Sales Strategy

How to choose the best sales engagement platform for you

lemlist team
LAST UPDATED
June 10, 2024
READING TIME
7 min.

Businesses are using sales technologies to streamline their operations. Sales engagement software is one of the most widely used tools out there.

According to Aragon Research, the sales software industry grew to $5 billion by 2023. And it's not slowing down.

Are you looking for the best engagement platform that will help you book more meetings? This comprehensive guide is for you.

We will explore how to choose the best sales engagement platform that helps to communicate with customers, sync with teams, and ultimately, land sales easier.

What is a sales engagement platform?

A sales engagement platform (SEP) is a software tool designed to streamline and improve the efficiency of the B2B (business-to-business) sales process.

Meanwhile, sales engagement is the actions a sales rep takes to engage potential buyers in a conversation. This includes multichannel outreach through email, calls, and social channels, with a combination of automation and personalization to create the most efficient sales cycle possible.

The key features of sales engagement platform are:

  • Centralized Communication: SEPs act as a hub for managing all communication channels with potential customers (prospects). This can include email, phone calls, social media outreach, and even SMS messaging.
  • Automation: SEPs automate repetitive tasks like sending email sequences, scheduling follow-up calls, and managing reminders. This frees up salespeople's time to focus on more strategic activities like building relationships and closing deals.
  • Personalization: SEPs allow for personalizing outreach messages and content to individual prospects. This can significantly improve engagement and response rates.
  • Sales Pipeline Management: SEPs help track the progress of potential sales deals through various stages of the sales pipeline. This provides valuable insights into sales performance and helps identify opportunities for improvement.
  • Analytics and Reporting: SEPs offer data and analytics on sales activities, email engagement, and other metrics. This data can be used to optimize sales strategies and measure the effectiveness of campaigns.

Generally, people turn to sales engagement platforms and tools to streamline multiple processes of their work. If you try to manage all of this yourself you will drive yourself crazy between all the channels, personalization, and backend management.

Sales engagement platforms help to make sales managers’ and sales reps’ lives a whole lot easier.

Benefits of a sales engagement platform

When you're looking for software, you're usually trying to find one of two things: it makes you money or saves you time.

The huge benefit of sales engagement tools is that they do both.

1. Increase your sales with multichannel prospecting

Let's talk about making money first.

The point of a sales engagement platform is to organize all of your communication with a prospect - meaning every channel that you use... in one clean place.

Cold email works really well alone, but when you combine it with social channels and cold calls... it's pure magic.

Need some proof? Just check out the results of one multichannel campaign we've run recently.

With a combination of cold email and LinkedIn, Daria's reply rate was 38%.

Why did it work?Because you’re reaching people on the channel they are more likely to respond on.

In real talk, this means you can send a detailed email to explain your proposition, but shoot over a friendly LinkedIn message or Twitter comment to connect on a more personal level. And this is where the real good stuff happens.

Just imagine: you get a cold email about a product that would be really useful for you and your team but your inbox is simply flooded with emails, and before you know it you're caught up with your to-do list.Sounds familiar, right?

But then, a couple of days later, you get an intriguing LinkedIn message from someone asking if you saw their email.

And hey, look at that, it's the same person who emailed you about the tool that could really help you.

Here's an example from one of my multichannel campaigns:

sales engagement platform

So, by combining both channels, they reached you on the right platform at the right time, and then you're genuinely interested in the tool because they gave you all the info.

2. Automation for the win in time management

Okay, we’ve made some money, but how do we save time?

Where sales engagement tools really shine is in the combination of different channels and getting the boring tasks out of your way.

Back in the days when I was doing multichannel prospecting, I had to send emails from my CRM, cold call using a completely different tool, and then spend hours scouring Facebook and LinkedIn to find the right post to comment on.

And none of it even connected so I was constantly taking notes on different platforms and things were getting lost in translation between me and the rest of the team (including my manager 😅).

Talk about a huuuuggee waste of time. Turns out I just needed a sales engagement tool and it would combine all the channels I needed and keep my notes safe in one place.

