Companies that implement a CRM system often reap exceptional benefits from their investment. For example, one survey found that 74% of CRM users say that CRM software has improved their access to customer data. Thus, affecting their efficiency and productivity. Sales process automation is a key element to a CRM’s overall effectiveness.
The basic objective of sales process automation is to simplify the sales process. It minimizea the number of manual, routine tasks that sales reps have to perform on a daily basis. For instance, sales process automation in a CRM can:
- Help salespeople spend less time on data entry (which could take up almost one-fifth of their time each day).
- Enable sales reps to send out personalized email sequences to contacts and leads without having to create templates and content from scratch.
- Automatically record all customer interactions with your business, and keep that information stored in a centralized, accessible database.
- Help you manage chat-bot interactions with your customers, and record those activities in your database as well.
Where Should You Implement Sales Process Automation?
There are likely several areas in your overall sales process in which it’s advantageous to implement automation. These include the following aspects:
Customer Data Analysis
Many CRM systems contain analytics and “insight” tools. These can help you to clearly identify where a particular consumer is currently located in the buyer’s journey. These tools can also enable you to spot trends in customer behavior and adjust your sales and marketing tactics accordingly.
Once your analysis stage is complete, it’s relatively simple to automate your sales process in the CRM. By using specially designed software programs to map out buyer journeys and then match customer behavior to different locations on the “map,” you’ll be able to not only determine where individual prospects are but also where potential bottlenecks may exist in your sales pipeline.
Multiple Marketing Channel Management
Modern consumers want to interact with companies on their time, and on their terms. Sales process automation in your CRM can help you to facilitate this desire for your consumer base. And identify opportunities to engage with prospects and move them through the sales funnel.
A fully integrated CRM system will allow sales reps and marketers to reach out to consumers via several mediums. This includes email, text, social media, and of course the company’s website. Data comes in from all these channels. So your automated sales process will provide you with, not a “snapshot” of your potential customer, but a “360-degree view.”
Automated Chat Options
Many businesses leverage chat-bots on their website to quickly engage with visitors, answer common questions, and redirect them to a live chat agent when appropriate.
Chat-bots are on the cutting edge of sales automation. They can greatly reduce service levels for busy agents while ensuring that customer needs are being met. At the same time, they offer significant advantages in terms of lead scoring (think of them as a sort of “filter” that separates low-quality leads from high-value prospects).
Of course, it’s important to tread carefully here, and not trick your users into thinking that they are conversing with a real human when they are, in fact, not. Your chat-bot software should be transparent without being intrusive. When viewed as an automated supplement to your (real) human salesforce, chat-bots can be leveraged into increased customer satisfaction and reduced friction.
Of course, the above points only form a small sample of the different aspects of your overall sales process that could (and possibly should) be automated in your CRM.
How Should You Set Up CRM Sales Automation?
There is no “one size fits all” approach to setting up sales process automation in your CRM platform. That being said, here are some common steps that many businesses take when implementing this approach:
Segment your contacts to specific email lists.
It may take some time to do this, but it’s well worth the effort. When you separate your contact database into smaller segments according to attributes like past purchases, behavioral trends, and product interests, you’re in a prime position to make your email marketing initiatives more targeted, personalized, and effective.
Set up “welcome campaigns” for new customers.
This can be as simple as a welcome email that’s triggered when an order is placed, an automated follow-up text the day after, a special promotional offer, or any number of predefined tasks designed to build your relationship with the new customer.
Trigger new entries in your CRM from purchases and form submissions.
It’s important to keep track of all of your customers. And even all of your prospects who haven’t yet purchased from you, but still have demonstrated some interest in your product. You can set up your CRM to record new entries every time a new customer buys from you, or a prospect fills out a lead capture form.
Create reminders for your sales team.
It’s easy for even the most organized among us to occasionally forget an appointment (or two). Sales process automation can include the development of follow-up reminders for your sales reps so that they don’t forget about opportunities to reach out to and engage with customers.
Keep in mind that many (if not most) CRM platforms are able to seamlessly integrate with other sales tools. For example, CRM software should be able to integrate with Gmail and Outlook. So that your reps can keep track of their messages within the system; chat, so that your chat-bot sends qualified leads to your contact database; and messaging, so that reps can interact with prospects via text.
In summary, sales process automation in a CRM is all about simplifying and streamlining the work your reps do. You may have to spend some time and resources on the front end. But when you set up automated processes in your CRM platform, you’re almost certain to see positive results from your efforts.