In 2020, over 60% of businesses using automation beat their revenue goals for the year — sounds pretty great, doesn’t it?
Although every business operator wants to replicate that kind of success with their own firm, setting up a sales automation strategy can be challenging. But if you don’t start completing the day-to-day manual tasks on autopilot, you’ll lose customers to someone who does.
Luckily for you, this blog post will explain sales process automation and why it’s so important. We’ll also give you a step-by-step guide on automating your sales process.
Ready to start? Let’s go!
What is Sales Process Automation?
Sales automation is the use of technology to automate sales tasks. This can include everything from lead capture and tracking to contact management and follow-up. By automating these tasks, salespeople can focus on more important things, like selling!
Key Benefits of Automating Your Sales
There are countless measurable sales automation benefits for your business, including:
- Increased sales: Automating your sales can lead to a significant increase in your revenue. Companies with mature automation strategies in place beat their manual competitors by nearly ten percentage points when it comes to growth.
- More qualified leads: You can ensure that only the most qualified leads are getting through to your sales team by automating your sales process. (Automated sellers get 16% more leads than their competitors!) Your salespeople can focus on selling rather than weeding through unqualified leads.
- Increased customer satisfaction: Automating your sales process can help you close deals faster, which leads to happier customers! In addition, automated sales processes can help you keep track of customer interactions and follow-up, ensuring no customer falls through the cracks.
- Improved sales productivity: Companies that automate their sales processes outperform their competitors by over 60%. It’s not hard to see why — with less time spent on tedious jobs, your team performs higher-leverage activities!
Marketing Automation vs. Sales Automation
Now that we’ve discussed the benefits of sales automation let’s talk about how it’s different from marketing automation. The latter uses technology to automate marketing tasks. This can include everything from email marketing to lead generation.
On the other hand, sales automation focuses specifically on sales activities. Its primary goal is to help salespeople close more deals in less time.
Automating the Elements of the Sales Funnel
To wrap our minds around using sales automation tools to run sales cycles on autopilot, let’s start by going through each step of a generic sales pipeline. For most businesses, the funnel looks a bit like this:
Awareness is the first stage of the sales pipeline. In this stage, potential customers become aware of your product or service.
You can use Google AdWords to run ads that target potential customers searching for keywords related to your business.
Other examples include:
- Social media ad campaigns
- PR campaigns
- Content marketing
Interest is the second stage of the sales funnel. In this stage, potential customers start considering your product or service.
You can use lead magnets to generate leads and capture information like names and email addresses. Once you have a lead’s contact information, you can reach out and start building a relationship.
Some examples of lead magnets include:
- Free trials
Desire is the third stage of the sales pipeline. In this stage, potential customers want your product or service.
Once you’ve captured a lead, you can use a lead nurturing email series to build desire and keep your business top-of-mind. You can also use sales intelligence tools to research potential customers and learn more about their specific desires.
Here are some examples of desire-building email series:
- Follow-up series
- Product education series
- Customer success stories
Action is the fourth and final stage of the sales funnel. Potential customers take action (convert) and buy your product or service in this stage.
You can use a CRM (customer relationship management) system to manage your sales process and close more deals. Sales enablement tools also give your sales team the resources they need to accelerate pipeline velocity.
Some examples of sales enablement tools include:
- Product demos
- Proposal templates
- Competitive analysis reports
How to Start Building Your Sales Process Automation
Everyone’s process is different, so let’s go through some everyday sales tasks and activities that you can automate:
Lead generation is one of the most critical tasks for any sales team. Without qualified leads, sales reps will have a tough time hitting their quota.
Luckily, automation software can help you scale up your lead-gen efforts efficiently. A standard automation is to use lead magnets to collect prospect information. You can build an automated landing page that collects names and email addresses in exchange for a free ebook or whitepaper.
Another way to generate leads is through social media ad campaigns. You can use automation software to target potential customers on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.
