What is Sales Automation?
Sales Automation can be defined as a technique or strategy of using software to automate key business tasks of the sales process. These tasks might include such things as order tracking/processing, lead generation, sales process, contact management, information sharing, invoicing/billing activities and customer management.
Sales automation is not just important for big businesses, where it is commonplace. It is also important for small and start-up businesses. No matter the size of your business or the number of clients you have, ensuring that all clients feel comfortable with all interactions with your company will help build customer loyalty and earn repeat customers. This is how you successfully build a strong, lasting business.
The 5 Key Areas of Lead Generation and Sales Automation
According the recent research by Salesforce, “69% of business buyers expect Amazon-like buying experiences.” This same research found that “80% of customers say the experience a company provides is as important as its products and services.”
The bottom line is that customers want businesses that reply quickly, can quickly reply to questions, requests or orders, and have automatic systems that clients can count on, such as appointment scheduling and email reminders.
Here are five (5) things you can automate now to outperform your competitors in lead generation and sales:
Prospecting/Lead Generation: Prospecting is the first part of the sales process in which you identify potential customers. The goal of prospecting is to develop a database of potential customers and then systematically communicate with them to quickly convert them from potential customer to current customer. Adding automation to the prospecting process helps generate more, higher quality prospects and saves time for sales teams. The more efficiently you can do this the more high-quality opportunities you will have further along in the sales pipeline.
Lead Development/Enrichment: Lead enrichment is the process of gathering and structuring supporting data around leads. When you obtain data from a lead you want to make sure you and your team are getting important information such as contact information, organization hierarchy and sales intelligence, purchase process/timeline, etc. Understanding buyer purchase behavior and tracking their journey can give you key insights into customer needs, priorities, timeline and perhaps budget.
Sales Pipeline Management: Sales pipeline management is the tracking and management of every sales opportunity through every stage of the sales cycle. Having an automated system can help you push sales teams to new levels because it provides process management, sales analytics, and powerful feedback to sales representatives.
Appointment Scheduling: One of the core activities of sales is scheduling appointments and meetings, and this is one of the easiest things to automate. There are automation tools that allow sales representatives and customers to click a button, view a calendar, schedule a meeting or an appointment. This makes the sales representatives jobs less tedious, and again, moves the buyer one small step closer to a purchase decision. In many cases, today’s buyers expect to use online calendaring tools to make appointments, and this should be something your customers may appreciate. A tool like Keap (formerly Infusionsoft) can help you create processes for automated appointment scheduling by providing links directly to your sales team’s or company’s calendar. From here a customer can schedule an appointment, and then get automatic reminders of upcoming appointments. Click here to see a web page that explains more about setting up automated scheduling with Keap and a video.
Sales Process/Activity: Sales representatives are typically busy people. To arm sales representatives with automated task reminders, email notifications, meeting confirmations and tools have been proved to increase the success levels and efficiency of individual sales people as well as teams. For example, you can have automated emails confirming customer appointments sent to both sales rep and customer as soon as any meeting has been scheduled, and reminders sent right before meeting. Platforms like Keap easily facilitate this type of scheduling and automated email reminders. Check out this video on email automation.
The Many Benefits of Lead Generation and Sales Automation
The overall goal of sales automation is to make sure your customers feel like their needs are being met and to make sure your employees are organized. With automation your employees can focus on more important tasks that help bring in new clients and to retain current customers.
Here are some of the many benefits of automation especially for lead generation and sales:
Improved Customer Experience: Customers can do things online instead of having to call a number and wait on hold. It has been shown that the more customers can do easily and independently the happier they are.
Customer Consistency: With automation it is guaranteed that all customers will receive the same standard of care with every integration.
Live Chat Features: These features can help answer customer questions in real-time. The more quickly you can get back to customers with helpful answers the stronger your relationship will be with them.
Convert Visitors to Leads: By having live chat features, automated follow-ups, and other types of automation you can turn a visitor into a potential sales lead.
Enhanced Customer Relationship Management: Automation can help to encourage users or clients to be a part of your email list. By doing this it will help to build a stronger relationship with your customers.
Saturate Top of Funnel: The sales funnel consists of awareness, interest, decision, and action. By automating you are saturating the top of the sales funnel by spreading awareness about who your company is, what you do, and what you stand for.
Know Your Customers Details: Automation tools store every customer detail in a system. You can have this information ready at your fingertips to better serve and understand your customers.
Meet Customer Expectations & Deliver Seamless Customer Services: Sales automation software helps you to connect with customers and helps to fulfill all their expectations. By doing this you are making your customers happy and it will lead to an increase in business and sales.
With so many benefits, it’s clear that the use of automation strategies and technologies should become a larger focus of your marketing, sales, communications and customer service operations.
If you have any questions or would like help exploring automation strategies and tools, please let us know. We would be happy to meet and discuss these topics and how your organization might increase the automation capabilities of your operations.