are great for managing the customer journey and maintaining long-term relationships, sales engagement platforms support your sales team with tools designed to enhance prospect engagement and close deals faster. 

Think of sales engagement platforms as the perfect complement to your CRM system, adding that extra layer of specialised features to meet the unique needs of your sales team.

Choosing the Right Tools for Your Sales Team

Selecting the right tool for your sales team begins with understanding their unique needs and objectives. Start by collaborating with your sales representatives to identify common pain points and challenges they face during the sales process.

Sales Engagement Platforms (SEPs) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems are essential tools for your sales team, but they serve different purposes and have distinct functionalities.

Types of Sales Engagement Platforms

Digital Sales Rooms

Digital sales rooms like FORWARD enable your team to showcase and share sales materials, presentations, and collateral with prospects. They provide a centralised and interactive space for virtual sales engagements.

Email Sequencing

SEPs allow users to create and schedule personalised email sequences to reach out to leads and prospects. These sequences can be automated and customised based on recipient actions or responses.

Sales Cadences

A sales cadence in a SEP refers to a predefined set of actions, including calls, emails, and other touchpoints. These all work together to guide your prospect through the sales funnel. SEPs help sales teams manage and track these cadences efficiently.

Sales Automation

Automation features in SEPs help streamline repetitive tasks, such as lead follow-ups, data entry, and scheduling, allowing sales reps to focus on higher-value activities.

Sales Analytics

SEPs provide insights and analytics to measure the effectiveness of sales activities, track engagement rates, and identify areas for improvement in the sales process.

Sales Content Management

SEPs often include a content library where sales reps can access and share marketing-approved content like sales decks, case studies, and product sheets.

Social Selling Tools

Some SEPs offer social media integrations or tools to engage prospects on social platforms and track interactions.

Features of Customer Relationship Management Platforms

Contact and Lead Management

CRMs serve as a centralised database to store and organise customer and lead information, helping your sales reps keep track of interactions and customer history.

Opportunity Management

CRMs allow your sales reps to manage sales opportunities, track their progress through the sales pipeline, and forecast revenue based on deal stages.

Sales Reporting and Dashboards

CRMs offer reporting and analytics features to help sales managers and executives monitor sales performance, pipeline health, and team productivity.

Sales Collaboration

CRMs facilitate team collaboration by allowing multiple users to access and update customer information, ensuring a unified view of customer interactions.

Task and Activity Management

CRMs help sales reps manage tasks, appointments, and follow-ups related to sales activities.

Customer Support and Service

Many CRMs include features for managing customer support requests, issues, and service interactions.

Making the Right Choice

Selecting the right tool requires collaboration and input from key stakeholders in your organisation. Engage your sales leaders and IT teams in the decision-making process to ensure the tool aligns with your overall business objectives. Take advantage of free trials and demos to get hands-on experience and involve your sales team in testing and feedback.

Remember, the user experience and ease of adoption are crucial. Look for a tool that is intuitive and fits seamlessly into your team's workflow. Prioritise a tool that not only offers the right features but also provides a friendly and supportive environment for your sales team.

Choosing the right tool to enhance your sales is a vital decision. By considering factors such as your specific business needs, scalability, flexibility, and costs, you can make an informed choice that aligns with your sales objectives. Involve your sales leaders and IT teams in the process, and prioritise a user-friendly tool that integrates smoothly into your workflow. With the right tool in place, you can empower your sales team, streamline your operations, and achieve your sales goals.

While there may be some overlap in functionalities between SEPs and CRMs, they generally cater to different aspects of the sales process. SEPs focus on sales engagement and outreach, while CRMs focus on managing customer relationships and the overall sales pipeline.

The Benefits of Sales Engagement Platforms

Sales engagement platforms like FORWARD offer a range of benefits that can revolutionise your sales processes. Let's dive into the advantages and discover how it can streamline your sales, improve efficiency, enhance prospect engagement, and enable seamless collaboration within your sales team.

Did you know that 92% of companies view sales engagement platforms as essential tools for sales success? These platforms provide features like email tracking, call recording, and analytics, enabling sales teams to engage with prospects effectively and close deals faster.
  • Streamlining Sales Processes and Improving Efficiency: Platforms like FORWARD offer robust automation capabilities that streamline your sales processes, allowing your sales team to focus on what they do best: building relationships and closing deals. 
  • Enhancing Prospect Engagement and Relationship-Building: Prospect engagement is the lifeblood of successful sales. With features like email tracking, cadence management, and sales content management, you can ensure you tailor your communications to each prospect's needs and preferences. 
  • Seamless Collaboration and Communication Within Sales Teams: A sales engagement platform like FORWARD creates a centralised space where your sales team can collaborate seamlessly, share information, and align their efforts. With features like shared calendars, document sharing, and team messaging, everyone stays on the same page. 

Synergy and Integration: Sales Engagement Platforms and CRM

Sales engagement platforms, like FORWARD, and CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems, work together to enhance sales effectiveness. These tools complement each other, offering unique functionalities that create a seamless and efficient sales ecosystem.

Let's explore how sales engagement platforms and CRM systems integrate to deliver enhanced sales outcomes.

Emphasising Complementarity

Sales engagement platforms and CRM systems are not competitors but rather partners that address different aspects of the sales process. While sales engagement platforms focus on engaging prospects, facilitating collaboration, and streamlining sales activities, CRM systems excel in managing customer data, tracking sales activities, and providing valuable insights. By combining these tools, businesses can achieve a comprehensive and cohesive sales strategy.

