Workflow automation is a surefire way to increase productivity of your sales team, helping trigger tasks based on notable events or lead behaviour. They’re a form of sales automation. Automated workflows are one of many features a CRM system can offer your business.

So many features, that you might have a CRM system in place without using it to its full capacity. Similarly, you might be sick and tired of the same old working day, looking for a way to relieve the manual load from your tired shoulders.

Whatever the reason is you’ve stumbled upon this article, we have something that can boost your sales: Automated sales workflows in CRM.

In this guide, we’ll explain what workflow automation is, tell you why you need it, look at how it works, and share the best examples of workflow automation in CRM. We can help you get your sales processes automated and optimised.

What is workflow automation?

Workflow automation is the process of setting software to complete tasks without human intervention. It uses if, then statements to send emails, schedule tasks, assign a manager, schedule a meeting or a call, notify salespeople via chat apps, wait for a new action from a lead, trigger email drip campaigns, and a whole bunch of other actions that your business already executes manually.‌

Automated workflows use logic and rules to launch tasks. When something triggers the pre-set algorithm, a certain action or task is executed by the system. In theory, automated sales workflows can be infinite and any number of tasks can be executed by automation technology in one workflow as long as it is finalised and possible.

‌Workflow automation helps make sales processes more efficient due to reduced time for certain triggers and less manual work.

As a simple example, once a lead has been added to your CRM database, it’s a good idea to send a Welcome Drip Campaign. This is a lead nurturing campaign, aimed at pushing the lead along the sales pipeline as soon as they signed up with their personal data. This is the free-hit of email marketing; the most-opened email you’ll ever send to anybody.

Make sure it’s good; make sure it’s on time by scheduling it in Workflows.👇

A lead nurturing workflow automation sequence in NetHunt CRM
A lead nurturing workflow automation sequence in NetHunt CRM

So, what’s going on in this automated workflow example?

  1. Our workflow is triggered by a new lead entering the CRM database
  2. Our first, Welcome to the Business! email is sent
  3. We split the workflow into two branches
  4. In Branch A, we wait for three days before sending another email
  5. We wait another three days for a response, before ending this branch
  6. In Branch B, we receive an email
  7. The lead is reassigned to Negotiation on our pipeline
  8. A message is sent to the relevant manager in Slack notifying them

Want to understand more about automated workflows? Sign up for a demo with NetHunt’s Customer Success Team - they’re the experts!

Why is workflow automation important?

Workflow automation has many benefits for your sales team, including…

  • It saves sales rep time and nerves from mundane, repetitive tasks
  • It boosts productivity of your sales team
  • It avoids human error and lost leads
  • It standardises the customer journey and tells you what works
  • It improves and quickens customer service

We recently interviewed our good friends at Epom, asking them what they thought about sales automation and automated workflows. Their sales specialist Vitalii gushed about the advantages of workflow automation in CRM. He told us about a workflow he’s working on for post-sales outreach with a client.

"The problem comes when I forget to follow up on their set up. Our post-sales automatic workflow would probably consist of a first message containing login details to our ad server, a second message asking if they need help, and a third when the trial is over and we need to ask whether they plan on continuing their subscription with us"

🗣️ Epom for CRM Talks

Sales automation workflow examples

The famous saying goes that it’s better to see once than hear multiple times. Well, how about seeing it six times? Let’s take a look at some examples of workflow automation in CRM, figure out what they do for your business, and learn how to build them. Of course, we’ll use NetHunt CRM as an example for building automated sales workflows… it’s the sexiest workflow builder out there.

Sales Automation Playbook for Small and Medium Business | NetHunt
This downloadable resource is a full playbook for automating sales processes, featuring triggers, actions, and ready-made sales process sequences for your CRM system

The Welcome email automated workflow

After a lead turns into a customer, you need to welcome them to the company and explain how the product works, sending them training emails. You can easily create a workflow specifically for onboarding new clients. Generally, this helps them get acquainted with your business and product.

