Sales automation might just be the answer to your team’s selling woes.
No, really, have you ever:
- Lost a big deal because you forgot to follow up?
- Spent precious hours entering lead information into your CRM or adding new opportunities?
- Called leads in alphabetical order instead of leads that are most ready to buy?
- Sent emails back and forth with a prospect to decide a good time for a call?
- Wasted hours looking for a pitch deck or customer testimonial you’re looking for?
If you can relate to any or all of these issues, you need sales automation. If you fail to address these inefficiencies, you end up wasting the valuable resources of your team and company.
This guide will explain why sales automation processes are essential and how you can develop your own. Let’s begin!
What is a sales automation process?
The sales automation process is the method of streamlining time-consuming manual tasks within the sales process.
Your sales reps spend time daily researching leads, identifying which ones to contact, customizing their outreach, and entering the data in the system.
These tasks take up precious time that your sales team could be using to forge relationships with prospects. Investing in the sales automation process allows the sales team to automate daily, weekly and monthly tasks, so they can focus on important deals to close.
The question is, what type of sales processes can you automate?
- Follow-ups: Failing to follow up quickly could result in a loss of potential sales. By automating the process (or setting reminders), your team will be prompted to reach out again to prospects.
- Pipeline updates: Sales pipelines are often highly complex but essential. By automating updates in the pipeline, you keep a better eye on where the sales leads are and forecast what sales could be coming in for the month. Furthermore, sales managers can stay on top of pending opportunities that may lead to sales.
- Training: Automation can also help with onboarding new sales reps. If you’re onboarding multiple reps, spending time with each person is hard, so leave it to automation!
Why you should automate your sales process?
Don’t just automate sales processes because everyone says it’s the thing to do. Learning the benefits of sales automation lets you understand why it’s important and helps you develop a sales automation process unique to your own business.
Focus on revenue-generating tasks
Sales automation lets your team focus on generating sales and closing deals. Instead of focusing their energy and time on compiling information or data entry, they spend more time prospecting, selling their products, and making deals.
About one-third of all sales tasks can be automated.
Prevent sales from slipping through your fingers
Putting aside certain important tasks is a common error made by sales reps. Whether it’s misspelling their names, forgetting to follow up, or failing to record the data, these mistakes can lead to the inevitable consequence of losing a sale. So what are some ways that automation can prevent unforced errors?
- Automatically send reminders to the rep and prospect about a booked call.
- Automatically follow up with prospects after a certain time.
- Sends monthly invoices.
- Provides accurate forecasting details.
The list goes on and on.
Automating workflows eliminates or significantly reduces human error, avoiding costly slip-ups.
61% of businesses that leverage automation has exceeded revenue targets.
Don’t just take our word for it.
Large companies like Tech.Co and Hubspot have poured countless hours of research into proving the effectiveness of sales automation.
Prioritize the most valuable leads
When your sales reps obtain leads, how do they prioritize which ones to contact first? If you’re still relying on “first-come-first-serve” lists as the order for your sales reps to call prospects, you’re missing many opportunities to engage with the most interesting prospects.
As the saying goes, “strike while the iron is hot.”
Sales automation allows you to develop a lead scoring system that will rank leads based on their likelihood of buying.
When you prioritize your leads based on the odds that each prospect turns into a sale, your sales reps can focus on leads that are most likely to buy. Investing in good sales automation tools and processes can focus on nurturing more qualified leads through lead scoring.
Encharge allows you to score leads based on various criteria such as behavioral triggers (booking an appointment) or a prospect’s characteristics (decision-maker within a company).
That lead score can then be synced to your HubSpot or Salesforce CRM using a two-way sync. Sales reps can create views or active lists in HubSpot based on a defined lead score threshold and work only on the most valuable leads by creating a queue of tasks for that list:
Track calls to identify questions and objections
Your sales reps are in charge of dozens of calls every day. Whether it’s appointment setting calls to qualify leads or a demo call to close prospects, it’s crucial to analyze the performance of your sales team. That means recording these calls to learn more about how each call went.
For example, call tracking software allows you to record calls so that reps can identify their strengths and weaknesses. Perhaps, there are common questions and objections asked by prospects, and sales managers can document those concerns.
The sales team can even work in tandem with the marketing department, where the marketers can create content that aims to handle objections or answer commonly asked questions within their content or lead nurturing sequences. Not to mention, tracking calls gives your sales managers great material for their sales training processes.
When tracking calls, monitor metrics like call source and duration of calls. For example, if you notice leads are biting on your offers from Google Ads, it’s helpful to relay the information to the marketing team.
