To make sales, your reps need to be sending emails, making calls, and booking meetings — not wasting time on admin. The purpose of sales process automation is to reduce the burden of manual tasks, so your sales reps can focus on closing deals.
On the face of it, this kind of upgrade seems like an instant win. But what exactly does sales process automation actually entail, and what kind of return on investment can you expect?
In this post, we’re going to answer all your burning questions and explain how automation can streamline and supercharge your sales operations.
In broad terms, sales process automation is about minimizing the number of tasks your sales reps have to complete by hand.
On a practical level, that means using dedicated tools and utilizing features in your existing software to automate certain workflows. This could be anything from gathering information on prospects to compiling proposals.
In other cases, automation can supplement the work of your sales professionals to provide a better customer experience. Automated email sequences and AI chatbots increase the amount of engagement with qualified leads, without the attention of a sales rep.
Before investing in new technology and training, it’s wise to get a full overview of what automation can do for your sales process.
To help you paint that mental picture, let’s run through some of the main benefits you can expect:
Time is precious for sales teams. Every minute spent filling out forms is a minute less to spend on engaging with leads.
By harnessing the power of automation, you could free your sales team from time-consuming chores.
According to research by McKinsey, more than 30% of sales-related tasks can be automated, including data entry, lead management, and engagement. That could mean removing an entire day of work from the to-do list of every rep, every week.
Makes you think — what could your sales team achieve with all that extra time?
Putting aside the issue of time, completing tasks by hand means you’re always going to have some human error.
In real-world terms, that means people saving the wrong names, failing to record data, and forgetting to follow up. And the inevitable consequence of such mistakes is that you’re going to lose a few customers or fail to close some leads.
By automating workflows, you can reduce the amount of human error and avoid costly slip-ups.
In an ideal world, your reps would deliver a custom-made pitch to every lead. But no sales team has that luxury. At best, you might have a few templates that are customized for different categories of lead.
By utilizing automation, you can provide a much more personalized experience, without doubling the size of your sales team.
For example, you could increase lead engagement through automated email campaigns, or create an interactive questionnaire that directs leads towards a suitable product and helps them get a rough price estimate.
Ultimately, such automations lead to a better customer experience, and a greater chance of closing deals.
When your reps do have the chance to engage with clients personally, it’s important to make that time count. Good data can be the magic ingredient in such encounters — but it can take a long time to gather and analyze by hand.
There are many ways to automate these processes, which can be loosely bundled under sales intelligence. Choose the right tools, and your salespeople will go into every conversation with a deep understanding of the lead.
They will also be able to make a tailor-made offer, with pricing and specifications that perfectly match the needs of your prospective customer.
In addition, automation can help sales managers to build ideal customer profiles with data, and figure out which strategies work with each group.
While it’s possible to automate almost the entire prospecting process, this rarely produces optimal results. At some point, you need the input of a sales professional to deliver the necessary human touch.
That said, there are ways to automate specific tasks within the prospecting process.
In particular, sales automation software can help you narrow down prospects based on key filters, and find accurate contact information without endless searching.
These simple administrative tasks normally sap a surprising amount of time — so this area is a good place to focus your initial efforts at automation.
As we have discovered, there are many compelling reasons to start automating various processes in your sales cycle.
However, it’s important not to get carried away.
The bottom line is that sales do not depend on data or customer personas. These are merely tools that can help sales professionals with the task of building strong working relationships with potential clients. This human connection is the bedrock for any future deal.
If you automate too much of your sales pipeline, the inevitable result is that your sales service will be somewhat robotic. Leads will feel less like valued customers, and more like cogs in a machine. And that’s definitely not going to improve your customer satisfaction.
For this reason, the most effective sales automation happens behind the scenes. It’s worth remembering this principle when you come to build your workflows.
To construct good automated workflows, you need to choose the right tools for the job. From all-in-one platforms to specialized apps, there are countless automation solutions to choose from nowadays.
The choice can be a little overwhelming, so here’s a concise menu of popular options to consider.
As the central hub of your sales activities, many CRM platforms come with basic automation functionality built in.
For example, Hubspot will record the activity of your prospects automatically and assist your salespeople with their outreach efforts. If you want to go further, Salesforce lets you create custom workflows for sales and marketing automation.
Good data entry tools can save your reps a lot of time. As an example, Nanonets uses artificial intelligence to extract data directly from documents, including forms and invoices.
Of course, data is only useful if you can see the wood for the trees. By automating analysis, sales intelligence platforms can deliver important insights and real-time metrics.
For example, Crystal uses AI to study publicly available data on any lead (such as social media posts), and to predict the likely personality traits of that individual.
At a very basic level, sales email templates allow you to streamline outreach. However, you can do much more with the right email automation tools.
Just as importantly, you can create workflows for managing subscribers and analyzing their behavior.
Perhaps the most powerful automation tools can be found in the prospecting and sales enrichment department. Not only will these apps save time, but they can unlock data you simply wouldn’t uncover by hand.
Datanyze is a prime example. With our Chrome extension, sales reps can visit the LinkedIn profile or company page of any lead, and get accurate contact information with a click. The extension also provides inside knowledge about that person’s employer, such as company size.
Normally speaking, you would have to go trawling the web for this data. But we have a database of 120 million individuals, which has been harvested in accordance with GDPR and CCPA.
Any time you use the extension, the data for that lead is saved to your account, where it is accessible for your whole sales team. Plus, you can export the data for lead management purposes.
As we have discovered, there are many reasons to explore sales process automation, and many tools for doing so.
If you would like to begin upgrading your sales process right now, why not take a free 90-day trial with Datanyze? Sign up here to get started!