What do almost ALL business owners, managers and sales gurus have in common? Not enough time. Each and every sales professional will tell you that they spend too much time on admin, and not enough time on activities that matter and drive revenue. Well, there’s good news! There are some easy-to-implement strategies that help you to automate sales processes and save hours daily.

A single screen with a complete history for each lead or customer and all interactions in one place.

1. Automate your marketing and sales emails with a good Autoresponder

If you’re not already using this, it’s long overdue and should be part of your overall marketing and sales strategy. Generating a qualified lead is effort enough. Providing the right information at the right time to give yourself the best chance to covert the lead to a sale, can be a much bigger challenge and take hours and hours.

A good email automation tool (a.k.a. Autoresponder) will allow you to implement and automate carefully crafted emails with good content and send them to the right person at the right time.

Software like ActiveCampaign, MailerLite, Sender, Benchmark email and Mailchimp allow you to set up advanced automated email sequences and segment your audiences based on events, behaviour and lead attributes.

Here are some examples:
  1. Someone fills in a lead form on your website, and you respond by sending them a welcome email straight away. Follow-up with additional emails containing valuable information at specific intervals. You can even track specific events like links clicked or pages visited.
  2. Send an existing customer a thank you note after they purchase a product.
  3. Reward clients that buy from you regularly by mailing them a discount coupon or gift card.
  4. Send a prospect information about a special offer on a product after they visit the pricing page on your website for that specific product.

Possibilities are practically endless but ultimately, it’s about sharing content that is valuable, relevant and will help you establish trust and build rapport with your prospect.

Doing this manually will take hours of your day but if you choose a tool that is fit-for-purpose, work out a good strategy and implement it properly once, the benefits will outweigh the cost and effort in the long term.

2. Implement a pipeline automation tool for your sales team

The customer journey you must avoid at all cost

☎️☎️ Ring Ring.

Danny: “Ben’s Heating Solutions good morning”

Customer: “Hello, this is Dave Hill, may I speak to Beth?”

Danny: “Good day Mr. Hill, this is Danny. Unfortunately, Beth is not in the office today, how can I help?

Customer: “Oh, ok sure. I sent her some measurements for a quote yesterday. I have not received it yet and I am keen to decide on a supplier. Can you send me the quote?

Danny: “Ok Mr. Hill, let me have a look. Please hold the line”

⏳ ⏳ ⏳ …..2 mins later

Danny: “Hi Mr. Hill. Sorry I looked on the server and cannot find the measurements or the quote she sent. I don’t have access to her email. May I ask her to get back to you first thing in the morning.”

Customer: “Oh dear, that’s a pity. I really wanted to get this done today. Don’t worry, just ask her to call me in the morning”

🐓🐓 Next morning…

☎️☎️ Ring Ring.

Customer: “Hello this is Dave”

Beth:Hi Mr. Hill, this is Beth from Ben’s Heating. I got a message to give you a ring.”

Customer: “O, Hi Beth, thanks for calling. Yes I called your office yesterday. I was waiting for that quote you promised to send me.”

Beth: “Ok, sure, I emailed the quote on Wednesday just before I left the office at 4pm. Did you not get it?”

Customer: “No, I didn’t receive any emails from you. Anyway, I was in a bit of a hurry so I accepted another quote. Sorry Beth, I’m just really anxious to get the job done…”

Epic fail with customer service

If have an established business with decent sales volumes and have not started initiatives to automate your sales processes this may sound very familiar to you.

Get the right tools for the job

Conventional email and file shares are simply not sufficient to keep up with the high pace of business in the modern era. Why not implement a single screen which gives your entire sales team a bird’s eye view of all leads or deals and the status of each? With a complete history for each lead or customer and all interactions in one place there’s no more “Wait while I log into my other system” or “Sorry sir, I can’t find your emails”

Sales automation tools like amoCRM, activeCampaign, Hubspot and Pipedrive enables you to:

  1. Visualise your sales process
  2. Have a clear and complete view of the history of each sale with a complete record of all communications with the customer. Best of all, it’s easily accessible to the whole team on any device.
  3. Make phone calls and send messages or emails from a single interface.
  4. Automate repetitive tasks with features like email templates, automated task scheduling and sales bots.
  5. Collaborate with your peers online using instant messaging.
  6. Track and report on your sales goals and performance
Your digital pipeline, visualized with the ability to automate tasks

The customer journey you need to impress is within your reach

If Ben’s Heating made a small monthly investment in good pipeline management tool which automates routine tasks for the sales team, the conversation could sound a bit more like this:

Danny: “Ben’s Heating Solutions good morning”

Customer: “Hello, this is Dave Hill, may I speak to Beth?”

Danny: “Good day Mr. Hill, this is Danny. Unfortunately, Beth is not in the office today, how can I help?

Customer: “Oh, ok sure. I sent her some measurements for a quote yesterday. I have not received it yet and I am keen to decide on a supplier. Can you send me the quote?

Danny: “One moment Mr. Hill, let me quickly check for you

Danny: “Hi Mr. Hill. I see Beth mailed you the quote at 15:26 yesterday and it was resent automatically this morning at 7am to the following address: [email protected] Did you not receive anything?”