Plus, as I explained earlier, there's only one report to go through that synthesizes all the information for me. So I get to focus on making the campaign better and not chasing down information.

This also would have been really helpful for my manager because I would have had extra time to actually get to know the leads instead of wasting time going back and forth between tools, taking notes, and basically creating my own reports.

Ultimately, any sales rep or growth marketer should have an ambition of using FEWER tools to drive MORE positive outcomes, right?

3. Connect to your personal brand

If you're in the B2B sales world, you know that there is a bit of a hullabaloo around personal brands.

But it's for a good reason!

It can seriously impact your company’s revenue, not to mention the personal benefits.

And in case you don't want to take my word for it, I'll just say this: at lemlist we've generated approximately $1M+ in revenue thanks to our personal brands.

Here are some of our DMs... 😉

So, finding a tool that merges outreach and personal branding is the best. Sales engagement platforms make this possible with their LinkedIn integrations.

Although automation is great and everything, you should never act like a robot shooting out hundreds of random messages. It's a complete waste of space. A road that ends badly.

Outreach is about building trust and creating relationships. Never forget that.

For example, we like to start our sequences with a little social engagement to put our names in people’s minds.

So, what does connecting outreach and personal brand in a more practical way even mean?

  1. You target and qualify the right prospects
  2. You connect with them on LinkedIn
  3. You expose them to your content and engage on theirs
  4. You send over a cold email or a LinkedIn DM

You can't, nor should EVER automate numbers 1 and 3.

What you do want to do is scale operations by automating the sending of 2 and 4, and use that time to craft a relevant and personalized outreach.

This is the true power of a sales engagement platform.

But we'll go a bit into tactics later in this article.

4. Simplify audience research

If you actually take time to search for the leads that you know fit with what you're offering, and then personalize your message for them, sparks will fly.

You'll have more conversions after the initial response, and the people that convert are much less likely to churn than the random people you contact that "might be a good fit".

And how do sales engagement tools fit into this?

They make your life easier by enabling you to directly import your leads from LinkedIn search or Sales Navigator, and can even have options to write your personalized icebreakers for each lead.

By using the lemlist Chrome extension you will be able to find,enrich and, import your leads to your campaigns directly from the app, without bouncing from one page to another.

How to choose the best sales engagement platform

Excellent, we know what kind of benefits a sales engagement platform brings.

The best sales engagement platforms offer multiple functionalities that streamline all steps of the sales process — from various outreach channels to personalized campaigns.

Here are the most important features you have to consider when choosing the best sales engagement platform:

1. Multichannel outreach

2. Social selling capabilities

3. Email deliverability optimization

4. Reporting for all channels

5. Integrations with key tools in our funnels

But before I jump into the nitty gritty of these features I have one really important thing for you to keep in mind: the key to picking a sales engagement platform is finding the right one for your team and your goals.

To give you an example, if you’re a growing business that is setting up your sales processes, you don’t want to be stuck on an annual plan, or with a sales engagement tool that doesn’t let you test things out.

You need to be flexible!

That was just one example, but many things can be a priority for your specific needs, so keep these in mind.

Okay, now that that’s out of the way, let’s dive into the key features to look for...

1. Multichannel outreach

So, essentially the multichannel automation features you should look for in a sales engagement platform are:

  • email + social networks + call dialer all in one place
  • automation so you don’t waste time on any extra steps

This one isn't rocket science, switching between tools is a big pain in the ass. Especially if they don’t all integrate and end up leaving with you some confusing workflows.

Think about it like this - you start connecting with your leads on LinkedIn and Twitter to put your name out there, then send them an email to give them a bit of context, give them a call to put a name to a voice, then follow-up with a friendly message, and finish it off with another email.

If you aren't automating this process you are using 5-6 different tools here.

Plus sending everything separately and keeping track of what comes next.

As a sales rep, you are wasting way too much time on this. And as a sales manager, you want your team to focus their energy on something a computer couldn't do.