Maximising Benefits Through Integration and Data Synchronisation:

Integrating Sales engagement platforms and CRM systems enables businesses to maximise the benefits of both tools. By combining prospect engagement capabilities with comprehensive customer data, sales reps can deliver personalised and tailored customer success plans. 

Leveraging CRM data helps understand customer preferences, buying patterns, and historical interactions, allowing for more targeted and effective sales strategies.

Moreover, the integration facilitates seamless collaboration within sales teams. Sales reps can access CRM data and insights directly within their sales engagement platform, eliminating the need to switch between multiple systems. This streamlined workflow enables sales teams to work more efficiently, improve productivity, and focus on building relationships and closing deals.

Sales engagement platforms and CRM systems work hand in hand to optimise sales processes and enhance sales effectiveness. These systems create a unified sales ecosystem that combines prospect engagement, collaboration, and comprehensive customer data management through integration and data synchronisation. By leveraging the strengths of both tools, businesses can elevate sales efforts, deliver exceptional customer experiences, and drive revenue growth.

Using SEPs and CRMs To Build Customer Success Plans

So, what is a customer success plan? A customer success plan is a structured and proactive strategy businesses design to ensure their customers' long-term satisfaction, engagement, and success. It’s a personalised roadmap outlining the steps, milestones, and key objectives to achieve during the customer's journey.

Did you know that Sales engagement platforms and CRM systems are not just for large enterprises? Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) can also benefit from these tools. In fact, 91% of SMBs with 11 to 50 employees are already using CRM software to streamline their sales processes and drive growth.

The primary purpose of a customer success plan is to establish clear expectations, set measurable goals, and align the customer's needs and desired outcomes with the solutions provided by the company. This plan is typically collaboratively developed to foster a strong customer partnership and an understanding of mutual objectives.

How To Create a Customer Success Plan

You can develop a customer success plan by using sales engagement platforms and CRMs in tandem. Leveraging sales engagement platforms automates and optimises customer interactions, ensuring timely follow-ups and personalised engagements. Integrated CRM data helps to understand customer preferences and historical interactions to drive tailored strategies. 

  • Step 1: Set Customer Goals
  • Step 2: Identify Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
  • Step 3: Outline Actionable Steps
  • Step 4: Establish a Timeline
  • Step 5: Highlight Potential Challenges
  • Step 6: Maintain Communication and Provide Feedback
  • Step 7: Analyse Progress for Continuous Improvement

You’ll enhance your active approach with sales engagement platforms and rely on the CRM to track customer progress, measure KPIs, and gain insights for continuous improvement. You can collaborate between customer success and sales teams to align efforts, ultimately delivering a cohesive customer experience.

How FORWARD Enhances Sales Effectiveness

FORWARD is a game-changing sales tool that takes your sales game to the next level. Let’s explore why FORWARD is the ultimate solution for businesses aiming to enhance their sales. 

Did you know that access to engagement platforms leads to up to 15% more meetings, a 27% higher reply rate on queries, and a 46% higher open rate?

What Makes FORWARD So Special?

Streamlining Sales Processes:

  • FORWARD offers a range of features that automate tasks and make the sales journey smoother.
  • It's designed to be user-friendly, allowing sales teams to easily integrate it into their workflow.
  • By automating time-consuming tasks, FORWARD frees up sales reps to focus on building relationships and closing deals.

Enhancing Prospect Engagement and Relationship-Building:

  • FORWARD provides a central hub where sales reps can access all the tools and resources needed to engage prospects effectively.
  • Its collaborative sales rooms enable seamless communication, creating personalised and engaging experiences.
  • With FORWARD, sales reps can leave a lasting impression on prospects throughout the sales cycle.

Addressing Pain Points in the Sales Processes:

  • FORWARD tackles common pain points in B2B sales, such as lead generation and qualification, with robust lead management capabilities.
  • It ensures consistent communication throughout the sales cycle, minimising missed opportunities and improving conversions.
  • FORWARDS's analytics and reporting features offer valuable insights, helping sales teams optimise their strategies.

FORWARD is the go-to solution for businesses seeking to enhance their sales. Its streamlined processes, enhanced prospect engagement, and pain point solutions make it the perfect choice. By leveraging FORWARD's features, businesses can empower their sales teams, shorten sales cycles, and achieve greater revenue growth.

FORWARD is your secret weapon for unlocking sales success. With its ability to streamline processes, engage prospects, and address common sales challenges, FORWARD empowers sales teams to achieve greatness. Embrace Forward and witness the transformation of your B2B sales effectiveness. 

Final Thoughts

We've seen how sales engagement platforms make things easier, boost customer interest, and improve the chances of converting leads into customers. Similarly, CRM platforms help organise customer information, track sales activities, and provide useful insights. The critical thing to remember is that these tools can work together to improve sales.

Choosing the right tools is crucial. It's not about picking one tool over the other but understanding their unique benefits and how they fit together to develop a collaborative workspace design. By considering what your business needs and goals are, you can make a smart decision that aligns with your sales strategy.

Ultimately, it's all about finding the right balance and using the best tools for your team. Combining the strengths of sales engagement platforms and CRM systems can boost your sales efforts and achieve better results. So, explore your options, assess your requirements, and choose the tools to help you succeed in your sales journey.

Don't let your competitors leave you behind—take action today and embrace the combined power of FORWARD and CRM. 

Remember, success is within reach when you have the right tools in your toolbox.

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