As bloggers and online sellers, your dream is to make sales without repeating the same cumbersome process on every sale made. What if there was a way to do all this repetitive stuff without lifting a finger? Sounds cool right?
This is what we will be learning about today. Sales automation can boost your online sales up to ten times more while freeing up your time in one go. I know you’re itching to know-how, so without wasting much of your time, let’s get started.
What is Sales Automation?
In simple terms, sales automation is the use of software and tools to get rid of manual cumbersome and repetitive tasks. Hence allowing you and your team to focus on closing sales and making money.
With sales automation software and tools, you can automate lead follow-up, manage your sales pipeline, and easily train new hires for sales teams with a repeatable and scalable system.
You can send invoices and payment reminders to customers reminding them to make payments without the awkward conversations.
Sales automation tools can allow you to win more time back, while you dedicate time to growing your business.
Automated Sales Funnels
A sales funnel is all the steps and procedures followed by the prospective client. Starting from when they become aware of the products to when they make a purchase.
It can also be termed as the journey a prospect takes on the way to becoming a paying customer, or simply called sales pr.
There are three main steps in each company’s sales funnel. Though the number of steps in the sales funnel can differ from company to company, the three main steps remain the same. These three main steps include:
- Awareness- This happens when the potential customer becomes aware of your products and/or services. At this stage, they are getting information about your products and consuming your contents. Awareness can be created through various media and advertisement channels.
- Interest and deliberation- In this stage, your prospect is fully aware of and is now interested in your products. They have extensive information about it, and are also engaging your sales team at this point.
- Decision and purchase- Just as the name implies, this is the stage where the prospect decides to buy your products and complete the sales funnel.
By leveraging sales automation tools, you automatically create a system that allows you to take your hands off the first two stages and focus on the third. Creating a flywheel of some sorts, an automated sales funnel brings in the new lead and automatically takes them through to the decision phase.
Sales Automation Processes
There are seven steps in the sales automation process and they are:
- Automated Guidance
- Lead Management Automation
- Communication Automation
- Automated Data Entry
- Automated Research
- Automated Activity Logging
- Automated Record Creation
Automated Guidance- In this form of automation, notes, and reminders, and the likes are sent to your sales team directly from the automation software/tool. This helps your sales team to always be on task and eradicates the chances of missing important clients who could be converted into paying customers.
Lead Management Automation- When it comes to converting prospects into paying customers, lead management automation comes into play. With this automation, sales execs can use filters and a set of rules to help them create a more accurate list of leads that are more likely to buy from you.
These filters are created based on user behavior, e.g. email openings, click-through rates, and social media searches. Your sales automation software can segment your leads based on score and divide them into neat lists to work on.
Communication Automation- In sales, communication is key. The entire process of selling is built on communication. However, as important as it is, it too can get repetitive and boring. The good news is, this too can be automated.
The sales automation software can create automated voice mails, appointment scheduling, personalized sales email sequences, and sales email automation. The time used in sending these emails to each prospect will be freed up to do other important things.
Automated Data Entry- Data entry can be incredibly tedious, repetitive, and boring. However, it is a duty that you cannot escape from. Thankfully, sales automation tools are here to take the load off your shoulders.
By auto-filling entries like product price, product details, contact details, etc. Your sales automation tool streamlines your data entry, thereby saving time for you or whoever is in charge to focus on generating leads.
Automated Research- As a sales rep, you’re supposed to constantly keep tabs on your lead, you need to scramble through the web and social media for useful information on your prospects. This is where automated research comes in.
The sales automation tool can help you create ‘hot’ lead profiles and rank those on their tendency to buy based on their online activities. This gives the sales team up-to-date information which is very necessary for sales. Also, it saves their time.
Automated Activity Logging- Sale emails, phone calls, appointments, and so on need to be logged in so that other reps will know the extent to which one rep has gotten with a prospective customer. Automated activity logging creates this for you automatically.
Automated Record Creation- When your team scan documents like newsletters, business cards, opt-in confirmations, and so on, you can simply let the sales automation tool create records and profiles. This also frees up time that otherwise would have been used in creating this record.
How Sales Automation Works
As we saw earlier, there are three stages of a sales funnel. Now we will be looking at how sales automation tools automate and simplify each stage of the sales funnel.
Awareness- The major aim here is to create something that will grab the attention of your target audience. The reason why this is very important is that to generate leads through this process. One of the ways of generating this lead is by creating what is known as a ‘lead magnet’.
