Sales are the fuel that drives every business towards its goals and towards the attainment of scale. Yet, if you ask any sales and marketing team about the day to functionality that leads them to conversions, you will often hear complaints about how tedious the entire process is and how the big data can often be extremely overwhelming and daunting. There is no need for this, however. With the advent of digital tools and technologies in the recent decades, we have seen a major change in the way business is conducted online. We can see that there is a definite movement of businesses to the digital sphere since this is where engagement for conversion happens. Accordingly, a number of tools like CRM and other related technologies like marketing automation have sprung up. While these frameworks help automating tasks that can make life easier, do we still need more evolution before we can reach our sales mojo?
The answer is a big, resounding Yes.
Sales automation is something that all businesses need. If you thought marketing was a tedious task, you might want to meet its tedious cousin: sales. With sales automation, you can adopt a new system that will help you automate that much faster and with much more efficacy.
So, what is sales automation really?
Sales automation is a technology or a platform that can help you line up tedious and monotonous sales related tasks within a framework that will fulfil various functions towards conversion. With sales automation, you can get the data, the interactions, the targets of a campaign, the information about the prospects and customers and various other elements under one neat umbrella that will be automated across the various functions to be carried out for all these elements.
As an example, you may want to consider this scenario. One prospect may need engagement across various elements including phone calls, emails, texts and much more so as to close a deal. This may require the use of 8 to 12 people from a dedicated sales team and at least a few weeks of going over much big data and collaborating and communication over various deliverables. This can all lead to loss of time, bandwidth and money. At the end of it all, would that revenue really be justified? And would it be worth it? This could still be worth it if the sale or the conversion is a high margin or a high value one. Without proper sales CRM software or sales automation, high margin sales do not get the closure they rightly deserve.
So, the answer would be to turn to sales automation for all these functions to come on to a single platform that integrates with your business and its overall goals. The point is to structure the sales automation process in a way that would fine up the activities and deliverable for engagement based on the targets generated by marketing automation.
Here are the four key elements or components that you would need for a seamless sales automation process:
- Prospective Elements: This would be the first and most crucial component in your sales automation process and the overall structure for the sales automation back end or CRM. What you need to understand is that there are many tools for sales prospecting since your leads or your prospects are spread over many channels and platforms across the World Wide Web. While email would be the best way, you would also need social media and landing pages as well as other platforms that cater to development of personal and professional or niche based ideals. This could be a part of SEO or question and answer forums and PR forums as well. Prospecting tools also include messaging and mapping tools that can help you understand your customer and the market in a far better manner for better results. This could include reports of past and ongoing email campaigns as well as analytics and insights that can help you with your current campaigns.
- Marketing Automation Tools: No matter how much the way of doing business changes, there are certain things that will always remain constant. In the sales automation process, marketing and sales would always go hand in hand since one fuels the other. While marketing broadcasts the message and makes the business visible to the customer or the prospect, sales would involve using that information to further and personally perpetuate that message to earn a conversion. In this way, marketing automation tools also need to be integrated into the sales automation process so that there is a clear marriage between the two. The prospect should not feel like they are two disparate messages in either process and hence the marketing automation tool should fuel the sales side, and the sales should give leads to the marketing automation side for new products or for cross selling as well. This should be the basis for all sales automation structures and frameworks.
- Project Management: The pipeline management or project management part is of great importance within the sales automation process. It would not be enough to simply identify the opportunities and the activities around them, but it is equally imperative to queue them up and match them with the right team members so that the activities can follow a pipeline towards conversion. This would be one of the most imperative parts of the sales automation process since it would make sure that the activities and efforts fit in together to form a seamless and efficient process.
- Order Management: While the pipeline leads to the closure of a sale, the actual work begins once the deliverable start rolling out. The fulfillment of the order is also part of the sales automation structure since it involves actual delivery of the goods and customer retention through support and addressing any grievances. This should be built into the overall sales automation process with a definite line of activities leading to order management and fulfillment for effortless customer servicing.