Solution?

Something like this...

The trick here is to automate structuring a sequence and sending campaigns so that you can free time for the important stuff - writing personalized messages.

On top of that, you never wanna overdo it and send too many messages neither to their inbox nor in the LinkedIn DM. It's important to follow the exact rules email providers and LinkedIn have given and never spam people.

We'll talk about limits in a bit and I'll give you precise guidelines here.

Finally, you can create different kinds of campaigns here.

Example A:

  1. LinkedIn visit (day 1)
  2. LinkedIn Connect (day 1)
  3. Engage on a LinkedIn post (day 2)
  4. LinkedIn visit (day 4)
  5. LinkedIn DM (day 4)
  6. Cold email follow-up (day 7)

Example B:

  1. LinkedIn visit (day 1)
  2. LinkedIn Connect (day 1)
  3. Engage on LinkedIn a post (day 2)
  4. Engage on Twitter post (day 3)
  5. Cold call (day 5)
  6. Cold email (day 7)
  7. LinkedIn visit (day 10)
  8. LinkedIn DM (day 10)

Obviously, these are just examples to get the brain wheels turning. But the possibilities are endless.

2. Social selling

I know you might be overseeing this word, but hear me out.

You need to show your prospects that you know them, otherwise they will assume that you're just randomly reaching out to them.

How do you do this?

Find the social network(s) that work best for your leads - aka where they are most active - and hit them up with meaningful engagement on that channel.

What sales engagement feature ties in with this? The ability to connect to social networks within your platform.

This can either be through direct integrations, or with manual tasks that can be connected with links:

sales engagement platform

By reaching out like this, you aren't just doing outreach, you're creating real relationships.

And by actually getting to know your leads, you'll be much more likely to help them solve their problems and they'll be even happier customers later on.

Check out Nadja’s example:

sales engagement platform

You’re adding value and building a relationship, all while increasing chances of conversion. That's what I'm talking about.

Some specific ways you can use this strategy in B2B are:

  • when a company is raising funds
  • someone who worked for your top users just changed companies
  • a company is doing mass hiring

So you can create specific sequences based on these factors, and then send personalized messages according to each lead.

These are all great opportunities for creating relationships that will lead to some deals later on when they are looking for tools!

3. Email deliverability optimization

(i.e., keeping your emails far away from spam & keeping your LN from being flagged)

So what does this translate to in terms of sales engagement features?

You need to play by the rules.

And you need a tool that will support you on this by giving you an option to set daily limits for you and the entire team, maximize your deliverability, give you an algorithm you can trust, and does not try to cheat the system.

Okay, but can you explain this in English, please?

Limits-wise, here's what you need to remember:

sales engagement platforms and email deliverability

Trust me, once you get on the bad side of Google, LinkedIn, and other giants, there is no going back. 🙈

Plus, there's really no point in doing that.

If you send 300 requests a day, it means that you've typed "Head of Sales" in the search bar and connected with everyone on the list.

In other words, you've made almost no effort to qualify the prospects.

However, if you send 20, it means you've visited their profiles and qualified their potential interest in your product/service.

Big difference.

The one that defines whether or not you will have great success with your outbound campaign.

The truth is that you can't build relationships by automating everything.

And if you focus instead on reaching a smaller number of people but personalizing your outreach, you'll get even better results.

The same rules apply to cold emails or cold calls.

The trick is not to be the fastest to send the most emails or make the highest number of calls. The real trick is to have the highest reply and conversation rates.

Plus, you want to have a sales engagement tool that sends emails in the right way.

Meaning, that the algorithm needs to deliver cold emails one after the other, and not as a blast. It should give you your own server so you're not affected by the behavior of others who might be sharing that server with you.

Here's an interesting article if you wanna know more about these things.

Be smart with deliverability. 😉

4. Clear multichannel reporting

This one is pretty straightforward, you should look for sales engagement tools that simplify your reporting.

