Why Business Owners Should Care About Sales Automation
If you want your business to do well, you’re going to have to sell: that means tracking down potential customers, building great relationships with them, and ultimately inspiring them to buy from you.
But it can all seem so overwhelming.
When your business is small and growing, you don’t necessarily have the staff or the resources to simply delegate the selling to your sales team. You are the sales team (and the marketing team, and the accounting team, and the everything-else-that-needs-to-be-done team)!
So you have to be smart about how you spend your time—and that means automating as much of your day as possible. We’ve already shown you how to automate your marketing and your day-to-day tasks. Today, we’ll look at how you can automate your sales process, including how to:
- Automatically find more customers
- Automate outreach and follow up when it matters
- Make meetings happen effortlessly
- Create automatic sales workflows
You’ll find these tips useful if you rely on direct relationships and interactions to generate new business—for example, if you’re a consultant who works with business executives or a cleaning service that serves local companies.
4 Ways to Sell More in Less Time With Sales Automation:
1. Automatically find more customers
First things first: you need to find people who are interested in your product or service. That process can suck up a lot of your time unless you know how to generate a targeted list of potential customers quickly.
Luckily, a number of services can help you automate almost the entire process. Here’s background on a few of them:
- LinkedIn Sales Navigator. LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator gives you a spate of advanced search filters that aren’t available to regular users. With it, you can target people and companies based on recent growth, specific zip codes, and even interests they have in common with you. Sales Navigator will also search for relevant leads while you’re out doing other things, generating targeted lists of people for you to follow up with later. Try out its “advanced search” function to get started. Simply save your search, give it a name, and tell LinkedIn whether you want it to send you new prospect lists daily or weekly.
- GrowBots. Growbots can also help you generate high-quality contact lists, thanks to a self-updating database that’s refreshed constantly. We love its email campaign feature, too, which sends out personal emails on your behalf, follows up automatically, and stops campaigns for those prospects who aren’t interested. Then, it forwards only positive replies to your inbox, where you can pick up the sale from there.
- HipLead. HipLead generates lists of potential leads on your behalf, delivering anywhere from 1,000 to over 4,000 contacts per month. It can seamlessly connect to your CRM system and offers email campaigns with A/B testing so you can see which emails get the best response rates. HipLead can also keep track of which types of leads perform best, so it can give you more of the same.
2. Automate outreach and follow up when it matters
Now that you have a way to find prospective customers, how do you keep track of all those people? That’s where a CRM (customer relationship management) system becomes a must-have.
A CRM will keep track of all your lead and contact information and give you a clear picture of where people are in the sales funnel, so you can reach out at just the right moment to encourage a sale. A good CRM will let you quickly add your own leads, and you can also set it up to capture leads from other places (for example, when a potential customer fills out a form on your website).
With sales, timing is everything—so you can’t just keep a list of contacts in an Excel sheet somewhere and follow up whenever you find a spare moment. Steady, timely follow-up is the key to making the sale. Consider this: 80% of all sales happen FIVE phone calls after an initial meeting, according to The Brevet Group. If you don’t have a CRM system that reminds you to follow up consistently, those potential sales can vanish. Here’s another example of why timing’s so important: A 2015 Velocify study discovered that if you call a new lead within the first minute, it increases your chance of converting them by 391%. If you wait 30 minutes, that drops your chances to 62%!
The nice thing about a CRM is that it automates a huge part of that relationship: it keeps track of contact details, reminds you to reach out at just the right moment, and helps you move prospects through the sales funnel with steady, consistent contact.
To get started with a CRM that’s right for you, check out our guide to small business CRM systems.
3. Make meetings happen effortlessly
Once your lead generation and CRM systems are set up, you should be in regular contact with potential customers. At some point, you may want to arrange an in-person meeting with them to close the deal. Don’t miss your chance with a back-and-forth email exchange that takes days to unfold and makes your momentum fizzle.
Our BookSimple tool can help you go from “When’s a good time?” to “Pick what works best for you, and let’s do this!” It’s an easy-to-use tool that syncs everything to your calendar and automatically follows up with a confirmation. You can also try out Assistant.to, which lets you set up meetings right from your Gmail inbox.
4. Create automatic sales workflows
Everyone’s sales process is a little different, and businesses use different tools to get things done. For example, you might use MailChimp for email outreach, but someone else might use Constant Contact. You might use web forms to capture leads while someone else relies on email opt-ins.
When you depend on several different tools in your business toolbox, how do you make them all work together? That’s where automated workflow services can come in handy. These services can streamline a huge chunk of your sales process and free you up to do other things:
- Automate.io. Automate.io lets your various apps talk to each other so they can work together seamlessly. So, for example, if someone fills out a form on your website, you can have Automate.io trigger Gmail to send you a notification about it, which then triggers MailChimp to add that person to a lead nurturing campaign. You can then have it wait a few days, check the person’s email open rate, and if they’re engaged, add them as a contact to your CRM.
- Zapier. Zapier follows the same basic idea as Automat.io, and can make hundreds of different apps work together to execute an automated workflow of your choice. You can set up Zapier to automate any combination of things—like seamlessly adding new contacts to your CRM wherever they happen to come from, whether it’s a web form, survey response, or email opt-in.
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