20+ Sales Automation Benefits No Salesperson Can Ignore in 2021
Salespeople are notoriously busy, always in-and-out of meetings and juggling tasks all day.
It’s part of the excitement, and also what draws many to the profession. However, just because you’re busy doesn’t mean you’re productive.
Studies show that salespeople spend 64% of their time working on non-selling tasks, such as:
Attending meetings and reviews
Gathering data, updating the CRM
Looking for leads, qualifying companies
Coming up with documents and presentations
A little context can be useful here. The average sales professional in the US works 40 hours a week (15 of which are spent selling) and earns $12,000 a year in commissions.
Considering this, what would be the impact of increasing the amount of time spent on sales tasks?
In many cases, the result would be more money in their pockets.
We understand that most non-sales tasks play a role in sales success. Even so, not all of them require human involvement. This is where sales automation comes into play.
What is sales automation?
Sales automation is all about streamlining the boring, menial tasks that fill salespeople’s days. By using software to automate processes, sales professionals can focus on what matters the most: selling.
Implementing sales automation can seem daunting at first, but it doesn’t have to be. There are different ways sales teams can leverage automation, including:
Using native automation features in their current software stack (CRM, video meetings)
Buying dedicated tools that automate specific processes (email automation software, automated prospecting tools, sales automation platforms)
Adopting automation platforms to set up automated processes (Make)
We advise everyone to experiment with different sales automation software and methods before committing to a single one. Most solutions can be tested out for free, and this can help you make the right choice down the road.
Now that we have the basics out of the way, let’s take a look at 20+ benefits of implementing sales automation in your organization.
20+ sales automation benefits
In order to make the list more digestible, we broke it down into five categories:
Lead generation automation
Sales productivity automation
Personal brand automation
Sales team processes automation
These areas are key to sales success, but let’s start with the one feared by most: The beast known as lead generation.
Lead generation automation
Maintaining a sales pipeline full of leads is key for every sales rep.
Doing this might not always be your responsibility, but in case it is, automation can help.
1. Getting a constant influx of leads automatically
Manual prospecting is a tiresome task. Unless you’re blessed with somebody doing the grunt for you, chances are that you spend a lot of time on this task.
Scrolling through LinkedIn to collect leads is what many do, but it takes time. Too much of it.
Thankfully, there are a few automation tools that make LinkedIn prospecting easier.
Dux-Soup is perhaps the most famous one, allowing you to:
Auto-connect with other LinkedIn members
Send personalized messages automatically
Key takeaway: Act with caution. People have been banned from LinkedIn for excessive use of automated prospecting tools before.
This said, Dux-Soup is a powerful prospecting tool, especially when coupled with an automation platform like Make.
Image source: Dux Soup
2. Creating a cold email outreach machine
Contrary to popular belief, cold email is alive and kicking. With open rates averaging 27%, it even beats transactional emails in some industries.
On the other hand, cold emailing takes time. In addition, the execution path can get messy, as it required:
Tracking and segmenting audiences
Writing email copy
Gathering analytics and reporting
3. Enriching leads and getting company information
Long gone are the days when salespeople simply picked up the phone and called potential customers out of the blue, “winging it” somehow.
Nowadays, a lot happens before even an email is sent:
Researching the company online
Establishing whether the product or service is a fit
Copying and pasting data in the CRM
Looking for any notable information to bring up
Some of these tasks can be automated, as a lot of information is readily available online.
In addition, you can use Make to automatically add LinkedIn contact info to your CRM.
4. Improving lead quality by qualifying them
Few things are more frustrating than jumping on a call and realize that it won’t go anywhere because the prospect does not fit.
This can be caused by a variety of reasons, including:
The prospect’s budget is insufficient
The prospect misunderstood the product
A critical feature is missing
Sales is misaligned with marketing
There will always be occasional mismatches, but that risk can be reduced by qualifying leads.
Two effective and automatable ways to do this are using forms and lead scoring.
Forms are a great way to ask qualifying questions without dedicating time at it.
By automatically directing leads to a form, you can qualify them based on their answers. Logically, you will only move forward with the best ones.
Alternatively, lead scoring is a way to prioritize leads based on behavior and profile. Lead scoring features are often found in CRMs. They allow you to attribute points and sort leads based on their likelihood to convert.
In addition, you will see less friction between sales and marketing.