I’m talking about being able to see the success of separate channels, users & campaigns.

sales engagement platform

This is especially important if you’re testing out multichannel prospecting to determine what channels are working best for your target!

Let's break one such multichannel report together.

sales engagement platform

Here we have one of Clémence's multichannel sequences, this time sent to a specific target of people that follow our LinkedIn page.

So at the top, we have a brief breakdown of the stats for each channel. And you can see the appropriate stats for each channel, e.g. you can see how many LinkedIn invites were accepted instead of showing the click rate.

Then, when you go down to the bottom chart you get every single thing broken down, and this combined with the activity log makes it easy as pie to analyze your steps to see what worked and what didn't.

So, the real question is: what can you do with all this data?

Well, in this campaign for example, I can click on the 70% invite accepted rate at the bottom and see when people accepted the invite, and then determine if the LinkedIn invite was sent at the right time in comparison and adjust for my next campaign if needed.

That's just one example, but the possibilities are endless!

Data will be your best friend in creating your campaigns. It'll help you determine what channels and styles work for specific targets, so you can turn your outreach sequences into lead-generating machines.

But again, keep your specific needs in mind. If you’re an agency, you’re probably going to want a feature like reports-access only so clients can see the results without modifying anything or seeing your other clients.

But then if you’re a leader of a sales team you’re going to want to see how your team is performing overall and individually, plus see which channels are working best for each one.

Bottom line - find what you need as a sales team, you shouldn't need to make your own reports between balancing all your types of engagement.

5. Integrations

This section is definitely the one that will vary depending on your specific needs.

Essentially you need to be able to identify:

  1. The sales engagement platform that fits your feature needs the best
  2. Amongst those, are the ones that have the proper integrations for your team so that everything fits together seamlessly

For example, CRM will play a big part in these. Some sales engagement tools have a CRM built in, and a lot simply integrate with existing CRMs.

So if you already have a CRM that you know and love, it will be better to choose the sales engagement platform that integrates with it natively.

Another good example of this is calendar management tools like lemcal. If you want to offer the option of directly booking a call in your emails or messages, this would be another important integration!

And the list goes on, if the sales engagement platform specializes in email, calls, or social, you’ll need to make sure they either have the features or integrations for the other channels.

Of course, there are a million other integrations that you could need, so make sure you consider everything before committing to anything - especially a long-term contract.

The verdict

Alright y’all, to sum it all up in one pretty picture, make sure you make a list of your “must haves” and “nice to haves” so you can properly analyze what you’re looking for.

Features to keep in mind for a good sales engagement platform are: multichannel automation, social selling, deliverability protection & limit reminders, clear reporting, integrations when needed, and some forward-thinking features to help you stand out.

Ultimately, you have to pick the right tool for you, your team, and your funnel. My choice, as you might have guessed, is lemlist. It crosses off all the features in the list.

Personalization at scale, multichannel capabilities, and its deliverability is spotless.

If you’re interested in testing it, you can totally do that by clicking on this link.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the best sales engagement platform?

The top 3 sales engagement tools are:

1. HubSpot Sales Hub: Part of a larger CRM suite from HubSpot, the Sales Hub offers a good balance of email automation, lead management tools, and free features for smaller teams. It integrates seamlessly with other HubSpot products for marketing and customer service.

2. lemlist: The cold outreach tool that is a must for sales teams— from personalization at scale to multichannel capabilities, plus, its deliverability is spotless.

3. Salesloft: A popular platform known for its robust email automation features, sequence building functionalities, and powerful analytics for tracking outreach performance. It caters to sales teams of all sizes, from startups to large enterprises.

What ROI can you get from sales engagement platforms?

Companies who implement sales engagement software into the company's workflow can get up to 329% return on their investment, according to Forrester survey.

What is the difference between a CRM and a sales engagement platform?

SEPs help you automate and improve your communication with potential customers. CRMs help you manage all customer data and relationships.

How does sales engagement platform help sales teams?

