What is Sales Automation Software?
Before we get into their responses, let’s back up for a minute—what is sales automation software and what can it do?
Simply put, sales automation software includes any tool that helps automate the processes of order processing, contact management, customer management, sales forecasting, or just about any task that salespeople perform.
To help contextualize that definition, we asked respondents what they use sales automation for, and we heard a lot of answers.
“We have very strict criteria for what qualifies as a prospect and a fit for our company,” Birkett added, “and using these tools to automate the outreach process, we can put all of our actual time and effort into closing and servicing the clients we have.”
7. Set Up Real-Time Notifications for Sales Reps
“Create a mobile notification to alert a sales member anytime their prospect opens the decision-phase email. That’s the exact moment you want to reach out and answer their questions,” advised Autumn Sullivan of Big Sea Co.
“Our mission was to contact a new prospect within 15 minutes of their original conversion,” Eric Melillo of COFORGE said. “So, we consolidated a few workflow steps and standardized our qualification criteria to reduce initial overhead. Then we were able to get the lead assigned and sent via text message to a rep for the initial prospect touch.”
That automation led to some pretty stellar results for COFORGE: “More than 90% of new prospects remarked on how quickly we contacted them. It bolstered their confidence in our agency work ethic—which led to a 4x increase in proposals and a 20% decrease in our average new-lead-to-deal-won sales cycle.”
Shane Barker of Shane Barker Consulting recommended automating real-time notifications, too. “Use automation to send messages to sales reps every time a user takes a specific action. For example, every time someone downloads gated content, signs up for your newsletter, or takes any other action on your website, sales reps will be alerted.”
8. Automate Lead Qualification
“When sales reps reach out too early,” Andrea Moxham of Horseshoe + co.explained, “they damage the relationship with the prospect. Identifying the criteria that indicate a lead is ready to talk to sales is an excellent way for marketing and sales to get on the same page and also ensure you’re sharing the right info at the exact right moment with your leads.”
Garrett Genest of Kudos added that “qualifying leads the traditional way costs time, and tends to result in a proportion of leads falling through the cracks. Automating the qualification process, so that leads are pre-qualified prior to being passed to sales, is a great way to shorten the sales cycle.”
“We’ve cut our number of sales calls with unqualified leads from 60+ per month to nearly zero, simply by automating that initial qualification step,” said Genest.
9. Add Lead Gen Forms to Your Facebook Ads
“You can create and schedule a Facebook ad or campaign as you normally would, but with the marketing API, you’re allowed to attach a lead generation form to the ad. This means that the standard ‘Learn More’ button can be linked to a customizable form instead of a web page,” Steve Yanor of Sky Alphabet Social Media told us.
Yanor explained that lead gen forms work because social media users are hesitant to leave the platform to view your landing page—so a lead gen form cuts out that extra step and a little bit of friction.
“We’ve seen some amazing results from these lead gen forms because they solve the issue of how to close on a lead produced by a remarkably beautiful ad done in Instagram Stories.”
10. Build and Test Automated Email Sequences
Julian Marcuzzi of Predictable Revenue had this to say about finding the best way to close deals faster via sales automation tools: “In terms of tactics, it is all about sequences and content. Dial those in and test the hell out of them. Don’t copy what you’ve read in a book—you need to identify what works best for you and your solution.”
“Autoresponder series and automated email follow-up and support have proven to work extremely well for us,” said Srish Agrawal of A1 Future Technologies. “This can often start with a simple lead generation or free report given away on the site, then the autoresponder series will follow up with more emails, offers, support, and opportunities over the next several weeks while building trust in the process.”
Evan Harder of Hello Marketing Agency says they often see sales organizations missing this vital piece of automation: “We see so many sales teams writing and rewriting versions of the same email to prospects, without ever testing or tracking what’s truly effective. Figure out what offers generate the most interest and create templates so you can save your time and money”
11. Use Email Drip Campaigns to Nurture Longer Sales Cycles
“Email drip campaigns are especially impactful for B2B organizations, who have a long sales cycle, to close deals more efficiently. Once the customer signs up for a trial or is in talks with internal stakeholders around the buying decision, drip emails help to keep the product top of mind,” explained Anne Fairfield-Sonn of CiBO Technologies.
