7 Benefits of a Salesforce-Native Sales Engagement Platform
Sales engagement platforms (SEPs) are known for increasing the productivity and effectiveness of sales and customer-facing teams, but they also play an essential role in helping organizations increase the adoption and value of Salesforce. There are two different approaches for integrating sales engagement platforms with an existing CRM system and understanding the differences will help you determine the right one to maximize effectiveness and ease of management.
This article breaks down two fundamentally different integration strategies and explains how selecting the right platform architecture will impact your reps, system administrators, revenue operations teams, and overall success of the implementation.
First, let’s outline the two strategies, and what makes them different:
Strategy 1: Syncing Between Two Systems
The most common way that sales engagement platforms integrate with Salesforce is by syncing data between the two systems. This essentially means that your Salesforce database is copied to another location and then synced on a regular basis. The non-Salesforce-native model has a few benefits, such as enabling AI to run across co-mingled, anonymized data sets and keeping new lead lists outside of Salesforce until they are qualified and ready to be added to the database. In this non-native model, fields need to be mapped between the two systems and configuration capabilities are limited to the capabilities of the sales engagement platform. This can result in sync errors and data inaccuracies that must be resolved through support calls with the provider. These errors are especially common for organizations with complex Salesforce implementations with lots of custom objects. Data security and compliance with global privacy laws may also be a concern as data is stored in a separate location outside of Salesforce.
Non-Salesforce-native sales engagement platforms include Outreach, SalesLoft, Xant, Yesware, and Cirrus Insight.
Strategy 2: Native Salesforce Integration
The alternative to syncing your CRM data with your sales engagement platform is to choose a platform that is built natively on Salesforce. This type of native integration is ideal for organizations that want to maintain Salesforce as their system of record. Native Salesforce Integration is also an ideal choice for companies that leverage custom objects or workflows, because anything that is configured or logged in Salesforce appears in the native platform instantly without the need to re-map fields or adjust configuration settings. This direct integration is known for being easy to use and manage while also providing organizations with more flexibility to customize the platform for different teams and roles.
Salesforce-native sales engagement platforms include: Groove, Salesforce High Velocity Sales.
Now that we’ve touched on the differences between the two different types of Salesforce integration, how do you decide which one will be a better fit for your organization?
To help you decide, we’ve outlined seven advantages that Salesforce-native sales engagement platforms have over non-native platforms.
1. Update Salesforce in Real-time
We hear it all the time: “Salesforce is only effective if reps use it.” Unfortunately, we also hear, “Did you input it into Salesforce?” just as much, if not more. Too often, sales leaders and systems administrators are tasked with tracking down their reps and reminding them to log their activities in Salesforce – an interaction nobody enjoys.
The beauty of a Salesforce native sales engagement platform is that it automates significant amounts of manual data entry and activity logging, so reps can spend more time selling. Activities that reps normally spend hours updating each week are automatically logged and synced back to Salesforce. Inbound and outbound emails are logged to Salesforce instantaneously. Reps can create, view, update Salesforce records right from their inbox and search lead, contact, account, activity, opportunity and LinkedIn records in real time when communicating with customers or prospects.
While non-native sales engagement platforms can also automatically log activities to standard objects, only a native sales engagement platform can log those activities in real-time. By automating activity capture and eliminating the need for manual data entry into Salesforce, reps gain 20% of their week back to focus on higher value activities like building relationships and generating revenue. Management no longer has to nag their reps to update Salesforce, and can rely on their Salesforce data to be complete and accurate, improving reporting and forecasting. Over time, these kinds of productivity and visibility enhancements can impact revenue in a big way.
2. Eliminate Sync Errors and Data Latency
We live in an era where data is all around us. And yet, if you only have a partial view of the data, you run the risk of making counterproductive and misguided business decisions. If you can’t trust the data in Salesforce, it’s very difficult to manage a team. Not to mention the huge amount of time that’s wasted trying to troubleshoot sync errors.
The team at Zego was using a non-native sales engagement platform and experiencing high volumes of sync errors because of the velocity of their business. Their sales ops team would spend hours each week on the phone with customer support, only to be given workarounds to manage improperly synced data. The persistent errors were significant enough to impact the team’s efficiency and pipeline, so they ultimately dropped the non-native platform in exchange for one built natively to Salesforce. In today’s hyper-competitive selling environment, teams can’t afford to have an unreliable system when they’re trying to build relationships and close deals.
3. Customize User Experience based on Role, Team or Division
There’s a significant difference between a sales engagement platform that was built for prospecting and a sales engagement platform built for full-cycle sellers that need to open, close and expand business. Buyers should think about their specific needs and choose a platform accordingly. Sales engagement platforms built for prospecting typically require that the end users live in that application instead of their Inbox, which works well for teams that are moving through high volumes of outbound emails and calls. This is less applicable for account executives and account managers that need to have more nuanced, 1:1 communications.
