How Using Intelligent Virtual Assistants in Combination with Sales Engagement Tools Improves Marketing Lead Connect Rates

How Using Intelligent Virtual Assistants in Combination with Sales Engagement Tools Improves Marketing Lead Connect Rates

The concept of Sales and Marketing collaborating to create a cohesive account-based marketing strategy isn’t new. These two revenue-generating teams collaborate to identify a list of accounts, define an outreach strategy, create campaigns, and track outcomes. The actual execution of the plan is where many teams get into trouble. Yes, it all sounds great on paper, but putting it into practice can be a challenge in and of itself.

Sales is frequently expected to touch an account a certain number of times (sometimes dozens) in a certain amount of time. While Marketing tries to assist Sales in prioritizing, there is often so much information available that it becomes “noise” to Sales. When this happens, Sales defaults to a volume-based strategy.

What were the outcomes? Hot accounts are overlooked, opportunities for highly personalized conversations are missed, and pipeline production suffers as a result. Furthermore, concentrating on volume can be overwhelming for Sales. How are you supposed to put dozens of thoughtful touches on hundreds of accounts in a short period of time when a single rep may be responsible for hundreds of accounts at any given time?


Consider how Sales Engagement tools combined with Intelligent Virtual Assistants (IVAs) result in increased productivity and a higher return on investment, including:


After an IVA has worked a lead, the connect and reply rate on SDR follow-up has increased by 153 percent.

When stubborn leads are handed off to an IVA to work after the SDR has tried, there is a 10% increase in response rate in target account prospecting campaigns.

2.5x the personalized, persistent, and courteous outreach without adding more people to the team.

What Separates Intelligent Virtual Assistants from Sales Engagement Tools

The much-loved Sales Engagement tool is now available (i.e. Outreach, Salesloft, Groove). These powerful tools allow salespeople to take control of their territories’ communication and conduct mass outreach.


We mean it when we say “powerful.” Reps can use sales engagement tools to do their jobs at scale, such as:

Automating Outreach: Sales can automatically deliver relevant content based on a variety of triggers such as campaign engagement, content consumption, personas, and other factors, allowing them to deliver more relevant messaging at scale in real-time.

Prioritizing Prospects and Accounts: Sales engagement tools typically integrate with sales intelligence providers and account-based marketing (ABM) platforms to provide Sales with full visibility into which accounts and prospects require immediate attention, without requiring them to work across multiple platforms.

Aligning with Marketing: Sales engagement tools frequently integrate with Marketing engagement platforms to provide visibility into lead follow-up and to trigger additional activity based on engagement. Managers can easily monitor productivity and messaging effectiveness.


Where do Intelligent Virtual Assistants fit in if Sales Engagement Tools can do everything? The truth is that there are some significant differences between what an Intelligent Virtual Assistant can accomplish and how Sales employs Sales Engagement tools:


Intelligent Virtual Assistants (IVAs) Are More Autonomous: IVAs are built on an Intelligent Engagement Platform, which powers millions of mundane but extremely valuable conversations on a daily basis. IVAs initiate contact, empathize intelligently to interpret responses, and respond with a tailored response using Artificial Intelligence (AI). While Sales Engagement tools can run leads through a cadence, they can’t respond for the rep, which necessitates human intervention.

Playbooks and Email Writing Routines Are No Longer Necessary: While Sales Engagement tools require Sales or Marketing to manually input content for each email in each cadence or flow, IVAs automate Sales nurture. IVAs can take a few key criteria inputs and run with them for an entire personalized, persistent, and polite communication flow, responding autonomously all the way through setting up a meeting between a lead and a Salesperson.

Your SDR team has air cover thanks to IVAs: IVAs take on the volume game, ensuring that your leads receive the appropriate number of touches 100 percent of the time, allowing your sales team to focus on what they do best: developing and closing opportunities. Sales can focus on the lowest hanging fruit instead of throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks by sharing the prospecting burden with an Intelligent Virtual Assistant. In addition, leads who have been ‘warmed up’ by the IVA are more likely to engage with your SDRs later.


Using Sales Engagement and Intelligent Virtual Assistants to Implement an ABM Strategy

While there are some significant differences between the two technologies, there are some significant opportunities for these solutions to work together to increase Sales and Marketing productivity and results. While we could write an entire blog series about the different use cases, we’ll focus on one here: account-based marketing.

The tag-team approach can provide significant productivity and coverage benefits to your Sales and Marketing teams in the ABM use case. Here are some ideas for how to go about it:


1. The Account Tiering Strategy


Traditionally, Sales and Marketing have collaborated to place a high priority on the hottest, most relevant accounts. Tier 1 Accounts are what we’ll call them. This is usually a manageable number of accounts for Sales to handle, ranging between 25 and 50 accounts. These accounts should receive Sales’ undivided attention in the form of highly personalized outreach based on research, and they should consume a significant portion of a Sales rep’s time and effort. Where does that leave the rest of your list of accounts if Sales is so focused on Tier 1s?

Tier 2 and 3 are where Intelligent Virtual Assistants come in handy. Utilize the IVA to reach out to accounts that are demonstrating intent via Marketing engagement and intelligence to ensure relevancy. These accounts may be hesitant to raise their hands, but they are most likely still interested. The Sales team selects a few contacts per account for outbound prospecting by the IVA.


2. The Strategy of “You Take the Inbounds”


Another option is to have the Intelligent Virtual Assistant focus on processing any inbound interest related to your target accounts while Sales handles outbound prospecting. Simple automations between your Marketing Automation Platform, CRM, and Sales Engagement tool could help you achieve this.

Sales, for example, continues to prioritize outbounding into Tier 1 accounts, but the IVA handles any inbound interest in Tier 2 and 3 accounts. Instead of waiting for scoring to warm up these leads, send them straight to an ABM-specific IVA campaign for follow-up. You could run a few different IVA campaigns based on shared interests in this scenario (i.e., industry-specific, persona-specific, or intent specific). These leads can be routed to the IVA for follow-up in the same way that leads are routed to Sales.


Increasing Sales Productivity and Adding Value to Your Company

More personalized outreach equals more engagement, pipeline, and revenue, regardless of how you look at it.

While hiring more full-time employees to handle personalized outreach may appear to be a solution in and of itself, the truth is that these business professionals would still be spending a significant amount of time on repetitive, routine tasks. Rather than simply adding more people to your workforce, it’s far better to combine technologies that augment it. In many cases, organizations simply do not have the financial resources to hire new employees.

Intelligent Virtual Assistants, on the other hand, are low-cost virtual team members who assist teams in achieving common goals. Customers who use IVAs in conjunction with their existing sales team and processes achieve impressive results:

To reach out to prioritized accounts, Oracle used their Intelligent Virtual Assistant, Sales team, and Bombora intent data. The results were promising, with Oracle seeing a 40% conversion rate.

Epson America’s nurture process was restructured to include IVAs, resulting in a 240 percent increase in response rate.

Furthermore, they can improve the morale of their Sales team. Most sales reps are a lot happier when they aren’t bogged down by repetitive, mundane processes and are instead having good, productive conversations, which boosts productivity.

Sales can focus on what they do best – building relationships and closing deals – by enlisting the help of an Intelligent Virtual Assistant to handle the heavy lifting of qualifying interest and scheduling meetings.

You can improve your ROI, drive operational efficiency, and create a happier workforce by combining the right technologies on behalf of your revenue-generating teams.

No leads were lost. reduced overhead.
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