Automations are pieces of software designed to make your business management easier. An automation is a programmable reaction that is triggered by a defined action or chain of actions.
For example, if a customer gets in touch with a sales enquiry and then never follows up, an automation will take their contact information and automatically send them a pre-formatted email containing content designed by the business to loop that customer back to the sales cycle.
Automations can be applied to any number of scenarios in which the process is either repetitive, formulaic or data-based because these are typically logical and predictable sequences of events to which responses can be premeditated.
For a number of reasons, automations are in growing use throughout most businesses’ processes. Perhaps most obviously, automations save time for employees on the most manual and administrative tasks in their day: most sales reps report that they feel that the biggest drain on their time resources are repetitive tasks.
By applying automations to routine follow-ups, pipeline deal stages and marketing campaigns, reps will find their available time increases exponentially, allowing them to focus on closing bigger sales and building strong customer relationships.
Another benefit is that data analytics inform better decision making regarding the customer journey, meaning that automated funnel stages are inherently more effective, with more selling power than it’d be possible to create without.
So what are sales automations exactly? Well, these are tools that are designed specifically for assisting sales reps in their day to day tasks: this encompasses every unique stage of sales deal handling as well as customer retention, and all the complex processes that fall within those requirements.
No matter whether you’re running a global enterprise or an SME, the tools employed to manage sales tasks have a vital and valuable part to play in a successful sales cycle:
Any salesperson will agree that order fulfilment including negotiation, invoicing, and shipping or implementation are some of the most manual time consuming tasks, and so are the most valuable when automated. Quickly meet each client’s individual needs, track inventory and revenue from a single integrated platform.
The CRM helps with sales management by streamlining the way customer relationships are handled. Automations within this software add further streamlining capabilities, create a smoother and more efficient work process, and boost leads more quickly and ROI-effectively down the sales pipeline.
Leads are selected to be followed up on, not because they are first on a list of all available contacts, but because they are best suited to the business’s unique product offering. Based on a list of pre-decided criteria, leads are all assigned a warmth score that helps salespeople decide which are the best to prioritise. At that point, automated actions based on a lead’s warmth can be scheduled that nudge the customer in the right direction.
Marketing automations are great tools that can be employed in a number of different ways across the marketing mix. The first thing that may come to mind (one of the most popular functions of marketing automation) is email marketing and scheduling! Most companies will be using a scheduling tool in order to plan and send email communications in advance. A/B Testing also helps this process by allowing teams to trial two forms of their messaging and choose the most successful.
Automations in marketing also encompass lead generation tools such as SEO strategies for blogging and microblogging. Customer tracking tools assess the strongest lead generators and help refocus marketing efforts and resources to the places they are most needed.
Blending these two types of software creates a single platform from which all customer-related business activities can be managed and monitored. Often, a comprehensive business solutions company such as Optimiser will blend their product offering into a core CRM suite with the data holding, sorting and analytics capabilities to support sales and marketing functions.
While each software has its own functions and purposes, together sales and marketing suites work throughout the entire scope of the customer journey from discovery to retention. Sales personnel can use marketing automation data to understand where a lead has come from and why they are interested in the company. Marketing people are able to use sales automation data to learn which lead funnels go on to become the biggest revenue-generating accounts and allocate campaigns accordingly.