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What is sales automation - friend or foe, technical godsend or scary robot from the future that's going to steal your job?
Well in typical blog fashion, it is both and also neither. It is simply a tool, and like any tool when used correctly, it will make your life easier. With your bare hands, there's no way you'd get a steel nail to puncture solid wood. So a hammer is your best friend - until the tool isn't used correctly and you break your thumb. Still with me?
A very basic example is a sales automation email being automatically sent when a specific form is filled in. The benefit is that this removes a lot of the hard yards for the sales team, as knowledge tree have summed up; hundreds, thousands of possible leads can be reached without the sales team doing any of the running around.
With slightly more complex sales automation, the prospect can be gently nurtured through the buyer's journey, until they reach a point where they actually want to be contacted by a sales person. This kind of automation is incredibly efficient as it removes huge amounts of leg work.
With the right workflow set up, your sales process can stay more or less as you'd like it. The process can just be done on a grander scale, as your sales force isn't held back by the number of hours in the day and the number of hands they have to type with.
Sales automation benefits companies by effectively filtering through the "No's" to find the "Yes's." The further a potential lead travels along their inquisitive journey, the more likely they are to actually be interested in your product or service. This means when the sales force first makes contact with a lead, you know they have a genuine interest. No more wasting time trying to suss out timewasters.
Better yet, your sales team can go into the conversation armed with relevant information gleaned from the sales automation process. For instance, HubSpot will show you what specific emails were opened, what links were clicked and what blog posts were viewed. All of this information can help to build a better picture of your lead, giving you an advantage when it comes to closing a deal.
Too much automation though, and you remove the human touch from the process. This can kill you in two ways. You either don't collect any leads, because the people (remember they are people) have sensed all the mechanisms, and no one likes dealing with robots*, so they pull out, and boom - you've lost a potential customer by relying too heavily on systems.
The second and more dangerous scenario is the apocalyptic future where SkyNet is closing more leads then you ever could, just because you had sales and marketing automation set up for everything and they learnt to do your job for you.
Okay okay, I'm getting carried away. Taking your commission is the least of SkyNet's worries, but there's some logic in not relying on them too much. Sales automation needs to work hand in hand with your current processes, literally just taking some of the running around off your hands. Think of them more as a PA rather than an understudy. Because the student can always outgrow the master.
Here at Six & Flow, we love using HubSpot as our sales automation software, and many of our clients do too. It's simple to set up, offers plenty of automation options and provides a whole heap of helpful reporting. Learn about your leads while nurturing them, and give your sales team time to sit back and have a breather.
*There is nothing in the baggage area. Aaagh.