The modern salesperson faces a whole bunch of new challenges. Sales cycles are getting longer and longer. The number of salespeople hitting their quotas is dropping.
To make matters worse, routine admin tasks continue to claim prime time away from customers.
If you want to stand out and build a successful sales career, you need to focus on developing meaningful relationships. And that takes time.
Here’s where sales process automation software is your most powerful ally. With these tools, you can automate workflows and tedious tasks to give you more time to focus on closing.
Successful sales reps know working smarter, not harder, is the key to increasing sales. Here we want to give you the best tools and tips to start your sales process automation journey today.
It’s simple: the more leads you have, the better chance you have of hitting your quotas. Of course, there are a few ways to find leads. You can write blog posts, lobby your personal network, and attend trade events.
Those are all great lead-generating activities.
But, what if you could complement these tactics with the right technology to effortlessly generate new leads each day?
It’s possible, and it’s all thanks to social media and sales process automation.
Let’s take, for example, LinkedIn Sales Navigator. All you need to do is set up filters with specific criteria. You might want to include job title, industry, and region. Then, you’ll get a list of qualified leads straight into your email inbox every day without lifting a finger.
And gone are the days of spending hours trying to track down a lead’s email address. Use a tool like LeadFuze to find contact information for people in your target industry.
As a bonus, you get 25 free leads when you sign up. And if you thought LinkedIn’s targeting capabilities were useful, LeadFuze lets you narrow the field even further. Find leads that use certain technologies or that spend on Adwords.
Now you know generating leads is only the first step. What really matters is the quality of those leads. A survey found lead quality was the number one challenge for B2B marketers. It’s easy to see why. Chasing down dead-end deals are bad for morale and sales productivity.
Lead quality also helps determine which potential customer to contact first. When it comes to contacting leads, timing is everything. That’s what researchers found when they analyzed web-generated leads.
The study examined whether the timing of a sales call impacted conversion. Sales reps were 100 times more likely to qualify a lead if they called within five minutes than if they called within 30 minutes. So, it makes sense that you’d prioritize the most promising leads.
That’s where lead scoring comes in.
Now, traditionally, you’d hunch over a spreadsheet to collect and analyze lead data. It would be a tiring effort but well worth the time. Back in 2012, a study found organizations that used lead scoring saw a 77% uplift in lead generation.
With predictive lead scoring software, you eliminate the need for manual data entry and calculation. You’re freed up to invest your time in pursuing leads that are most interested in buying from you.
That’s why sales teams are turning to automated lead scoring to get more closures. By 2014, 14 times more B2B organizations were using predictive lead scoring than compared to 2011.
Lead scoring software from Salesforce analyzes incoming and historical customer data from different sources like your CRM, emails, and social media profiles The technology helps identify patterns you may have missed to show the behaviors of leads that converted.
Once you’ve identified you most promising prospects, the next step is setting up a meeting or call.
But, it can take a lot of back and forth to find a suitable slot.
Fortunately, scheduling software makes this process much easier. Let’s say you just want a client to choose from your available times. Use a service like Calendly to take the hassle out of arranging appointments. Calendly lets you set open slots in your calendar. Share the link with your client and they pick a time that works for them.
ClaraLabs is a pricier option, but it may be worth the cost. All you need to do is mail your customer and copy firstname.lastname@example.org. The tech acts like your personal assistant, coordinating the meeting for you.
Next up is meeting prep, and it can be a daunting task. After all, you need to convince your potential customer to part with their cash.
The only way to persuade your prospect is to understand their business problem. And that means hours and hours of research. No matter how in-depth your buyer personas are, you still need to put in the time to get to know each potential customer before you meet with them. Sales reps in this survey spent even more time on conducting research than they did prospecting.
One way to save time is automate this task. Detective.io researches prospects after your meeting has been confirmed. It does this automatically when you connect it with your Google calendar.
The software scans sources like internet pages and social media profiles to learn more about the prospect. Before your meeting, you’ll get a one-page briefing.
Detective.io can gather the following intelligence about your prospect:
- Her latest blog post
- Whether you’ve closed deals with any of her competitors
- Key risk factors discussed during her company’s last earnings call (and how you can help)
Email is an important asset to any salesperson. Research from McKinsey found email is the most effective way to win new customers, beating out Facebook and Twitter.
That’s the good news. On the other hand, crafting and sending those emails can easily eat into hours of your day.
Templates can eliminate a lot of the grunt work that comes with emails. And while you want to add a bit of personalization to each template, research shows personalizing a template more than 50% doesn’t increase response rates.
Consider using a tool like Boomerang to automatically send emails, track which emails have been opened, and set follow-up reminders.
Now, let’s take this one step further. Imagine you could put most of your email process on autopilot. One way to do this is through email automation software. Set up an automated drip sequence with a service like Close.io. All you need to do is write your email and set the intervals. The sequence continues until your prospect responds.
By sending automated email sequences, you stay top of mind with your customers. Most automation services provide metrics so you can track the top performing messages and focus your efforts on those.
It’s a fact: businesses who use CRMs software effectively increase sales.
Small businesses, specifically, reported more sales and improved productivity when they used CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software.
But you may balk at the idea of spending even more time in your CRM. Typically, salespeople log client data and updates manually. There’s no denying it’s a time-suck.
The way to do it is to automate your CRM. Let’s say a customer fills out a website form. You can, for example, automatically pull that data into your CRM. Ideally, you’re integrating all your lead sources with your CRM, right from email to social media and webinar viewers.
Here is an example of an automatic action you can set up with a service like ActiveCampaign:
- Contact submits form
- Create new lead in CRM
- Send welcome email
- Notify sales team
Some CRMs will let you create these automatic actions easily. But, a third-party integration like Zapier can connect your CRM to pretty much any application, without requiring any code.
And rather than keeping track of follow-ups manually, set up a reminder in your CRM to contact your customer. More sales reps also connect their CRM to a document management system so that when they create a quote, it goes straight to the CRM.
One of the most obvious use cases for sales process automation is document management. Too many salespeople waste time on processing paper contracts. Even worse, there’s so much friction involved in doing business this way.
Using physical documents forces your prospect to print, sign, scan, and email agreements back to you. When you use an electronic signing tool like eversign, it doesn’t matter where your prospect is - they can sign digitally anywhere, from any device.
If you need more convincing, consider that research found best-in-class sales teams were 62% more likely to use electronic signatures. These teams typically out-performed those who depended on manual signature processes.
Use Sales Process Automation to Make Your Days Less Stressful
With these tools and techniques, you can get started with sales process automation right away.
When you add up all the time you’ve saved by automating routine tasks, you’ll find new opportunities to engage your target buyers more meaningfully. And then the rewards will come: increased job satisfaction, recognition, and fulfillment.