"High Growth" firms are 61% more likely to thoroughly incorporate automation into core business processes automation.
Let’s get straight to the point and admit that sales automation sounds pretty sleek. It has plenty of benefits for a business to leverage:
- Improved efficiency
- More effective reporting
- Better opportunity management
- Increased sales
- Better-motivated employees thanks to the minimisation of time wastes on mundane tasks
However, to be among the ‘high growth’ companies, you need to follow some rules of sales automation and not just shoot a shot in the dark. There are several DOs and DON’Ts you need to pay attention to if you want to optimise your sales automation strategy successfully.
✔️ DO set smart goals
The first and foremost thing you need to do when automating your sales process is to recognise that not only not all things can be automated and but also that not all things should be. While it can be extremely tempting for your sales team to delegate all their tasks to the smart machines, it’s not the best approach to take.
For your sales automation to be successful, you need to make it organised and directed. This means having a clear reason for automation - a set of SMART goals:
Then and only then will you be able to tell whether you’re actually growing your business thanks to sales automation or if you’re just wasting your resources.
❌ DON’T rely on other business’s experience too much
The previous ‘DO’ talks all about setting goals. And we’re not taking it back - you definitely do need to set goals in order for your sales automation to be successful. However, there’s one little clarification that changes the game completely - these goals need to be yours if you want them to work properly and bring your business to greatness.
While benchmarking is a good source of motivation, you need to adequately assess your positions and know exactly where your business stands at each point in time. Then, you need to look for the areas that need to be improved and the tasks that need to be streamlined.
It’s important to remember that your business journey is intrinsic to your business - so you need to adopt an individual approach to sales automation and only automate the processes that take up too much of your time and effort. Otherwise, you risk over automating it in vain.
✔️DO use a centralised system for automation
If your business employs the SDR/AE (Sales Development Representatives/Account Executive) model, it’s essential for you to centralise and organise all the data.
When automating a sales process in which the SDR focuses on finding, engaging and creating qualified leads and then "hands" them to the AE to complete the sale, you can’t afford to lose any details. No pieces of information shall slip through the holes of two separate systems.
Hence, you need to look for a tool that allows you to bring SDRs and AEs together and work collaboratively. They need to have all the data accessible at all times in order to avoid any miscommunication.
❌DON’T over automate notifications
One of the biggest advantages of modern sales automation systems is that they allow setting alerts that would notify sales reps about anything and everything notable happening to the lead, customer, or deal.
That way, the people involved in the sales process are always up to date with all the events in the sales pipeline and can take immediate action when it’s required. This allows sales reps to stay in the loop and not miss out on any important opportunities.
However, no matter how great of a feature, you shouldn’t abuse it. Usually, all the good sales automation systems let their users customise which actions trigger notifications and which don’t. You should take advantage of that and only configure the notifications you genuinely need to organise your work processes efficiently. Otherwise, you risk your sales reps being distracted from their job by constant rings and pings. Ouch, not exactly the most productive scenario, is it?
✔️DO score your leads
When automating the sales process, you need to recognise the fact that not all leads are born equal and, more importantly, not all of them are captured equal. Depending on a certain set of characteristics your leads possess as well as the nature of their previous interactions with your business, they will be more or less likely to convert into paying customers.
It’s your job to differentiate between the high-quality leads and the lower quality leads so that you could nurture them in a more effective manner by hitting them with the appropriate marketing assets.
To do that, you need to score your leads - assign values, usually by giving them numerical "points," based on a selection of attributes. The most common characteristics used for lead scoring are demographics and interactions with the website.
For instance, the demographics criteria can include:
- Industry. The value of each lead will depend on the industry they operate in. You need to calculate the expected revenue leads from different industries will bring you and use that value as a basis for weighting industries for each lead.
- Experience. Depending on their job title, each lead will have more or less of the decision driving capabilities, hence, be more or less valuable as a potential paying customer.
- Company size. The formula for this one. As a rule of thumb, the size of the opportunity for a lead = the size of the company.
Then, you can combine the demographics score with the engagement score:
- Organic landing page. Organic traffic to the landing page tends to convert better than traffic to any other pages, which means it can be a good idea to give those leads a higher score.
- SEM keywords. Some search keywords tend to be used by the prospects that convert highly, which you need to reflect in a higher score.
- Remarketing ad. If your lead came to you.
- Email. Score the lead based on the interaction they have with an email.
❌DON’T give up after just one follow-up
Statistically, it takes on average at least five continuous follow-up efforts after the initial sales contact, before a customer says yes. 44% of salespeople give up after one "no".
