Why sales automation is the way forward

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If you find your sales team focusing more on administrative tasks than on actual revenue-generating activities, then sales automation may be the solution. 

Sales reps have a huge amount of responsibility in today’s competitive market. Not only do they need to continuously bring in revenue, but they also need to keep track of data related to their sales at each step of the process, which involves a lot of manual work. In fact, Forbes determined that sales people only spend about 35% of their time selling. That doesn’t sound right, does it?

But imagine if your sales team no longer had to do that manual work. Their productivity and efficiency would improve, resulting in higher overall sales. 

Sales automation can get you those improved results, and technology such as automation tools and software can help you get there. 

Today you’ll learn how sales automation can benefit your sales team and lead to more revenue for your business.

Let’s dive in!

What is sales automation?

Sales automation is the process of streamlining manual tasks in the sales process. This helps you get tedious, time-consuming tasks done quicker and more efficiently. 

Streamlining your sales process allows your sales team to focus less on admin and more on selling. Here’s a glimpse of how you can expect sales automation to positively impact your business:

  • Increase your sales team’s productivity.
  • Improve the accuracy and efficiency of your sales process.
  • Keep sales data consistent across your organization.
  • Reduce response time and increase customer satisfaction.

For maximum efficiency, you want to use sales automation software, such as a CRM, to simplify your sales process. The right software will help you keep track of your sales data and ensure that nothing falls through the cracks.

Sales automation vs. marketing automation

If you’ve been researching different tools to help streamline your business processes, you may have also come across the term marketing automation. 

Both marketing automation and sales automation are important to drive sales and bring in revenue, and in an ideal scenario, your business would use both. However, it is important to understand the difference between the two and determine where each fits into your organization.

As you can guess, the idea behind marketing automation is similar to sales automation. It involves using tools and software to automate marketing tasks and processes. These tasks include:

  • Email marketing (email scheduling, email drip campaigns, etc.).
  • Social marketing.
  • Lead generation. 

Marketing automation is mainly focused on the top of the sales funnel, meaning that it will help you get more leads. Marketing automation will help you build your email database and nurture your leads.

Sales automation, on the other hand, moves you towards closing the deal. Sales automation will also help you keep track of your leads as they move through the funnel.

Let’s take a closer look at how automating your sales processes can benefit your business.  

The benefits of sales automation

Now that you’ve learned the basics of sales automation, you probably want to know how it can benefit your business. Well, we’ve got you covered! Let’s dive deeper into the top benefits of automating your sales process. 

1. Gain insight on your customers

Your top priority is your customers, so you want to get to know them as much as possible. Sales automation allows you to gather helpful data and implement strategies on how to use it to better serve your customers. 

The data you collect will help you figure out your customers’ pain points, learn their needs, and form sales strategies to deliver solutions to those needs. 

2. Less time on admin, more time building relationships

Sales automation allows your sales team to accomplish more. When you take administrative tasks off their plates, your sales reps have more time to focus on their main job: building customer relationships and closing sales!

Sales automation allows your sales team to focus on high-value tasks, which will result in increased productivity and performance from your sales reps. 

Imagine not having to do manual data entry every time you need to update a customer’s contact information. Or imagine having your leads organized by where they’re at in the sales pipeline so you can focus on the most promising sales opportunities. 

By automating your sales tasks instead of worrying about updating your customer’s data, you can spend more time building relationships and ensuring customer satisfaction.

3. Enhance data accuracy

Have you ever had a lack of communication between two of your team members lead to a missed sales opportunity? This is an unfortunate occurrence that many small businesses go through.

The lack of a clear, automated sales process may lead to more human error. If you rely on manual data entry from more than one member of your sales team, you may end up with redundancy or inaccurate information. You also run the risk of multiple people having bits of information on your customers, but no one having the full picture. 

Automation can not only ensure that information is updated on time, but also that it is updated accurately. In particular, a CRM can help make sure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to your customers. 

Sales CRM automation means there will be fewer data entry mistakes because the information is located in one database and updated in real-time. If there is an error, any employee who accesses the file can correct it so the same error won’t pop up to other team members.

4. Automate lead scoring

No one likes manually sorting through prospects to score each sales lead manually. This task is not only time-consuming and tedious, but it is also prone to error. This is risky since lead scoring is important to make sure your sales team spends their time with the most qualified leads.

Lead scoring involves scoring every interaction a lead has with your company, and weighing those points against expected values. The result is turning that lead into a sales-qualified lead (SQL). 

Automated lead scoring can make this process easier and more accurate. With the help of a good sales automation platform, you can identify your SQLs more quickly and immediately start giving them the attention they need.

As you can see, sales automation can benefit your business in multiple ways. Let’s get more specific and look at some sales automation workflows that will help your sales team be more efficient.

4 sales automation workflows that simplify your sales process

Automating your workflows will have a positive impact on your sales reps, your customers, and your overall business. Let’s look at some key workflows that sales automation can simplify. 

1. Lead collection

Lead collection is often a messy process. Sales prospects often come in from multiple channels, such as:

  • Social platforms.
  • Sales website.
  • Ads.
  • In-Store.
  • Email.
  • Chatbots.

With so many different channels, it’s hard to keep track of your leads. Centralizing this information is a time-consuming process that’s prone to human error. The result? Sales opportunities get left on the table and hot leads get ignored. 

You want to automate this process because it will ensure every lead is accounted for and that you don’t lose out on potential revenue. 

2. Lead assignment

When a new lead comes in, it needs to be assigned to a sales rep so that not everyone on the team jumps on it at the same time.

Unfortunately, this process is usually manual and takes a significant part of a sales manager’s time, making it a great process to automate. 

