Automation is now a keyword in any industry and it is easy to see why. It removes redundant processes out of the equation while ensuring such tasks still go smoothly. In turn, humans gain more time and energy to focus on critical things that need their attention. The automotive industry is one of the prime examples of the success of automation. They managed to cut down the time spent on building cars because certain aspects of the workflow have been left to AI and machines.
Yet they are not the only ones enjoying the benefits of automation. Businesses with marketing and sales departments are, too. Since there are now advanced technologies included in the software, they can leave repetitive tasks to AI algorithms. But for them to have a truly effective sales automation, there are certain things they need to have.
What are these? These are resource optimization, accessible content, ready-to-go templates, and more. We’ll discuss the rest of these below so you can check whether you have them in place or whether you need to add them in your procedure.
1. Optimized Resources
A sales technology stack or a sales stack is the collection of sales software, whether cloud-based or deployed on-premises, that the sales team employs in their workflows. It could include tools for lead management, product demos, client nurturing, and continuous engagement. It could also have solutions that are available solely for the use of managers or team leaders such as sales analytics, performance monitors, and call management.
In their own way, each contributes to the automation of sales processes. However, having smooth automation would not be possible if these resources are not organized and optimized, especially when it comes to sales tools. That is because different kinds of software may be redundant or are not connected with each other for the full utilization of their functions.
Optimizing your tech stack means aligning them with your sales goals and maximizing their capabilities to gain as high an output as possible. That is why even if there is a need for a company to cut its expenses or reduce the number of their workforce, they could still achieve a high revenue. This is what it means to optimize sales resources, from the tech stack to the workforce.
2. Readily-Available Great Content
One of the foundations of effective ecommerce marketing is great content. This applies to sales automation as well. It is important in this regard because this helps salespeople engage prospects. According to an article by Seismic, 95% of sales representatives want easy access to wonderful content. And yet, they spend up to 30% of their day looking for the right messages or creating them to share with potential clients. That is a huge part of productivity lost to a task that could be automated.
A sales automation software can help in this case because you can configure it to pull the right message and push it to the salespeople in a place where they can access them easily. Or depending on your automation workflow, you can push the correct content directly to the prospect. With this, you can prevent the loss of productive hours.
3. Lead Qualification
Lead qualification is an essential part of the sales process because it helps the organization determine whether a lead would have an interest in the products or services they offer, if they can be convinced, or if they have completely no interest. The marketing team can have a hand in this, too, because they would be one of the first groups to gather information regarding leads. Once they have pre-qualified these leads, it is the sales unit’s turn. While this workflow varies from organization to organization, the concept is the same.
After that, lead prioritization and scoring come in. Based on the results from the qualification phase, your sales CRM or a similar tool matches the profile of a lead with that of your Ideal Customer Persona (ICP). This allows you to take care first of leads that have a high level of buying intent. This way, you can make the most out of your marketing campaigns and your hot leads.
4. Ready-Made Templates
Did you know that personalized emails have a 26% higher chance of getting opened? On top of that, segmented campaigns provide a 760% increase in revenue, as cited by Campaign Monitor.
While this is something that is most common in the marketing side of the business, it is pertinent to the sales aspect as well. Since email is the default channel for communicating with leads and prospects, it is important to address the recipients directly. This would make them feel that you wrote that email exactly for them and no one else. Even if it is a ready-made template that your CRM or other tool filled in automatically with the correct data.
Salespeople can then send those immediately or they can schedule them so that it arrives in the recipients’ inboxes at the right moment. With this approach to personalized communications and campaigns, the sales team can have more time in their hands to do some actual selling.
5. Automated Follow-Ups
An automated sales team requires different tools to ensure that their workflow runs smoothly even with little human intervention, and that includes client follow-ups. This part of the sales process can be difficult because leads may not be welcoming regarding the interruption. Or maybe the sales team members handling hot leads forget about the task.
Those are scenarios that an organization can mitigate, though, because there are now startup software essentials that can assist in automating follow-ups. Systems can detect whether a certain period has passed since an email was sent to a potential client without receiving a reply. As such, software would immediately send another email reminding the recipient of the previous communication.
Through this approach, the sales team does not have to worry about potential prospects falling through the cracks.
6. Email Delivery Monitoring
ISPs deal with more than 100 billion email exchanges on a day-to-day basis. With this, some of the emails you send to your contacts list may not go through because of filters and other rules even if you are confident that you do not have spam or other flaggable content.
This makes an email delivery monitoring tool an essential part of your sales automation workflow. Since your email send-out is an automated process, it would make sense for the monitoring to be automated as well. By doing so, your administrators do not have to sit anxiously at their computers watching the send statistics.
As a result, as soon as they receive an alert regarding a failed send, they can put back the email in the list or resend it manually. This way, you can maximize your chances of converting recipients.
7. Reply Tracking
Despite being a popular channel for work, email can actually be counter-productive. In fact, Atlassian shares in an infographic that employees check their inboxes 36 times an hour on average and it takes them at least 16 minutes to get their minds refocused on their task. This could happen to your team members, which means they are wasting precious minutes on dealing with emails rather than selling.
You can prevent that from happening again, however. How so? By working with a software that can track email replies. As such, only when the application alerts the salesperson in charge via push, SMS, or another channel would they open their inbox. This way, various sections of the sales workflow is automated for more focused selling.
More than that, email alerts allow salespeople to jump on a hot opportunity as soon as it presents itself. Thus, they can win more clients and bring in more revenue for the company.
To automate or not to automate, that is the question
It can be tempting to automate every single thing but there are still certain things that you cannot, such as a genuine and interactive exchange between a sales personnel and a potential client.
Before you push a certain task to the automation flow, you may want to assess first whether it is a repetitive manual responsibility that takes away the time of your salespeople away from selling. Once you have determined that, then you can decide whether to automate it or not.