If your company isn't already incorporating automation into your overall strategy, then now's the time to start! In this guide, we'll discuss what sales automation is, why you should implement it, and how you can find the right automation platform for your business. Let's get started!
Sales Automation Defined
If you do an online search for "sales automation," you'll find a range of definitions from all over the Internet. For example, HubSpot defines sales automation as:
"The mechanization of manual, time-consuming sales tasks using software, artificial intelligence (AI), and other digital tools. It aims to manage or own responsibilities that sales reps and managers do on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis."
Put more concisely, sales automation is the process of streamlining your sales activities. It entails freeing up your reps for mission-critical tasks, all through the use of software and AI.
Sales automation doesn't necessarily involve a specific platform or software suite. Rather, it encompasses an approach to your sales process as a whole. This way, you're able to accomplish more tasks, more quickly, and thus serve the needs of more prospects, more fully.
Why Should You Implement Sales Automation?
The reality of the modern business world is that "traditional" sales processes no longer have the impact that they once did. Cold calling contacts at random and manually entering consumer data into your system may keep your sales reps busy. However, it won't do them any favors in terms of effectiveness.
On the other hand, automating some aspects of your sales process actually contributes to a more personalized customer experience. This also includes a lighter workload for your team. For instance, segmenting your contact list into sub-groups with shared characteristics can make your email marketing more effective. Each segment will receive the most relevant message for them. And when you are utilizing a robust CRM system, your reps will have visibility into previous interactions with each prospect and lead. Your reps will be able to quickly determine where they are in the sales pipeline.
Bottom line? If you want to see maximum ROI from your sales and marketing efforts, then you need to implement sales automation.
How Can You Determine the Best Automation Platform for Your Business?
First of all, it's important to note that no two businesses are exactly alike. So what works for one company may not be suitable for another. You know the needs, resources, and goals of your business better than anyone else. Hence, those factors should inform any automation-related decisions you make.
That being said, you'll likely want to use an automation platform that contains the following features, in some form or fashion:
1. Lead Management
Effective lead management is an essential component for just about any winning sales process. Your reps need to gather, organize, as well as prioritize leads in order to be most efficient at converting customers.
Your automation platform may include several lead management functionalities. This can include lead scoring, lead segmentation, and automated email templates designed for specific lead segments.
2. Pipeline Management
Leads are the "lifeblood" of your business. But if they're not moving through your sales pipeline in a timely manner, then you have a major "circulatory" problem on your hands. This is where pipeline management comes into the picture. Most CRMs and sales automation platforms allow you to access a visual representation of where each lead is currently located in your deal stages.
Robust pipeline management features empower your reps to reach out to each lead at the right time, and in the right way. And if a bottleneck in your process does become evident, an analysis of your pipeline can help you to quickly identify the cause, and fix the issue.
3. Automated Workflows
This may be one of the first things that come to mind when you think of sales automation. After all, isn't one of the main purposes of sales automation to eliminate routine tasks from your sales team's regular schedule?
However, it's important to note that not all "sales automation platforms" actually offer a robust solution in terms of workflow automation. In some cases, the automation you get only involves contact management and email marketing functionalities. While that's a nice start, you may need a lot more out of your automation platform.
Look for a platform that lets you automate hundreds, if not thousands of manual actions on a daily basis. For example, does the platform allow for automatic activity logging? Can you enable triggered email sequences? What about automated appointment reminders? The more tasks you can (appropriately) automate, the better off your sales team will be.
4. Convenient Integrations
Finally, you'll want to look at the volume and nature of integrations that are available with the automation platform. In most situations, no single automation platform will contain all the features your sales team needs to work at maximum efficiency. However, with a few built-in or third-party integrations, you'll be able to achieve the widest possible range of capabilities, while simultaneously centralizing your sales process into a "single source of truth."
Be sure to vet the platform's ability to integrate with popular apps and productivity tools, such as Gmail, Slack, Zoom, Mailchimp, and so forth. With robust, convenient integrations available, you'll have less reason to worry about the "silo mentality" infecting your sales and marketing departments. In fact, both teams will no doubt be more effective in their roles, too.
In summary, if you carefully analyze the needs and goals of your company, and of your sales team in particular, then you'll be able to make an informed decision when it comes to selecting a sales automation platform. Whichever systems and tools you eventually choose, your ultimate objective is to streamline the sales process and make life easier for your reps.
Do you have any questions about which platforms may be best for your business or how you can implement a successful automation strategy? Reach out to our team at OverGo Studio today. We'd be happy to help!
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