There are few things as irksome as the repetition of needless, time-consuming work. The feeling that your attention could be better used elsewhere—that a task is so simple it could be done by a computer—is enough to force the question: Isn’t there a better way?
In many cases, workflow automation is that better way. Whether accomplished through your CRM, marketing platform, or another business system, automation can transform basic data into useful information, streamline tedious form filling, and make the most of an employee’s time.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in a business’s sales department. This is an area where there is no shortage of data to be processed, basic tasks to be automated, and staff time to be better served to do higher-level tasks. The sales team might be the business unit for which workflow automation will have its greatest impact on the bottom line.
So, how can automation software do the most good for a sales team? Here are five workflows your sales team should automate:
1. Lead delivery
When used correctly, marketing automation can nurture prospects by providing them with personalized and useful marketing content that prepares them for a sales conversation and ultimately sees them become customers.
The first step in that journey is to deliver leads to the right reps who can convert them. By automating the lead delivery process, a business can not only cut out needless manual efforts for getting prospects in front of the right people but also prioritize which potential customers are closest to buying.
With automation software, you can establish rules so that leads with certain qualifications are routed to specific agents, with just the right amount of detail. Based on the sales team’s feedback, you can modify those rules and refine the process, eventually building the perfect pipeline.
2. Follow-up emails
The follow-up email may be an unsung hero in the sales world. It’s amazing how much can be accomplished with a simple note sent at the right time in the right context. But it’s not surprising that many sales representatives see this as a menial task and fail to take the time to do it.
Research conducted by Penn State University found that sales departments do not pursue 70 percent of leads generated—something researchers termed the “sales lead black hole.” If that figure could be brought down to zero with minimal effort, imagine how many more leads would convert into customers.
With workflow automation, you can draft follow-up emails and send them based on triggers like submitting a form on a website, clicking on an ad, or viewing one of your product pages. What’s more, the follow-up message can be personalized with all kinds of details, ensuring that the email is as impactful as it is efficient.
3. Customer onboarding
Customer onboarding is the most crucial and nerve-wracking step in any sales pipeline. It is the moment of truth. So it stands to reason that any sales team would welcome some help in automating the process.
The power of seamless customer onboarding may best be demonstrated by the fact that 40 to 60 percent of software users open an app once and then never again. Getting prospects acclimated easily when you have the chance is vital.
With marketing automation software, onboarding becomes an opportunity to demonstrate your company’s digital acumen and a preview of how easy and efficient life will be as a customer. Automating customer onboarding can give those customers the chance to engage with you through mobile technology, serve themselves with digital self-service, and work on whatever schedule is best for them.
4. Price quoting
When sales professionals are doing something other than selling or sales development, they’re wasting time. One of the biggest time eaters in the sales department is the process of sending quotes and proposals.
By automating the price quoting process, sales teams can save several hours every single time. This will free your sales team for more crucial tasks. It will also provide customers with a consistent look and pricing strategy, which will improve their purchasing experience. Finally, automated price quoting can cut down on training time for new employees and can be integrated with other automated systems, like CRM software.
5. Lead scoring
Lead scoring is an invaluable tool for a marketing and sales team. Not all leads are in the same part of the sales pipeline, and the more information that sales staff can access the better equipped they are to succeed.
But, according to Demand Gen Report, 32 percent of B2B companies don’t use lead scoring, and of the rest who do, 40 percent say their lead scoring is ineffective. Automation software for lead scoring is still a viable tool to give your sales team a leg up on the competition, but you have to put in the work to build a rubric that reflects the needs of the sales team and the nuances of your buyer’s journey.
An automated lead scoring system can monitor buying signals, record a prospect’s position and present it in an easy to understand way and help sales staff focus their attention on the best leads. That is just one of many ways that automated workflows can make your sales team the best it can be.