Anybody who's spent time in the sales and marketing field understands the frustration encountered when leads get lost in the shuffle. Even the most diligent sales teams often miss following up on crucial leads due to sales staff being under the gun and lacking strategic support.
This is where sales automation software comes into its own.
Sales automation can be seen as a digital PA, allowing SMBs to automate a range of tasks, freeing up the sales team to focus on what they do best — selling.
Further, by integrating sales automation into your customer relationship management (CRM) platform, your team can save time, predict sales with improved accuracy, increase leads, and ultimately close more deals. The long and short of it? Sales automation in CRM is good for the bottom line. And marketing professionals worldwide are clearly catching on, with 60% of marketing decision-makers increasing their automation budget in 2023.
In this article, we'll look at the finer points of sales automation, particularly as it relates to CRM tools. We'll discuss how these platforms can benefit your wider team, and how to leverage them to create a successful sales automation strategy.
So let's dive in.
Sales automation software refers to a range of applications whose main function is to mechanize repetitive tasks.
Sales automation tools help sales professionals streamline their workflows and free up valuable time to focus on tasks that benefit from the human touch, such as chasing promising leads, building lasting relationships, and closing deals.
Sales and marketing automation software encompass a range of functionalities designed to move prospective customers through the sales pipelines. Features often include lead management, contact management, email marketing campaigns, and task scheduling.
Furthermore, sales automation can significantly reduce costs. 44% of firms using AI reported a reduction in business costs in departments where automation is implemented.
If you've ever automated your emails or interacted with a bot while making an online purchase, then you've likely had some experience with sales automation software.
There are several ways sales automation functionality is used across sales teams, including:
While automation has been coded into sales and CRM software for some time, the recent developments in artificial intelligence have elevated automation to the next level. The advanced functionality of AI means automation software can now use past interactions and experiences to improve how they perform the tasks required of them. This means more accurate analytics and greater levels of personalization.
Sales automation can streamline the sales process, reducing customer friction and enabling a more enjoyable customer experience via multiple touchpoints.
With 77% of B2B buyers stating that their last purchase was very complex or difficult, sales process automation is essential for sales teams looking to stay ahead of the curve.
Sales automation has been shown to offer numerous benefits to sales organizations. Automating sales activities empowers teams to achieve higher levels of success through the following key advantages.
By its very design, sales automation is designed to remove manual tasks and timely business processes such as data entry, lead nurturing, appointment scheduling, and emailing. Studies from McKinsey show that 30% of all sales operation tasks can now be automated.
By automating these often tedious tasks via a sales automation platform, sales and marketing teams are freed up to focus on high-value sales tasks such as building relationships and closing deals — tasks that benefit greatly from the human touch.
Recent research on “outsourcing” these marketing activities to sales tools found 38% of sales staff reported making better use of their time.
Automation software allows targeted, timely and tailor-made communications with your customer base. While it may seem counter-intuitive, automation can provide a more personalized experience for your clients.
By keeping track of customer interactions, sales automation allows teams to send timely, relevant messages based on customers' unique profiles. By offering tailored deals and content based on customer preferences, sales teams can engage prospective leads on a deeper level and meet customer needs at every touchpoint.
Automation can be integrated into your business model in a range of ways to create a super-powered, effortlessly connected sales process that improves the customer experience. At TigerLRM, we have an auto-followup communication system, where you can set up a string of communication with the customer, including email and SMS messages.
It's vital to remember that closing a sale is just the beginning of the customer journey. Automation can (and should) be used to ensure your customers are continuously nurtured at all stages of the sales lifecycle.
TigerLRM also recently introduced a ChatGPT-powered AI assistant. Our Tiger AI assistant is designed to answer questions and support customers with tasks via a natural language processing tool. Our aim here isn't to replace the human touch, but rather to enhance our customer service by offering more options.
Surely one of the most appealing benefits of leveraging sales and marketing automation is increased sales. By increasing efficiency and freeing up sales staff, you can ensure no lead gets left behind, sales increase and your business can continue to scale accordingly.
If the above benefits didn't convince you of the power of sales automation, then recent statistics around cost reduction surely will. By automating their pipeline management, sales teams can save millions. Recent research from Insider Intelligence found that the adoption of chatbots alone could save the healthcare, banking, and retail sectors $11 billion annually by 2023.