This lead magnet could either be an e-book, templates, or tools that the visitor could use. That content will be placed behind a form on a landing page, where prospects will need to enter their contact details before getting access to the content.
Also, one thing to note is that your lead magnet needs to relate to your products and services to ensure you’re attracting the right audience and leads.
Consideration- Now, you already have the leads in your funnel, and you have their emails and other contact details. To follow up your lead in the consideration phase, you need to set up what is called an automated email nurture series. This is to follow your lead-up by sending regular emails.
The aim of this is for you to constantly be on their mind during the consideration phase. The emails should be regularly paced, so that it doesn’t bother them, and should not always be about sales. For instance, if you’re sending four emails over the span of a month, two of those emails could point them to blog posts on similar topics, then the last two would introduce them to your products.
This could all be automated with a sales automation system. So, you don’t have to start sending emails to thousands of prospects all by yourself.
Decision- This is when deals are closed. At this point, your leads have shown interest in your product. They have gone through your email nurture series. The email series you send at this phase should be your final email series and as a result, should be your hard sell. It should give your leads a reason to buy.
These final emails should include product demos, free consultations or discounts. This series should be packed full of things that will give your prospects more reasons to buy now. However, there is no sales process that is 100% fail-proof.
So if some leads don’t convert, you could wait for some time, preferably 6 months. After that period, you can come up with an entirely new email nurture series to give them another offer.
How Sales Automation Can Help Your Business.
Having a sales automation system can help your business in many ways. In addition to helping you free up your time to focus on more important and less repetitive tasks, there are other ways that having a sales automation system can help your business. And they are:
- Record Creation- When businesses collect contact information to form leads, they still have to record this information in files after collecting them manually over the phone. With a sales automation system, the record creation automation automatically generates a record after a lead fills the form, enters a business card, etc.
Once these records are created, they are segmented and tagged for easier record keeping.
- Reporting- With automated sales analysis, sales reps can have a bird’s eye view of lead to sale conversions, total number of forms filled, the rate at which sent emails were opened, click through rates, and marketing/ad performance.
Instead of combing through lots and lots of files, you can simply leverage the sales report function on your sales automation software. This can help you monitor lead, product revenue, activities, history, products, and billing.
- Invoicing- With the help of automated invoicing, you can create an automated selling system. This system can accept online payments, send invoices, and track those who have paid.
Integrating Sales Automation Into a CRM
By using the right CRM, you can manage and trigger sales automation. This can save you time while boosting sales and productivity. CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management.
It is a very powerful system that connects the data from your sales leads and customers all in one place.
With a CRM, you can follow up details like email addresses, type of customer, method/type of purchase, what stage they currently are on the sales funnel, and how often they view your emails.
This can be automated using a sales automation tool.
How to Select a Sales Automation Tool
When selecting a sales automation tool for your business, there are some key factors that you should look out for. The truth is that there are dozens of sales automation tools out there, and trying to know which one is right can make you feel overwhelmed.
However, I have created a checklist that will make the selection process easier. The sales automation tool you’re selecting must be able to:
- Automate Communications and Personalize it- The sales automation tool must be able to use the data you collect to efficiently nurture leads and grow revenue for you and your company.
- Build Landing Pages Easily- The software must be able to easily build landing pages with minimal or no coding. These landing pages should be mobile friendly and load quickly.
- Manage Sales Pipeline Effectively- The software should be able to manage pipeline through automated follow ups, make sales forecasts, based on prospect needs, trends, reports, lead source, and other metrics.
- Take Quotes And Orders in One Place- It should be able to create, manage, and share custom quotes directly from your sales automation tool. It should also send email notifications when quotes are accepted or declined. Customers should be able to accept a quote with one click and pay online, and automatically change quotes to orders and create balance.
- Integrate With Third Parties- When looking for a sales automation tool, you should get one that can integrate with other tools that you use to boost productivity. Just like how woo commerce integrates with wordpress, and payment gateways like paystack, so also your sales automation tool should be able to integrate with your other productivity tools.
5 Best Sales Automation Software
- Pipe Drive
- Bpm’ Online Sales
During the course of this blog post, we have seen how automated selling can help you save time to work on other more important and less repetitive tasks, help you grow your sales by focusing on the important aspects, and increase productivity and efficiency.
We also saw why your business needs automation, and that no business is too small to get automated sales. You can refer to our other blog posts to answer any questions you might have concerning blogging, career, and business.