The world is full of “befores” and “afters.” Those inventions or advancements are so disruptive and era-defining that they transform the way we live and act in a previously inconceivable way. There was the time before cars and then there is the time after cars. There was the time before cell phones and then there is the time after cell phones.
There was the time before sales automation. Now is the time after sales automation.
You see, there are no two ways about it—sales automation has entirely transformed the landscape for all sales professionals and the benefits of automation are incredible for sales professionals.
The world before
The time before sales automation was filled with a huge array of time-consuming tasks that only the most organized minds could keep on top of. Most sales professionals stand out for their ability to connect with individuals and their innate desire to solve people’s problems.
But this fine art of sales where you communicate directly with the potential customer is really only the final step in a long process. Before that, there’s the task of finding new prospects, getting them into the pipeline, nurturing them and assessing when they’re ready to convert.
In the old days, for example, this may have meant going to industry events. While at the event, you would collect a number of cards. Then at a networking lunch, you may get a few more leads with their details scribbled on napkins.
You go back to the office only to find the most promising one doesn’t seem to be among the pile. You spend an inordinate amount of time trying to chase them up again and end up losing the lead altogether.
OK, we’re exaggerating a little, but there’s no doubt that the manual tasks and scope of what is possible was severely limited before the rise of CRMs. But what exactly do they do and how does automation help?
The world today
Simply put, sales automation is when you use software, artificial intelligence or other digital tools to mechanize or automate time-consuming tasks.
In this way, you are able to increase efficiency, productivity, accuracy, and rapidly speed up the sales process. What’s more, it helps ensure that no sales lead falls through the cracks (not a napkin in sight).
With reduced response times, higher quality sales tasks, and a wealth of data to draw on, your whole sales process becomes a sleek, business-boosting machine.
How does automation help?
This all sounds great, you may say, but how exactly does it help me in my day-to-day life? Well, let’s get to it.
Finding leads is always one of the most time-consuming parts of the sales process, especially when it comes to outbound strategies. Within your CRM, you are able to cut down on a lot of the heavy lifting by creating filters for certain criteria and receiving a prequalified list of prospects on a recurring basis.
2. Centralizing data
As soon as you have any information at all, it will go into the centralized database on the CRM where it will never get lost. Any contact details, emails, SMS communication or anything else will be recorded (with some AI help to streamline the process) in the same place for you to draw on whenever you need it.
With all the information centralized, you can then collaborate with your entire team in the easiest way possible. You can assign tasks to specific members or, if you have to pop out for some reason, someone else can take over where you left off. They have everything they need to keep going.
Automations can further step up this process by routing pre-qualified leads to specific salespeople and following certain actions that you set up yourself.
3. Emailing and communication
Whether prospecting, confirming meetings, or following up afterwards, the emails you send will often follow a similar structure, which means that you can save and reuse your best-performing templates. What’s more, the ability to further personalize the emails will help drive response rates.
Similar features exist for calls and SMS messages, with a whole host of automations to cut down on the frustrating tasks that take up too much time.
4. Lead scoring
Now we get to the magic. Lead scoring is when you leverage the CRM’s capabilities to find the most engaged leads and give them a personalized score depending on a number of criteria. This will allow you to understand how likely you are to close a deal and concentrate your efforts in the right area.
5. Smart calendars
Even with all the templates and automations, nothing beats meeting one-on-one with a prospect to talk things through, whether online or in person. But sometimes the nitty gritty details of setting up the appointments can be enough to put the lead off. Then again, you may forget yourself—after all, you are really busy.
Smart calendars help with this aspect, making everything from booking appointments to reminders to follow-up emails as easy as possible.
6. Quick reactions!
In the business world, things change at a moment’s notice and how quickly you can respond to new developments can define the success you have moving forward. With automation, you are much better prepared to react at a moment’s notice to take advantage of new opportunities or mitigate threats before they arise.
When you use an automated CRM platform, all of your communications are centralized and easy to view with a single dashboard. That means all the information you need from emails and social media to web forms and data is at your fingertips. For example, you can sync your Google Business Profile to your automated platform and get instant alerts if any negative reviews come in, allowing you to respond quickly and decisively.
7. Happier, more collaborative teams
Your team is the engine of your business, but that doesn’t mean they’re machines. The happiness of your employees plays a substantial role in how well they perform. Feelings of isolation or unchallenging, repetitive tasks are common reasons for job dissatisfaction.
And yet automation can help with precisely these issues. Any repetitive task (such as data entry, etc.) can easily be automated, leaving your team in a better position to collaborate with each other and continue growing as sales professionals.
Wondering how you’re doing? What about the team as a whole? With all the data in one place, you are able to create highly insightful reports that tell you exactly what’s going on.
If you’re in a managerial position, these reports can be extremely useful. Most salespeople love a bit of healthy competition (especially if there are financial rewards involved) and these insights are great fodder for keeping them motivated.
Finally, the beauty of automated platforms is that it can scale as you do. With your enhanced abilities, you’ll likely be making more sales and your business will grow as a result. Any quality platform will allow you to add workflows, create new rules, or streamline organization among your team.
The sky’s the limit with regard to what you can do. Want to bring marketing into the fold? Need to ensure compliance? Want to target a new niche? With the right platform, anything is possible.
Like we said, sales automation is one of those before and after situations. By leveraging the power of a good CRM to streamline your internal operations and personalize your messaging, you are in a better position to truly connect with your customers.
In terms of speed, efficiency, and overall effectiveness, sales automation and CRMs are essential turnkey solutions to drive conversions and boost your bottom line.
How does automation help? At Pipeline.so, we provide an out-of-the-box CRM solution with a number of add-ons to supercharge your sales and marketing cycle. If you’d like to chat more about how we can help you, please feel free to get in touch!