William Oleksiienko is an SDR Team Leader at Reply, a multichannel sales engagement platform. Having 5+ years of experience in sales development, William is keen on creative outreach strategies, personalization at scale, and sales process automation. Outside of work, he is an avid non-fiction reader and coding enthusiast. Follow him on LinkedIn and Substack.
Let’s face it, being a sales rep isn’t all designer suits and fancy restaurants with the prospects.
Many of us spend up to 65% of our time on tasks that aren’t even directly related to sales! 🤯 Most days we’re just stuck at the office digging up prospect info, sending follow-ups, and updating our CRMs.
Luckily, there’s a way to eliminate a lot of routine, soul-sucking, or simply not-so-fun tasks with sales process automation. And we’re here to explain how to do that.
The Benefits Of Sales Process Automation
Non-sales tasks that salespeople still need to perform daily can be a huge waste of time. Want it or not, we need to keep our CRM records up to date, build or clean your lists, check in with the prospects, etc.
This is exactly where automation comes in handy. Being able to streamline those mundane tasks can help you carve out a couple of extra hours per day to focus on what really matters (as well as keep your sanity). 🙃
But there’s more! According to different sources, automation can boost your sales team productivity by 14.5% and deal closures – by 30%, all while reducing overheads by 12.2%.
As a result, the main benefits of sales process automation for businesses boil down to the following:
- Improved efficiency, i.e. a more productive sales team with fewer resources required
- Scalable processes that can streamline without adding extra human resources
- Predictable outcomes thanks to consistent processes and better sales performance
If you think about the listed advantages as the layers of a cake, here’s a cherry to put on top. Automation can help you build a more engaging and smooth buyer experience – all thanks to the consistent and transparent sales processes – and thus make your prospects happier.
That’s a win-win if you ask me! 🙌
As a result, successful automation will inevitably drive higher business revenue – be it through reduced customer acquisition cost or higher customer retention.
Yet, that doesn’t mean that you can now fire your sales reps and simply use software to run your sales processes. There’s time and place for automation.
5 Sales Processes You Can (and Should) Automate
Raise your hand if you have ever been told that AI is about to take over your job. 🙋♀️
The buzz has been going around for years, yet I still haven’t seen a Skynet robot nailing an in-person demo or negotiating the terms with the prospect.
On a more serious note, there’s still around 31% of sales operations that can be easily automated. This includes dozens of tasks, from sales planning and pipeline management to invoicing and post-sales activities.
To give you an idea of the potential that waits for you to tap into it, let’s consider some of the most significant automation use cases throughout the complete sales cycle.
Arguably the most challenging part of the sales process (at least for 40% of the salespeople), prospecting isn’t just time-consuming but an extremely tedious task. So if you really value your resources and don’t want your SDRs to hate their job, list building and contact enrichment should be among your top automation priorities.
After all: very few prospecting platforms could compare with a full-time SDR in terms of labor costs. Besides, a software tool won’t come up to you one day to say that it quits due to burnout. 🤷♀️
2. Lead qualification
Considering that only half of all leads eventually turn out to be a good fit, automation can spare you the effort of chasing the ones who aren’t worth it. So while you should trust your gut feeling, relying on bias-free hard math will pay off well in the long run.
Also, not all good leads are equally engaged and ready to buy. Some may take more time to “ripen.” In this case, automatically prioritizing your prospects will help you focus on the leads who are most likely to convert instead of spreading yourself too thin trying to engage all prospects at once.
3. Sales engagement
Ranging from initial outreach and follow-ups to nurturing and re-engagement campaigns, sales engagement includes a pretty vast array of activities and tasks that should be automated.
Because, believe me, sending 50+ emails per day manually and then following up on another 50 emails per day isn’t quite the most pleasant way to spend the day as a sales rep!
Sure, you can’t automate every single touchpoint across their buyer journey, but eliminating at least some of the repetitive, tedious tasks related to it would still be an immeasurable help to your team.
4. Sales intelligence
Think of the sales intelligence tools as your eyes and ears. They don’t just help you understand what’s happening to the leads once they enter your pipeline, but also make sure most of them make it to the closure and not fall through the cracks along the way.
A vast market that is expected to reach $4.89 billion by 2027, sales intelligence offers a ton of use cases for automation, from predicting buyer intent to offering full-fledged guided selling experiences.
5. Sales operations
Just think about it: 27% of salespeople spend more than an hour each day entering data. 🤯 And that doesn’t include data cleansing and synchronization between the apps. What a waste of time and effort, considering that this aspect of sales is probably the easiest to automate!
Other than data management, there are many smaller tasks worth automating, e.g. appointment setting, lead routing, reporting, etc.
How to Get Started with Sales Automation
The benefits of workflow automation seem to be too tempting to resist! Who wouldn’t want to boost their productivity, reduce marketing overheads, increase deal closures, and speed up their sales cycle?
Yet, it is also a challenging and lengthy process. And while we’re used to seeing companies praise their success, there are tons of organizations whose sales automation initiatives have failed miserably.
If you don’t want to be one of them, here’s a high-level action plan to set you on the right track with sales automation:
- Define target areas and use cases
Knowing exactly what you want to automate is essential. You can’t expect to streamline all processes at once. But there are also tasks that can’t exist separately, so automating only some of them won’t make sense either. 🙅♀️
So start with taking a closer look at your sales processes to identify the opportunities for automation. And make sure to bring your team on board too – who could know which tasks need to be automated better than them?
- Audit and document the related processes
To be able to move forward, you need to understand the current state of things.
Being aware of the existing issues and pitfalls in your processes will give your automation efforts a vision and structure. Plus, you will be able to use this data as a benchmark to measure your improvements in the future.
Yet, avoid trying to fix what ain’t broke! You might want to reiterate and optimize more tasks in the future, but it’s best to focus on more pressing issues early on.
- Pick the right tools for implementation
Depending on the tasks and processes you want to automate, your stack might include dozens of tools. Yet, it’s best to pick the one that can do many things – like ClickUp.
With ClickUp Automations, you can easily streamline repetitive sales activities. For example, you can automatically assign leads between your SDRs, change lead priority or move them to a new list once their status changes, create a task for each scheduled call (via Calendly), etc.
You can either use dozens of pre-built templates or create your own automations with custom Triggers, Conditions, and Actions.
It’s also important that the tools you pick play well together – use native integrations or connect your stack into a single ecosystem using services like Zapier.
- Train the team to use them
Regardless of how great your toolset is, what’s the point in it if your team can’t use it to its full potential?
Luckily, most tools (including ClickUp) come with tons of handy guides, video tutorials, and support articles. Some might also provide personal assistance from the vendor’s customer success team.
In most cases, that should do the job. But make sure to give your team some ramp-up time to play around with the new tools and figure out how to use them.
- Track and improve the performance
A typical mistake with sales automation is to think about it as a one-off event. In reality, it is a complex mechanism that requires tuning and constant supervision (especially early on).
So, use your current performance as a benchmark, set the goals, and start iterating toward them, tweaking your processes and improving as you go 🛠.
Believe me, there’s always something you can do better or optimize!
Wrapping up, here’s some more food for thought 👇.
According to a survey by Hubspot, the majority of teams who are exceeding revenue targets tend to rely on automation in their sales processes. The ones who miss revenue targets, on the other hand, are less likely to automate their operations.
In other words, “the automation of processes is how leaders are driving growth.”
So if you’ve been thinking about sales process automation, go ahead and give it a try! Just make sure to take it seriously – lack of planning and consistent strategy along with a poor choice of sales tools can do more harm than good.