Does it ever feel like your job title should be ‘data entry clerk or ‘research specialist’ instead of sales representative?
Wouldn’t it be great if you could spend more of your day actually selling?
Any tool or product that empowers you to spend more time selling and less time handling tedious tasks is a win our books – which is why we’re such big advocates of sales automation tools and technology.
Simply put, sales automation makes your job easier, while also helping you achieve better results. It’s a win-win scenario for sales reps in just about every industry.
5 Ways Sales Automation Can Streamline Your Workflow (and Help You Close More Deals)
What can sales automation do for you? Let’s look at some of the common problems that automation solves and the benefits it offers to sales teams.
Problem #1: The More Leads You Have, the Harder It Gets to Keep Track of Them
Having so many leads you can’t keep track of them all is a great problem to have. That is, until you start losing out on sales because you forget to follow-up with prospects in a reasonable timeframe. Or until that one really lucrative deal slips through your fingers because you didn’t move quickly enough to prevent a competitor from swooping in.
A successful sales process requires continually moving your leads through the various stages of your pipeline. The more open opportunities you have on the go at one time, the harder it gets to manage and track each individual lead – which means you’re not actively moving them through your pipeline.
Solution: Use a CRM to Manage Leads and Customer Data
With the help of a CRM tool, you’ll never lose track of your leads are again. Automation software can help you track leads’ movement through your pipeline – so you’ll always know where things left off, remember to follow-up at appropriate times, and know which action should be taken next. With a CRM like Propeller, you can even automate parts of the follow-up process with personalized email campaigns.
Problem #2: You Have No Idea Where Your Top Leads Are Coming From
Do you know where your best sales leads are coming from? Perhaps the better question is: Does it really matter where your leads are coming from if you’re still making sales?
On one hand, as long as you’re bringing in revenue and converting leads into customers, you’re doing your job. But on the other, there’s a ton of value lost when you don’t track your lead sources. Being able to analyze where your best leads are coming from allows you to put more effort towards optimizing those channels.
Solution: Leverage Sales Automation to Uncover Your Best Lead Sources
Sales automation software allows you to track and record the source of every single lead. It can capture details like where you found them, how you contacted them, and how long they spend at each stage of your pipeline.
When you know which referral sources produce the most value – be it in the form of higher value deals, more consistent closes, or shorter sales cycles – you can focus your resources on the most successful channels with the greatest ROI.
Keep in mind that the source of the most leads isn’t necessarily the source of your best leads. Think quality over quantity; value over volume.
Problem #3: You’re Getting Leads, but They’re Not Converting
If you’ve got plenty of leads coming in, that should translate into plenty of new customers – right? Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. There many reasons why a viable lead might not make it all the way through your pipeline or get stuck at a particular stage. However, sales teams often struggle to pinpoint exactly why their leads aren’t converting.
Between balancing all of your prospects, cold calling, and sales demos, you likely don’t have time to sit down and figure out why so many deals are stalling. So, you shrug and carry on – leaving tons of money on the table and losing out on countless opportunities.
Solution: Use an Automated Sales Pipeline to Easily Identify and Resolve Bottlenecks
When it comes to identifying bottlenecks in your pipeline, sales automation can help you get to the heart of the issue, faster. By tracking your entire sales pipeline in a CRM, you can figure out where things are going wrong and take action to fix it.
For instance, if most of your prospects aren’t responding to your initial outreach, you may want to rethink the messaging in your cold email campaign or focus on targeting sales-ready leads who are ready to buy.
Problem #4: Your Sales Forecasts Are Missing the Mark
Sales forecasting shouldn’t be a guessing game. However, if you don’t have all your sales data consolidated in one place, it can be hard to know where you stand. When you record sales activities and track open opportunities by hand or in a spreadsheet, you’ll struggle to draw meaningful conclusions from it.
Solution: Use Sales Automation for More Accurate Forecasting
An automated pipeline gives you all the information you need for better sales forecasting. Not only can you see the location of various opportunities in your pipeline, but you can also generate reports and forecasts based on the number of leads in your pipeline, which stage they’re at, potential deal value, sales cycle length, and your average win rate.