Image source: Salesforce
5. Ensuring you don't end up in the spam folder
Sales development representatives send an average of 36.2 emails per day.
Paying attention to open and reply rates is important in email marketing. However, you need to make it into the inbox first. False email addresses, dead accounts, and spam traps can bring key numbers down, and nobody wants that.
Sales productivity automation
High-performers are often focused on improving their day-to-day productivity and making the most out of their time.
But does being busy necessarily mean getting more done?
Working smarter is the answer, as there’s no question that automation can help boost productivity.
6. Reducing time wasted on manual data entry / reducing errors
In a sales context, data entry essentially requires you to copy and paste information. Examples are:
From a company website to the CRM
From the CRM to a contract or proposal
From a note-taking app to a communications tool
With this much transcribing, mistakes are bound to happen.
Integrations between tools are handy to automatically forward information from one app to another.
Make excels at this, as it can easily transfer data between apps and tools, completely error-free.
Image source: Evernote
7. Getting rid of back-and-forths over meeting times
Working out meeting times is always a painful experience, especially when it happens over email.
Even when a date and time is agreed upon, people can easily forget, time zones get mixed up… it’s a mess.
This is easily automatable using scheduling tools like Calendly.
By syncing with your calendar and email, Calendly allows you to select a date and time directly from your schedule. It also features appointment reminders to reduce the risk of no-shows.
8. Generating documents for each lead
Coming up with sales documents is usually quite straightforward, but time-consuming and uninspiring. The process entails repetitive tasks such as:
Replacing logos and names on presentations
Adding names, addresses and tax references to invoices
Updating contract details with client information
Personalizing proposals to fit current deal
The repetitive nature of these tasks can lead to errors, with documents floating around your organization without clear version control.
These steps can easily be streamlined using an automation platform. Using Make, you can pull information from your CRM to populate contracts automatically for example.
Becoming a productivity expert
Staying on top of things is a must, and automation is how you make sure nothing passes you by.
On the other hand, there’s only so much information we can process, especially when it's coming from all directions.
That’s where Make can help, by linking the tools you’re using every day. Whether it’s Trello, Asana or ClickUp, you can turn messages, emails or notes into automated tasks. By doing this, you will ensure everything stays on track.
Personal brand automation
As personal brands become digital currency, everyone is leveraging online communities to grow their career and sell more.
Let’s see how automation can help.
10. Helping leverage social media for your brand
If you're the slightest active online, you know that social media has become a huge part of sales.
Social selling, or the ability for salespeople to leverage their existing network to conduct business, is a force to reckon with.
According to LinkedIn, social selling leaders create 45% more opportunities than their peers.
Building your brand online as a sales leader is a great way to gain exposure and attract opportunities. Adopting social media scheduling tools like Buffer or Hootsuite can help make the process more efficient.
These platforms will allow you to schedule posts in advance. In addition, you will be able to gather analytics and insights on how they perform, with minimal effort.
Image credit: Buffer
11. Monitoring social media
Engaging with industry-specific communities is as powerful as posting content.
Automation can take care of the monitoring, so you don’t spend your time scrolling down feeds.
12. Connecting with peers and mentors
While showcasing your expertise is good to gain exposure, social media is first and foremost a way to connect with others.
Establishing connections with your peers can open up opportunities, or even find career guidance with senior sales leaders.
Relationships need hard work and genuine interest can’t be automated, but we can still give it a little push.
Using Make or tools like Dux-Soup, you can automatically connect with other professionals in your industry on Linkedin for example.
As a nice added bonus, research has shown that you are almost 5x more likely to schedule a first meeting if you have a personal LinkedIn connection.
Having a lot of friends can’t hurt!
Lead generation is key, but things don’t get easier further down the funnel.
As a matter of fact, a Hubspot survey found that 71% of sales professionals say their top priority is to close more deals.
Let’s see how automation can help you with this.
13. Reacting faster to inbound leads
Inbound leads cost 61% less on average than outbound leads, and convert at a much higher rate than, for example, SEO-generated ones.
Your reaction time here is vital, as responding within 5 minutes generates 9x more meaningful conversations with prospects.
To make sure that no inbound lead goes to waste, you can set up automated notifications.
Use Make to connect your communication tool with your CRM, and you will be all set.
14. Facilitating lead routing with automated rules
Lead routing consists of assigning leads to the appropriate team member. This action is based on a defined set of criteria that can include aspects like:
Experience with similar companies
By automatically matching leads to the best salesperson, lead routing increases the chance of closing the sale.