Don’t be one of those salespeople who shy away from being a little persistent. Since you’re already configuring a sales outreach sequence, make sure you don’t end it too early.
Thanks to the email marketing feature most sales automation tools offer, you can arrange pretty advanced drip campaigns with a lot of conditions, actions and triggers. Don’t miss out on an opportunity to include several follow-ups into your sequence.
Spice it up a bit with one of our follow-up email templates.
✔️DO assess the results of your automation
You don’t want to just automate your sales. You want to do it successfully. Otherwise, it’s quite a waste of time and energy, isn’t it?
But how do you know if you’ve been successful on your quest? Simple! You need to regularly assess your business results and compare the actual state of your sales against the desired results you imagined when setting goals.
Some of the sales metrics to pay attention to when assessing your sales performance:
- Monthly Recurring Revenue
- Average Revenue Per User
- Conversion Rate
- Win Rate
- Sales Cycle Length
- Average Deal Size
- Churn Rate
❌DON’T think that sales automation is a set it and forget it type of thing
It’s not enough to just assess the results of your automation and call it a day. You also need to use the information you obtain to make your sales automation better.
You need to remember that sales automation tools are just… tools. No matter how advanced, they still need to have a human control them to avoid any unpleasant surprises. It’s wrong to assume that you can set up the system once and never come back to it. At the end of the day, the business environment is extremely dynamic - markets change every day, and so does your business. Therefore, you need to keep a close eye on the processes you automate and how you automate them.
Whenever a change occurs, you need to match the configuration of your sales automation tool with that change.
✔️DO use the appropriate tools
The success of your sales automation is determined by two things - your strategy and… You guessed it right! The tools you use to enable it.
As more and more businesses are realising the benefits of automation, more and more new tools enter the market. Competition, on the other hand, does really breed innovation. With the market becoming more saturated, software developers have to add more advanced features to their products to satisfy the needs of their customers.
Today, businesses can choose from a variety of different options when it comes to sales automation tools. This, however, puts them in a controversial position: on one hand, freedom of choice is always a good thing - you get to invest in exactly what you want and what you need; on the other hand, not all businesses are aware of what functionality they require and get overwhelmed by the choice.
To avoid any confusion, you need to make sure that the software you employ offers all the functionality needed to achieve your goals and matches your workflows well. Here are some of the characteristics of a good sales automation tool:
- Easy to navigate
- User-friendly interface
- Offers sales forecasting capabilities
- Allows for lead scoring
- Has some marketing automation functionality (drip campaigns)
- Allows for collaborative work across departments and teams
Ideally, you should opt for the sales automation tools that are integrated with a CRM system. Ahem, NetHunt CRM anyone? With its recent release of the sales and marketing automation feature, Workflows, NetHunt CRM is the perfect solution for anyone looking to automate sales.
❌DON’T let your copy sound robotic
We get it! You’ve spent so much time and effort configuring your sales automation system to make sure everything is in perfect alignment. Now that it’s finally all in the top-notch shape, you’re dying to show your setup off to the world. But trust us, sometimes it’s best to keep your mouth shut.
While your competitors will definitely admire the effort and maybe even use your business as a benchmark (with some of them being green with envy - because, let’s be real on this one, who doesn’t want to have their tasks streamlined?!), your target audience might not be as excited about this. Even if your leads and customers understand that in the age of rapid technological advancements all companies employ some sort of automation tools to maximise the effectiveness of their business activities, they still want that special treatment.
It’s a known fact that personalisation is one of the hottest sales trends in 2021. But why? It’s simple! Thorough personalisation of customer experience is on the rise because customers are sick and tired of being treated like cash cows to milk. Instead of buying from companies whose only goal is to generate profit, people want to purchase from brands that actually want them to succeed with their products, that respect them and genuinely care about delivering value. When you take time to do your research and learn more about your customers, their pains and motivators, you become one of such brands.
It’s important to stay in that lane and not let your sales automation software strip your outreach off of human touch. You need to find the perfect balance between the two. So, even though you’re delegating mundane tasks to dedicated software, you still need to make sure you humanise it enough.
A great way to do that is to make your lead nurturing emails as personal as possible. To do that:
- Segment your mailing list and create different variants of email sequences for different groups of leads you’re nurturing.
- Include the name of the lead you’re sending an email to into the subject line and the body of your email.
- Alternate between automated emails and more traditional outreach - drip campaigns are perfect for getting your leads engaged, however as they move further down the sales funnel, you should consider talking to them directly so that you could nudge them towards making a purchasing decision in a more efficient way.
- Use your CRM records to keep track of all the client information, including the previous interactions with them, and base your emails around that.
- Make sure you send all your emails from a real person.