It’s crucial for today’s sales teams to take advantage of automation to stay ahead of the competition. Otherwise, you risk low sales team productivity—partly due to time being wasted on repetitive, non-selling activities like CRM updates, administrative tasks, and manual email follow-ups.
Sales automation is a powerful tool that can help streamline your sales processes, improve your team's productivity, and increase your revenue.
In this blog post, we’ll cover exactly what sales automation is, its benefits, and a step-by-step guide on how to get started. Plus, we’ll look at ten sales activities that you can automate today—with suggestions on sales automation tools worth checking out that can help with each one.
Let’s jump in.
What is sales automation?
Sales automation refers to the use of technology to automate repetitive and time-consuming sales tasks. The goal is to free up sales reps' time, allowing them to focus on high-value sales activities.
Sales automation can include a variety of tools, including lead enrichment tools, email outreach software, and compensation management platforms.
Benefits of sales automation
Implementing sales automation technology can provide numerous benefits to your sales team, including:
- Increasing your team's productivity – By automating repetitive, manual tasks like data entry and lead nurturing, sales reps have more time to focus on selling.
- Speeding up the sales cycle – Automated workflows can help move leads through the sales funnel more quickly, helping to speed up the sales cycle.
- Improving CRM data quality – By automating sales data entry and management, you can ensure that customer data in your CRM is always accurate and up-to-date.
How to get started with sales automation in 5 steps
Ready to get started with sales automation? Follow these steps.
Step 1: Define your sales process
Start by outlining all the activities that comprise your sales process. As you’re jotting them down, look for opportunities to automate one or more of these activities.
One example of sales process automation could be scheduling a call with a customer after they’ve provided you with a suitable date and time via email. Rather than having to extract this data manually, a sales automation platform can be used to grab relevant data from emails and calendars and enter it directly into your CRM, well, automatically.
Step 2: Choose a sales automation solution
Next, choose a sales automation solution for automating a specific activity. Pay attention to the following when evaluating sales automation software:
- Features – Make a list of all the features you need in a sales automation tool and use it when reviewing different software options.
- Integrations – Does it integrate with your existing sales tech stack?
- Ease of use – Is it easy to use, or will you need to spend time training your team on how to use it?
Step 3: Get executive buy-in
If you need executive buy-in to purchase sales automation software, you’ll likely need to make a business case for it. You can focus on the following benefits when making a business case for a sales automation solution:
- Alignment with business goals (e.g., “It’s going to help us increase the number of closed deals by XX%.”)
- Saving time (e.g., “We’ll save our reps X hours per week, which results in a costs savings of $XXXX.“)
- Improving productivity (e.g., “It’s going to help us eliminate repetitive tasks so reps can spend more time selling.”)
Step 4: Start with a trial period
You don’t have to roll out a sales automation solution across your entire sales organization at once. Start with a trial period (e.g., one month) and consider having just a part of the team use it.
Depending on how it goes, you can choose to gradually increase the trial group or period, or officially launch it to the rest of the organization.
Step 5: Analyze the results
Analyze the results of the trial period and determine if it makes sense to continue using a particular solution. If not, try a different solution.
Look for solutions that offer free trials, so that if it doesn’t work out, cancellation is simple.
10 sales activities you can automate today
Now that you know how to get started with sales automation, let’s look at the top ten sales activities you can automate today.
1. CRM data entry
Updating records and opportunities in your CRM software can take up a lot of your sales team’s time. Not only is it repetitive and tedious, but it can also lead to inaccurate data due to human error, which in turn results in poor sales pipeline health, bad forecasts, and lost deals.
You can avoid all of these issues by automating sales activity tracking using a tool like Weflow. It can automatically track your sales team’s emails and tasks, and then sync these to Salesforce in seconds.
This eliminates the need for reps to waste time manually inputting data, as well as ensures all relevant data ends up in your CRM.
2. Lead enrichment
Gathering information on leads can be a time-consuming process, but with the help of software, you can easily automate it.
Lead enrichment tools provide valuable information, like contact and company details on your leads, helping your sales team to better target their outreach efforts and close deals faster.
