At Kicksaw, we’re here to help you build the business software suite that works for your company. With our experience and your understanding of your company’s needs, we can get you up and running with a powerful, intuitive, and ready-to-use solution, configured according to best practices so you can use your systems to their maximum potential strength. One of our favorite tools to implement for customers is Outreach. New to Outreach, or wondering if it's for you? Let's take a look.
Outreach Integration Overview
Outreach is a sales engagement and intelligence platform that helps align your Sales team's inbound and outbound efforts under a united approach, keeping your sales representative's processes and messaging consistent. In practice, sales reps can use the software to track tasks like phone calls and emails, create automatic reminders to reach out based on past activities, and expedite their responses by setting up repeatable workflows. Adding automation to these pre-built paths ensures accurate, fast responses without manual effort.
Once these trackable systems are in place, Outreach makes it simple to optimize, automate, and report on them. With a digital record of your entire sales process and response rate data to accompany, your sales team is empowered to make data-driven decisions at every stage in their sales cycle. Use those findings to evaluate existing processes and improve them to shave time off your sales cycle while you close the gap on closing the sale.
This software is hugely useful in setting the standard for all your sales motions across your team. If you’re a growing company, the sophistication of your sales process needs to evolve right along with it, starting with the first touch you make with a customer. Outreach gives your Sales team access to the tools they need to accelerate your company's growth.
Integrating Outreach with your CRM
In order to get the most out of Outreach, we recommend coming into implementation with a plan for which data you need to integrate, and how that data will travel from one solution to the next. As a best practice for configuration, we recommend starting with a whiteboard and laying out all the systems where data either lives or is created within your tech stack. Next, sort these solutions into two funnels: systems that will generate data for Inbound sales, and systems that will generate data for Outbound sales. In your map, connect each one to your CRM system, marking their paths to indicate these systems create data. Finally, identify which systems will be leveraged to update data, and mark them accordingly in your map.
You’ve now separated your integrated solutions by their functions: solutions that generate data (like Salesforce) are your “systems of record,” while solutions that allow you to actually leverage that data (like Outreach) are your “systems of action.”
In the case of integrating Outreach with Salesforce, it’s important to understand the distinction between “system of action” and “system of record” in order to determine how data will flow from system to system. This expedites your configuration process, creates a clear path for flow of information that keeps your data organized and intentional. Mapping out your data as we’ve shown above will set the stage for the effectiveness for Salesforce and Outreach.
Leveraging Outreach as a “system of action”
As we mentioned above, Outreach is the active ingredient in your sales cycle; while Salesforce allows you to input, collect, and store data, Outreach allows you to mobilize that data to manage, optimize, and analyze, whether that’s getting in touch with an imported contact, or reporting on the effectiveness of sales activities to further improve your processes.
Since Outreach is organized to function as your system of action, best practices indicate you should never create data within this platform - it’s not designed to be used that way. We consider it best practice to handle the following tasks within Salesforce or other CRM solution:
- Managing contacts and accounts
- Creating new records
- Assigning or re-assigning ownership of leads
- Routing leads
- Building lists
Outreach typically integrates well with most solutions. Your Outreach account should be pre-equipped with integration options, including native connections from:
- Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales
- Microsoft Outlook
- LinkedIn Sales Navigator
- Ring Central
A full list can be found here.
Non-native tools can be integrated via third party middleware, like Tray.io. Most companies that are leveraging Outreach for the first time can assume they won’t have any trouble integrating the majority of their tech stack.
Learning the Platform
Outreach offers some really great learning content through Outreach University and its Knowledge Base articles to ensure everyone from skilled Outreach administrators to brand new SDRs have what they need to be successful. We typically recommend that as clients are getting ramped up with the tool that they actually have Outreach University videos and the respective Outreach feature up side-by-side so they can follow along directly.
Outreach also currently offers one official certification, the Certified Administrator for Outreach. Users will earn three badges: The Closer Badge, The Prospector Badge, and the Admin Specialist Badge, all of which set users up to successfully leverage Outreach to its full power.
Outreach’s in-platform reporting is powerful and specific, one of its greatest differentiators from similar solutions. Users can segment email open rates by sales rep or by Sequence, but its most sophisticated reporting tool is “Email Sentiment.” This is a sophisticated reporting tool that avoids vanity metrics and instead delivers data that you can use and apply. Email sentiment breaks down the percentage of positive, negative, or neutral responses that sales reps are receiving - providing a truer sense of a prospect’s attitude versus running into false positives while simply tracking the number of emails they’ve opened or replied to. Armed with this prospect response data, your team can update your messaging and approaches based on what garners positive or negative activity.
To use these reports, click on the chart icon on the left-hand side of the screen. The default screen will sort by team, where you can view emails or Email Sentiment. Under “Activity” you can report on teams, emails, calls, tasks, sequences, meetings, and Email Sentiment. Below this, you’ll see “More Reports,” which taps into more granular data.
Most of what we’d consider “limitations” of this solution are more or less by design. Outreach is a specialized program intended to perform its own unique functions, and should be used to play to its strengths, supported by integrations that perform their own unique functions. This balance is what makes integrations powerful, the ability to allow multiple specialized solutions to communicate with one another seamlessly, supporting each other in their functions without having to create tedious workarounds.
Outreach is not designed for full marketing automation. While users can automate processes within Outreach, it’s not equipped to deliver Salesforce’s level of automation power. Users cannot create required fields or validation rules, but this is more indicative of Outreach’s strengths as a system of action, not a system of record. If you’ve mapped your data well, Outreach will be able to perform to its intended purpose while staying in sync with the rest of your tech stack’s functions.
In most cases, deciding between Outreach or its competitors will come down to your company’s needs and cost. Outreach’s Email Sentiment tool detailed earlier stands out as much more sophisticated reporting compared to its competitors. While none are quite like Outreach, there are a few solutions that function in a similar space, including:
Salesloft is their biggest competition. This sales engagement tool also streamlines and reports on sales processes, but ultimately doesn’t match the more modern enhancements Outreach has implemented, like Kaia, a machine-learning solution that will display “content cards” to the end-user depending on what prospects say during a call. (Ex: Automatically displaying text outlining key differences between Salesloft and Outreach when a prospect asks: “What does Outreach do that Salesloft doesn’t?”)
Salesforce, while versatile and powerful, can’t match the specialized power of Outreach. As a CRM solution powered to offer High Velocity Sales, this and other add-on Cloud tools can be useful, however, these programs are not the system’s intended priority, and will underperform compared to the highly specialized power and resources backing Outreach.
If you feel that Outreach could be the tool that ties it all together for your Sales team, reach out to us! We're happy to answer any additional questions you may have or dive deeper into the specifics on what Outreach can do for your particular business. Just fill out the Contact Us form below and we'll be in touch!