Welcome emails ensure a product or service sticks for users, educate users around functionality and guide them over the onboarding period, and ensure users understand how to use a product and reach that “aha” moment. A very basic Welcome email automated workflow looks like this…

A welcoming email automated workflow in NetHunt CRM
A welcoming email automated workflow in NetHunt CRM

So, what’s going on in this automated workflow example?

  1. A new lead has entered our CRM by subscribing. This triggers the workflow
  2. The system automatically sends a pre-written, mail merged email
  3. We wait for one day before sending another email with actionable content
  4. We wait another two days before sending another email with more content

The Welcome email workflow is all about educating brand new leads about the value of a product or service after they’ve signed up or subscribed to it.

Each email should be welcoming, but actionable and to the point. The end goal is to either have the recipient sign up for a free trial of a product (pre-sale) or to continue using the product to the best of its potential, understanding the support network that’s in place for them.

Having welcomed your leads, you might want to start nurturing them.

Lead nurturing automated workflow‌

Once a person sends you an email, submits a web form, or reaches out to you via LinkedIn or any other channel, your CRM system will automatically create a new contact. This is called lead generation, and it’s nothing without any kind of follow-up to keep your potential clients warm.

Lead nurturing is the process of communicating with leads to turn them into customers. Leads are either cold or hot. Cold leads are those who aren’t ready to buy from you; hot leads are read. Not each lead, even with a desire to buy, can be turned into a customer. This is where lead nurturing becomes an essential, irreplaceable part of your sales process. There are loads of benefits…

  • Increase the response rate for sales outreach
  • Better brand awareness and conversion rates
  • Shortened sales cycle length
  • Discover segmentation opportunities based on lead behaviour
  • Develop analytics for bottlenecks and improve the lead’s journey

Lead nurturing workflows take any form depending on your business and its customers. Here’s one we made earlier…

A lead nurturing automated workflow
A lead nurturing automated workflow

So, what’s going on in this automated workflow example?

  1. A prospect became a lead after showing interest in our product
  2. We split the path into three branches
  3. Branch A sends all our nurturing emails; how-tos, benefits of, that kind of stuff
  4. Branch B is our control; we stop sending emails when we receive one back
  5. Similarly, Branch C stops the emails when the lead changes stage

Sales pipeline management automated workflow

Having a sales pipeline is only good if you manage it correctly.

Your pipeline visualises the real time performance and position of your business, offering key metrics to determine its health, and giving the sales team a full picture of what they need to do any moment. Automatic pipeline management removes the hassle of having to automatically update the pipeline, moving leads to the next stage based on different behaviours and events.

Automate your pipeline when you want to automate the sales pipeline, adjust a lead’s sales pipeline stage, and target them with relevant messages based where they are in the pipeline. Save sales rep time by filtering out unqualified leads; focus sales rep energy on building relationships and closing deals. Automatic sales pipeline management saves your saves reps from any embarrassing duplicate outreach and lost leads; it puts everybody on the same, correct page.

The lead stage change workflow isn’t a standalone; it can be part of any workflow which involves your sales pipeline. Like this…

A sales pipeline management workflow in NetHunt CRM
A sales pipeline management workflow in NetHunt CRM

So, what’s going on in this automated workflow example?

  1. A prospect has entered our pipeline
  2. Branch A subjects them to an email nurturing campaign, like before
  3. Branch B stops the emails and updates the prospect pipeline stage when an email is received

Lead distribution automated workflow

Automatic lead distribution is also a method of sales pipeline management. It’s the process of assigning an appropriate manager to a lead. You might think that a certain manager is the best fit for a certain client, then do your best and connect them with the help of automated workflows in just a few clicks.

Alternatively, you might want leads to be assigned to managers with equal weight, sharing the workload.