Sending automated emails
Once you’ve captured a lead’s information, you can build a relationship with automated emails. A simple strategy is to set up a welcome email series. You can introduce your company, share your story, and start building trust.
You can also use sales intelligence data to segment leads and send targeted content specific to their needs and interests. For example, if you sell sales enablement software, you can send leads in the IT industry a whitepaper on how to increase sales productivity.
Another email series that’s helpful in the sales process is a follow-up series. You can set up automated emails to send after critical milestones, such as when a lead downloads a piece of content or requests a demo.
Assigning leads to sales reps
Another everyday automation activity is to assign leads to sales reps automatically. This ensures that the right sales rep is working on each lead.
You can use software to assign leads to sales reps based on criteria like geography, industry, or lead source.
Tracking sales activity
It’s important to track sales activity to see what’s working and what’s not. Sales software can help you by tracking emails, calls, and demos.
Sales data can be helpful in understanding which activities are resulting in the most closed deals. It can also help you optimize your sales routine and make it more efficient.
Another benefit of tracking sales activity is that it can forecast sales. This helps set sales goals and quotas.
Scheduling client meetings
A sales rep’s time is valuable, so it’s essential to make the most of it. Automation software can help you do this by scheduling client meetings.
You can use sales automation software to schedule demos, sales calls, and in-person meetings. This ensures that sales reps meet with the right prospects at the right time. It also allows sales reps to see their schedule in one place and plan their day accordingly.
Invoicing on autopilot
It can get awkward reminding customers about missed invoices or late payments. However, with the right sales automation tools, you can automate this process and take the awkwardness out of it.
You can use a sales automation platform to send invoices automatically and remind customers about missed payments. This ensures that you’re getting paid on time and that your customers are happy.
Top Sales Automation Software
As you begin the sales automation process, you’ll need to right tools to add to your stack. Here, we’ve compiled a list of winning software to help you grow your bottom line:
CRM — HubSpot Sales
HubSpot Sales is a CRM that offers automation features such as contact creation, lead assignment, and activity tracking. It also includes powerful prospecting tools and email marketing features that sales organizations love.
Sales intelligence — Salesforce Inbox
Salesforce Inbox is especially useful if you’re already a Salesforce user. It’s an intelligent email assistant that surfaces relevant CRM data for a sales rep when communicating with customers.
Prospecting tools — Outreach.io
Outreach is a prospecting tool that helps you find and contact leads. It also includes features for meeting scheduling and sales activity tracking.
Meeting scheduling — Calendly
Calendly is a meeting scheduling tool that allows your customers to schedule sales calls and demos. It integrates with your calendar so you can see your schedule in one place.
Email marketing — Mailchimp
Mailchimp is an email marketing tool that allows you to send automated emails. It includes a drag-and-drop email builder and a wide range of templates.
Invoicing — FreshBooks
FreshBooks is an invoicing tool that allows you to automatically send invoices and collect payments. It also includes features for expense tracking and project management.
Boost Your Bottom Line With Sales Automation
With the right tools in place, sales teams can automate administrative tasks and busy work to focus on higher-leverage activities, accelerate the sales cycle, and grow your business’s bottom line.
Automating the sales process can help you close more deals with less work. It’s a win-win for sales teams and businesses alike. So what are you waiting for? Start building your automation strategy today!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How do you automate online sales?
One way is to use an eCommerce platform that includes sales automation features. Popular platforms include Shopify, BigCommerce, and WooCommerce.
What is a sales automation tool?
A sales automation tool is software that helps sales reps automate repetitive tasks. This can include contact management, activity tracking, invoicing, and more.
What are the benefits of sales automation?
The benefits of sales automation include increased efficiency, improved accuracy, and accelerated sales cycles. Sales automation helps your sales managers close more deals with less work.
How much does sales automation cost?
The cost of sales automation depends on the features you need and the number of users. Sales automation software can range from free (like HubSpot Sales CRM) to $25/month per user (like Salesforce Inbox).