More and more companies are looking to automate their sales process, and for good reason! Automating your sales process can have a significant impact on your business. It can make it easier to manage, more efficient, and help you improve your workflows.
According to research, professionals across the globe are looking to increase their marketing and sales automation budgets in the upcoming year. This trend is expected to continue, which means that the demand for tools and software will also increase.
This blog post will explore what exactly sales automation means, how it can be approached from two perspectives (automating processes and technology), and why it’s such an important part of scaling a growing business.
Sales Automation, A Definition
Put simply; sales automation represents any technology or process that helps to automate a sales process. This can include anything from email marketing automation tools and CRM software to lead capture and qualification processes. The goal of sales automation is to optimize the workflow, making it more efficient and effective.
When implemented properly, sales automation helps to eliminate redundant tasks, automate communications, provide insights into customer behavior, and much more. Sales professionals no longer need to spend time on tedious tasks, allowing them to focus on more important activities such as building relationships and closing deals.
We will look at sales automation from two different perspectives.
We will try to point to the most prevalent or promising use-cases of sales automation by exploring several sales processes and activities.
In the second part, we will look at a few technologies or approaches to how sales automation is achieved. It’s important to note that sales enablement through automation is not a one-time fix – it’s an ongoing process that needs to be continually refined and updated.
The sales process consists of various tasks that need to be performed, from lead generation and qualification through to closing deals. These tasks can become so numerous and time-consuming that they quickly begin to eat up a salesperson’s entire working day.
Studies have shown that approximately 30% of sales-related tasks can be automated.
Here is a breakdown of the sales process with opportunities for automation that you might consider:
1. Lead generation
Lead generation is a must for any business and is the foundation of a successful sales pipeline. It can consist of describing your ideal customer profile (ICP), list building, creating lead-gen play-books and ultimately getting in touch with potential leads (prospecting).
Lead generation tools allow you to identify leads that fit your buyer persona and organize them into lists for easy reference. Through the use of advanced data, tools such as these help ensure that companies only target those leads who are most likely to become customers – allowing their time and budget to be spent more effectively.
2. Lead qualification
Once your sales pipeline is full of leads, your sales and marketing teams need to know which ones qualify as your potential customer and which are further down the buyer’s journey and are therefore the best candidates to become your customer and deserve more attention.
Lead qualification tools offer this ability by allowing you to track your leads’ behavior, so that they only receive the right content at the right time. This allows potential customers to self-qualify through demonstrations of interest, while discouraging those who are not ready from taking up too much of a salesperson’s valuable time.
Additionally, lead scoring tools, such as AI-based algorithms, can automate the qualification process by judging leads against predefined criteria.
Tools that qualify leads can save your team time by automating the process of sorting and prioritizing them, so you know which ones to focus on first.
3. Setting appointments
Quick and easy appointment scheduling with the potential customer is imperative for a successful sales rep. With the help of technology, this can easily be automated through calendars and appointment-setting tools.
Not only does this free up time for your sales reps, but it also helps to ensure that potential customers don’t get lost in the shuffle. Appointments can be scheduled and confirmed automatically, which takes the hassle out of trying to arrange a time that works for both parties.
Sales professionals can also use technology to keep track of past appointments, making it easier to follow up with customers.
4. Closing deals
Sales automation software can have a positive impact on the closing process. It can help eliminate unnecessary paperwork, automate complex tasks, and ensure that your sales team is always in sync with their customers.
Electronic signatures make it possible for contracts to be signed quickly and easily, without the need for printing or scanning.
Sales professionals can also use sales automation tools to keep track of their deals – from initial contact to final closure. This helps them to better understand what works and what doesn’t, so that they can improve their sales process for future deals.
5. Lead nurturing
If a lead is not yet ready to buy, it’s important to keep them in the sales process until they are. This is where lead nurturing comes into play – a tactic used for staying top-of-mind and establishing authority with potential customers by delivering relevant content at key intervals throughout their journey toward purchase.
Lead nurturing can also be automated through email automation, sending a series of predetermined emails to leads at set intervals. This helps ensure that potential customers always have fresh content available, keeping them engaged until they’re ready to move further down the sales funnel.
Gathering data for speedy and accurate analysis of results after investing time and resources in a sales pipeline is crucial for translating your effort into revenue.
Sales professionals need to know which leads are converting, how much they’re spending, and what kind of ROI can be expected from the campaign as a whole. The use of automated reporting tools makes this possible by providing accurate reports (after proper set-up) that provide insight into all aspects of the sales process.
Sales automation software can provide actionable data, so sales professionals can make changes quickly and efficiently to improve their results.
The steps mentioned above in the sales process automation can be automated using many tools and software.
1. Automated workflows
Various CRM tools and sales and marketing automation software relies on automation to simplify key processes and administrative tasks, such as lead scoring, qualifying a prospect’s interest in your product or service, scheduling appointments, automated email, and more.
Workflows can be predefined or user-defined, with different actions triggered by certain events. For example, a workflow could be set up to send an email to a customer when they visit your pricing page but don’t make a purchase. Nowadays, a marketing automation platform has the most features required for easy operations of both sales and marketing teams.
2. Artificial intelligence (AI)
A significant step above basic CRM (customer relationship management) software is the addition of AI. With the help of AI, sales professionals can automate their interactions with customers and prospects. This includes automating lead qualification, providing recommendations for the next steps, and even completing transactions on behalf of the customer.
Even though some believe that AI will completely replace human salespeople in the near future, it’s more likely that AI will simply augment human sales activities. This allows sales professionals to focus on tasks that require a personal touch, such as relationship building and negotiations.
3. Robotic process automation (RPA)
RPA can perform any sales task a human can do on a computer, such as copying and pasting data, filling in forms, or retrieving information from a database.
RPA software can automate repetitive tasks such as data entry, order processing, and invoice verification or anything else that can be standardized to a decent level. RPA basically mimics human behavior – it can be used to automate any process that involves a computer.
Why is sales automation important?
By using a sales automation tool, you can streamline your workflow and increase revenue through improved sales productivity and efficiency. You’ll also be able to scale a growing business without adding expensive personnel or hiring additional staff members. Finally, with accurate data gathering for analysis available at your fingertips, you’ll be able to make informed decisions about where to focus your efforts for the best return on investment.
With so many benefits available, it’s no wonder that sales automation is becoming an essential part of doing business.
Just look at the statistics:
- 61% of companies that use sales automation have exceeded their revenue targets for 2020.
- 16% of companies using high-level automation scored more leads than those with low-level automation or no automation at all.
If you’re looking for a way to increase productivity and revenue while scaling your business, sales automation is the only way to go.
Salesforce automation will soon not be an option but a necessity. Sales professionals can no longer afford to work in an environment with outdated systems and tools that make it difficult, if not impossible, to keep up with the demands of today’s market.
If you want your business or team to be more productive and profitable, sales activity automation is a must-have investment for the future.
Sales automation software and tools are constantly evolving, with innovations emerging all the time. With so much to gain and almost no downside, there has never been a better time than now to make your business more efficient.
Contact us today if you’d like to know more about sales automation and how best to implement it. We’ll be happy to help you make the most of this powerful tool and achieve your goals for growth and success in 2022 and beyond!