Wondering how to grow sales? Sales automation tools are the one-stop solution to most of the typical hurdles faced by growing sales teams. You can eliminate record-keeping busywork and arm your reps with smart analytics at the same time. All it takes is a sales automation CRM, AI-powered sales analytics, and other modern software solutions.
The sales team at a young company will frequently multi-hat. Even the CEO could act as the primary sales rep in the early going.
But those days don’t last. As a company scales up and the sales team grows, tasks that were once individual in nature become repetitive, time-consuming processes that take reps away from their conversations with prospects.
In fact, Salesforce reports that today’s sales professionals spend only 34% of their time selling. Data entry, quote generation, or other manual bookkeeping tasks keep reps from engaging with customers. Overload of these kinds of tasks might be why 57% of sales reps also predicted that they’d miss their quotas in 2019.
Take a moment to reflect on your own experiences in sales. Have you ever:
- Spent 20-30 minutes combing through folders to track down that one testimonial or sales deck?
- Gone down an alphabetical list of leads while making calls (instead of sorting by ideal fit)?
- Caught a problem in your sales process that went unnoticed for a long time?
- Manually added leads to your CRM with the time you could have spent selling?
- Played email or phone tag with a prospect to nail down a meeting time?
- Lost a deal because—with your crazy schedule—you didn’t remember to follow up?
Here’s the good news: It doesn’t have to be that way. Sales automation tools offer smart, efficient solutions to every one of these common problems. The right tools can give time back to your team, so they can close more deals and continue to grow your business.
Sales Automation Tools Streamline...Well, Everything!
A sales automation system uses software tools, artificial intelligence (AI), and digital analytics to take the burden off of your team. It’s almost like having an extra team of robot assistants working behind the scenes—like your own personal R2D2 in the backseat of your X-Wing.
A human needs to guide the broader process, but software can absorb a lot of the hours and effort that the human would otherwise have to handle themselves. Rather than replacing salespeople, sales automation technology presents an opportunity to boost efficiency and help salespeople excel.
McKinsey estimated in their 2016 book, Sales Growth: Five Proven Strategies from the World’s Sales Leaders, that 40% of sales activities could be automated with technology. As technology advances, they project this may rise to 50%, or even as much as 85% for specific roles. More responsibilities on the plate of AI and automated tools will mean more time for reps to spend selling.
Sales automation tools are at their best when they:
- Eliminate Busywork. With the right digital tools, sales reps won’t have to spend time rekeying information, transferring notes into the CRM or other systems, or reviewing all of their data with a fine-tooth comb. Automation systems are excellent at double-checking for accuracy, so that sales reps can move more quickly and focus on what’s next.
- Automatically Collect Analytics. Digital behaviors leave all sorts of bread crumbs that sales automation tools can track and compile into useful analytics for your sales process. Use software to gather data on clicks, time-on-page, conversion rates, customer demographics, and much more. Live dashboards of these metrics and sales analytics can help reps make more informed choices or guide adjustments in your sales strategy.
- Optimize Sales Activities. Sales automation software uses AI to generate smart, data-driven suggestions and alerts that help sales reps set priorities or make critical decisions. Deals won’t fall through the cracks with automated alerts reminding reps exactly when action is required. Alphabetical lists are a thing of the past—AI can score the leads for you and direct reps’ attention towards the hottest opportunities (along with insights on how best to engage).
The research has shown how much of a turbocharge these tools can give to your bottom line. For example, Salesforce found a 14.5% increase in sales productivity when reps can automate lead nurturing activities such as email campaigns and follow-ups. Reps simply have more time to be productive when engagement is accelerated by automated tools that handle:
- Task and deal creation
- Real-time updates to all contact profiles in the CRM
- Smart suggestions for email personalization
- Alerts that improve rep response times
Conveniences like these will simultaneously accelerate the workflow and arm your sales team for success.
Automation Closes Deals
Every sales team can appreciate the speed gained through automation tools. And yes, a larger quantity of engaged contacts is great...but sales are about quality, too. There are two aspects of a sales automation system—artificial intelligence and a sales automation CRM—that will improve the sales process, so reps are not only engaging more prospects but also closing more deals.
AI Points Reps in the Right Direction
Sales analytics are an invaluable resource for fostering better relationships with customers and flagging the most lucrative opportunities. AI can empower reps with:
- Predictive analytics that connects the dots between gathered metrics to project trends and probabilities (sales forecasts, the likelihood of closing a deal, etc.).
- Prescriptive analytics to suggest actions and tactics that, with the help of data on the known prospect’s preferences and past actions, have the highest probability to move a deal forward.
- Language processing software can listen to conversations with customers and analyze the context of their questions for clues about the motivations or needs behind their behaviors.
- Text analysis algorithms that will throw red flags and warn reps if there are any signs that a prospect is unsatisfied—a critical time to intervene.
Advantages like these will influence 30% of all B2B companies to employ AI in their primary sales processes in 2020, according to Gartner. And the technology can only get better from here. Salesforce projected triple-digit growth in predictive intelligence (118%) and lead-to-cash process automation (115%) in just the three years between 2017 and 2020.
The Sales Automation CRM is Your Keystone
A customer relationship management (CRM) system is very familiar to service teams, but it’s equally important to the success of sales and marketing. Without CRM, sales automation tools can’t live up to the hype.
Your sales automation CRM keeps records on activities of reps, contacts, and customers alike—without time-consuming manual record-keeping. In addition to saving time, the metrics and data accrued during these interactions boost the power of AI-powered automation. Sales need a central hub of well-organized data to populate real-time sales analytics, smart suggestions, priority alerts, automatic personalizations, and more. CRM is the center of the wheel.
According to G2, the proper integration of a sales automation CRM can:
- Increase sales by up to 29%
- Boost sales productivity by up to 34%
- Improve the accuracy of sales forecasts by 42%
Research has also proven that the average ROI of a CRM is $8.71 for every dollar spent. In other words, a robust CRM tool is ultimately worth 871% of what it costs. Sales reps close more deals when they have all of the information they need at their fingertips—especially if that info generates accurate, automated, actionable insights without the rep so much as lifting a finger to update a manual spreadsheet.
A sales CRM, AI-powered analytics, and other sales automation tools will streamline your sales process so that your sales team can grow—quickly.