Sales engagement software helps sales teams in boosting efficiency, personalizing communication, and ultimately driving sales growth. In short, it optimizes the way reps interact with their clients.

What is a sales engagement model?

A sales engagement model consists of detailed steps about engaging prospects using a suitable approach. It includes details about channels, frequency, and the content you will use.

Does my team need a sales engagement platform?

Your team will clearly benefit from using sales engagement software if they have:

  • Low Sales Productivity
  • Inconsistent Communication
  • Limited Personalization
  • Poor Visibility into Sales Activities
  • Difficulty Collaborating

Get weekly outreach tips
SHARE THIS ARTICLE
Thanks! You've successfully subscribed to lemlist newsletter
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
G2 Rating
Price
Best for
Standout feature
Con
4.9
star
star
star
star
star
$30/mo
$75/mo
$2,999/mo
Large, distributed sales teams
AI evaluation precision, gamified KPIs
Lack of tracking system
4.6
star
star
star
star
star-half
Not publicly available
Sales operations and finance teams
Powerful configurability
Limited training resources and complex to navigate
4.4
star
star
star
star
star-half
Not publicly available
Mid-market and enterprise businesses
Comprehensive incentive management
Potentially high cost and steep learning curve
4.7
star
star
star
star
star-half
$15/user/mo
$40/user/mo
Enterprise: custom price
Complex sales structures and businesses of all sizes
Complex sales structures and businesses of all sizes
Steep learning curve
4.6
star
star
star
star
star-half
Not publicly available
Collaborative teams
Connected planning
Complexity and steep learning curve
4.6
star
star
star
star
star-half
Not publicly available
Companies with complex sales structures
Complex incentive compensation management (ICM) with high efficiency and accuracy
Complexity for smaller teams and potentially high costs
4.7
star
star
star
star
star-half
Not publicly available
Companies who want to automate commission calculations and payouts
Simplicity and ease of use
Lack of features like redirection
4.7
star
star
star
star
star-half
$30/user/mo
$35/user/mo
Custom: upon request
Businesses that need a comprehensive and user-friendly sales compensation management software
Ease of use and adoption
Lack of ability to configure the product based on user needs
4.8
star
star
star
star
star-half
Not publicly available
Companies with modern sales culture and businesses who want real-time insights
A built-in dispute management and real-time visibility
Users say it works slowly, customer support is slow
4.9
star
star
star
star
star
$30/user/mo
$50/user/mo
Smaller sales teams
Powerful automation
Lesser user base and average user interface
4.7
star
star
star
star
star-half
Not publicly available
Companies with scalable needs
Automated Commission Calculations
Lack of filtering by date, no mobile app
ERP vs. CRM
ERP
CRM
Summary
Backbone of a business's internal operations.
Backbone of customer-centric interactions and operations.
Goal
To centralize and streamline core business processes in a company.
To increase customer experience, satisfaction and loyalty, and boost sales.
Focus
Internal operations and processes across departments (finance, accounting, inventory, supply chain, HR, and sales).
All interactions with leads and customers.
Manages
Internal business data like financial data, inventory levels, production details, supply chain, HR info.
All customer data like contact info, purchase history, communication history, customer preferences and more.
Users
Finance, accounting, operations, supply chain, and HR departments.
Customer-facing teams like sales, marketing, and customer service.
Benefits
Streamlines operations, improves data accuracy, enhances decision-making, boosts collaboration, increases productivity.
Improves customer relationships, increases sales, strengthens customer service, personalizes marketing campaigns, provides insights.
Price
$150 per user per year on average.
$10 to $30 per user per month on average.
PRM Tool
Rating
Feature
Pro
Con
Mobile App
Integrations
Free Plan
Pricing
4.65
star
star
star
star
star-half
Org-wide alignment
User-friendly layout and database