By automating assigning leads, you know that there’s no processing delay before leads are followed up with and that your sales team isn’t bottlenecked. 

3. Prospect follow-ups

Once your lead collection process is automated, the next step is to ensure every lead is followed up with in a timely manner. 

According to IRC Sales Solution, only 2% of sales are made during the first point of contact. That means you stand to lose 98% of potential sales if you don’t follow up. 

With your sales reps having so much on the go, a follow-up to each of your leads isn’t a sure thing. Unless, of course, you leverage sales workflow automation

By instantly scheduling follow-up activities for your sales reps, you can rest assured that each lead will be followed up with and brought down the sales funnel by your team. 

4. Sales pipeline management

Keeping up with data is important to manage your sales pipeline, from knowing which deals are closing to tracking how much revenue has come in. 

However, manually tracking data points is a slow process that’s worth automating. Instead of spending hours in Excel figuring this information out, look for sales automation software that automates this process for quick insights on the numbers you need. 

These tools allow you to view data using different filters, such as:

  • Closed/won deals.
  • Sales rep.
  • Total revenue.
  • Account. 

Filtering allows you to dig deeper into the data and closely analyze what’s working and what isn’t. As a result, you can flag and address problems in a quicker and more effective way.

Now that you understand how sales automation can simplify your workflows, let’s check out some tools that will help you automate your sales process.

Tools that make sales automation easy

Sales automation tools can help make automating your sales process that much quicker. There are several different types of tools available for you to choose from. Let’s take a closer look at a few of them.

Schedulers

When it comes to keeping track of sales leads, staying organized is crucial. Many potential sales could be lost because of unorganized processes. There’s nothing worse than struggling to coordinate a meeting with a sales prospect and failing to find the right time. 

Schedulers, such as Calendly, are a great tool for any business to have. Schedulers eliminate the tedious back and forth of choosing a time that works for your customers. Plus, schedulers often offer calendar integrations so invites are automatically sent out to sales reps and customers.

CRM

A CRM (customer relationship management) tool is one of the most important types of sales automation software because it helps you automate so many of your sales tasks.

Some of the tasks that CRM sales automation can help you accomplish include:

  • Create lead gen forms to make it easy to turn website visitors into qualified leads.
  • Enable email integrations to make it possible to seamlessly track activities while communicating with leads and customers.
  • Automate your payment process so your sales team doesn’t spend time on payment collection. 
  • Automated email campaigns and follow-up scheduling.
  • Automatically assign leads to sales reps.
  • Track every step of the sales pipeline and quickly create reports.
  • And so much more!

As you can see, a CRM may be the only sales automation tool you need, but it can also feed data into other sales automation tools that your sales team uses.

For QuickBooks users, Method:CRM can help keep your data organized and automate every step of the sales pipeline. 

Chatbots

In an ideal world, you want to engage with your customers 24/7. However, your sales reps are only human, and are unable to be available for your customers at all times. Luckily, there’s a solution: Chatbots.

Chatbots are a form of automated communication for prospects and customers. Gone are the days of chatbots being solely a customer service tool. When used right, they can indicate to prospective customers that you want to communicate with them and care about their experience.

Chatbots help capture and qualify leads by asking automated questions. As responses, they serve up existing web content like help articles and FAQs, as well as deliver simple information, such as store hours.

Chatbots help your customers move through the sales funnel. Instead of having everything sent to your sales team, chatbots will triage requests to qualify leads more quickly.

If you’re ready to look into integrating chatbots into your sales automation plan, check out Intercom and Drift to bridge the communication gap when your sales reps aren’t available. 

Zapier

Although a CRM may provide you with all of the sales automation tools you need, you may come across other tools that you want to integrate into your processes. 

Don’t worry if your current CRM can’t integrate directly with a tool you want to use. There is a solution to that.

A connector can easily integrate your CRM with different apps. One of the most popular connectors is Zapier

Zapier allows you to instantly connect a CRM to over 3000 apps to help you automate your work. Some of those apps include:

  • Trello.
  • Slack.
  • Mailchimp.
  • Gmail.
  • Outlook calendar.

Zapier pushes information from your favorite apps directly into your CRM. That way, you can get up-to-date information on your leads, customers, sales, and more, all from one place. 

Zapier also eliminates double-data entry, empowering your team with accurate data and ensuring that everyone is always on the same page.

QuickBooks users can experience the magic of Zapier, as it allows you to integrate Method:CRM with over 3000 apps to automate your work. 

No-code tools

Programmers are no longer the only ones with the power to create apps. Thanks to no-code tools, anyone can create interactive apps without knowing how to code. 

No-code is the act of building software apps without coding, eliminating the need to hire a software developer for application development. You don’t need to know a programming language to use it. All no-code really requires of you is to scroll, click, drag, and drop.

No-code solutions empower small businesses of every size to build automated workflows that mirror their exact business processes. The beauty of creating a custom solution like this is that you can add in personalized fields and meet your unique business needs. 

For example, instead of relying on error-prone Excel for data entry, you can develop a cloud-based app for your entire team to store and update your data. No-code gives everyone the power to automate workflows, improving the productivity and efficiency of your team.

Wrap up: Sales automation brings your business forward

To recap, sales automation can:

  • Improve your sales team’s productivity.
  • Reduce human error.
  • Keep your team organized.
  • Enhance your customer’s experience.
  • Track data efficiently.
  • Easily generate sales reports.

Sales automation has become a necessity in today’s sales world to keep up with ongoing demands. The right automation software gives your sales team the freedom to focus less on admin work and more on selling.

The best thing you can do for your business is set yourself up on a sales automation platform to streamline your workflows and increase your revenue.

To learn more about how sales automation can streamline your sales process, download our free sales ebook.

Image credit: Tim Graf via Unsplash

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