You’re never going to be able to maximize sales if you’re trying to do it all by yourself. To compete with the big boys, you have to embrace sales automation.
Sales automation is a powerful way to enhance productivity, increase sales, and improve revenue, eliminating tedious and time-consuming tasks and saving thousands of work hours. Your sales team is then freed up to place more focus on what they do best, generating leads and selling.
The growth of sales automation
Sales force automation (SFA) software is becoming more and more popular among businesses. Perhaps this is unsurprising when you consider sales automation offers more leads, conversions, and sales, all for less work. Data from Lenskold Group revealed that 63% of companies outgrow their competitors with marketing automation.
According to Aberdeen Group, companies that use sales automation achieve 53% higher conversion rates and 3.1% higher annual revenue growth rate.
While there’s no doubt sales automation brings a lot of advantages, some marketers are still thinking twice about using it — especially if they lack the technical expertise, or budget to hire a dedicated team, sales automation can be quite overwhelming.
To help you get started, here are seven ways your business can use sales automation to generate leads and increase revenue:
1). AI-based salesbots
With the advancement of technology, businesses have stopped competing in conventional ways, instead, fighting their battles digitally. Artificial Intelligence is no longer science-fiction, but a business game-changer that has truly arrived.
In fact, according to market research firm Tractica, the global artificial intelligence software market is expected to see huge growth in the coming years, with revenues increasing from around 9.5 billion U.S. dollars in 2018 to an expected 118.6 billion by 2025.
If your top priority is to convert leads into customers, then AI can help you.
a). Email Content Curation: Lots of businesses spend hours composing weekly emails to customers. The problem is that it’s almost impossible to deliver a personalized email to all of your customers with this method.
And that’s where artificial intelligence comes in.
AI algorithms can process a subscribers’ email browsing data to analyze how individuals interact with your content, allowing AI to create highly personalized emails based on that information.
b). Improved Customer Experience: With chatbots, AI has really improved customer experience. Here are a few examples:
i). Personalized Packaging: Customers crave personalization, but with human customer reps it’s difficult to cater to customer needs individually. Using an AI chatbot, personalizing packaging becomes a realistic possibility.
ii). Fix Problems: Chatbots are designed to be proactive, fixing problems before customers even realize they exist and creating a smooth path to sale.
iii). Streamline Sales: Chatbots can guide customers through the whole process of purchasing. Live chat representatives can sometimes complicate things. A chatbot, on the other hand, can streamline the entire process and ultimately, improve customer experience.
2). Smart Chatbots
“In the long run, I think we will evolve in computing from a mobile-first to an AI-first world.” – Sundar Pichai, CEO at Google Inc.
A lot of companies are using artificial intelligence to handle customer management and IT tasks. You may have even been chatting to bots without realising it. Smart chatbots can be hard to distinguish from a human.
There’s a common misconception among SaaS Startups and B2B companies — they think that sophisticated chatbots will completely replace humans in the near future. But an Oxford University Study predicted it is likely to be 47% of jobs that would be automated by 2033.
A study conducted by the Harvard Business Review of 13 manufacturing and service industries in North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and Latin America, revealed: “they are using AI much more frequently in computer-to-computer activities and much less often to automate human activities.”
“Machine-to-machine’ transactions are the low-hanging fruit of AI, not people-displacement,” says Satya Ramaswamy.
Perhaps the most likely scenario is that, in future, both chatbots and humans will work together, helping brands communicate better and deliver great customer experiences.
At Acquire, a company that provides Artificial Intelligence salesbots, we have implemented a comprehensive chatbot to help you collect a customer’s information, including their name, contact number, email ID, and other details which allow you to formulate personalized sales strategies.
3). Enhanced relationship management
While some customers focus on the quality of the product or service, others opt for a brand because of the relationship management — especially when all four stages of the process are properly addressed.
Today, chatbots are widely used by businesses (such as American Express and H&M) to handle customer support. This is because these AI-driven assistants can manage customer service questions with ease.