Customer: “No, I cannot remember seeing anything in my inbox. Can you resend it to me please?”

Danny: “Sure, no problem, I am resending it now. I will also send an SMS to this number with a link to download the quote. Just give it a few seconds

Customer:Already got the SMS, thanks Danny, I will check the quote and phone you back as soon as I’ve made a decision”

⏳ ⏳ ⏳ …..45 minutes later

☎️☎️ Ring Ring.

Gary: “Ben’s Heating Solutions good morning”

Customer: “Hello, this is Dave Hill again, I spoke to you earlier about that fireplace quote?”

Gary: “Hello mr Hill, this is Gary. I cannot recall speaking to you. Can you remember who assisted you?”

Customer: “O, Sorry Gary, You and Danny sound so much alike!”

Gary: “No problem Mr. Hill, Gary is just on the phone, but I will be happy to assist”

Customer: “Ok, well he sent me a quote this morning. I am happy with the price and I would like to get the installation done as soon as possible. It’s quite urgent.”

Gary: “Sure, let me just get to your profile…..Ah, ok, I have the quote here. We will require a 50% deposit before we start with the installation. Let me send an instruction to Julie who will send you an invoice…..

Ok, all done, you should have your invoice in the next few minutes. You will see a link in the invoice where you can pay with a Credit Card online. You can also do an EFT and send the proof to the email address on the invoice”

Customer: “Wow, that’s very efficient, thanks Gary. I prefer the Credit Card option. I will make the payment as soon as a have the invoice

A home run for your sales team

So here’s the question: If a powerful pipeline management tool could increase your conversions by just 10%, will a small monthly subscription fee as low as $15 per user be worth it?

Read more about sales automation tools here

3. Get a Sales Bot or Chatbot to work when you sleep

If you are tired of answering the same questions over and over via email, a well-crafted chatbot can help clear up your inbox and save you time!

The idea of setting up a chatbot may sound scary but most good platforms don’t even require you to have coding skills and offer out-of-the-box templates and visual editors. It essentially uses workflows and AI to ask your potential client a few simple questions and then provides them the information they need. It can quickly build your list by collecting names and email addresses from visitors and usually integrates with your email automation platform to add them to the relevant email sequences.

To implement is also relatively easy requiring your webmaster to paste a few lines of “done for you” code into the page you want the bot to work on.

Research shows than many business have phenomenal success with automating their sales using sales or chatbots. Some even claiming increases of up to 200% in sales post implementation.

Even if you do not get a massive increase in sales, the time alone you will save will pay for your chatbot repeatedly.

Automate sales by using a chatbot or sales bot

4. If you set appointments with clients, use an online appointment scheduling tool

Managing and coordinating your personal and business diary can be challenging. Checking availability and allowing for travel time and breaks between consecutive appointments takes time and energy and unnecessary brainpower.

Why not use Calendly or YouCanBookMe to get your meetings scheduled without all the back-and-forth. With the ability to embed a booking widget in any webpage visitors can schedule appointments directly on your website.

You can easily:

  • Connect the tool with your Outlook or Google Calendar
  • Set up booking types with daily limits, before-and-after buffers & minimum notices
  • Send a booking link to your prospects or embed the calendar on your website.
  • Get notified when an appointment is cancelled.
  • See all bookings in your diary.

Calendly offers a basic free option but subscribing to the $8 per month premium version offering more scheduling options is well worth the time it will save you.

5. Make sure your website talks to your email automation software or CRM

If you do not sell directly online, chances are you expect your website to generate leads. The problem is that websites are not generally designed with leads generation in mind and forward-thinking business use sales funnels for that purpose. That does not mean that your website cannot be a great tool to send leads directly to your inbox or CRM.

If you do have a lead or contact form on your website and you make use of email automation software or a CRM make sure the form and your website (or landing page) is fully integrated. This will ensure a contact record is automatically created in your CRM or emailer when the form is submitted ensuring you don’t miss the opportunity to make a sale. This allows you to easily follow up with automated emails or to automate other mundane but necessary sales tasks within your CRM.

6. Save hours by automating posting to your social media accounts

If you’ve been active on social media, chances are you find posting regularly a tedious chore. Logging in to each platform, creating your post and publishing it manually.  

Tools like MeetEdgar and SocialPilot allows you to plan all your social media campaigns from a simple calendar dashboard. Once done, it automatically schedules and posts your social media updates for you.

Most tools work with all the mainstream social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram. MeetEdgar can also re-share previous posts from your library should you run out of content, get busy or forget to add updates. A great time saver!

What you should do to get started

Follow a phased approach. Make sure you understand your biggest pain point and where a lot of time is spent on tasks that could be automated.

Is there a breakdown in communication between you clients and sales staff fairly frequently? Look at a customer-centric pipeline automation tool which includes a complete history of interactions with your clients.

Do you lose out on sales because some leads slip through the cracks? Make sure your website is integrated with a tool that offers a unified inbox where all leads are created, tracked and easily accessible. Many good platforms will create the contact automatically in your unified inbox for you.

Do you spend hours answering general questions about pricing or your service? Start by automating this tedious task with a sales bot which can answer 90% of those typical questions.

Questions? Please feel free to leave a comment.

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