Tools like ZoomInfo and Apollo.io can help automate lead enrichment by providing accurate and up-to-date information on your target prospects, enabling you to focus on the most promising leads and maximize your sales efforts.
3. Outbound calling
Traditional outbound and cold calling can be a draining and repetitive task for sales teams. With AI-powered sales automation tools like Orum and Nooks, you can automate outbound calling—streamlining your sales process, increasing sales productivity, and improving the quality of your sales calls.
These tools can help you reach more prospects in less time by using an automated dialing system to make multiple calls simultaneously, logging calls to your CRM, and routing calls to appropriate sales reps based on specific criteria.
4. Sales call transcription and analysis
Another area where sales automation can be incredibly useful is in sales call transcription and analysis. Sales reps are always on the phone with prospects and customers, and this can generate a lot of valuable data. But, it can be challenging to sift through this data and extract meaningful insights.
Some of the best sales automation tools in this space include Dialpad, Chorus, Fathom, and Avoma. These solutions can automatically transcribe sales calls and analyze them for you.
These tools use natural language processing and machine learning algorithms to identify keywords and phrases in your sales calls.
Dialpad, for example, can even analyze the sentiment on live calls, so sales managers can view how all calls are going at a glance (including a real-time transcription) and proactively jump in as needed to help turn an experience around.
5. Email outreach
Email outreach is another sales activity that can be automated using the right tools. Sales reps spend a lot of time crafting and sending emails to prospects and customers, and this can be a real time-suck.
Some of the best sales automation software options for automating email outreach include Salesloft, Outreach, Groove, and Mixmax. These tools can help you create email templates, schedule emails in advance, and track email opens and clicks.
They also allow you to personalize your emails by automatically inserting the recipient's name, company, and other relevant information.
6. Direct mail and gifting
Direct mail and gifting can be a powerful way to build relationships with prospects and customers. Tools like Reachdesk and Sendoso can help automate this process, allowing you to send gifts or direct mail to prospects or customers directly from your CRM.
You can set up triggers and rules that automatically send gifts or mailers based on certain events or actions (e.g., a prospect attending a webinar or a customer reaching a milestone).
These tools also provide tracking and reporting capabilities, so you can see how effective your gifting and direct mail campaigns are.
7. Lead routing
Lead management and routing are important parts of the sales process. But doing this manually can be time-consuming and error-prone.
Tools like Chili Piper and Leandata can help automate lead routing. These tools allow you to set up rules for lead routing based on specific criteria, such as geography, industry, or company size.
They also provide real-time routing, so leads are automatically assigned to the right sales rep as soon as they come in.
8. Lead scoring
Lead scoring is the process of assigning a score to each lead based on their level of engagement and interest in your product or service. This allows you to prioritize your sales efforts and focus on the leads that are most likely to convert.
Tools like Breadcrumbs.io can help automate lead scoring by using AI and machine learning algorithms to analyze data from your CRM and other sources. This allows you to quickly identify the most promising leads and prioritize your sales efforts accordingly.
9. Scheduling meetings
Scheduling meetings can be a frustrating process, especially when you’re trying to coordinate with multiple people. Without automated tools, this process can involve a lot of back-and-forth emails and phone calls, which can waste a lot of time.
Tools like Calendly help automate the process of scheduling meetings by allowing prospects or customers to view your availability and schedule a meeting at a time that works for both parties.
This can save a lot of time and make the scheduling process a lot more efficient.
10. Compensation management
Managing sales compensation can be a complex process, especially if you have a large sales team with different compensation plans. Without automated tools, this process can involve a lot of manual calculations and paperwork.
Tools like QuotaPath and Forma.ai can help automate compensation management by providing a centralized platform for managing sales compensation. These tools allow you to set up and manage different compensation plans, track sales performance metrics, and calculate commissions automatically.
Boost your team’s productivity with sales automation
Sales automation can help your team be more productive, speed up the sales cycle, and improve CRM data quality. Plus, you can free up your team's time and resources to focus on high-value tasks like building relationships with customers and closing deals.
Go through our best sales automation tips above one more time and pick one to implement this week.