Can Sales Engagement Be Fixed? We Bet It Can.

July 11, 2019 | 
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Spray and pray. Any legitimate salesperson denounces the tactic, yet so many employ it. In fact, more people seem to be spraying and praying than ever before. With all of the information we have at our fingertips to help us understand buyers, tools to help us be more productive and personal, and the promise of AI to allow us to work smarter and towards improved outcomes, you would think the way we communicate would get better, more targeted, and way more personal. Unfortunately, the noise filling the market is at an all-time high.

Our data suggests a rep sending emails at the 50th percentile sends about 200 external emails per month. Roles that we would consider “high velocity” send 1000+ per month which is only practical with technology. So, each rep that adopts a technology-enabled, high-velocity process would send roughly 10k additional emails annually. With 20+ sales engagement platforms generating what we have calculated to be billions of emails quarterly across a relatively small number of decision makers, it is no wonder we see more and more people venting their frustration about salespeople.

Joel Stevenson, Yesware’s CEO, isn’t bullish about a quick reversion here and even offers his own mea culpa. “This is likely to get worse before it gets better. Volume is way up, deliverability is way down, and the signal to noise ratio is at an all-time low. To all the corporate buyers out there whose inboxes are overflowing with useless, cookie-cutter sales emails, we owe you a huge apology. What started years ago as a tool (Yesware) to help salespeople save time and better understand buyer behavior has now spawned an entire ecosystem of companies that make it easy for sales reps to spam you across email, phone, text, and even social channels.”

Sure, a fix won’t happen overnight. But, it definitely needs to happen – and it needs to start happening now. The sooner sales engagement vendors stop enabling sellers to deploy spray and pray tactics, the sooner reps will have to revert back to quality over quantity. So, instead of selling high-volume outbound tools to anyone in the sales organization that believes this is all just a numbers game, we as a tech category need to refocus on delivering tools that help reps achieve superior end outcomes. Because when sellers actually know what works, they’ll do more of the good stuff and way less of the bad stuff.

At Yesware, the hundreds of millions of business conversations that we observe each year will help inform what ‘good’ looks like. By matching those conversations to outcomes, we will identify what leads to success and ultimately help sellers figure out what move to make next. Some of this we’re doing on our own, but in other areas we’re partnering with best-in-class companies, such as Node, to make this a reality.

After ten years, the sales engagement category is ripe for change. We’re ready to lead this change, but we need your help.

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