The savvy marketer’s guide to sales force automation

You only have so many hours in a single day - so it’s important to work smart, instead of working hard. In this guide, we discuss how you can use sales force automation (SFA) to increase the productivity of your team, and empower them to do more with less.

What is sales force automation?

Sales force automation sounds like a fancy term, but it simply refers to the practice of using software to automate sales-related tasks such as order processing, inventory monitoring, contact management, order tracking, forecast analyzing, and more.

Sales force automation software has been around for a long time now, and these are not new by any means. That said, the technologies behind these software have improved by leaps and bounds over the past few years.

Take the activity of qualifying and scoring leads, for example. In the past, sales automation relied on hard-coded rules and took into consideration limited factors when qualifying and scoring leads. Today’s sales automation solutions, on the other hand, are using more sophisticated technology (and even artificial intelligence) to fine-tune the lead qualifying process. This allows companies to improve upon the accuracy of their lead qualifying, and in turn, increase the effectiveness of their lead nurturing efforts.

Why your business needs sales force automation

Be honest with yourself: do you really think that your sales and marketing teams are functioning at peak productivity? If the answer is no, then that’s where sales force automation comes in.

According to statistics, companies who use sales force automation close 30% more deals, reduce their sales cycle by 18%, and even cut down their sales administrative time by 14%. Basically, sales automation allows you to do more with less. If your company is currently doing $200,000 in revenue per year, the goal is to hit $300,000 without expanding your team. If you’re doing $500,000, then set your sights on hitting $750,000, again without hiring more reps.

How is this possible? Well, sales automation basically eliminates all the tedious, manual tasks from your sales team’s day-to-day, allowing them to concentrate on nurturing and selling to their leads.

With sales force automation software, your reps will never have to personally schedule another appointment or update another lead’s information again. Instead, they can spend their time on revenue-generating activities that contribute to the company’s bottom line.

Benefits of sales force automation

Now that we’ve discussed the overarching advantage of sales force automation (read: time savings), let’s move on to talk about the other benefits that sales force automation brings to the table as well.
 

Managing and qualifying leads

With sales force automation, sales reps won’t need to manually pull lead information from different sources, collate them, then get in touch with them.

Sales automation software does all the heavy lifting, including extracting leads from your various campaigns and touch points, scoring and qualifying said leads, and even telling your reps which leads should be contacted immediately, and which are the ones who can wait. Sounds like a dream come true, huh?
 

Upselling and cross-selling

After successfully closing a customer, many sales reps quickly move on to their next lead without a second thought. But here’s what these reps don’t realize: this means they’ll miss out on all the upselling and cross-selling opportunities that they might have with that first customer.

Luckily, sales force automation software will automatically track and record your customer’s entire order history, so that you identify possible upselling and cross-selling opportunities with a single glance. On top of this, you can also program your software to flag out when your customers are likely to make a repurchase, and trigger a reminder for you to follow up with them when it’s time.

If you play your cards right, your customers will end up purchasing from you repeatedly, and this means their Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) will add up to much more than their initial purchase. Keep that in mind!
 

More streamlined support

On top of being able to access all your leads via a single dashboard, sales force automation also allows you to have a centralized database where you can keep track of your customer’s accounts. This enables you to provide your customers with better and more effective support.

Say your customer calls in and requests for help on a certain issue. What happens if the issue is resolved temporarily, but the customer encounters the same problem further down the road?

Without a centralized tracking system, your customer will be forced to recount the details of their problem again, which is a waste of both your customer and the company’s time. With sales force automation software, on the other hand, your support staff can easily log in and browse through the notes or latest updates attached to this customer’s account. They’ll be able to pinpoint the customer’s problem and help them resolve it quickly and effectively; this translates to a win for both parties.
 

Forecasting sales

Strategy-wise, sales force automation software comes equipped with features that enable you to analyze customer behaviors and market sentiment. These software help you to understand past and current sales trends more intimately, which in turn allows you to come up with an accurate sales forecast.

