Over 25% of sales cycles take 7 months or longer to close. That's why it's so important for salespeople to maintain a healthy pipeline and gently nurture leads until they're sales-ready. Sales automation is the best solution for handling a busy pipeline, freeing up time and getting more work done.
What is sales process automation? Sales automation involves streamlining manual, repetitive and time-consuming tasks like admin and data entry to save time. It can also make other sales tasks easier by facilitating data collection, client insights and handovers to other departments.
By automating sales processes, your sales team can focus on what's most worth their time: personalized, one-to-one contact instead of a rushed and pushy sales pitch.
The best sales processes to automate
1. Attach useful data about leads to contact records
When a lead is assigned to your sales reps, do they receive any background information? Don't expect them to fly blind or waste time trying to find information you already have: automatically attach valuable details to new contact records and speed up your sales process.
Many of the best automation tools allow you to create workflows that trigger internal notes or emails with a list of known customer properties, such as industry type, company size, goals, pain points and inquiry details. Compiling prospect information is one of the most helpful sales processes to automate for any busy salesperson.
2. Automate tasks and deadlines
On average, today’s sales professionals spend just 34% of their time selling – with most of the remaining 66% going to data entry, quote generation and other admin that distracts them from what they're best at.
With a CRM or automation tool like ActiveCampaign that offers task management features, you can use workflows to automatically assign common tasks and deadlines for each new contact depending on their stage in your pipeline.
Automated task management enables salespeople to take one glance at their to-do list and know exactly what they need to do right now, rather than needing the full morning to get organized.
3. Send automated emails to nurture unengaged leads
Strong sales teams can immediately identify unengaged leads and have a clear process for recapturing their interest.
To get there, first define the period of inactivity that determines disengagement. Next, create nurturing workflows that have the best chance of capturing their interest. It's also worth determining when a prospect should be considered closed lost.
This automation will take up the task of reengaging contacts, freeing up your salespeople's time for closing engaged leads.
4. Let prospects book into your calendar
You're busy, they're busy... and the back-and-forth of setting up a meeting quickly gets frustrating. To eliminate this, use a tool like Calendly or your CRM's meeting scheduling feature to let qualified prospects book time directly in your calendar.
5. Prioritize prospects with automated lead scoring
Sales teams are 33% more likely to prioritize leads based on data analysis of “propensity to buy” rather than on intuition (16%).
Lead scoring enables you to calculate how likely a prospect is to buy based on certain criteria that adds or deducts points from an overall score. You might give higher points to prospects in Nordic countries, or deduct points if they speak a language your team can't service. You can also include business size, industry and budget in the equation.
When you automatically collect this data for all new prospects, your salespeople can filter their pipeline by lead score, reaching out to the highest-scoring leads first to increase the chances of closing.
6. Use personalization tokens for tailored communication
Some companies avoid sales automation because they worry it'll make their messages sound robotic and impersonal. But the thing is, automated emails only sound robotic if they're done badly. There are so many personalization tokens you can use to make automated communication more authentic, including mentions of their business name, industry, content conversions (e.g. ebook downloads and webinar signups) and when you last spoke.
7. Streamline invoicing and admin
Your salespeople should help out after a deal is closed, but don't let them get bogged down by admin when they can be selling. One of the most valuable sales processes to automate is the handover to invoicing and admin, which you can set up with a two-way contact sync between your CRM and invoicing tool. With the right contacts in the right tools, both teams will know exactly what they're working with.
8. Automate the handover to onboarding
73% of sales teams say collaborating across departments is absolutely critical or very important to their overall sales process. Sales collaboration is never more important than with the account managers and onboarding specialists that will look after new customers.
As soon as a salesperson moves a prospect to closed won, you can use automation to trigger internal emails to the relevant teams and people who will take care of the customer. These messages can be configured to include all of the information they need to move forward.
9. Collect customer satisfaction data by salesperson
The strongest sales teams know that sales metrics aren't just about revenue. The most important metric of all is whether the right customers buy your product and stay long-term. 66% of sales teams get this right by tracking customer satisfaction (CSAT) as their top KPI, edging out “team quota met” (65%) by a small margin.
10. Sync contact data between all tools
If your sales team uses multiple apps, a major pitfall is not syncing data between them. With PieSync's two-way contact syncs between hundreds of apps, you can save time on manual updates, reduce the scope for human error and be in the best position for sales automation, as your data is certain to play nicely together across all apps.
Check the apps you can connect with PieSync and find out how to free up your sales team's time for what really drives revenue.