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Sales engagement platforms are a fairly new type of software, but they’ve quickly become a mainstay in many businesses’ e-toolboxes.

Although sales engagement platforms are fairly new, sales engagement is as old as business itself – it comprises any sort of outreach ranging from door-to-door sales to email and beyond. Essentially, sales engagement platforms seek to improve the efficiency and quality of a business’s outreach programs.

However, sales engagement platforms can be kind of tricky to place – people will often hear the term and assume it’s a synonym for a CRM or similar software. Or, they may confuse the term with sales enablement platforms, which are tools that are used to hire, train, supply, and evaluate sales team members and processes.

While there is some overlap between all of these, sales engagement platforms stand on their own as an essential piece of many businesses’ arsenals. In this guide, we’re going to break down what the key features of a solid sales engagement platform are and give you 12 recommendations to try for yourself.

The 5 characteristics of the best sales engagement software

Before we go into any specifics about individual sales engagement platforms, it’s important to know what the general characteristics of all good sales engagement platforms are. No matter what platform you ultimately choose, you should ensure your tool checks all these boxes.

1. User-friendly

There simply is no benefit to using a software that leaves you wanting to slam your head against your keyboard. This is one of the characteristics that goes for all software, sales engagement or otherwise.

If it’s not easy to use, you’ll almost always decrease your efficiency with all the time you’ll waste figuring out how to use it and problem-solving when something inevitably doesn’t work right.

2. Robust personalization features

Personalization is key in modern marketing, so any sales engagement tool that you consider should have powerful features that allow you to tailor your sales outreach content to individual recipients. Since a large chunk of sales outreach takes place over email these days, it’s important to find a platform that allows for in-depth email personalization.

3. Integrates with other popular platforms

Although sales engagement is an extremely important part of business, it’s not the only part.

To make sure everything truly runs smoothly, a good sales engagement platform needs to play nice with all the other software in your business suite, like project management tools, communication platforms, etc.

If a sales engagement platform doesn’t have the integrations you need, it will slow down your workflow as you try to manually transfer data from one platform to another.

4. Omnichannel sales sequence

In the same way that your sales engagement platform needs to integrate with other tools in your stack, it also needs to integrate each part of your sales engagement program with the other parts.

Essentially, your sales engagement platform shouldn’t overemphasize any one part of the sales outreach program. Instead, it should join together multiple channels like email and phone outreach into one unified whole that can be managed easily and efficiently.

5. AB testing

The world runs on data, so if a sales engagement platform isn’t able to help you retrieve and analyze data about your own sales methods, it’s not going to get you very far.

AB testing is an essential part of modern sales, so you need to ensure that your platform lets you conduct these tests in order to optimize your sales programs and produce better results.

The 12 best sales engagement platforms

Now that we have an overview of what makes a great sales engagement software, let’s get into the nitty-gritty and take a look at some of the best options on the market.

1. Mailshake


Price: $59/month (details)

Free option: None

Mailshake - Sales Engagement and Automation Software

Don’t let the name fool you: Mailshake does a lot more than just email. With Mailshake, you can quickly and easily build sales sequences that span phone, email, and social media with just a few clicks.

Mailshake includes powerful personalization and automation tools to help streamline your sales workflow, such as automatic follow-ups and email templates. The platform also includes an autodialer so you won’t have to worry about misdialing a number or wasting time dialing long lists of leads.

2. Playbooks by Xant


Price: Not available

Free option: Unknown

Playbooks Sales Engagement and Revenue Acceleration Platform

Playbooks by Xant makes ample use of AI to rocket-power its sales engagement software. In addition to the usual omni-channel sales sequences, Playbooks uses AI to prioritize the most lucrative leads so sales reps can deal with those first. The software also collects a large amount of data on leads and prospects, which it then uses to help guide your sales efforts.

If you’re looking to motivate your team, Playbooks also includes a leaderboards feature, where sales reps can compete against each other within the software.

3. VanillaSoft


Price: $80/user/month (details)

Free option: 14-day free trial

VanillaSoft - Sales Engagement Platform

VanillaSoft’s sales engagement platform includes various automation features to help improve your workflow, such as queue-based lead management, which automatically places leads in the order in which they should be called.

It also includes add-on features such as auto-dialing and allows for integration and data-sharing with other platforms.

Overall, VanillaSoft is a useful and reasonably priced software, but it’s a bit clunkier than some of its competitors. The interface isn’t as visually appealing as other offerings, and it’s simply a bit harder to navigate.

4. ClearSlide


Price: Starts at $35/user/month (details)

Free option: Free trial available

ClearSlide - Sales Engagement Platform

As the name implies, ClearSlide is designed around optimizing sales that make ample use of content, such as presentations, slideshows, etc. One of its distinguishing features is its shared content library, which all members of the sales team can access to help find the right content to deliver to the lead at the right time.

It also includes integrated web conferencing, which allows you to schedule and hold video meetings from the platform. Meeting details and analytics are then automatically synced back to the CRM to ensure all lead data can be easily accessed in one place.

