What is Sales Automation and How does it Benefit You?
There are many tasks that are repetitive within your sales process, but you know you need to do them to keep cycle running. The sales managers have a certain set of tasks to perform, while the sales reps have another set.
Aside from potentially being boring, these repetitive tasks are a drain on the time and efficiency of everyone who needs to perform them. Sure, without doing them, everything would grind to a halt – but a lot of them don’t need human interaction at all.
Sales automation takes all of these time-consuming tasks that are performed every day, week, or month, as well as other tasks that are triggered by a certain event and runs them for you. This makes everything (and everyone) more efficient and has a direct relationship with the revenue generated by the sales team. And don’t forget the aspect of human error, which is completely eliminated by sales and marketing automation engines.
What kind of things can be automated?
Obvious tasks that are prime for automation include the generation of sales and other reports, but other processes include forwarding relevant information to interested leads, assigning tasks to individual sales reps or teams, passing missed calls to a different person, and keeping managers up to date on what every rep is doing.
Sales automation engine distributes leads based on zip code, city, state, the product of interest, closest sales-person or any other criteria you like. This is a super important feature of sales teams who sell on the field as leads are assigned instantly
Sales automation also allows you to prioritize leads currently in your sales process, allowing you to focus on the ones that are most likely to convert. How does it know which is the most likely? By modeling your ideal customer and scoring the lead based on your own criteria.
Sales automation engine alerts your sales team whenever your leads take a sales specific action, for example – spends 5 minutes or more on the checkout page. You can set up your own criteria to notify salespeople. The notification can be set up on mobile or email.
Check out this example for sales notifications set up for banks
Sales managers can automate hundreds of reports which gives the inside information about their sales process. How many calls were made, how many follow-ups are pending, what is in the pipeline, what is the sales forecast ahead.
Similarly, you can also automate your field sales reporting- The distance they traveled, meetings done. You can track them live with the mobile app.
What sales automation is not
Sales automation is not an excuse to become lazy, nor is it an opening to randomly react to every action. You still need to close the sale, and you still need to interact with qualified leads, but you don’t necessarily have to be involved in the mundane tasks of handling excel sheets, passing the leads to different teams and setting alarms on your cell phone.
Similarly, sales automation won’t automatically improve your sales numbers, but it will make you smarter with intelligent signals and help you focus on more important things. By focusing on the likely-converters, you’ll have a greater opportunity to sell without having to manually dig in thousands of activities
Increasing Your Man-hours
In a business with a single manager and 2 sales reps, where everyone works 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, you’ll have a maximum of 120 man-hours a week.
If each person spends two hours generating reports a week, and four hours identifying the best leads, you lose 18 hours a week, leaving 102 hours in total.
By automating those processes, you’ll get the 18 hours back – that’s a significant gain where sales reps can be talking to hot leads and closing deals. Sales automation cannot guarantee higher sales, but it surely gives you the opportunity to spend more time making deals.
At the end of the day, there will always be a bigger company doing exactly what you are doing but with more people employed. You can’t necessarily afford to expand your business by having more sales reps or managers, but you can easily give every person on the team more hours a week to work with.
Sales automation pays for itself
As part of the qualification process, the sales automation system will become aware of the interests of the lead by tracking their behavior, intent, and actions. It might even be from an advertising campaign you ran, indicating to the software how the lead saw the advert and what it was about the advert that may have caught the lead’s interest.
By obtaining the email address of the lead, the sales automation software can then send messages tailored to that individual. If they liked to look at Product A, then Product B is probably something they could use, so here’s an email that points out all the benefits of using Product B.
If the lead follows a link in that email, you can be almost certain they have an interest in Product B, and might like Product C or perhaps they would like to sign up for this particular training course…and so on and so on.
To do all this manually would become a full-time job. To automate this will take a one-time set up, and then it can just be left to run.
By sending this information out regularly, trust and a relationship will be built with the lead, who may well go on to purchase Product F or G – if you or a sales rep had been required to manually send all the emails to get to this stage it would have been a waste of valuable time, but by employing automation the process requires no human input until the sale needs closing – and maybe not even then!
Supercharge your sales teams
When you begin to understand your leads behavior and intent. It is easier to nurture and followup in the right way, without annoying them. Sales automation gives you that power. It tells you which lead to follow and when to follow. This is invaluable information to any sales rep.
You can even pre-empt their next move and show them solutions to problems they were only on the edge of discovering. With customer service like that – solving problems before they occur – you are on the right path to increase your sales.