Is automation necessary for sales? Very much ✔✔
Sales force automation takes away the pain of sending dozens of emails, gathering data on new leads, following up on potential prospects, sending proposals, creating invoices and much more.
Going ahead, you’ll read about proven examples and latest tools to help you automate your sales.
Table of Contents
- What is Sales Force Automation (SFA)?
- Sales Force Automation Benefits
- Sales Force Automation Examples
- How do you automate sales force?
- Sales force automation doesn’t replace teams, it makes them powerful.
What is Sales Force Automation (SFA)?
Sales force automation (SFA) refers to any process, software or tool that streamlines a sales team’s activities using automation. SFA automates repetitive and time-consuming sales administrative tasks.
Using SFA, sales teams can focus on revenue generating tasks such as calling prospects and closing leads. Basically they can sell more.
Sales force automation enhances your sales pipeline by:
- Reducing manual efforts to increase productivity.
- Providing access to timely information regarding new opportunities.
- Increasing customer satisfaction by reducing response time.
- Recording data on leads and customers for nurturing them at the right time.
- Creating quick reports that save quality time in the long run.
Let’s look at sales force automation benefits in more depth.
Sales Force Automation Benefits
Sales force automation has its own set of advantages. SFA helps you overcome the shortcomings and limitations of any manual sales process.
Not just that, SFA overcomes these flaws and opens the window to dozens of new opportunities that you never thought possible.
These advantages and new opportunities have wide ranging effects on productivity and customer satisfaction. Let’s take a look at specific sales force automation benefits:
Less instances of human error
Even the smallest human error can piss off a potential customer, like not attending a meeting on time, forgetting to follow-up a prospect on a call, entering the wrong details in the system and so on.
Any technical mistake, such as inserting a decimal point in the wrong place can put your system in trouble—affecting financial reports, sales forecasting figures and a lot more.
Contact names and email addresses can be misspelt during manual data entry. These errors are reflected across your whole sales pipeline compromising the quality and integrity of your sales system.
These mistakes can often look relatively minor but they can have a significant impact on your team’s productivity in the long run.
Sales force automation saves you from making any mistakes that can cost your organization time and money.
Using SFA, sales reps don’t need to do any data entry thereby reducing any instances of human error and helping the sales process run more smoothly.
Sales teams are often bogged down with a lot of expectations and targets that are not healthy for the growth of your organization.
It’s nearly impossible for sales reps, under pressure, to achieve the assigned KPIs and targets for the quarter—including number of calls per day, product demo bookings, new opportunities recorded and deals closed.
Sales force automation enables your teams to be more responsible and confident in the process that helps churn out more productivity in the same number of work-hours.
For example, you can set up workflow automation that alerts reps if they have not communicated with a prospect in a month. A simple follow-up can be the difference between an earned customer or a lost prospect.
SFA is the answer to guaranteed revenue.
Quick response to new opportunities
Using sales force automation you can respond to real time customer queries or find new opportunities like a pro.
Automating your sales process not only helps you resolve your customer complaints on time but also helps you tap into new opportunities around the corner before your competitors steal them away!
Your sales team becomes proactive in managing existing customers and new opportunities. Both avenues bring you revenue. Also, being proactive helps your company steal goodwill from your competitors.
Low cost to acquire new customers
You require statistical data to make better decisions about your prospects on who’s more willing to buy from you.
While, sometimes, you spend quality time and resources on prospects, only to lose them to your competitors. You walk with them through the whole sales funnel, educating and nurturing them, only to lose them at the last second.
Sales force automation helps you score your leads based on data so you only spend your resources on the right prospects, who’s more willing to buy from you.
Using SFA, sales teams can save both time and costs that can be better utilized for reflecting back on opportunities at hand.
Manage contacts like valued relations
When using SFA CRM apps (Customer Relationship Management), all your customer interactions and sales activities are stored, tracked and analyzed in a centralized system. Using this data, you can make use of personalized experiences to engage with your current customers.
Your existing contacts/customers can automatically serve you hot leads. You don’t have to spend all that time and resources to onboard these leads, as they have already been sold by word-of-mouth.
Nurture your existing customers using sales force automation and you can land great deals without any efforts.
Word of mouth is a great facilitator for marketing and sales teams, and often under-utilized!
Sales Force Automation Examples
Upselling SaaS products
You can automate and simplify the subscription renewal system for your SaaS product, and notify your sales professionals about upselling opportunities.
How do you upsell a SaaS product plan using SFA?
Step 1] Notify your sales team about due renewal accounts.
Step 2] Ask your sales team to contact the particular customer via email or call before their free or existing plan expires.
Step 3] Ask your sales team to follow up with an incentive, such as a discount, extra features or customer testimonials.
The above steps aren’t exactly a-u-t-o-m-a-t-i-o-n. Here’s what we’re going to do:
To automate notifying your sales team about subscription renewals, connect any project management tool, like Trello to any client communication app, like Slack.
An automated notification is sent in Slack when a new account with an upselling opportunity is assigned to a sales professional in Trello.
Using chatbots to generate leads
Add AI-powered chatbots to your website to enable human-like conversations with your website visitors around the clock.
