This article is a summary of a conversation, held between our CEO, Jordan Greaser, and our GM, Theron Glenny, on the technical administration function of a successful sales engagement capability.
This is part of a portfolio of related videos and articles helping teams like yours to learn about and implement best practices for constructing a best in class sales engagement team. Click here to see the full library of resources.
We hope you will enjoy the video and benefit from reading this article, as a way to review and capture the key points.
Why you need a technical admin function
Many teams have a designated Salesforce administrator, but they may not yet see the importance of having a designated technical admin function for a sales engagement platform.
However, one of our first clients taught us how critical it is to have this capability. That client had been using the platform for about six months and, in that time, reps had placed about 4,000 people into sequence.
At face value, that seems like a successful adoption, but closer inspection revealed that 3,700 of those prospects were either in failed or paused states mostly because of a variable mistake in the first template.
One specific rep was sequencing 40 people each week, as directed from his management, but he was placing them into a sequence that was not turned on. For three months, he was sequencing people who never heard from him. He had zero results to point to, after months of “using” the platform.
Needless to say, the team was frustrated, and they were ready to abandon the platform. What they needed was a specialist who could see that, in just a few minutes, these problems could all be fixed, and the team could be successfully connecting with their prospects.
These relatively simply, silly problems can have huge consequences and cost a team their entire sales quarter. With a function in place to ensure things are set up properly, and then maintained and repaired, the platform can do its job and so can the reps.
A technical admin leader should be able to understand reporting and how to interpret results, based on activity, for managers. Most managers don’t understand what SEPs can do and show them, so the admin’s function can be working with them to set up the right views, whether in the SEP or in a CRM, to keep tabs on their teams.
Next, someone owning this function should also understand triggers which do things like automatically sequence inbound leads, cause certain actions based on call dispositions, and otherwise maximize the possible automation built into the platform.
SEPs have a significant amount of potential to make sales teams more productive, but all of that depends on the platform being properly configured and fixed, as needed, to keep the trains running. The technical admin has to have the troubleshooting ability, and the understanding of the platform, needed to take responsibility for making this happen.
The technical admin function makes an SEP feel so seamless for both sales reps and avengers that it’s a plug and play environment for them to use.
For instance, new sequences or cadences must have the right settings to send at the proper times, track effectively in a CRM, and display in reporting to inform next steps.
Folks in this function also have to be students of the platforms they support. Getting up to speed has never been easier with things like Outreach University, and related training opportunities associated with other platforms, which have administrator tracks.
The learning process continues into sales operations and workflows. To support a sales team, a technical admin has to know how they work. A feedback process is essential to learn what reps are actually doing. Similarly, technical admins have to have an ongoing conversation with marketing, sales operations, and sales management to understand everything the platform needs to be able to do to support the company’s overall ecosystem.
Overcoming common challenges
The most common problem here is that the function doesn’t exist whenever a sales engagement platform is purchased. Someone else, who is not a technical expert, sets up the platform like they would any other sales tool. The manager or ops personnel doesn’t view it, and consequently set it up, as the comprehensive system of action for all sales activity. It’s a cockpit for sales people to drive sales, and it should be a major focus in the tech stack.
As such, when this function is added, new staff step into a partially built environment which was constructed by someone else. Because this is a new space, there are very few experts. When you find one, it’s very likely that they will have a big lift in reworking the platform to do what you need it to do.
Becoming the expert in the room
If you have someone internally who you want to assign this function, it’s possible to give them the resources they need to become that rare expert.
Most SEPs have forums for users to troubleshoot and help one another. However, the best way to learn is to give people in this function access to a sandbox environment and let them click every button and try to break things. Trial and error is the best teacher.
This is why sometimes a former BDR manager can be the right fit to take on this function. If that individual has spent a lot of time in the platform and understands everything it can do, and additionally has an operational skillset, this can be a powerful combination.
How leaders can support this function
Leaders should understand that managing a platform as complex as an SEP is not one person’s job. If the same person is writing all the content, setting up triggers, managing the plugin, and analyzing reporting, then you’re not facilitating opportunities for your team to specialize.
Do you really want a sales operations person, who is a CRM junkie or a coder, spending their time writing sales content?
Although, in spreading out the responsibilities across functions, we also don’t advise giving content writing responsibilities to a marketing team. We may get in trouble for saying this, but we have seen it time and again that content is going to be adopted best if it’s written by, or in very close coordination with, sales.
The bottom line is that, in order to provide that expertise for the sales team to take on writing, or to otherwise differentiate these functions across people and capabilities, leaders have to be prepared to invest in people.
Beyond headcount, leaders should also encourage ongoing education. There are conferences and webinars out there which can offer a lot of peer support and learning. Complementary platforms, which offer services like conversational marketing, are also great for folks in this function to learn.
Ultimately, the platform will perform optimally when it is prioritized and the people managing it are at the top of their game.
It takes a whole organization to make that happen and give SEPs the focus they need to achieve your goals and move your business forward.
We hope you enjoyed this video and learned something you can apply today. If you are not receiving the monthly Greaser Drip, where we share our insights, make sure you go to our website and subscribe so we can get that to you.
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