Problem #5: You Don’t Have Enough Time for Proper Lead Nurturing
Depending on how close a lead is to making a purchasing decision, you could find yourself spending way too much time trying to keep them interested with relevant, timely emails and messages. Or, worse, you simply don’t have enough time to nurture your leads and end up losing out on potential business as a result.
Solution: Streamline Your Lead Nurturing Process with Automation
If you can put part of your communication and lead nurturing processes on autopilot, that frees you up to focus on actually moving leads from one stage to the next.
An easy way to do this is by setting up automated drip campaigns that provide information and messaging to help leads choose to buy your product or service. You can also schedule automatic follow-up emails and reminders to ensure you always follow-up with leads and reply to customers in a timely manner.
These are just a few examples of how sales automation can solve common problems and optimize your sales process. Now, let’s take a look at how automation can help at every stage of your sales funnel.
Sales Automation Can Streamline Every Step of Your Sales Funnel
Though your sales process is unique to your product and business, there are five common stages found in just about every sales pipeline: prospecting, outreach, qualification, a meeting or sales demo, and the proposal/closing stage.
Step 1: Prospecting
You can take advantage of sales automation from the very start of your sales process. There are plenty of lead generation tools that will save you time and effort – both now and at later stages of your sales cycle.
For example, Growbots uses artificial intelligence to build a targeted list for you and can even automates initial outreach with a customized email sequence. By using technology to identify high-quality leads, you’ll save time that would otherwise be wasted on leads that aren’t ready to buy.
Or, if you have a prospect in mind but don’t have their contact details, you can just automate the process of digging up their email or phone number. Use a free tool like Hunter to search for and verify leads’ email addresses.
Step 2: Outreach
Now that you have their contact information, it’s time to reach out to your prospects. This initial outreach is the beginning a potential customer relationship, so it’s important to make a strong, positive first impression.
As with many aspects of sales, personalization is key to successful outreach. That said, you can and should use automated cold email campaigns – but you should also use technology to segment your list based on specific criteria.
Create separate outreach campaigns for different target customers. This demonstrates that you’ve made an effort to research their industry or needs and that you know what they’re all about.
Your prospects receive tons of emails every day, so we recommend using Propeller to schedule a series of follow-up emails that automatically pause when leads respond.
Step 3: Qualification
As you learn more about your prospects, you gain a better sense of how likely they are to become a customer. Sales automation can help you spot viable leads and high-value opportunities by taking care of time-consuming research for you.
For instance, tools like Datanyze and InsideView gather information from a range of online sources and provide you with insights and details about your future customers. This ensures that your energy is spent targeting your best leads and allows you to better customize your sales pitch.
Step 4: Sales Demo
Whatever this stage looks like for you – whether it’s going to a lead’s office for an in-person meeting or delivering a virtual sales demo online – sales automation can make it easier.
One of the biggest ways that automation can assist with your sales pitch or demo is by helping you prepare for and address sales objections. Although you obviously can’t automate a live conversation, what you can do is lean on your CRM to help manage your opportunities, understand their pain points, and cater your pitch to address any potential concerns.
Step 5: Closing
When it comes to closing the deal, the number one mistake sales reps make is not following up enough times. In fact, 80% of all sales require five or more follow-ups to close – and the majority of sales reps give up well before that crucial fifth follow-up. With the help of a CRM platform and email automation, you can automate follow-up messages and reminders to help you close more deals.
Sales Automation Goes Beyond the Pipeline
In order to build long-lasting, profitable customer relationships, you can leverage sales automation tools beyond the initial sales pipeline. A reliable CRM allows you to maintain accurate customer records, so you always have the information you need to make a connection, build rapport, and even personalize suggestions for cross-selling.
Get the Most Out of Your Sales Automation Tools
The best way to optimize your productivity and results with sales automation? Making sure it aligns with your existing workflow. For you, that could mean integrating some of the sales tools mentioned above or taking total control of your sales process with the help of a CRM like Propeller.
Ready to find out how easy it is to optimize your sales process with a robust CRM and sales automation? Try Propeller for free today.