Read more in this whitepaper.
By using AI-driven assistants, you can allow your sales reps to focus on more complex tasks and handle the in-depth customer service issues.
4). Saturate the top of the funnel
The sales funnel is the journey through to purchase — from creating awareness about your brand, to inspiring the lead to take action (e.g., buy your product, register to attend your webinar/event). The top of the funnel is your foundation. If you don’t have the means to generate awareness and produce leads, there is nothing to feed the funnel.
Businesses arm themselves with expert sales teams to deal with this. However, “only 27% of B2B leads are “sales ready.” when first generated. There is still nurturing to be done.
But 90% of business buyers say they will find you when they’re ready to buy — so by adding to the top of your funnel, even if they don’t convert straight away, they may come back later down the line.
This illustrates why sales automation is a necessity for businesses. Using AI software makes it easy for companies to send a lot of leads to their sales funnel. A feat which humans would struggle to achieve on that scale.
Algorithms in AI software can match a company’s customer profile to create an ideal list of prospects who are likely to be “sales ready”.
Using a sales automation tool that tracks leads upon entering the funnel, prospects can be sorted into appropriate nurture campaigns, based on demographics and behavior.
Sales automation allows businesses to better manage leads and convert potential customers into loyal customers.
5). Store and access customers’ details
Sales automation stores all customer details to be retrieved whenever needed. Details regarding their purchases, a reason for their last call, or any other relevant metrics are available.
When a customer calls to discuss a problem, they will not need to speak to the same rep every time for a smooth experience. Anyone can answer and pick up where the last conversation left off, saving time on explaining the issue again for both customer and rep alike.
This way you can delight your customers, improve customer service and nurture leads more effectively.
6). Meet newly defined customer expectations and deliver seamless customer service
One of the biggest challenges businesses face is to meet constantly changing customer expectations. In this competitive world, offering seamless, consistent service to your customers is a must. This will not only help you to retain old customers, but attract new ones as well.
Through storing and managing service cases, sales force automation helps resolve customer issues quickly, something customers have come to expect in this fast-paced world.
7). Organize sales teams
With the help of sales automation, sales managers have direct access to customer-related data, sales figures, customer complaints and sales reps activities. This helps when it comes to measuring success. Management is able to act with agility, making quick decisions based on real-time, in-depth data.
Through automation, the sales process becomes quicker and the sales team can use a unified system to manage activities, storing and organizing data to be accessed from any device, any place they are connected.
Sales process automation explained step-by-step
Step 1: Define your goal
Define a measurable goal. For a SaaS Vendor, this may be something like a visitor booking a demo or scheduling a meeting.
Step 2: Map your customer journey
A sequence-based sales bot can help you define the next course of action. You can map out your entire user journey and instruct your bot to take appropriate action at every stage, even A/B testing the process.
Step 3: Segment customers who opt out of the chat
For visitors who opt out of the chat, you can segment customers based on behavior, location, usage, and individual profiles and then send them a targeted message.
Step 4: Assign people that will take it ahead
Define who will be responsible to take the conversation ahead, once the conversation qualifies. Consider who are the best individuals to handle the tasks.
Step 5: Implement the Process
Once you program your sales bot, the next step will be to implement it. Use A/B tests to measure your sales bot performance.
Step 6: Monitor the Results
Quantify the performance of your sales bot in terms of conversion and revenue goal. See where automation is working and where human elements still matter.
Step 7: Measure Value
Identify the potential phases of the sales lifecycle where automation can be incorporated. After all, if you are investing in sales automation, you need to make full use of it.
The last word
Artificial intelligence applies in many areas, but when it comes to sales automation and customer service, it offers the opportunity for your business to create an edge over your competitors. To do this, you must develop a strategy.
The good news is, you don’t have to invest a fortune. Start with AI chatbots to automate customer service, and then scale from there.
Will you take action today, or will you carry on the same way? The choice is yours.