Your sales team is designed to take your leads and drive them down the sales pipeline. You invest in your sales team because you expect that they’ll capture those leads and provide you with a return. But how much time is your sales team actually spending converting those leads?
According to HubSpot, the average salesperson only spends one-third of their time actually selling—and no, that wasn’t a typo. Based on a 40-hour workweek, that’s just over 13 hours spent selling per week. This begs the question: What are your sales reps doing with their remaining 27 hours? And what can you do to shift it back to sales?
In a moment, we’ll dive into what some of those time-consuming tasks are but, more specifically, how workflow automation can help. With the help of sales process automation, you can reduce the time your sales team spends doing repetitive, administrative tasks and increase the time they spend converting leads.
1. Save time spent sending personalized emails.
Emails—they play a critical role in driving leads down the sales pipeline. The only problem is that your sales team is spending a lot more time in their inbox than they need to be. In fact, salespeople spend an average of 21 percent of each day writing emails, says HubSpot. That’s almost a quarter of their time spent in the office!
The good news is that, special thanks to machine learning, not every email has to be uniquely curated and sent to each of your clients anymore. With the help of email automation, your sales team can automate some of those most frequently sent emails—let’s be honest, there are a lot of repeat emails that happen during the sale process.
Think about it. When you are first contacted by a lead, you can immediately send an automated “welcome” email. This also helps you to respond to your leads within that "five minutes or less" ideal, which only 7 percent of companies are achieving, says Drift. In this way, you increase your chances of retaining a lead, while staying ahead of the competition!
For the emails that require a bit more attention, your team can save templates that include preset data that may only need to be tweaked to adequately meet the potential clients’ needs. But whether the email is fully or partially automated, incorporating email automation into your sales team’s sales process can eliminate much of the morning email time-waste.
2. Qualify and distribute leads more quickly.
Okay, so now you’ve received an email for your newest lead, but how does your sales team decide how heavily to pursue that potential client? In addition to reading and replying to leads, your sales team likely spends a lot of time qualifying those leads. Perhaps it’s not even qualifying those leads but rather converting them that's the issue. In either case, your team needs to spend less on leads that aren’t going to convert, and more time on leads that will.
With the help of AI-based lead scoring software, your sales team can automate the qualifying process. By creating a lead scoring model based on your ideal clients, you can immediately input information about a potential lead, from their industry to estimated revenue, to receive a score on how much you should (or shouldn’t) push a client to convert.
If converting your leads is the larger issue, you may want to consider using lead distribution software to further simplify the sales process. Based on a lead’s score, your software can assign that lead to the appropriate sales rep. With the right person making the sale, you should see a positive change in your conversion rates.
3. Simplify data entry & report generation.
When your sales team isn’t spending time sending emails or identifying leads, there’s just one more factor that’s eating up a good amount of their time: data entry. In fact, your salespeople don’t spend that much less time doing data entry than writing emails, 17 percent per day on average, says HubSpot.
Unfortunately, if you want your sales team to numerically track what’s happening in their department, data entry is necessary. That said, it’s also very time-consuming. By automating data collection, your sales team can knock out data entry and that sales call at once, for instance. Automatic call logging can log call time automatically, while intelligent lead tools can automatically populate data (from company to industry) into a lead’s profile.
With the data being entered automatically, you’ll no longer have to worry about time being wasted, nor the potential repercussions of human error. Likewise, with that data in your sales CRM, your salespeople will be able to easily generate reports about leads that they can start using immediately.
4. Let someone else schedule appointments.
Once you’ve cut down on at least some of the emails, lead qualifying, and data entry and reporting, there’s just one last thing to consider: the time spent scheduling and managing appointments. In many cases, scheduling a call alone requires as many as 9 to 10 back-and-forth emails before they are set on a time—that’s just more time your team is spending in their inbox that they really don’t need to be.
If you haven’t guessed it already, you can automate scheduling too! With the help of tools like Calendly, YouCanBook.Me, or other scheduling software, you can entirely eliminate the “email dance” that comes along with scheduling appointments. With Calendly, for instance, you can send your lead a link with appointment slots, they can select the appointment, and then, your appointment is automatically linked to your Google calendar.
While you can start using these appointment automation tools right away, it’s often easiest to use them when integrated within your sales CRM. That way, your sales reps won’t even need to jump from one app to another; rather, their email and favorite scheduling software will be in one place.
Ready to Bring Automation into Your Sales Process?
Now that you know just how much time your sales team can save by automating even just a few aspects of their workflow, you may be wondering how your team can start reaping the benefits. If automation is entirely new to your business, you may want to consider using off-the-shelf software first.
Once you’ve tested out some of your out-of-the-box options, if you find that you need something more, you may need to upgrade to custom software. By building a customized sales CRM, you can create a sales process automation tool that’s tailored to your team’s unique workflow and needs.
Ready to get started? Our team at ClikFocus can help. Contact us today.