Salesforce native sales engagement platforms can adapt to the unique needs of these types of sellers, and only show what’s relevant for that particular role, team, division or industry-specific workflow. Native platforms are significantly easier to administer and manage as well, because they can mirror the organizational structures that have already been built in Salesforce. From the specific information each user sees in the interface, down to which data is synced back to Salesforce – everything is customizable without relying on a one-size-fits-all approach.
“With Groove, we have the functionality we need for our LDRs and sellers, but the core platform also allows us to expand its use to any other team that needs activity integration with Salesforce.”
– Josh Garman, Senior Systems Administrator at Zego
4. Map to Custom Fields, Objects and Workflows
Salesforce native sales engagement platforms can easily align with industry specific workflows, custom fields and objects – which can be an arduous, if not nearly impossible undertaking with non-native platforms. Native platforms can instantly leverage anything that has already been configured in Salesforce, and eliminates the need to mirror those configurations, custom fields and workflows in a second system.
Admins can also include custom Salesforce fields in meetings on sellers’ calendars, allowing reps to easily update opportunities based on the meeting outcome. Managers also get visibility into how many demos, proposal reviews, kick-off calls or any other meeting type reps are having, and automate workflows in Salesforce based on specified outcomes. This simple automation also gives reps the ability to create an opportunity and associate it with a contact right from within their calendar – reducing a task that used to take fifteen minutes down to three. This isn’t possible with non-native platforms.
5. Trust Your Data: Ensure that Salesforce is Always Up to Date
It’s impossible to give managers and leaders an accurate understanding of their team’s performance if the data in Salesforce isn’t up-to-date or complete. Managers and Revenue Operations professionals know this fact all too well, and they also know the pain of pulling up a dashboard only to find it unrecognizable because of a data input error. Most also know that capturing accurate data in real-time is critical to tracking, reporting, and forecasting with confidence.
The most reliable way to ensure Salesforce data integrity is to use a native platform that treats Salesforce as the system of record. Not only does it save time, but it provides peace of mind when it comes time to review dashboards and analyze performance. Whether you’re digging into weekly, monthly, or yearly data – it’s guaranteed to be accurate and up-to-date.
“With Groove, our AEs, AMs, and SDRs have an extremely intuitive and easy-to-use platform that they love to use every day. As a result, we have more accurate and current Salesforce data. In fact, after implementing Groove, our Salesforce data hygiene became better overnight.”
– Caroline Holt, EVP of Sales Enablement at Everfi
6. Run Advanced Automations and Workflows
Both types of sales engagement platforms enable companies to automate repetitive tasks for multi-touch communications across channels including phone, SMS, voicemail, e-mail, social, and direct mail. However, Salesforce native sales engagement platforms also unlock advanced workflow automation capabilities so that reps don’t have to think about updating Salesforce and no balls are dropped. For example, Admins can configure custom triggers to automatically assign reassign ownership as a lead changes stages, associate logged calls using the inferred status field, or instantly create opportunities using the meeting type field in a calendar invite.
Sellers can collaborate with other revenue team members in Workspaces on account strategy, assign Salesforce tasks to each other. This gives sellers and teams total flexibility over how they want to start and manage their workflows, or a company could opt for a top-down strategy that’s centrally driven by Marketing and executed by the reps. Marketing automation systems can trigger off of real-time updates to Salesforce without a separate integration. The workflow automation possibilities are endless.
7. Lower compliance risk for GDPR, CCPA, and other global privacy laws
For organizations that require high levels of data security and compliance, storing CRM data outside of Salesforce is a non-starter. Global companies can’t afford to risk losing or mishandling valuable data while syncing between the platforms and have strict protocols about not sharing sensitive information on third-party systems.
To complicate matters, companies also have to comply with a myriad of global privacy laws including CCPA and GDPR. This is relatively easy to do when you’re a small company with a limited tech stack, but as companies scale, compliance risk grows with the number of employees and systems that have access to consumer data. As a general rule, the fewer systems that a global company has to manage, the easier it will be to comply.
Native platforms keep all PII in Salesforce as the system of record, minimizing risk and simplifying compliance. This also prevents sales reps from uploading outside contact lists into a separate sales engagement platform and sending rogue, untracked, and uncoordinated messages to unapproved contacts. Companies can also respect opt-outs across any and all platforms that are integrated with Salesforce, including survey tools and marketing automation systems.
The Bottom Line
At the end of the day, the two different types of sales engagement platforms offer very different experiences for end users and admins. Choosing the right system architecture for your team will come down to determining which architecture is best suited to your team’s needs in various categories such as ease-of-use, customizability, automation, and security.
If you’re ready to explore how a Salesforce-native sales engagement platform can help your organization accelerate revenue, reach out to schedule a demo with Groove and learn why learn why our customers have ranked Groove #1 in customer and product satisfaction for three years running on G2.