How to automate sales processes
Sales automation isn’t a magic wand that cures all of your sales issues – but it’s pretty close to it.
Only 34% of the average salesperson’s time is spent on selling.
While the remainder of their time is spent on admin tasks like:
- Data entry
- Attending internal meetings
- Writing emails
- Scheduling meetings
- Prospecting, finding contact information, and researching leads
- Researching sales tips and reading industry news
Let’s dive into how to automate the sales processes for your team.
1. Define your sales processes
Automation is similar to making hires in your business.
As a business owner, you hire employees for two reasons:
- To outsource what you don’t have time to do (lower value tasks, so you can prioritize higher-value tasks)
- Hire an expert who has more experience or is more skilled at certain aspects
Start by automating time-consuming tasks that aren’t generating revenue.
First, you’ll need to list the entire sales process your team goes through. Then you’ll decide which tasks should be automated and which shouldn’t.
Here’s what your sales process might look like:
- Research leads and prospecting.
- Preparation to contact the lead.
- Initial contact.
- Relationship building.
- Book an appointment.
- Qualify leads.
- Book appointment.
- Close the deal.
Within each sales process, there are likely tasks that are repetitive. Identify these repetitive tasks sucking up time but not adding much value.
Once you’ve defined your company’s sales process, you can now go about searching for tools that can automate certain processes.
Keep in mind that automating is much more cost-effective than hiring. Rather than hiring additional sales reps to reach your sales goals or hiring an admin person to organize leads, the software is much cheaper and does the job without human error.
2. Automate prospecting and lead generation
When it comes to sales prospecting, LinkedIn is the most common platform used, especially for SaaS companies that sell to other business owners or high-level executives.
If your company uses LinkedIn for sales prospecting, you could use automation to spend less time looking for the right leads and trying to find their contact information. For example, Sales Navigator or LinkedIn Premium allows users to set up custom filters to receive emails from LinkedIn about new potential prospects. Some of the filters include:
- 1st, 2nd, and 3rd connections
- Job Title, and so on.
Keep in mind that the more connections your sales reps build, the more 1st and 2nd connections they’ll have, further expanding their potential pool of prospects.
In the prospecting phase, you want to simply acquire leads that fit your target demographic, such as job title, industry, location, company size, etc.
Here’s how to automate LinkedIn prospecting and outreach using DuxSoup.
Build your list using Dux-Soup:
The chrome extension auto-visits LinkedIn profiles and scrapes details from their profile such as name, domain, company, role, and other public information such as email addresses and social media profiles. This allows you to export the list and import them to your CRM.
Dux-Soup lets you locate prospects by:
- LinkedIn search: enter a keyword in the search bar of LinkedIn, and Dux-Soups will scan the profiles.
- LinkedIn groups: navigate to a LinkedIn group you’re in, and the extension automatically visits all their profiles.
Whenever you visit a profile on LinkedIn, the person will be notified that you’ve seen them. If you have a mutual connection, they’ll likely check out your profile. That’s where you’ll want your sales reps to optimize their profile so that it acts as a landing page to attract prospects.
In addition to visiting profiles, Dux-Soup lets users personalize connection requests. Since Dux-Soup enables you to “tag profiles,” the messages won’t sound too generic. Simply create different outreach messages based on specific tags.
With Dux-Soup and Sales Navigator, you’ll automate the connection and initial outreach of the prospecting process. They’ll even build a list of leads for you as they scrape through the internet and give you their contact details. From there, you can further optimize and even automate the follow-up process.
There are automation tools for any type of prospecting, such as pooling emails from company websites and doing initial first contact outreach.
3. Automate lead enrichment
Lead enrichment is the information that provides your sales team with additional insights into the prospect.
With this data, your sales team can better whether the prospects are qualified and how best to interact with them, so they have a better chance of closing the deal.
Types of lead enrichment data points may include:
- Information about the individual like social media profiles, job title, email address, and work phone number.
- Firmographics like the company’s industry, size, and location.
- Lead behavior such as how often a prospect visits your company’s website or how they engage with your email marketing.
- Lead personality info such as their profile descriptions or professional background can guide you on how to engage with the individual.
For example, Lead Boxer can identify individuals and companies visiting your website. This identification occurs based on the IP addresses, email, form fields, and other touchpoints.
That’s not all; you’ll be given a host of other information, probably more than you can find on your own. These tools can scrape through the internet and match databases to pull accurate information.
Lead Boxer can also track the following:
- Lead behavior: It enables you to track every click, download, and view from your audience and real-time access data like what pages they visited, where they clicked, and the duration and time they performed the action.
