Any business owner’s primary concern is closing the best deals and earning a considerable profit. It doesn’t really matter if you own a small business selling homemade products or a high-end company selling thousands of products on a daily basis; you will have the same sales process. Now, if you’re lucky, you have a team of sales reps in your sales and marketing department. Each of them focused on several tasks a day to make sure your business has the highest sales and earns the most profit possible, in addition to building the best customer service reputation in your field of work.
But what if you don’t? What if you’re a one-man wolf pack? Or your sales reps could benefit from not doing the same thing over and over again? How many deals have you lost simply because you forgot to follow up? Or went back and forth with a prospect just to be able to set a meeting time? That’s where sales automation steals the spotlight.
Honestly, I thank god every day for technology. We humans can always use some machine help. We have benefited from automation in many ways, and sales automation is one. Now, if you are new to the concept of CRM and sales automation software or tools, you are in the right place. I will break it all down in this blog post.
What is Sales Pipeline Automation?
There are usually 5 to 6 steps in how a person becomes a buyer: prospecting, preparation, approach, presentation, handling objections, closing, and follow-up. This process is called a sales pipeline. You or your sales reps have to go through this with every customer or client. The process is long and full of manual tasks that might seem non-productive but are highly essential. The fantastic thing about a sales automation tool is that it will automate the time-consuming, repetitive sales process from the first contact to sealing the deal. You can use sales automation tools in the following stages of your sales funnel: emailing and email reminders, pricing, inventory control, documentation, etc.
Why is Sales Automation Important?
When your sales tasks and process are automated, your team will have extra valuable time on their hands to spend on and leads and prospects and sell more than usual. They will be able to do a lot more during their work hours. Sales automation is changing and speeding up a sales team’s functions and activities. I made a list of why sales automation is beneficial:
Finding prospects is the first step in a sales process. When a customer first contacts you, that customer becomes a lead. Any lead can be a prospect. A prospect is a potential customer who contacts you because they need your product and basically wants to buy from you. You define a prospect when you choose your target market. Not every person who contacts you is from your target market, so sales reps take the lead and determine if that unqualified customer has the potential of becoming a prospect. This is one of the most time-consuming in selling your product. With sales automation, you can set filters based on your product or service and your target market, and the automation finds the prospects using digital tools or even AI (Augmented Intelligence). This way, you will only lead promising prospects into your sales funnel and also help your sales reps have the time to focus on the actual sales.
A successful business is customer-centric. If you want to close more deals and sell more products, you must listen to your customers. Sales automation helps you collect just the right statistics from your customers to understand their needs and wants. When you do so, you can strategize your marketing and sales plans. Design advertising campaigns, give out coupons and promotions, upgrade your product and customize it to your customers’ desire, and be the leader in your field of work.
This probably is the best advantage of sales automation. Remember when I asked how many times you forgot to follow up and lost a deal? When you use sales automation software, the sales process happens smoothly and without the risk of human errors. No calls will be missed, scheduling and meeting appointments will be done faster and easier, emails will be sent on time, and no follow-ups will ever be forgotten. The sales process is the most detailed and vital aspect of any business. You will have happy, returning customers by doing it most accurately (yes, I’m referring to automating the process).
Want to provide a satisfactory purchase experience for your customers? Get back to them ASAP. Sales Automation helps speed up things and decrease response time. You can prioritize prospects and respond to them faster than usual. As a person who well, shop a lot, I always return to those businesses that respect my time. Even if the product they sold lacked quality or had room for improvement, I would be more than happy to give suggestions because there’s a mutual understanding and respect between me, the customer, and the business.
Maintaining Customer Relationship
There is a lot you can do in the sales process to make sure your customers come back for more. You can send emails, reminders and do follow-ups. This adds a lot more labor work to your process. If you automate these steps, you can reduce the stress of ensuring every prospect customer is taken care of and take a lot of burden off your sales reps.
To be honest, I can go on and on about why it is essential to automate your sales funnels. There are so many advantages and so much more detail to cover. Generally, I can say that it is more accurate and faster than your usual man-handled process.
