There’s simply no debate about it—working in sales is a high-pressure and difficult job. And with the recent surge in real-time marketing (RTM), it can be harder than ever to get your message through to your target audience and stay on top of the latest trends.
Fortunately, rapid advancements in technology have emerged along with our instant-access society. And the automation tools produced for sales are specifically designed to make your sales job easier and more effective.
But if you’re among those individuals who are hoping that Sales and Marketing Automation will reduce the time you spend interacting with your prospects, you might need to reconsider the purpose of these products.
If only it were easier…
I saw a LinkedIn discussion about this the other day. It seems like a lot of us have this secret desire to put sales procedures on a robotic autopilot with some fantastic new piece of software.
That somehow, somewhere, some new software program can replace the challenging human interaction required for effective sales …
And although there are some business models that are able to close all of their sales without traditional communication, like online shopping sites or some downloadable software companies, these are the exception. If you live in the B2B sales world like I do, then you are ultimately going to have to interact with another person to make the sale.
Let’s face it, effective sales is all about making a connection with the buyer—at exactly the right time.
The listening factor involved in sales is crucial. Without it, you simply can’t understand the needs of your client, or offer the solutions that will satisfy his or her requirements.
Which brings us to the real question…
How can marketing and sales automation software be used to create more (and better) human interactions?
Automation tools help you improve your connections with your prospects. The insights they provide help you understand the buyer’s need quicker, which improves your sales efficiency.
You can imagine it like the difference between an oar and an outboard motor used to power a boat. Sure, the oar will get you where you’re going, but that mechanical horsepower will get you there much faster, with a lot less elbow grease and sweat.
They can be used to:
As a salesperson, I use my automation tools to help me spend more time interacting with people.
I use automation to identify which contacts in my CRM and visitors on my website are interested enough to engage in a sales conversation. The tracking tools show which contact has viewed what resource and when. This eliminates the time I would normally spend manually sorting through leads and trying to ascertain which contacts to call, because it actually frees up more time for real meaningful conversations. More on how I do that can be found here.
But the advantages of automation tools don’t stop there. They are pivotal in providing the insights you need, regarding the time factor.
Timing is Key
With sales, so many delicate factors have to be balanced that it’s not always easy to inherently gauge exactly when a particular prospect is ready for certain information.
Too much technical info or a call during the wrong time can seriously damage your image with a buyer. However, staging a call at an appropriate time with follow up on the information that person is considering can alternately create an impression of your amazing capability and efficiency.
Again, great sales are a matter of relationships and timing… exactly the areas automation software can enhance.
I use automation to see when an email has been opened and read. This allows me to reach out at the appropriate time. Eliminating wasted time trying to follow up when the client isn’t ready.
For instance, with certain programs, you can be notified when, where, and if one of your email’s or attachments have been opened.
If you call on a contact before they’ve had a chance to view the information, you’ve wasted your time and theirs. But if you are able to monitor email activity, you can call that contact after they’ve opened and read your information, while it’s fresh in their mind.
This type of timing ‘insight’ enhances sales procedures tremendously.
These techniques are just two examples of how I use my automation tools to keep it more human.
Because automation tools for sales aren’t about removing the human factor from the sales equation, they’re about enriching it.
In the B2B marketplace, effective sales will always involve human interaction. And knowing when to make those connections has always differentiated between successful closings and the alternative.
Sales automation tools offer an effective way to monitor the buyer’s journey, so that you can improve your communication with that contact, and your timing: A combination that can quickly deliver results.
So tell me, how are you using your marketing and sales tools? Please mention your techniques in the comments below.