While there are a range of advantages to be gained from integrating automation into your sales strategy, poor implementation can reap certain drawbacks.
Firstly, finding the right combination of artificial intelligence and human intelligence is a true balancing act. Get it right and you'll create a lean-mean-sales-and-marketing-machine! Get it wrong and your customers will feel undervalued and ultimately fall out of the marketing funnel in their search for a company they feel truly values them - and their business.
Secondly, poor automation strategies (and software) often fail to successfully personalize customer interactions. In a climate where 76% of customers will become frustrated with a company if they find personalization efforts to be lacking, stale, generic, or mistimed communications are like sales kryptonite.
There's often some confusion around the difference between sales automation and CRM software. While sales automation offers a range of tools to support the sales lifecycle, it won't necessarily encompass everything a CRM offers.
Customer relationship management software is vital to streamlined client interactions. It replaces a range of tools, such as spreadsheets, emails, and meeting minutes, organizing all this information into a central database that's accessible to everyone on your team.
CRM software platforms enable teams to manage customer data, analyze it, and use that information to improve the customer experience and generate new sales.
The right CRM will act as a springboard from which sales automation can gain the most firepower, managing and triggering your sales automation with relative ease.
Whereas in the past, teams would employ both a sales or marketing automation tool and a separate CRM, advances in technology mean this is no longer necessary.
However, choosing the right CRM with sales enablement is vital. A great CRM will start earning its keep the moment you start entering data. By tracking leads across all stages of the sales lifecycle, CRMs allow you to identify how, where, and why your team is closing deals. They also show where there are bottlenecks choking your sales funnel and hindering progress.
At TigerLRM we have found that the following industries can benefit enormously from Sales Automation in CRM:
During a global survey conducted earlier in 2023, 63% of marketing decision-makers said they used automation in their email marketing efforts. Further to this, half of respondents surveyed reported using it for social media, while 40% admitted to automating their paid ad efforts.
Despite the overwhelming response in favor of mechanization, this doesn't mean that all businesses should automate all of their processes. Furthermore, sales automation isn't a binary function, existing in a bubble without human intervention.
Therefore, SMEs need to plan, test and implement their sales automation in CRM strategy, evaluating where and when human output should be focused to gain the most from their automation efforts.
Whether you choose top-down deployment or flexible agile methods in your sales automation strategy, using the following path can aid you in defining your journey.
Teams should first identify and quantify tasks in their current workflow which have automation potential. While large corporations will likely outsource this task, SMEs can easily do this in-house by creating a simple spreadsheet covering the following:
The next phase involves a comprehensive review of the above processes, mapping them into prioritized areas. Teams can then:
Sales teams can then set a defined testing period to evaluate what's working and where changes can be made.
The final phase is to slowly scale up your automation processes. Rather than going in all guns blazing, successful automation strategies tend to benefit from a wave approach. Start with a pilot of the most promising and least critical tasks, and expand from there. Integrating the knowledge and expertise of your sales reps and wider team is crucial here to ensure customer buy-in and hedge against risk.
As with any part of your business plan, your automation strategy isn't static. It should be regularly revisited particularly as you start to scale.
In addition to a regular re-evaluation of your automation action plan, companies should ensure they are training and incentivizing sales reps in relevant areas and communicating with stakeholders on all relevant changes. The impact of these changes should be tracked in terms of time and money and KPIs adjusted accordingly.
“90 percent of companies that successfully scale automation invest more than half of their budgets in change management and capability building.” Michael Coyne, John Larson, Jessica Shieh, and Hyo Yeon, “Winning in automation requires a focus on humans,” December 2019, McKinsey.com.
For sales professionals, there's nothing more frustrating than watching leads fly out the door while you're stuck with your head over a computer completing mundane, but essential administrative tasks.
With sales automation in CRM software, sales managers and reps can focus on customer relationships across all stages of the sales lifecycle, increasing productivity, and saving valuable time and money.
At TigerLRM, we've designed our CRM with sales enablement platform to ensure no lead is left behind.
Contact our team to get started on your journey to sales automation success today.
To assign a sales enablement user, simply go to Administrator > User Management > Edit User.
Once you are on the user's information, you can select if you want them to be "Non-Admin," "Admin," or part of the "Enablement Team." Save this information, and your desired user will have the right access.You can access your Dashboard here.