As a business or sales leader, you're well aware of how repetitive certain tasks and workflows inside your sales processes can be. However, to keep the wheels of the sales machine moving, you need to identify what's restraining your progress and make improvements to spearhead growth.
Inefficiencies in the sales process can drain the energy out of your sales team and stifle revenue out of your business. Plus, a seamless sales process is not one that's bogged down with repetitive or manual tasks, which only consumes more time and money.
And while there are instances where you'll notice a potential hitch in operations, your sales team isn't likely to come running to let you know how they overlooked a critical aspect of the sales process. Neither will they tell you how they could not track a deal. They likely won't own up to the fact that they forgot some crucial details from a meeting or didn't make a conversion due to poor judgment, either.
This article isn't about how you can reorganize your sales department or take your salespeople through another training and orientation. Today, our focus is on how you can leverage automation into your sales process that requires little to no human effort. This way, you can enable your sales team by allowing them to focus their time and expertise on other productive-centric tasks.
Understanding Sales Automation
Sales automation can be defined in several ways. It is more like a mentor who helps you realize certain tasks that don't need your time. It can also guide you through busy days and challenging times. Automation further helps you prioritize the most critical duties, so you don't make costly mistakes.
In today's competitive business landscape, salespeople have so much on their plate. According to Forbes, more sales reps spend half of their time on activities that bring little to no income. Administrative duties typically take a huge chunk of their time, about 25%.
Once a luxurious method of running sales processes, automation is now an essential part of the customer acquisition and retention journey.
Once a luxurious method of running sales processes, automation is now an essential part of the customer acquisition and retention journey. This trend has seen more businesses leveraging technology to command more market share. Sales automation comes fitted with artificial intelligence to automatically perform mundane tasks a sales rep would take a whole day to complete. It also helps eliminate human error from the process.
Why Use Automation In Your Sales Process
There are many ways why leveraging automation in your sales can work to your advantage. For example:
- Save more time. Salespeople need to invest more time in customer acquisition, lead nurturing and deal closing. They don't have to spend valuable time on manual data entry and cumbersome administrative duties. Research shows that 20% of salespeople spend more than 2 hours a day on manual administrative duties, the time they could spend conducting meaningful outreach and closing deals.
- Prevent human error. It's human nature to make mistakes. Yet sometimes, small mistakes can be costly to your business. Sales automation helps remove human error from every stage of the sales process, especially if integrated into robust customer relationship management (CRM) software.
- Promote efficiency. In this competitive world, we need to work smarter, not harder, to succeed. If your team has to spend at least two hours a day creating reports, status updates, and similar duties, they're not working as efficiently as they should. Sales automation helps sales managers lead their team efficiently, the same team that can put their time to better use.
- Improve decision-making. First, by freeing up more time for your reps to think strategically about the activities that will have the biggest impact. And second, by letting them know what's happening within their pipeline so they can prioritize their outreach.
How To Use Automation In Your B2B Sales
Several sales tasks should be completed during the entire sales process, and these tasks take a lot of valuable time. To cut back on that time, consider automating your processes with these tips:
Work With Email Templates
One key responsibility of sales teams is to send several emails, sometimes hundreds or even thousands each week. Using an email template helps simplify thinking and avoid human error when drafting the contents of the mail. Save the time with automation by utilizing semi-personalized email templates that you can reuse and repurpose as often as you want.
Schedule Personalized Appointments
A CRM software like HubSpot provides immense functionalities that you can utilize to schedule personalized appointments by sharing a list of convenient dates and times with your leads.
You can leverage automation tools to create several custom pre-recorded voicemails. Your salespeople can then program these messages with their voicemail with just a single click.
Electronically Log Call Results
For once, you won't need your yellow notepad. Neither will you have to take notes every time you call a prospect. An automation tool that records every call log and call outcome is your saving grace.
Match Leads With The Ideal Reps
If you've done manual lead scoring by sending details of leads to your sales reps on an ongoing basis, think how much time and effort you can save if you use an automation tool. This way, regardless of whether your leads reach out via phone, email, or website, you can automatically direct those inbound communication to the ideal sales rep or department.
Quickly Create Lists
It's about time you upgraded from the traditional phone book and replaced it with something 21st century-like. You also don't need to use Google to search out prospects or build a list. Instead, take advantage of multiple automation solutions available to build lists easily and effectively. You can search out the best leads for your business using different segments. For example, you can list them depending on the company's size, their industry, and similar details that can be easily transferred into your CRM.
Create Templates For Presentations
Your marketing team should develop different templates for every specific industry you work with. This way, they can easily edit any parts of the presentation and reuse them. It's a process that's only possible with automation.
Automate CRM Updates
Your CRM is only as good as the information you put in it. But obviously, many CRMs are not properly leveraged because the process to keep them updated is manual and time consuming. Most sales reps would rather spend time conducting outreach that logging information into the CRM. Everyone benefits when your CRM can be updated through automation.
- Automatically create and assign records for contacts that submit forms on your website
- Automatically create a deal in your pipeline and assign it to the proper rep when a contact inquires through your website
- Automatically copy any information collected in the deal pipeline over to the company and contact(s) associated with that deal
- Automatically segment contacts into target lists when they meet specific criteria
- Automatically assign owners to leads based on territory, an even rotation or other criteria
- Automatically update properties or fields in your CRM where other information has been gathered and new information can be assumed to be true (i.e., the company that has over 1,000 employees can automatically be added to your large prospect list and specific sales targets can be established)
- Automatically subscribe contacts to your newsletter who take specific actions like submitting forms and scheduling meetings with your team
With automation, your sales team can receive reminders when a target account has been dormant for some time. Your team can also receive automated notifications or tasks when a high-value prospect visits your site's pricing page.
Popular automated sales notifications include:
- When a contact in the CRM has downloaded a new content offer or submitted a form on your website
- When a contact that's associated with an active deal has visited your pricing page (or perhaps any page on your website)
- When one of your target accounts has not been contacted in at least 30 days
- When a deal has remained in a specific stage of your pipeline for __ days without being updated or contacted by you or a member of your team
- When a quote or proposal has been viewed or signed
- When an existing lead or customer meets the ideal criteria for a product (i.e., company size, industry, topic interest, etc.)
- When a contact reaches a specific lead score, assign them to a sales rep and create a task for them to reach out
- Notify contact owners when their leads are missing critical information that should have been captured
Now that you know how you can leverage automation into your sales processes, your next step is to learn how to generate sales leads for your company. At the Gist, we could be able to help. We also work primarily with HubSpot, so check out our sales enablement page for more information or get in touch with us to schedule an exploratory call.