Tim Brown of Hook Agency says that’s why they went all-in on automated nurture campaigns for their content marketing: “We drip out key bits of useful content in the form of soft follow-ups to continue giving value without always consciously thinking about it.”
It’s about understanding “what kind of content are prospects going to enjoy 2 days after submitting a contact form, 5 days, 10 or 15 days later, and asking How can we give so much value that they can’t help but associate our company with that value creation?” Brown explained.
“We’ve seen people respond directly to those emails, reference them in our sales meetings, and be more engaged and informed during our first few weeks of discussion before they become a client.”
12. Automate Your Follow-Up Sequence
“Once a presentation is made,” Sean Dudayev of Frootful Marketing explained, “you have a limited time to close your customer before they forget all about your product or service. An automated follow-up process ensures that every salesperson on your team follows the science of your system without fail and allows greater opportunity to turn an engaged shopper into a customer.”
Nicole Suther of Human Marketing recommended setting up a follow-up sequence specifically for unprovoked website visits: “When a visitor returns to your website without being asked (ie. they didn’t click on an email or ad to return to your site), that means your business is top of mind for them. Set up automation for your sales team to follow up with that lead.”
Dudayev added that they saw pretty stellar results after implementing their automated follow-up sequence.
“Once we implemented this on our team, we saw a near 10% increase in deals closed within two weeks of the sales presentation. The clients that I‘ve implemented this system with all saw leads close faster and at a higher rate. Not only that, but there was less time spent chasing down leads that weren’t interested, which saves your salespeople time and energy to pursue leads that are willing to buy.
13. Draw Out Your Whole Sales Process Before You Automate Anything
BOOM Marketing Agency’s David Balogh emphasized how important it is to lay out your whole sales process before you start automating anything—that way you have a clear picture of which steps can best be automated to help move deals faster. “The most important thing is to plan and define your sales process first, before even touching any software or tool.”
“As soon as you know this information (and you can see it visually), you’ll be able to define smaller steps inside every stage. These are the manual tasks and automated workflows which you have to perform for every deal. The more tasks you can turn into automated steps, the better and faster your sales process is going to get,” Balogh explained.
And Balogh’s team has seen the results to back up their method: “I managed to reduce the time I spend working on deals by more than 70%, our capacity grew to 1.5x, and thanks to the processes the quality of our work also increased.”
Editor’s note: Looking for a way to visualize your entire funnel? Download this free HubSpot Mktg Funnel dashboard to view each stage of the sales cycle with conversion rates and more.
14. Let AI Find and Recommend Sales Opportunities
Anil Kaul of Absolutdata explained how artificial intelligence (AI) can enable sales automation tools to do even more of the traditionally manual, human-powered aspects of selling.
“Effective AI-powered sales tools provide two things: (1) Clear action recommendations, not just insights, customized for each individual salesperson based on rich data and (2) recommendation rationale as to why a recommendation was made, to provide the salesperson with spot-on talking points relevant to a specific contact.”
“AI accelerates the sales process,” Kaul explained, “by sifting through mounds of data to find timely opportunities likely to close soon, and empowers the salesperson with points that will motivate a purchase.”
Close Deals Faster by Using Sales Automation Tools Effectively
Sales automation tools can do a lot to shorten the sales cycle and takes leads through to conversion faster—but only if you put them to work effectively. By leveraging some of the use cases our sales experts outlined, you can turn sales automation into more closed deals.
Relay Decision Making to End-users
The end-users determine the success of a tool, therefore their opinion needs to be incorporated as early as possible. Users need to be enabled with the power to share an opinion on various parameters, report glitches and suggest improvements. The tool must be prepared in a way to easily switch between various use cases, such as revenue growth vs market share valuation, and report actions as well as expected results easily to the user.
Enterprises need to do a bit of soft launching, perhaps within departments, before adopting a tool in an operational framework. This can point out flaws in a simulated and controlled environment. It is also important to know the context, purpose and targeted objective from an analytical tool and not implement it arbitrarily. After all, the weapon is as good as the wielder, and these solutions can only prove to be worth the effort if they are guided by a strong vision and quantifiable goals. Once these goals are achieved, the organization’s culture gradually makes a transition towards being adoptive towards cutting-edge solutions that optimize productivity while reducing efforts and costs, the ultimate goal for any enterprise functioning in the current competitive business ecosystem.