These chatbots are perfect companions for sales teams. They help engage visitors and customers by answering questions, communicating product features and more.
When the chatbot needs a real person to take the conversation ahead, the chat automatically gets forwarded to any sales professional.
So using chatbots, generate quality leads on the go. With manual lead generation out of the picture, sales teams can focus on nurturing interested prospects and turning them into lifelong customers.
Prioritizing your leads
Every lead your team captures has to qualify to be worth passing on to your sales team to convert. A qualified lead can be identified by scoring them based on their actions like visiting the pricing page or scheduling a demo.
You can prioritize leads by assigning points or grades to the prospect’s order of interactions with your website.
You can use multiple factors to score your leads, like:
- Number of pages visited.
- Downloaded resources.
- Searches performed on your site.
- Scheduled demo.
- Chat with a customer service executive.
- Visit your website via an email click-through.
In sales terms, any ‘hot’ lead can easily be converted but a ‘cold’ lead may or may not get converted even after multiple attempts by your team.
Newsflash: If you are not prioritizing your leads, there’s a high chance your revenue from sales teams is generated purely out of luck!
So how do you score your leads and nurture your finest candidates?
Pardot, a marketing automation solution by Salesforce, is a great tool to score your leads with insightful analytics to help you make better decisions.
Use Pardot by Salesforce to score your leads and integrate Pardot with Constant Contact to trigger automated emails to nurture your qualified leads.
Cutting down on administrative work
Administrative tasks don’t generate any revenue. Staring at the CRM dashboard and creating fancy reports isn’t going to magically increase your revenue.
For sales, an actionable plan with automation as a side-kick ensures continuous flow of revenue. But the fact is that sales activities revolve heavily around administrative tasks, some of them being:
- Adding records to the system.
- Regularly following up with prospects.
- Reporting, analytics, training staff and project management.
- Creating invoices, contracts and orders-related documents.
So, how do you automate administrative tasks that readily blend with an actionable sales plan?
- Whenever a lead fills a form, automatically push contact data to your sales pipeline in Salesforce using the below automation:
- Whether you want to send a welcome email to warm up your new lead in Salesforce or send a follow up email, Office 365 can easily do that for you when you integrate it with Salesforce using the automation below:
- Managing multiple leads can get overwhelming for your team. Assign prospects to individual sales persons in Trello for any new lead in Salesforce. To do that, use this integration below:
- Automate creating invoices for your customers. Simply connect Salesforce to QuickBooks Online to create invoices on the go.
How do you automate sales force?
Getting started with sales force automation doesn’t have to feel overwhelming.
By following a few simple steps, you’ll be able to chart out a process for your sales teams to make informed, confident decisions.
Here’s how to do it:
Map out your sales process
Do you know what’s happening in your sales pipeline?
Do you know your buyer’s behaviors and purchasing habits?
Do you have an idea how much time is spent on sales activities and what happens in each step of the funnel?
Guide your sales activities based on factual data to build an actionable plan that gets you results.
Understanding your customer’s needs and positioning it against your sales strategy will help you frame a cohesive sales plan.
Which processes should you automate?
Once you have an understanding of your exact process, individuals and systems involved, you need to figure out what you want to automate.
Consult with your team and stakeholders to determine
- Which tasks are most cumbersome or time-consuming?
- Which tasks does your team most commonly spend their time on and how can it be shortened without sacrificing customer satisfaction?
Once you have these points worked out, consider the many different ways they can be automated. There is no “one size fits all” solution to automation as the process, people, and tools involved are unique to each business.
Let’s look at an example:
Assume that one of the most time-consuming aspects of your marketing and sales process is to gather leads, qualify them and then present them to sales for lead nurturing and follow-up.
Using sales force automation, the time spent in the above process gets dramatically shortened, the qualification process is fast and easy, and the customer feels their request or need is being heard and acted upon.
So the process looks like this:
- Gather leads from the website.
- Qualify with automated emails.
- Pass the qualified leads to CRM.
- And assign sales reps to call.
Choose the right tools
Once you understand what you want to automate, the next step is to choose the software tools that will bring your idea to fruition.
Your sales process will typically involve multiple software tools. While this is not desirable, it is unavoidable unless you wish to go for a hefty, expensive, all-in-one marketing and sales automation product.
All of your tools have to be able to operate and communicate with each other in a way that makes sense for the goal you want to achieve.
After you choose the tools, it’s time to set up the automation and establish communication between them.
For example, let’s consider one of the most popular apps for automation—GoToWebinar and Salesforce.
Monitor and fine-tune
Automation is an ongoing process, like optimizing a landing page.
Once you have your overall automation process set up, it’s a good idea to experiment with minor modifications and tweaks while tracking and measuring the results you get.
Sales force automation doesn’t replace teams, it makes them powerful.
When you automate your sales pipeline using SFA, don’t forget to give yourself a pat on the back for saving hours of work-time for your sales team.
This time can be spent on more productive endeavors such as calling prospects, developing sales collateral, creating new opportunities and more.
My wish for you is simple, may the “sales force” be with you!
Wait, wait, wait… before you go, I’d like you to take inspiration from a Shopify business which used marketing automation to boost sales by 40%. Go check it out!