Streamlining your sales process can improve the quality of leads, increase productivity and efficiency, and boost customer satisfaction. Essentially, sales automation eliminates the need for time-consuming, manual sales tasks with the use of software, AI, and digital tools.
However, automated sales processes aren’t a luxury reserved for multi-million dollar, enterprise companies. Sales automation can be leveraged as an important asset for any size business, even small sales teams.
In this post, we’ll discuss 8 tips that any sales team can use to improve and automate their sales process. Here’s a brief overview:
- Use a CRM system
- Try predictive lead scoring
- Automate sales emails and follow-ups
- Use an appointment and scheduling tool
- Make a proposal template
- Use chatbots on your site
- Create an automated process for collecting client details
- Make a detailed SOP
1. Use a CRM system
Implementing a CRM system is one of the best ways you can streamline and automate your sales process. A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is made to help you manage your customer data in one central location. Within your CRM system, you can store customer and lead information, track interactions and share data among your teammates. You can even use the software to manage customer relations and integrate with a variety of apps for a complete sales management solution.
Key features often include a dashboard or hub with lead management, contact management, sales forecasting, employee messaging, email tracking, file sharing, and analytics. There are multiple CRM systems to choose from with various customizable features. Many are affordable or even free to use. Whichever CRM system you decide to go with, it’s important to test the software first so you can make sure it’s a good fit for your team and capable of the functions you need for your unique sales process.
2. Try Predictive Lead Scoring
Lead scoring is a process where you assign a numerical point value to each lead you bring into your agency. You score the leads based on set criteria, such as information they’ve provided and how they’ve interacted with your brand. The higher the score, the more the lead should be prioritized by the sales team for a targeted conversion.
With predictive lead scoring software, lead qualification is automated by linking to your CRM system. The software creates an ideal customer profile by going through data points and instantly identifying your best leads. The more you use the software, the more it optimizes itself. Essentially, predictive lead scoring improves accuracy and removes the chance for human error when picking which leads to pursue.
3. Automate Sales Emails and Follow-Ups
Email automation puts your sales emails and follow-ups on autopilot. This frees up time for your sales team and more importantly, ensures that leads aren’t forgotten. With automated email scheduling, you can set up emails to go out at a specific time, such as a batch of cold emails to new prospects. You can also rely on machine learning to send emails on your behalf to prospects when they’ll most likely engage with your message.
If your business uses social media primarily to generate sales leads, you could automate prospecting and lead generation processes as well. For many businesses today, LinkedIn is the best social media channel for lead generation and there are many automation tools that come handy in order to streamline the LinkedIn sales process. For example, you could create your prospects list on LinkedIn sales navigator, extract and export verified leads to your CRM for your email outreach.
Create templated emails to save time and schedule them with an email automation tool or your CRM system. But remember to track your emails. The data can help you understand what email components are working and which ones should be adjusted.
4. Use an Appointment and Scheduling Tool
Scheduling an appointment with a prospect can be time-consuming. Going back and forth to figure out a date isn’t just inefficient, it can deter your prospect. Instead, use an appointment and meeting scheduling tool to streamline the process. Simply send a link to your prospect and they can select an available slot on your calendar that works for them. The appointment is automatically linked to your calendar and you can set up notifications so you never miss a meeting.
There are plenty of tools to choose from for automated scheduling. Many CRM systems can handle scheduling and appointments, but quality stand-alone options also exist that can integrate with your calendar. An additional tip to make your calendar accessible to prospects is to put a link to your scheduling tool in your email signature.
5. Make a Proposal Template
Creating a proposal from scratch for each new prospect is an inefficient use of time when you can rely on software to streamline the process. Instead of copying and pasting prospect details from your notes or emails, you can use a tool that integrates with your CRM system and does it for you. With automated proposal software, you create a template or customize provided templates, and a new quote or proposal is generated from the customer details in your CRM.
Automated proposal software typically comes with the ability to set reminders so you don’t have to follow up with customers, the software does it for you. You can even set up an automated internal workflow so other people on the team can review the proposals before they’re sent out.
6. Use Chatbots on your Site
Chatbots let you connect in real-time with website visitors through the use of AI. Chatbots are particularly helpful for smaller teams and businesses that aren’t open 24/7. Instead of chatting with a real person in a live chat, prospects are connected to bots with automated responses. These bots can help qualify leads, provide answers to common questions, and book meetings. There are many chatbot options, plugins, and widgets available to choose from. Some are free to use.
No matter which chatbot tool you choose, when setting it up for your sales process you need to be sure to start with a goal. Do you want the chatbot to book an appointment for the prospect with a sales rep? Or direct them to a landing page with more details? Have the bot ask simple, qualifying questions that you would ask prospects if you were speaking to them yourself.
Additional Reading: 8 Steps to Building a Successful Sales Process in 2021
7. Create an Automated Process for Onboarding New Clients
Once you’ve converted a sales lead, you’ll want to ensure a smooth client onboarding process. Automated data capture saves your sales team time and makes sure all necessary information is collected from new clients. Most importantly, a seamless onboarding process makes your company appear more professional and improves customer satisfaction.
Start by jotting down all of the information you’ll need such as logins, contacts, and brand guidelines. Once you know what you need to collect, you can create a questionnaire that can be automatically sent to all new clients. Try not to go overboard and only include essential questions so you don’t overwhelm the recipient. Once you have the data, you can input it into the customer’s profile in your CRM system for easy access.
8. Create Detailed SOPs for all Repeatable Tasks
Whenever customer accounts are passed from sales to account management, there’s potential for details to fall in the cracks. Creating clear, detailed standard operating procedures (SOP) can help mitigate the risk.
An SOP is a set of instructions with processes and practices that let you track schedules, client details, and progress. Having a process in place means that the transition of customer accounts to different areas of your team is seamless.
Just storing a document on your desktop with an SOP isn’t effective. For an efficient handoff, you should automate this process by having your SOPs directly embedded into your team’s workflows – usually via project management or CRM software. A cloud-based SOP system gives users access to powerful, interactive templates that can be customized. The system helps to document processes with tasks, due dates, notifications, and team assignments.
Implementing automation tools and processes can be a game-changer for your sales team. Just keep in mind that too much of a good thing can be harmful. Automating every aspect of your process can make your company seem robotic, spammy, or off-putting to potential clients.
Use automation to enhance your sales process, but don’t forget that people like to do business with other people. Add a personal touch to the sales process by connecting with prospects along the way.