Suboptimal as a personal CRM
square-check
Lack of tracking system
square-check
Team: $20/month
Business: $45/month
4.7
star
star
star
star
star-half
Social Media Integration
Easy contact data collection
No marketing/sales features
square-check
Lack of tracking system
square-xmark
7-day trial
$12/month
4.75
star
star
star
star
star-half
Block Functions
High customization capability
Not a dedicated CRM
square-check
Limited
square-check
Plus: €7.50/month
Business: €14/month
N/A
Open-source
Open-source flexibility
Requires extensive manual input
square-xmark
Limited
square-check
Self-hosted
$9/month or
$90/year
3.1
star
star
star
Simple iOS app
Ideal for non-tech-savvy users
iPhone only
square-check
iOS only
Limited
square-xmark
1-month trial
$1.49/month or
$14.99/month
3.6
star
star
star
star-half
Smart Contact Management
Feature-rich and flexible
Reported bugs
square-check
Rich
square-xmark
7-day trial
Premium: $13.99/month
Teams: $17.99/month
4.4
star
star
star
star
star-half
Customizable Interface
Customizable for teamwork
Pricey for personal use
square-check
Rich
square-xmark
Standard: $24/member
Premium: $39/member
4.7
star
star
star
star
star-half
Integrated Calling
Integrated Calling
Too sales-oriented & pricey
square-check
Rich
square-xmark
14-day trial
Startup: $59/user/month
Professional: $329/user/month
4.8
star
star
star
star
star
Business Card Scanning
Business Card Scanning
Mobile only
square-check
Limited
square-check
$9.99/month
4.45
star
star
star
star
star-half
160+ app integrations
Comprehensive integrations
No free app version
square-check
Rich
square-xmark
14-day trial
$29.90/month or
$24.90/month (billed annually)
Capterra Rating
Free Trial
Free Plan
Starting Price (excluding the free plan)
Maximum Price (for the most expensive plan)
Best for
4.5
star
star
star
star
star-half
square-check
14-day
square-check
€15/month/seat billed annually
€792/month/3 seats billed annually + €45/month for each extra seat
Versatility and free plan
4.2
star
star
star
star
square-check
30-day
square-xmark
But it offers reduced price to authorised nonprofit organisations
€25/user/month
€500/user/month billed annually (includes Einstein AI)
Best overall operational CRM
4.3
star
star
star
star
star-half
square-xmark
square-check
Limited to 3 users
Comprehensive incentive management
€52/user/month billed annually
Small-medium businesses and automation
4.5
star
star
star
star
star-half
square-check
14-day
square-xmark
€14/seat/month billed annually
€99/seat/month billed annually
Sales teams and ease of use
4.1
star
star
star
star
square-xmark
square-check
Limited 10 users
$9.99/user/month billed annually
$64.99/user/month billed annually
Free plan for very small teams up to 10
CRM goal
Increase the sales conversion rate for qualified leads from marketing automation campaigns by 10% in the next 6 months.
SMART Breakdown
1. Specific: It targets a specific area (conversion rate) for a defined segment (qualified leads from marketing automation).
2. Measurable: The desired increase (10%) is a clear metric, and the timeframe (6 months) allows for progress tracking.
3. Achievable: A 10% increase is possible based on historical data and potential improvements.
4. Relevant: Boosting sales from marketing efforts aligns with overall business objectives.
5. Time-bound: The 6-month timeframe creates urgency and a clear target date.
Actions
Step 1: Refine lead qualification criteria to ensure high-quality leads are nurtured through marketing automation.
Step 2: Personalize marketing automation campaigns based on lead demographics, interests, and behavior.
Step 3: Develop targeted landing pages with clear calls to action for qualified leads.
Step 4: Implement lead scoring to prioritize high-potential leads for sales follow-up.
Step 5: Track and analyze campaign performance to identify areas for optimization.
Outcomes
Increased sales and revenue
Improved marketing automation ROI
Marketing and sales alignment
Data-driven marketing optimization

What you should look at next

Receive weekly outreach tips in your inbox, sent to 210 000+ salespeople, marketers, founders, and entrepreneurs worldwide!

Subscribe to the lemlist newsletter
You've successfully subscribed to the lemlist newsletter!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.