- Account-based information: The system can pull other contact information based on a particular company the prospect works for. Let’s say you find the CFO of a company. However, you’re really after the CMO or CEO. The tool can pull their information as well.
The more information you can pull, the better.
Just imagine you use automation tools every day or week to send you leads, and they also pull information from you. Then you can export these leads and information directly into your CRM for your sales team to contact.
You could also upload the leads list filled with email addresses and social media profiles onto Facebook ads to run a retargeting campaign.
4. Manage leads with CRM tools
It’s mind-boggling that companies still use manual methods to collect and store leads.
CRM is software that stores your prospect’s and existing customers’ information and all the interactions involved. This includes everything from when someone first visits your website to when they open your sales proposal. So why are CRM tools important?
- Improved customer experience: It’s much easier to provide your prospects with a better experience with your brand when you know a lot about them. Being able to see every email, blog post, and ebook they’ve read along with key data about their company’s information like the industry, location, and size gives your salespeople a significant leg up.
- Higher sales productivity: CRM allows you to automate tasks like activity and call logging, deal creation, and more. The less time sales reps spend on admin work, the more time can be spent getting in front of prospects and forging meaningful relationships.
- Increased collaboration: Sales managers can see when and how their salespeople reach and follow up with prospects. A senior-level account executive responsible for closing the deal can fill themselves in on an opportunity after the appointment setter has prospected and qualified the lead.
- Better insights: Identifying weaknesses within the sales process allows you to make improvements. A CRM provides both an on-the-ground and high-level picture of rep-performance, including individual and team-wide conversation rates and other metrics. If a salesperson is struggling, you could notice that their call volume is relatively low or their call duration is low. In this case, a sales manager should better train their team.
CRMs are a must in any organization. They improve the customer experience, which leads to higher conversion rates.
Аll CRM tools have a customizable dashboard where companies can place certain widgets to fit their needs. A sales manager may want to have a company leaderboard widget to see the productivity and sales of their team. It can display the number of new leads, outbound calls, inbound calls, new opportunities, deals closed, total revenue, etc.
From a sales rep’s perspective, they can see all their deals won, lost, and canceled. Furthermore, with any CRM, you’ll be able to add new contacts. Each contact will show the corresponding contact information, activities, notes, and other people within the company.
For example, have you ever scheduled a follow-up meeting, only to realize you don’t even remember why the follow-up was necessary?
A CRM tool tracks the entire journey of your contacts.
You can see notes from your previous meetings and previous activities from the customer. Perhaps, you’ve noticed they’ve previously purchased a product, and the meeting is simply to check whether they are satisfied with their experience.
5. Use еmail тemplates
Of course, personalization can help increase conversion rates, but wasting time over personalizing emails can end up wasting time, leading to lower productivity.
Using email templates provide reps with a balance between personalization and increased productivity. Like marketing emails, reps will use tags or simply fill in the blank where customization is needed.
Rather than writing unique emails to each prospect, templating emails allow salespeople to focus only on the parts of the email outreach campaigns that need attention, such as managing replies.
You can balance personalization by templating aspects about their company or individual information (based on the lead enrichment process) and templating the rest.
For example, in the opening sentences, you can compliment them on their recent accomplishments, address their pain point or note what you’ve learned from their recent blog post.
It’s worth testing various templates to see which templates are most effective. You may want to create templates for multiple aspects of the sales process, such as the initial outreach, sending the contract, and onboarding a new customer.
Here’s an email template to follow:
So why is this email outreach template effective?
- Short and enticing subject line and focuses on the benefit you can provide to them
- Personalized the opening section by complimenting them on recent news
- The body is connected to the prospect’s goals. It doesn’t sound like a pitch since you’re making relevant statements specific to their situation.
- The “ask” is very small. You’re simply asking for only 5 minutes of their time. It won’t work if you ask them to book a whole hour of their time when they don’t know who you are.
6. Automatic outreach and call recording
What if you could save time with manual outreach by having certain outreach emails automated?
With Outreach.io, you can automate outreach emails to prospects.
You can schedule and manage your follow-up sequence to best match the prospect. For example, a CEO may require follow-ups with a gatekeeper before reaching them. You may find it best to stagger your outreach on different platforms to feel less salesy.
For instance, rather than continuing to follow up on the last email, you can subtly get their attention by commenting or sharing their social media post. This provides a gentle reminder without directly following up with them.
Additionally, they offer two other unique features:
- Real-time call recording and transcription: As the rep speaks on the phone, the software uses AI technology to record and transcribe the call. This allows you to go back and take notes on what occurred on the call. Additionally, it’s helpful to include some talking points in the email when sending the contract over.
