We’ve been automating processes to make our lives easier since the Industrial Revolution, when mechanization replaced the need for human labor to make tools and other devices. Today, computers power some of the world’s most important processes, from car manufacturing to medical procedures to farming. In every instance, automation takes the manual work out of everyday operations so professionals can concentrate on the things that truly require human brainpower.
One of the first business applications of automation was in sales. Sales automation provides a great way for companies to simplify repetitive, time-consuming tasks like data entry and customer communications. Automation is now the backbone of sales systems like customer relationship management (CRM), lead generation, and email marketing, helping the salesperson close more deals in less time—with less manpower.
What Is Sales Automation?
Sales automation is the technology that automates repetitive sales tasks so reps can focus instead on relationship building and closing deals. CRM software is the most common sales automation solution, even incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) to help predict upcoming actions and automate or trigger next steps.
Sales automation software is now table stakes for any company serious about outpacing the competition—and Outlook and Excel alone just won’t cut it. That’s because it does the job of multiple reps to fill the sales pipeline and identify the most lucrative opportunities.
How Does Sales Automation Help?
Today’s sales automation technology does so much more than manage leads. It can fill your funnel, enter data, trigger prospect and customer communications, accelerate deals, and aid in the renewal process. The benefits of sales automation platforms are many:
- Boost productivity. When your sales team isn’t bogged down entering in lead data from paper forms or sending one-off emails, they’re free to focus on the bigger picture aspects of the sales cycle. They can hone in on defining and showcasing what makes your brand unique to build stronger pitches and cultivate tighter prospect relationships. They can get more done by letting the sales automation platform do the work.
- Increase lead-to-sale ratios. Convert more leads to customers by identifying and nurturing the right leads. AI-led sales automation helps you chart patterns in converted customers to identify the most viable leads early on. That way, you spend more time having the right conversations than performing extra work for leads that are less likely to convert.
- Reduce costs per sale. Every hour a salesperson spends on manual tasks costs the company money and manpower. When you automate tasks and workflows like lead management, nurturing, and data entry, you give sales reps the freedom to spend time on higher-value activities like pitching and making contact with warm leads.
- Shorten the sales cycle. Don’t let the sale cycle drag on for months when you know what actions will close it in a shorter time. Sales automation gets you there faster with automated communications for immediate lead follow-up, next-step advice for accelerated deal velocity, and accurate predictions that help you make better decisions.
- Gather more insightful data. Gleaning the right insights matters. The best sales platforms allow you to automatically analyze actionable insights from a broad range of social and business sources. This allows reps to get important updates on key accounts with built-in, real-time alerts. With actionable intelligence, you can even improve your sales process and increase sales productivity by over 30%.
How Do You Integrate Sales Automation Into Your CRM?
The short answer is you shouldn’t have to! The industry’s best CRMs are synonymous with sales automation because every feature is already digital and easy to use. This includes features like lead prioritization, forecasting, email marketing and nurture campaigns, guided selling, and much more.
If you must integrate your chosen sales automation tool and CRM, you should be able to check with your provider’s app marketplace to see if a native integration is already available. Third-party integration apps like Zapier or Workato then connect the two systems.
How to Get Started with Sales Automation
No matter which sales automation software you choose, it will take a little elbow grease and planning to ensure the highest adoption rate and ROI. Approach sales automation implementation with a well-developed strategy that accounts for your sales reps’ needs and your overall goals.
- Gather sales rep expectations.
Talk with your sales team to understand what they need to win deals. Ask what their biggest challenges are and what features they would most appreciate in a sales CRM.
- Take inventory of energy-wasting tasks.
What processes currently bog your team down? Do the most time-consuming tasks help you generate revenue or are they low-value? Identify which activities consume the most energy and seek tools that directly address those areas.
- Compare sales automation tools to find the right fit.
Do your research to identify the most helpful automation tools and how each one can uniquely meet your needs. Compare prices to determine overall value.
- Use your CRM regularly.
Once you’ve implemented a new sales automation system, boost ROI by accurately training new users and eliminating outdated processes so adoption stays high. Regular use will expose the most useful parts of the CRM and help reps become accustomed to a more efficient way of doing things.
- Continually optimize with expert help.
Your sales process needs will change with regular CRM use. Continually glean insights from the data you collect and track progress against KPIs to see what’s working and what’s not. Then, work with your provider’s services team to work toward new goals and specific outcomes.
The Only Automation Tool You Need
The Sugar platform automates all your most common sales activities while letting you see your customers in high-definition. That means crystal clear views informed by the most accurate internal and external data available.
Sugar is designed to let the platform do the work. With inherent automation in every feature, Sugar allows you to eliminate busy work, uncover blind spots in data, and overcome sales and marketing friction with a more dependable pipeline. No bells and whistles. No need for extensive add-ons. Just the most reliable, native sales automation.
See the difference for yourself. Watch a demo of Sugar Sell to get started today.