Are you one of those sales reps that spend only one-third of your day actually selling? Does the rest of your day go to administrative tasks that could have easily been automated? Or are you managing a team with sales reps that spend hours and hours logging deal-related activity in the CRM system and searching for decks hiding somewhere in an unnamed folder on their computer? Then this article is for you.
Sales professional's job is to–no surprise here–sell. Here's a complete guide to how you can automate repetitive tasks throughout every step of the sales process with the help from modern sales technologies and sales intelligence.
Newsflash: by spending less time on repetitive tasks that can be automated you'll be able to sell more.
1. Automate sales prospecting
With a dynamic company database like Vainu, you can use endless criteria to filter out the most promising companies based on both their static data and insights from open data. Using our lead generation tool, you can also set up customized notification and get Slack, email or in-app notifications once a new company matches your description of one of your company’s ideal customer profiles.
In other words, you’ll receive a prequalified list of prospects on a recurring basis without lifting a finger.
2. Streamline your lead enrichment
Knowledge is power. Information about your prospect’s company size, industry, and solutions, as well as their responsibilities, social media presence, current vendors, and so forth, will help you connect successfully with them.
With a lead generation tool like Vainu, you’ll receive a prequalified list of prospects on a recurring basis without lifting a finger.
Vainu’s web indexing technology scans through myriads of data every day and categorizes this haphazard data into easy to grasp company insights presented on every company card in our software. An up-to-date, comprehensive profile of your prospect is only a few clicks away.
Thanks to Vainu’s CRM integrations with platforms like Salesforce Sales Cloud, Pipedrive and HubSpot you can also import a company’s basic data from Vainu to your CRM in a matter of seconds or use your CRM data during the sales prospecting process.
3. Say no to manual CRM data entry
It's the 21st century, don't tell me you still update contacts and opportunities in your CRM by hand? I thought so. It's great that you've set up workflows with your marketing software to automatically track the history of leads who meet certain criteria! I mean, it's so easy to, for example, define all leads that have requested to see a demo of your tool as “qualified”.
Have you also integrated your lead sources with your CRM? If not, I recommend you do that right now. And have a look at Zapier, a third-party tool that seamlessly connects your apps, if there’s no native integration available.
4. Tap into email automation
Do you still type out standard sentences you send frequently to prospects or copy and paste messages? Please don't. Instead, write master versions of the emails you regularly deliver and save them as templates.
Personalize no more than 30 to 50 percent of your sales email. Beyond that point, personalization has diminishing returns according to a HubSpot study.
5. Sales collateral repository
Reps spend a third of their time finding or creating content to send to prospects, according to Hubspot. Make sure your organization has a central place, e.g. a shared Google Drive folder, where you store content. This will make it easier to keep the most important sales documents up to date. Also, having content in an easily accessible place saves time for reps before and after every prospect interaction.
As your content library grows, you might want to start using a more robust document tracking solution to gain detailed analytics and insights about what content your prospects interact with and when. Have a look at Gigatrak, Fluix or Octive.
6. Meeting scheduling
Scheduling a sales meeting over email can be like a tennis rally. You send one proposed time to meet over to your prospect who answers with another suggested meeting time, then you counter with a third and so on. This is not only time-consuming and tedious, but can also kill the momentum in your sales process.
Use a meeting-scheduling tool like ScheduleOnce, Calendly, Time Trade or Timebridge. These tools all give your prospect direct access to your calendar and allows them to schedule the meeting at any free slot. Add the custom scheduling links into your email templates and signatures. Many tools offer free trials, so it's easy to get started.
7. AI-powered sales calls analysis
Making a new sales call or reviewing an old one? Given the choice you probably always go with the first alternative above, even though you know that self-reflection is important to be able to improve your sales methods.
Sales conversation intelligence software helps you quickly see what topics you covered in a call, what competitors you mentioned and hone the talk-to-listen ration.
Luckily, in the era of AI, there are smart technologies that can do the greater part of the self-reflecting job for you. Platforms like Gong and Chorus pull out key pieces of your conversations and gives you AI-powered insights about the conversation. Sales conversation intelligence softwares help you quickly see what topics you covered in a call, what competitors you mentioned and hone the talk-to-listen ration.
8. Deal management automation
The average sales rep spends one hour on CRM administration for every two hours he/she spends on selling. Automating deal-related activity is a no-brainer; there are plenty of tools that will record your calls, meetings, and emails for you. Start exploring the workflow automation section in your CRM.
9. Contracts and documents
An increasing number of contracts and proposals are sent and signed electronically. Tools offering solutions for e-signing, e.g. Hellosign, Adobe Sign and GetAccept offer plenty of interesting analytics functions and features that can help increase proposal conversion. For instance, you can see when a contract is being opened by your prospect or create a workflow where a sent proposal is followed by a friendly reminder to sign if the initial proposal hasn’t been answered within a reasonable amount of time.
And forget having to draft every proposal or quote yourself or having to copy and paste relevant details about your prospect from emails, notes and CRM. Smart tools like PandaDoc can fill in this basic company information for you.
As a real, live person, you add a critical and irreplaceable element of humanity to sales.
Could there be too much automation?
As a real, live person, you add a critical and irreplaceable element of humanity to sales. By putting people through an overly automated sales process you’ll undeniably find it more challenging to differentiate your offer from competitors’.
A good rule of thumb is that all types of administrative tasks easily can be automated, while contact with the potential or existing customer should continue to be carried out with at least a level of manual work.