It can be automated using dedicated tools, using connecting Make and Airtable together for example.
15. Following up so no lead is left behind
Following up doesn’t always come naturally. It can also be awkward as prospects go cold.
As a result, 70% of salespeople give up if they don’t receive a reply to their first email. Yet, studies have shown that following up yields significant response rates:
Image source: Yesware
These sequences will reach out at predetermined intervals until you get a reply or the sequence is finished.
On top of this, there are notifications. If you are reluctant to follow-up, setting up automated notifications can help you remind yourself to take another swing at it.
16. Improving odds of closing (and upselling) with email nurturing
Keeping contacts engaged is a great way to nurture them.
Platforms like Mailchimp or give you the opportunity to craft attractive email designs with ready-to-use templates.
By coupling these tools with Make, you are able to automatically enroll new leads into existing campaigns.
Considering the fact that it takes 6 to 8 touches to generate a sales lead, this is a valuable way to automate sales success with minimal effort.
17. Streamlining the contract signing process to close deals
When you are a signature away from a deal, the last thing you want is for things to go south.
Esignature solutions make the process as smooth as possible by allowing both parties to sign digitally. Automation elements to facilitate the completion of the task include:
Sending reminders after a couple of days
Creating an expiration timeline to give an incentive to sign on time
Notifying the salesperson when the contract has been opened and signed
After the signature is complete, Make can take over and automatically forward a copy of the contract to the CRM for example.
Image source: W-Systems
18. Taking the pain out of the accounts receivable process
Unpaid bills often lead to an uncomfortable conversation for the involved parties.
Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to creatively automate invoices, including payment collection.
Sales team processes automations
Sales is a competitive field where hard-working professionals can thrive based on their individual efforts.
But teamwork and collaboration, especially in larger teams, is paramount for the success of the organization as a whole.
Sales managers are responsible for empowering their team and providing them with the necessary resources to perform their best.
Let’s see what automation can bring to the table.
19. Getting insights and analytics on team performance
Having a thorough understanding of what’s going on is a basic requirement for managing any team.
This applies to sales teams as well.
More than with any other role, salespeople are tied to their performance.
With this in mind, dashboards are a great way to display individual and team metrics. These will help your team stay on track.
This can be done through native integrations, or by using Make to pull the latest sales data automatically.
Image source: Databox
20. Leveraging sales forecasting
Technology enables sales teams to look into their current and past performance, and also to draw hypotheses on what’s next.
Sales forecasting takes empirical data from your team to draw probabilities, helping you double-down or adjust if necessary.
Image source: ForecastEra
21. Learning from the best salespeople in your team
One of the advantages of being a team is to draw from each member’s qualities and pull the team forward by gathering strengths.
In sales, this can be challenging due to the intangible qualities great salespeople have, such as:
Ability to build relationships
Empathy and active listening
Confidence and assertiveness
Product and industry knowledge
Yet, products like Gong.io manage to quantify success through their call recording and analysis technology.
Pulling back the curtain on what makes the best sellers successful can help you inspire the others and replicate that success.
Image source: TechCrunch
22. Gathering sales documentation and resources for everyone
Finally, building a solid team means leaving no one behind.
Onboarding a new sales role is notoriously difficult, with new sales representatives taking 10 months or more on average to be fully productive.
In addition, modern organizations are increasingly at risk of creating silos, especially as remote work becomes a new norm.
Maintaining a comprehensive knowledge base is a great way to gather all the sales resources at your disposal, featuring:
Customer pain points and typical objections
Competitor analysis and market research
Team structure and responsibilities
Useful links and external resources
This will help new hires and current team members alike, and can be largely automated using Make and one of Airtable’s templates as a foundation.
Sales automation is an opportunity to get rid of administrative tasks and allocate time to what really matters.
It’s worth noting that automation is more than a passing trend. A Hubspot study shows that 61% of businesses leveraging automation reported exceeding revenue targets in 2020.
If you’re still hesitant, consider that it’s not so much about getting ahead of the competition anymore, but about keeping up.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that you need to start using every single automation idea in this list. Some are best suited for small businesses; others are more fitting for larger teams with established sales processes.
But automating sales tasks that make sense to you can be the start of a new way to reach targets faster, and more efficiently.