Round-robin scheduling schedules tasks and leads in a circular order without priority or bias. Everybody gets assigned new leads, as soon as those leads are ready for a sales rep, evenly. The only way to utilise round-robin scheduling for your business is to use automatic sales workflows.

Again, this particular automated workflow presents different benefits for a sales team…

  • Reduce time between action and communication
  • Optimise the sales funnel; assign leads to the right reps based on pre-set rules
  • Personalise communication from the very start
A lead distribution automated workflow example
A lead distribution automated workflow example

So, what’s going on in this automated workflow example?

  1. New leads enter the pipeline after signing up through a web form
  2. They are equally distributed amongst the sales team on a round-robin basis
  3. We wait for 11 minutes before an email is sent to inform the rep of their new lead

The stuck deal automated workflow

A deal can get stuck in the sales pipeline for any reason. It might be down to a lead’s personal situation; their company hasn’t got any money, their cat just died, anything. Alternatively, several stuck deals in the same pipeline stage indicates a problem on your end. This is a pipeline bottleneck, and we’ve already told you all about them before.

Workflow automation helps identify bottlenecks and set an automated action to remove the blockage. In this case, we notify the relevant manager to take a manual action.

Remember! Not all your sales processes should be automated. Workflow automation is only useful as a tool to help sales reps close a deal by taking care of manual, repetitive tasks. Nothing beats manual outreach from a nice, friendly sales rep - and that’ll never change.

A stuck deal automated workflow in NetHunt CRM
A stuck deal automated workflow in NetHunt CRM

So, what’s going on in this automated workflow example?

  1. Our automated workflow is triggered whenever a deal enters the Presentation stage
  2. We split our automated workflow into two branches
  3. Branch B is our control branch; the automated workflow stops when the deal moves to Negotiation
  4. Branch A is our reminder flow. We wait 5 days, 2 days, and 3 days with emails sent at each interval to the relevant sales rep

Payment reminder automated workflow

Payment reminders are one of the most awkward, but essential tasks you need to complete as a sales rep. Client payment is important; essential. In fact, it’s the whole reason you bother to do any of this business stuff. If there’s no cash being burnt, there’s nothing to keep the turbines spinning, and things quickly stop working. You know that - a client might not necessarily.

Client payment reminders keep sales reps on top of incoming accounts and the overall business engine ticking over; they also help to retain customers who might simply have forgotten There can be a multitude of reasons why a client hasn’t paid their outstanding bill. You can read all about them here.

For this article, we’re interested in overcoming this problem automatically. With a little help from our fantastic devs, our payment reminder workflow looks like this...

A payment reminder automated workflow in NetHunt CRM
A payment reminder automated workflow in NetHunt CRM

So, what’s going on in this automated workflow example?

A lead moves into a Waiting for payment status when the payment is due

  1. We split our workflow into three branches
  2. Branch A ends our workflow when payment has been received
  3. Branch B sends two payment reminder emails in the leadup to payment due day; it also creates a task for the dedicated sales rep to keep an eye on payment
  4. Branch C kicks in when payment date has been missed; we send an email upon payment date before creating a task for manual sales rep follow up the next day

Free stuff! If you’re a sales workflow nerd like everybody else sat in the NetHunt office, you might want to check out the Sales Automation Playbook. It’s free and full of dozens of workflows that you can implement for your business today. Oh and the best thing - it’s free! Go download the Sales Automation Playbook!

If you like what you see but don’t have the tools to do it, sign up for a free NetHunt trial today. You’ll gain instant access to Workflows by NetHunt CRM to build the automation workflows that you’ve just read about. If you’re still stuck, book a demo with the Customer Success Team. They’re gorgeous, ready, and waiting to show you everything our tidy little system can do!

A recap

  • Workflow automation is the process of a dedicated platform completing tasks automatically
  • Automated workflows are triggered by certain, pre-set events
  • Workflow automation eliminates human error and makes sales rep lives easier
  • Check out our six essential automated sales workflows above
  • Many processes can be automated, but not all of them should be

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