Everday your sales reps have to regularly juggle a variety of administrative tasks, including research, contacts, follow-ups, and more. This is all time they could be using to sell more. Managing these tasks manually decreases sales productivity, making automation tools increasingly invaluable to operations. Then, there are the tedious compensation plans which take up a bulk of a sales manager's time. Fortunately, there are a variety of compensation automation tools you can use to increase sales productivity. In fact, using automation tools will make it easier for your sales staff to automate menial tasks. This way, your sales staff can focus on making sales.
Automate as Much of the Calling Process as Possible
One quick way to increase efficiency and productivity is to automate the many communication processes your sales staff must use. Sales is all about communication, right? Your sales team will be communicating with prospects via phone, email, and other methods. Everyone in sales has heard of or used the term, “smile and dial.” In the old days, phones were simply phones. You had a physical phone, and you dialed a number. Today, you have the option of using a wide range of phone sales tools to manage phones more easily. In addition, you can and should use software to manage all of the phone contacts. To illustrate, an automated phone system can automatically dial people. Moreover, systems can be configured to only connect with your sales staff when someone picks up. This will improve productivity as your reps won’t have to manually manage the call process. It’s amazing how such simple features can greatly increase sales productivity. Making calls is essential for many sales teams. Unfortunately, the actual process of managing calls can get quite burdensome if you do not use automation. When looking to examine sales productivity, it is important to consider each individual process and to see what can be automated. Every phone call, or point of communication, must have a measurement in terms of KPIs. For example, you want to look for:
- The number of generated leads
- The number of leads coming from each source
- The number of qualified leads
Through automation, you can increase the efficiency of communication to drastically improve your KPIs. Plus, you can also tie KPI achievement to automated incentives.
Use Email Automation to Automate Communication and Drip Campaigns
Automation software can also be used to set up an entire email drip campaign and other email communications. How does a drip campaign work? You slowly, but consistently, send out information to potential prospects. You might share white papers, blog posts, or simple sales messages. Each message is crafted for the target audience and a specific point in a customer’s journey. For example, if they are still in the “research” phase of their buying cycle, you would send them information to help with their decision process. Another example is when a customer first subscribes to your email list, you would send them a welcome letter. Over the next month, you might send them seven messages with varying bits of information and links. After three months, you might focus more on qualified prospects and simply send colder leads your monthly newsletter. As a result, you keep everyone in the loop with the type of content they want. Now, imagine if your sales teams had to manage drip campaigns manually. Instead of contacting customers, they are spending time writing and scheduling emails. Soon, you have an almost-empty pipeline without enough time left in the month to make your quota. The good news is automation is here to save the day. Not to mention, email automation tools can be used in a variety of other ways to increase productivity. For example, you can send out automatic replies, follow-ups, and thank you messages. So, your sales staff knows they are reaching customers but don't have to spend all day doing so.
Use a Powerful CRM to Manage Your Sales Efforts
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms are perhaps the most robust tools for increasing sales productivity. CRM helps to manage leads and prospects from the beginning to the end of their sales cycle. Each time you make a call, send out a note, send a newsletter, have a meeting or qualify a lead, you can enter the details into your CRM. Then, when a customer calls in, all you have to do is instantly pull up their information to ensure you understand what they are talking about. No more searching through emails or files to figure out where the customer is in their buying process or when was the last time they were contacted. A CRM also helps with business continuity in the event of employee turnover. New sales reps can quickly take over just by accessing the wealth of information saved in the CRM system. Not to mention, a CRM can manage commissions, and it gets even easier when you have an optimized sales compensation system. Then, there is another feature where a CRM can track conversions of prospects to customers. You can use this information to quickly tweak and improve your sales processes.
Social Media Automation and Management Tools
Social media is a powerful communication tool for any sales team. This is the platform you can use to directly engage with your target audience, in addition to establishing yourself as a thought leader within your niche. You can even mine Twitter for conversations related to your products and/or services. Your customers and prospects are on social media, which is why you should be there too. These are the places where they ask for advice, read reviews and follow their favorite influencers. If you are not on social media, then you are missing out on a vast number of opportunities. Moreover, you can convey more personality through social media to connect with customers and prospects on a human level. They want to know that there is a real person behind the screen, behind the posts and behind the emails. They want to see how they can relate to you and the company you represent. This is where the power of authenticity can come into play. You can exhibit the fact that you have a sense of humor, that you can relate to people and that you can provide useful tidbits of information. And, the more you post, the greater the chance you have of increasing your following on various social media outlets. Of course, you don’t want to send posts one a time. That would take up too much valuable time and effort. Instead, you can use an automated platform to schedule all your posts ahead of time and to be sent at the time and date of your preference. Moreover, no one has time to search through all of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram for conversations people may be having that are related to your business offerings. Thankfully, there are automated tools for that as well.
The point of automation is to allow you to reach out to your customers on a timely basis, with the information they want. It also helps to improve productivity and efficiency while providing a competitive edge.