5. Reply


Price: $70/user/month (details)

Free option: 14-day free trial

Reply - Sales Automation and Sales Engagement Platform

Reply is a sales engagement tool centered around discovery and automation. In addition to the typical sales engagement offerings, Reply offers unlimited email searches through LinkedIn. This means that not only will you be able to better engage your leads, but you’ll have an easier time finding them.

It also automatically generates a to-do list based on your sales cadence to remind reps to email, call, or message leads at the right time and enables voice calling from directly within the platform.

6. RevenueEngage


Price: Not available

Free option: Free trial available

RevenueEngage - Sales Engagement Platform

RevenueGrid’s sales engagement offering, RevenueEngage, offers multi-channel outreach, personalization, and analytics. Users can create multiple-step sequences, including both manual and automated steps, and can then schedule these steps and preview emails within the platform.

RevenueEngage uses AI and user-set rules to automate decisions like stopping a sequence after a reply is received. It also has useful integrations to platforms like Salesforce and Zoom, but it misses out on some big ones like Hubspot.

7. Freshsales


Price: Starts at $12/month (details)

Free option: 21-day free trial

Freshsales - Sales Engagement Platform

Freshsales combines sales engagement software with a full-fledged CRM for maximum efficiency. Including sales engagement features within its CRM means that all lead data and communications are stored in one place, making it easy to nurture leads through the sales pipeline.

With Freshsales, you can manage email cadences, place and record calls, send voicemails, customize campaigns, and automate follow-ups.

8. Dealhub


Price: Not available

Free option: Unknown

DealHub - Sales Engagement Platform

Dealhub’s sales engagement tool is a bit different from the others on this list in that it revolves around “Dealhubs” that are created within the platform. These are essentially interactive pages that can be personalized for each prospective buyer.

Sales reps can then add relevant content and resources to each Dealhub and create calls to actions based on the lead’s stage in the pipeline. Dealhub also enables reps to send customized price quotes and generate various documents and contracts throughout the sales process.

9. Outreach


Price: Not available

Free option: Unknown

Outreach - Sales Engagement Platform and Sales Automation Software

Outreach is one of the most popular sales engagement platforms available, and for good reason: the tool is user-friendly and offers all the features you’d want to see, like auto-dialing, call recording, lead scoring, data management, and more. Plus, it integrates with other commonly used business software like Salesforce, Gmail, Google Calendar, Zoominfo, etc.

While Outreach is overwhelmingly good, it can be a bit intimidating for newcomers, and there are some important integrations that are missing, like Hubspot’s CRM.

10. Groove


Price: Not available

Free option: Unknown

Groove - Sales Engagement Platform for Salesforce

Groove is a robust sales engagement platform that offers powerful automation features to streamline your sales workflow and help make sure your team is operating at peak performance.

Its automated multi-channel flows are a true time-saver, allowing salespeople to easily automate multiple steps across several different sales channels. Groove also helps make collaboration easier by separating different account lists into workspaces that team members can work together on in real-time, much like Google Docs.

One of Groove’s standout features is its local presence dialing, which automatically chooses an area code that’s local to your lead’s region to increase the chance they’ll pick up. Combined with Groove’s autodialer, this can really help improve the efficiency of your phone outreach programs.

11. HubSpot Sales


Price: Starts at $40/month (details)

Free option: Free tools available

Hubspot Sales - Sales Software for Small to Enterprise Companies

Hubspot is likely the most well-known sales engagement software on the market. Considering that there’s a high likelihood you’re already using part of the Hubspot suite in your sales program, Hubspot Sales may be an easy and painless addition to your workflow.

However, one thing that is painful about Hubspot is its pricing: the Professional version, which includes automation features, Salesforce integration, and a lot of the other good stuff we’ve been talking about, is $500/month. Hubspot does offer free sales tools as well as a cheaper Starter version, but these lack the important features we just mentioned.

Overall, Hubspot is a great choice for those who are already using Hubspot software and have the budget to stay within the Hubspot ecosystem.

12. SalesLoft


Price: Not available

Free option: Unknown

SalesLoft - Sales Acceleration and Customer Engagement Platform

SalesLoft advertises itself as the #1 sales engagement software. In fact, SalesLoft was one of the platforms that kicked off the entire industry back in 2014. Today, it continues to offer a robust sales engagement tool that includes auto-dialing, email AB testing, omni-channel sales sequences, email personalization tools, and much more.

The platform can help onboard new customers by delivering useful resources at the right time and can identify clients who may need extra support to prompt sales reps to follow up. SalesLoft also tracks engagement and syncs data with CRM contacts to ensure all relevant information is always up-to-date.

The Bottom Line

Sales engagement tools are important parts of any modern business’s arsenal. When choosing a sales engagement platform, make sure your solution is:

  • User-friendly
  • Feature-rich
  • Integrated with your existing tech stack
  • Capable of creating omni-channel cadences
  • Allows you to AB test

Any of the options on this list will help your business advance, but some may be better suited to your company’s specific needs than others. When making your decision, keep in mind that the best choice will depend on your individual business.

Originally published Sep 16, 2020, updated Jul 20, 2021

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