So, what is sales automation? Well, it’s in the name: an automation of sales.
Letting an algorithm take control of the boring, tiring, and painstaking process of finding a potential buyer and engaging with them in the hope of having a conversation that will turn into a closed deal. Administrative and dataentry tasks are the main enemies at play here, and, in the digital era of the 21st century, e-mail appeals, inventory control, contact upkeep, etc. have fallen under the rigid story of business machinery.
It isn’t just for your established brands and companies that a sales process is set-in-stone. Even if you’re just testing the waters to see if a market is big enough and/or what might be a good market position, sales automation software is to your concrete advantage because you will instantly see if there is potential or not instead of having to find out via a lot of unreplied emails. There is an ideal solution for everyone, regardless of how far from the starting line one is.
That being said, its idealess must be very carefully planned. Like all software, it’s as useful as a wet notebook if done incorrectly, which is why the best practice is to form and follow a strict step-by-step guide with the end-goal of a working sales automation system:
1. Outline Your Current Process
Chart out your entire sales process from beginning to end, with every step articulated in pain-staking, explicit detail. There must be no stone left unturned. Some things --but not everything--that absolutely must be taken into consideration in this step: Ideal customer profile, creation and editing of documents, structure of follow-up emails, call analysis, proposal creation, and accuracy of pricing and reporting.
2. Diagnosis and Prognosis
Once you’ve got your entire sales process outlined, described, and surgically examined, you can continue by understanding the flaws in your current design and how you would like to automate them. You should have clear, concrete, and achievable objectives as to what you would like sales automation to do for you.
3. Research the Necessary Tools
Now that all of the background chores have been finished, it’s time to start doing research for the tools as described in the second part of this chapter. It’s better to have an acute software that specializes in helping you obtain your specific goals.
4. Form a Dedicated Team
Next, a dedicated team that can implement and care for all of the work involved with your chosen program. This would entail an accurate setting up of the software so that it automates your goals and fixes the flaws as outlined in step one.
5. Perform Trial Runs
Because step four is bound to have overlooked areas of consequence, it is highly encouraged that your team perform some trial runs to determine the efficacy of how you’ve set up your software. Any flaws or imperfections should make themselves abundantly clear with successive trial runs.
Once you have everything sorted and your program works as intended, it should be ready to deploy. This action should reflect an absolute confidence in the structure of your software and sales proficiency; if any steps have been done half-heartedly, your sales will fall apart.
Senior representatives are spending too much time on administrative work and not enough on perfecting a stable sales prospecting process of finding leads that will be prioritized prospects and who, with the right kind of outreach, will become valuable customers during your business lifetime.
A sales team needs to sell to somebody, preferably many somebodies. While referrals, advertising, and word-of-mouth are all very well and good, they can come to zilch if they’re not used correctly. Networking and data entry have worked for the past few decades, but these methods are steadily becoming outmoded and undesirable. To top it off, your everyday sales rep has so much to do in the day, finding new, promising clients is almost superhuman. Not only that, but the very first questions one should ask regarding any future sales prospects would seem superficial at first glance: Who are your prospect’s competitors? What is their reputation? Are they a good fit?
It can be a lot, but never forget the top questions of today: how can you turn a promising lead into a prospect, and how can that process be automated?
Your automated sales software should be customized to what will be essential to your prospecting definition: your ideal customer profile, target audience, and, most importantly, customer lifetime value.
For additional insights on how M. Allen can assist with your sales automation projects, please send us a note to firstname.lastname@example.org.