7 reasons to invest in sales automation now

  • Companies hit or exceed revenue targets
  • High-growth is easier with automation
  • Automation is possible for at least 30% of sales activities
  • CRMs make automation easier
  • Automation improves the prospects experience
  • Forecasting gets more accurate with automation
  • AI increases productivity and reduces costs

If the global pandemic has taught sales teams anything, it’s that when the old ways of thinking and working aren’t effective, changes need to be made. In many countries, suddenly everyone was working from home (field, inbound and outbound teams).

Ways of working had to adapt and in some cases, change completely. Automation, which is the process of automating aspects of an operational area and workflows that we’re done manually, increased in popularity.

At the same time, customers wanted an easier sales process. So as companies started automating more, sales prospects started to respond to those efforts. If you are new to automation, then this article looks at seven good reasons for automating more of the sales process.

#1: Companies hit or exceed revenue targets

Automation makes it easier to hit or exceed sales targets.

Assuming the tasks that can be automated used to take salespeople 7 hours a week, that’s an extra 7 hours they can spend talking to prospects and selling. Swapping lower-value time for higher-value activities makes a huge amount of sense, and contributes to sales teams being more successful thanks to automation.

According to HubSpot, companies that used automation were 61% more likely to hit and even exceed sales targets, despite the challenges of 2020.

#2: High-growth is easier with automation

High-growth companies are ones that have either experienced faster than average growth organically. Or they’re VC or PE-backed, and therefore have been accelerated down the road of high growth. This often means adopting a positive attitude to as much automation as possible, usually early into a growth journey.

According to a Hinge Research Institute study, 31% of high-growth firms are more likely to use automation within sales teams, and other operational areas.

#3: Automation is possible for at least 30% of sales activities

If you are thinking, “It’s starting to sound like a good idea, but what can we automate?”

It turns out, when it comes to sales, you can automate at least 30% of everything the team currently does (assuming we are starting from the basis of nothing has been automated yet), based on McKinsey research.

Everything from generating sales leads to numerous admin tasks, to scheduling sales calls/demos with inbound prospects, can be automated. Start with looking at everything the sales team does, then determine the tasks that software solutions and new processes could automate.

#4: CRMs make automation easier

According to HubSpot, which conveniently offers a CRM used by thousands of companies around the world, there are a number of things you can automate within this and numerous other popular CRMs, such as:

  • Meeting scheduling, both for inbound and outbound teams;
  • Content automation, such as when articles, landing pages and other content marketing assets are published and scheduled (as part of an inbound marketing effort);
  • Generating quotes and proposals. Another upside is these proposals can be tracked, and the financial data automatically filters into the CRM, giving sales managers a more accurate idea of the state of the sales pipeline.
  • Meeting follow-ups. How easy is it to forget to follow up after a meeting? Far too easy. Make sure this is automated, thereby giving you a better chance of converting every sales lead.
  • Lead scoring, which is a useful way of assessing the viability of the sales pipeline.
  • Assigning sales leads to team members.

#5: Automation improves the prospects experience

Prospects want the sales process to be as smooth as possible. It’s a trend that’s accelerated in the pandemic, that more buyers want the B2B sales process closer to eCommerce. More are preferring to avoid an interaction with a member of a sales team if possible. That means making it smoother, especially when the cost is relatively low, more of it can be automated.

#6: Forecasting gets more accurate with automation

With all of the data in a CRM, forecasting should get more accurate, and this can be automated. Also known as predictive intelligence, Salesforce expects use of this to increase 139% in the next three years.

#7: AI increases productivity, reduces costs

At the business end of automation is Artificial Intelligence (AI). Usually, this is when you’ve got complex processes to automate or vast amounts of data flowing through systems and databases that need organising in ways that make more sense.

Although there is, or was, a lot of hype around AI, the reality is that it takes time to understand and implement. Businesses often need to work with specialist providers, and these usually need to deploy software engineers and big data scientists to help tackle automation using AI.

However, once you’ve got to the stage whereby an AI (or machine learning) project has been implemented, it saves companies money. According to McKinsey, 44% of businesses find cost savings once AI has been adopted within an organisation. Although not enough companies are putting it to use yet on a larger scale, there are numerous ways within sales that AI could be implemented to automate and improve the sales process.

As you can see, there are numerous ways in which automation helps sales teams. Now more than ever is a good time to invest in activities and software that will make sales teams more productive and therefore help them close more deals.

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Originally published on the CrankWheel blog.