1. Break down silos, encourage collaboration
In the real world, Silos are more commonly used for bulk storage of grain, sawdust, and more.
It’s important to break down the silos (i.e., the bulk of activities) between the various departments to make the company's processes more efficient. One way of doing this is through the use of sales automation.
When there is a central database available to all the departments about important activities in the sales process, the different departments are able to work together.
Accenture, a leading global professional services company was able to improve collaboration, communication, and business insights for a bottling company.
This was achieved due to accurate real-time reporting — driven by transactional customer data-based analytics. Accenture was also able to reduce administrative workload by approximately 30% through sales automation.
By automating the sales process, most of the tasks usually done by the sales manager and the salespeople are now being done — more effectively — by sales automation software.
According to HubSpot, sales representatives spend less than a third of their working time actually selling. This is because sales representatives are bogged down by administrative and other ‘non-sales’ tasks.
To make sure that salespeople are able to focus on their most important job, selling, and enhance collaboration between them and their team leaders, some of the ‘non-sales’ tasks need to be automated.
For instance, automated reporting will save valuable time that will be used to pull data manually, screenshot charts, and attach those reports to individual emails. This allows for better collaboration and consequently, a better relationship between the sales manager and sales representatives.
2. Deliver experiences, not just products
Google and CEB (now Gartner) conducted a research and found that customers that are emotionally connected to a brand are twice as likely to purchase a product or service, and are four-times as likely to defend their purchase decisions.
What does this teach a company trying to implement automation in this digital age? You must attach a memorable experience to your products. When people feel good using a company's product, it creates a connection that attracts them to become a regular customer of that company.
Bespoke Collection is an organization that offers fine wines, top-tier memberships, and elegant art experiences. Through the use of customer relationship management and sales automation, Bespoke established a deeply involved relationship with their clients via their loyalty programs and membership.
Through automation, they give their customers the personal attention that excites them.
In the words of the company president Paul Leary:
“When someone makes a purchase with us, the next morning at ten o'clock, they get an automated, personalized email… by placing emphasis on relationship-based sales instead of a transaction based, we're able to increase customer retention and satisfaction, referrals, and order value.”
With sales automation, it is now easy to get the demographics of clients who use a particular product. Your product must be more centered on your customers than the pockets of the company.
A customer experience veteran, Gregory Yankelovich, said: “customers are no longer buying products and services, they are buying experiences delivered via the products and services.”
3. Introduce the human touch
While this post is about utilizing sales automation, it must be noted that sales automation cannot replace all your sales processes. There are some activities that must be performed by human beings or else your operation looks too robotic and repel the customers you're trying to attract.
Active Campaign’s Brian Gladu recommends automation for most of the listening activities like observing customer behavior and interaction with your products.
However, for activities that require thought, a human being should be in charge of it.
One other reason this is important is that it is easier for a Human being to persuade a reluctant potential customer than a sales automation software.
For instance, if a user decides to try your product on trial for 21 days, there is no assurance that they will buy the product after the trial. We can, however, say that there is a level of interest in the product, no matter how minimal.
As a smart business, you must gather as much information about this user as possible. This can be done using your sales automation software. However, it is possible for that user to have a problem that needs communication with a live agent.
If your potential customer calls your customer care line but was only attended to by an autoresponder, then that particular automation step could hurt your business rather than help. Before you know it, your potential customer could be with one of your competitors.
The beauty of sales automation is that it gives you enough information to decide those who need a personal touch and those who don't. Though Cisco and Xerox use a full-service sales automation system, they both offer live chat as part of their customer support — as a result of that personal touch.
4. Real-time personalization
The era of one solution for all your customers is over. When people buy your products, they are buying it for different reasons. For any business to thrive in this new digital economy, it must be ahead of its customers.
It must be able to know its customers’ behaviors and needs. This allows you to be ahead of the competition. For instance, personalizing your emails can increase open rate by up to 6.2%. In short, a promotional email that’s personalized can improve click rate by 3.20%.
To achieve the leading position in your business, there is a need to gather as much information about your customer as possible, that is, without invading their privacy.
This information can be gathered using marketing and sales automation software. One of the frontrunners in this aspect of customer service is Target.
Target has a Guest ID for every shopper in its store. It gathers as much information as possible about each customer. Through a customer’s behavior online, Target is able to detect their current need and serve them relevant and useful content.
Having mastered this practice, Target was able to detect that a high school student was pregnant even before her father did. If you’re selling beauty products, for instance, it is dangerous for your business to offer the same service to a 50-year old woman as you would to an 18-year old lady. Because they have different needs.
One company that exploits personalization to the highest level is Google. Google runs the largest ads service on the Internet and it’s easy to see by any observer why advertisers would want to use Google’s product.
Google allows advertisers to get the maximum and right exposure to their potential customers. One of the ways Google achieve this is by personalizing ads to each Internet user due to their behavior online.
If you make a Google search about designer shoes, for example, it is likely that most of the Google ads you’ll be seeing for the next few days will be about designer shoes, no matter which website you visit.
“Real-time Personalization” has given Google the dominance in the Advertising Industry. Although very few companies are as big as Google, you can still personalize your products and services even with the relatively small amount of information you can get through your marketing and sales automation software.
The biggest online retailer, Amazon, has done this as well as you will see it everywhere. When you're on Amazon, you get recommendations that really resonates with what you like and need. This gives you a lovely feeling that Amazon knows you so well.
Everybody wants to feel important. Make your product all about your customers and they will feel happy. When they feel happy, they are satisfied and you're able to reach your sales goals as a business.
Sales Automation helps you to categorize your customers into various demographics and serve them accordingly. This could be based on gender, location, times of the year, the part of your product they use, and hundreds of other things you can measure.
5. Integrate digital in-store
Utilizing sales automation in your business should affect how your physical stores operate. How can this happen? By integrating the online experience with the offline.
One of the reasons some people shop online is because it saves them time. When they come to your physical store, you need to make your service as fast and seamless as possible. Otherwise, they will regret coming and may never come back.
Apple has integrated the online experience into its customer’s experience at the Apple physical stores. When a customer walks into an Apple store, he can use the camera of his Apple device to scan the barcode of the product he/she is trying to buy.
He can then pay for the product on Apple store app through EasyPay option. All these without even meeting a Sales clerk.
Another option is to buy the product online and go to the Apple Store offline to pick up the product. You can see that these are great options that make life easier for the customer, which, in turn, makes the sales process as fast and efficient as possible.
Selling is an important part of any business, even life. Sale automation technology is also an innovation that has come to stay and change the way we go about our businesses.
Sales Automation is an effective technological process that performs important functions and allows B2B companies and other businesses to have more time to sell to people.
However, in all these, the customer must be seen as the most important part of this equation. Whatever must be executed with sales automation must be done without a negative effect to the customer experience.