Let’s talk about my favorite thing about sales automation now; what exactly does the automation cover?
What Steps Can Sales Automation Simplify?
So we spoke about the benefits of sales automation and how it helps reduce the workload of sales reps. Let’s see how exactly automation helps simplify sales funnels.
Sales reps spend a lot of time writing emails daily. There are several types of emails sent by sales reps, such as welcome emails, thank-you emails, demo emails, and reminders. They also have to send follow-up emails to keep track of leads. If you automate the emailing process, you can give your reps the time to actually communicate with prospects and build a relationship. To automate your email campaigns, you have to look into what sort of emails you’re likely to use most often, how much time it takes to write each email, and how much customization and personalization is needed. After a quick research, you can automate the process by taking advantage of using email templates. Sales automation tools like RunSensible also allow you to make email sequences and personalize them.
The very first step in a sales process is finding your leads. When many people are reaching out to you, how would you know which ones are actually interested in your products and which ones are just bored and here to pass the time? A lot of companies struggle in this area because their sales reps spend most of their time following leads that are not interested in the product, which results in low conversion rates and slower sales cycles. With sales automation and the help of AI technology, you create filters to describe your ideal customer and prioritize leads that fit the criteria.
Oh, the nerve-wracking back and forth process of making an appointment. Most of the time, when you need to meet with a customer, either the prospect is not free, or the sales rep’s schedule clashes with the prospect’s. Trust me, the conversation is frustrating and time-consuming. This step can be automated with a sales automation software. All you have to do is send your schedule link to your customer, and they can choose the time slot that fits their schedule.
Reporting is essential but probably the most boring step of any process. Your sales reps have to fill in reports and email them to you and their coworkers within the sales process. This sometimes takes up to an hour of a sales rep’s time. But guess what? Even Reporting can be automated. CRM sales automation helps generate reports. This way, no manual data entry happens, which is more accurate and prevents any errors. Also, the process will be faster. This means you can make several reports in one hour.
Do you know that CRM sales automation tools can automate the whole payment process? From accepting credit cards and sending invoices to tracking payments. Even if a customer wants to make a payment after hours, the process can be done automatically without a sales rep physically present. You can also automate a payment reminder so you can skip bill collection and see how the payment comes in on its own.
What Is Sales Automation’s Disadvantage?
So you may wonder, how can a tool this helpful have an actual flaw, right? To be honest, there is no flaw. The only important thing about using a sales automation software is knowing how much to automate. It is possible to automate every step from beginning to end, but if you do so, you might make the expression that your customers are talking to a robot. Also well, when you can automate everything, what is the use of a sales rep? You have to understand your sales process, and by doing so, you can understand how much of it can be automated. This way, both you and your customers can benefit from it.
Sales Automation Best Practices
If you take a thorough look at your sales process and take every step into account, you can determine how long each task takes and what parts you want to automate.
Define your purpose of automation
Once you find the flaws in your process, write down a list of what tasks you want to automate and set automation goals. You have to have a solid reason why you need a task automated.
Ask your coworkers to participate. Give each of them an area of steps to monitor closely while the implementation process happens.
Before making it official, give it a go yourself. Find out if there are any bugs and glitches in the process and how to solve them.
Once you’re done with the test process, it’s time to play it live. Training every employee or sales rep who is in charge so that they can get used to the automation is as important as the automated process going on as smoothly as you wish.
CRM sales automation lets you reduce stress and waste less time over repetitive routines. Remember, the key to having an excellent experience with sales automation is to automate tasks that can be done better or faster without needing direct interaction. The more you communicate with your customers, the better a relationship you can build with them. Let sales automation take care of the more repetitive stuff and help you have a smooth, error-free sales process.
Every aspect of sales automation I described in this post is naturally integrated in RunSensible, our CRM system and marketing tool. At RunSensible, we have a free 14-day trial that lets you test out our applications and services. That means a risk-free experience that lets you decide first-hand how valuable our solutions are. All you have to do is to give it a try and watch how it helps you grow your business. Reduce the time spent on tasks that can be automated — seal more deals!