There’s an elephant in the room and it’s getting kind of awkward. Everybody’s thinking about it, but nobody’s asking about it. The poor new guy; he looks like he’s about to explode. A single bead of sweat rolls down his forehead as he can’t hold it in any longer. He simply has to ask…
“WHAT ON EARTH IS SALES AUTOMATION, ANYWAY?”
So gather ‘round new guys, old guys, and in-the-middle guys. Whoever you are, NetHunt are here to answer the questions that are being asked. This is your definitive guide to the whats, whys, whens, and hows of Sales Automation.
What on earth is sales automation?
Bartenders’ arms around the world ache because of night-after-night of pulling pints; even the Queen of England gets tired of having to feed the royal corgis. Any job involves having to complete repetitive tasks.
Cue head nods from sales teams around the world. It doesn’t matter if you are a sales rep or a sales manager, there are more repetitive tasks to do in a day than I can be bothered to count. Doing the same things over and over again tediously consumes time; time that you simply haven’t got when you’re desperately trying to close the deal.
Luckily, the future has heralded answers for busy sales teams. Sales Automation is the process of streamlining all those monotonous sales tasks, using technology such as AI, software, and other digital tools. It enables sales professionals, giving them the power to focus on what they do best – making money.
It sounds good, because it is. So good in fact, that your inner couch potato is screaming “heck, why don’t we just ‘sales automate’ everything?”
Easy, spud. As with anything, you can have too much of a good thing. If you automate every single aspect of your sales processes, your brand loses its human identity. Being human is the only thing you can count on as having in common with your customers, so don’t lose it. Your marketing campaigns might come across as spam, or worse… your chatbots might go rogue. Your team knows their sales process, and machines cannot replace them. Sales Automation software simply streamlines the processes within that process.
Why on earth would I use sales automation?
The bottom line is that sales automation increases the things your business wants to increase, and reduces the things it wants to reduce…
✔ PRODUCTIVITY OF TEAM
✔ SPEED OF SALES PROCESS
✔ CONSISTENCY OF SALES DATA
✔ CUSTOMER SATISFACTIONx EMPLOYEE STRESS
x RESPONSE TIME
x STRAIN ON RESOURCES
x LOST LEADS
Increasing the productivity of your team is important in any sphere of business, not just in sales. Sales automation software achieves this by giving employees more working time to complete more lucrative tasks. At the same time, sales automation also helps reduce employee stress by offering more time for simple pleasures like a cup of tea and a biscuit.
The speed of your sales process increases, simply because labour-intensive tasks are done for you. This is helped by reduced response time between your business and its customers, because software doesn’t have to wait for human eyes to spot correspondence from a client or lead. In turn, this increases customer satisfaction, because a business can provide spot-on customer service.
Finally, lost leads are dramatically reduced; nothing slips through the cracks. With systems like NetHunt CRM, all your client and lead contacts are stored in the same place, alongside interaction history, pipeline, and reports. All in all, sales automation maintains consistency of your sales data, which in turn reduces the strain on company resources.
Where on earth can you implement sales automation?
As we’ve already established, there are a lot of periodic tasks that need completing each day in a sales office. So, there are a lot of tasks that can be automated. Generally, there are three areas which a sales department can take from being manual processed, to having fully automated control.
Sales prospecting is the process of looking for potential clients in order to grow your consumer base and increase those life-or-death revenue streams. Any sales rep will tell you that, in the past, it was an ardent, long-winded process that often took them to a dead end.
Automation software takes the weight off those poor reps’ shoulders by offering a helping hand in the prospecting process. It provides the ease of simply entering criteria that a user wishes a prospect to satisfy, presenting them with a list of target prospects and all their verified information. Overall, automation doesn’t only help reps find more leads, but find better quality ones at that.
Even after that, a good automation tool helps sales reps to manage their brand-new prospects. CRM systems help users to automatically follow their clients’ activities, notifying them when they reach a particular milestone, helping them to understand exactly which actions need to be taken, and when.
Marketing automation tools manage marketing processes and campaigns across multiple channels. With the right marketing automation tools in place, users are able to target segmented lists of customers across email, social media, and, if you still live in 2001, SMS.
Automated marketing campaigns mean marketers can identify their audience, design perfect content with templates, and trigger actions based on a schedule or a customer’s behaviour. That’s literally it. There’s no need to click through long lists of clients, manually entering their details, and writing seizure-inducing lines of HTML code. You don’t even need to press send, automation software does everything for you.
A sales pipeline is the visual representation of where prospects stand in their journey towards buying something. Respective businesses have different pipelines to suit their exact needs, but a simple example of a sales pipeline looks like awareness – interaction – interest – action. The action taken by a sales rep depends on where their prospect stands on a pipeline.
By automating this process, sales and marketing teams can visualise a lead’s movement through the funnel all the way to that magical nirvana – conversion. By setting up triggers down a pipeline, sales teams and marketers can create alerts or actions, taken automatically, to push prospect into a desired action.
For example, a client might have been sat on the interest stage of a pipeline for too long. An automated prompt is set up to remind a rep to give them a call or fire off a follow-up email. Having full control of your pipeline means that a prospect never slips through the cracks, no matter where they are in their sales journey.
How on earth do I automate my sales?
The answer to this question all depends on which area of your sales you would like to automate. There are dedicated software for prospect and marketing automation respectively.
For lead prospecting, Leadfeeder collects data on every business that visits your website, even if they haven’t filled out a form or contacted you. After that, systems such as LeadSpace enrich leads by gathering information from thousands of data sources to build a full picture of those beautiful new prospects. You can also use lead distribution software to automatically distribute your leads to the appropriate sales representative.
You need to market your brand. If you’re old-fashioned, you might be into your telephone marketing. Platforms like Gong listen to your conversations with prospects or clients and pull out the key data, such as topics covered, actionable tasks, and competitors who came up. Alternatively, you could lean more towards email-marketing. MailChimp lets users create and share simple, eye-catching marketing across multiple channels.
But, before you automate each arm of your sales octopus one-by-one, your business should implement a CRM system to feel the benefits of automation.
NetHunt CRM is a simple, intuitive system that automates those tedious, everyday tasks. Built inside Gmail, you can gather lead data from social media and add it to your contacts at the click of a button. It has a bulk email feature, allowing marketers to create gorgeous messages and send them to segmented lists of clients and leads, after which they can gauge the success of their campaign from the reporting function. Even your pipeline is automated, with omniscient sales funnels giving an unobstructed view of client behaviour, slow or critical deals, and opportunities that need the most attention.
At best, sales automation could save your business – pushing it to levels of productivity that you never believed your sales team could reach. At worst… it’ll save the new guy’s head from exploding.
Sign up for your 14-day free trial of NetHunt CRM today. If you’re still not sure how it could fit in with your business, organise a free demo with our Customer Success Team!
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