- Content cards: These are content cards that appear to help you with a call. Let’s say a customer asks about product features, pricing, or competitors. Think of these like flashcards that help your reps with information to answer the prospect’s questions better.
7. Schedule calls automatically
Gone are the days of emailing prospects back and forth to schedule an appropriate meeting time. Instead, there are plenty of meeting scheduling software tools, such as Calendly, where prospects can simply pick an available time in their calendar.
Simply send your calendar link to your prospect, and they’ll see a page where they can choose an appropriate date and time. Once they select a time, both parties will automatically receive a calendar invite.
You’ll be able to customize your calendar booking page as well by asking them qualifying questions such as their company size, what they are hoping to gain from the call, etc. Gathering additional information can better help you to prepare for the fall.
Emailing prospects back and forth to schedule times is simply a time-waster and could potentially ruin your deals. Waiting for replies and struggling to set a time only adds more roadblocks to the sales process.
Make it as easy as for prospects to say yes.
8. Automate proposal and document creation
Most sales reps spend a lot of time creating proposals. This requires copying and pasting information from their emails, notes, or other sources to fill in the correct information. Perhaps, they need to draft specifically agreed upon-terms.
Many proposal tools offer drag-and-drop functionality allowing you to streamline the process and create beautiful proposals quickly.
Many of these tools provide analytics, such as when they’ve opened the proposals and how long they spent reviewing them.
Since these proposals take minutes to create, you could even have them review them over the video call. This allows you to answer any questions and ideally take their credit card information on the phone.
With tools such as Panda Doc, you can create proposals, quotes, contracts, and prospects can easily provide e-signatures on these documents. They even integrate with CRMs, which can pull the information from the contact details.
9. Create lead rotation triggers
Every business must contact their leads quickly, especially once they’ve filled out a lead form on your website. Leads browsing your pricing, product features, case studies, and other aspects of your website are likely interested in what you offer.
Contacting them promptly ensures that you remain top of mind so that they move on to another competitor.
Most CRM software tools allow you to set up a trigger that automatically distributes leads based on a round-robbin style or specific criteria like location, expertise, seniority, etc.
Here’s how it works:
- Prospect lands on your website and has filled out a “Request a Quote” or “Book a Demo” form.
- Contact is automatically created into your CRM software.
- New contact also sets a trigger and assigns the lead to a sales rep.
10. Create a lead scoring system
Not all leads are created equal. Some are better than others.
It’s vital not to waste time trying to convince prospects that aren’t ready to buy from you. As business owners, it’s important to understand that each prospect has a different timetable. It’s important to respect their customer journey.
Lead scoring is a numerical system that determines the likelihood a prospect is ready to buy.
The beauty of lead scoring is that you can determine your criteria for what makes a prospect qualified.
For example, it could be firmographics like the company size, job title and location that make them a qualified lead.
Or, if they book a call, visit your pricing page, or respond to your email, that may be another qualified lead.
Identify ways that your prospects can earn or lose points. For example:
- Visiting your pricing page is +5 points.
- Booking a demo is +15 points.
- Canceling an appointment is – 5 points.
- C-level executive job title is +10 points.
Highly qualified leads can be passed along to sales reps, and a deal can be made.
It’s up to you to create a threshold that makes sense. Essentially, you want to know when a lead becomes sales qualified.
A sales-qualified lead is a prospective buyer who demonstrates interest in your product or service.
Encharge allows you to quickly set up your own lead scoring system to measure the engagement and proactively reach out to prospects that are most likely to convert.
Integrate your sales automation tools with Encharge
Maybe in 2065, we’ll have human-like robots that speak to your prospects and handle sales calls for you. Unless, of course, the zombie apocalypse wipes out the entire planet first.
Nevertheless, sales automation is a trend that is increasingly becoming the norm. Those who know how to use it will rise, while those who neglect it will get eaten by their competitors.
Fortunately, we’ve given you all the tools so that you’re ready to skyrocket your sales this year. No more wasting time with data entry, scheduling appointments, or researching prospects.
Supercharge your sales team and hit your sales goals this year with Encharge — a marketing automation platform that integrates natively with CRM tools like HubSpot and Salesforce!
Nov 2022 Update: We redesigned and rebuilt our HubSpot integration from scratch. Now it supports a two-way sync of contact and company data, syncing of email activity, and more than 14 automation steps you can use in your flows to automate all of your HubSpot sales processes!
Sign up for a free 14-day trial today and leverage automation for your business.