With an accurate, precise sales forecast that you can rely on, you’ll be able to map out your marketing campaigns and strategies more effectively. If your company holds physical inventory, you can also use your sales forecast to fine-tune your reordering time and quantity.
 

Generating reports and analytics

Last but not least, sales force automation software is a godsend for team leaders or business owners who look at analytics or reports on a regular basis. With sales force automation software, generating these analytics can be done with a click of a button. You’ll spend less time putting the numbers together, and more time identifying the challenges and opportunities that your team is facing.

How CRM helps with sales force automation

Sales force automation tools aside, plenty of businesses also rely on Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software to help them streamline and improve upon their sales processes.

What’s the difference between CRM and sales force automation (SFA), you ask? In a nutshell, SFA is a specific subset of CRM. While CRM refers to any sort of software that helps a company serve and interact with its customers more effectively, SFA specifically deals with software that supports B2B sales teams. While CRM and SFA software may come with similar features, SFA software tend to prioritize sales-related activities such as lead generation, lead scoring, opportunity tracking, and the like.

Does that mean that sales teams should always favor SFA software over CRM software? Not necessarily - there are also CRM tools which are highly comprehensive. If your company is already using a CRM software that comes with all the sales-related features that you need, then there’s no point in splashing out on additional SFA software.

Best CRM-sales force automation integrations

 

Regardless of whether you’re in the market for CRM or SFA software, it’s important to make sure that the platform you’re using provides the necessary integrations. This helps to streamline your workflow and provides your team with greater convenience and accessibility.

Our Freshsales CRM, for example, comes with plenty of integrations including Mailchimp, Quickbooks, Freshchat, and more. In this section, we’ll discuss how you can utilize each integration to level up your sales and marketing efforts.

Freshsales CRM software x MailChimp

It’s important to maintain consistent databases or lists across your CRM software and your marketing platform. This way, you can make sure that everyone who’s supposed to be in your drip campaign is in your drip campaign, and that no one falls through the cracks.

With our integration with MailChimp, syncing leads and contacts from either platform to the other is a breeze. You can also set up the system such that new contacts in MailChimp are automatically pushed to Freshsales and vice-versa. This means you’ll spend less time on tedious import-export chores, and you can focus on coming up with highly relevant email campaigns that will compel your leads to take action.
 

Freshsales CRM software x QuickBooks

In an ideal world, all your leads and customers would pay up on time, without you having to chase them. In reality, though, small businesses in America have $825 billion in unpaid invoices at any given point in time... and a mind-boggling 81% of these invoices are more than 30 days past due.

It typically falls on the shoulders of sales reps to make sure that a lead or a customer has paid up, but then again, if your reps have to keep chasing for unpaid invoices, this will definitely hamper their productivity. Luckily, our QuickBooks integration helps you keep track of your payments and invoices without breaking a sweat. With this integration, you can have a bird’s eye view of all customer invoices under a respective lead, get a summary of the total paid and unpaid amounts for each lead, and get notified when your lead makes a payment, without ever leaving the Freshsales dashboard.
 

Freshsales CRM software x Freshchat

If you don’t already have a live chat function on your website, you’re missing out, big-time. Studies show that up to 77% of customers will not make a purchase on a website if there’s no live chat option available. On average, companies that provide live chat enjoy a 48% increase in revenue per chat hour, as well as a 40% increase in overall conversion rate.

To capitalize on the power of live chat, simply use our Freshchat integration to connect your leads to your sales reps. This modern messaging software allows your sales reps to chat with leads directly from the Freshsales CRM, and the handy Assignment Rules feature automatically assigns chats to individual sales agents or groups based on predetermined conditions.

Using Freshsales CRM for sales force automation

Freshsales CRM is the software of choice for companies looking to get started with sales force automation. Read on to find out why

Understand your leads

As any sales rep worth their salt will tell you, it’s important to know your lead like the back of your hand. To learn more about your lead, use Freshsales CRM’s website and in-app tracking features to identify which landing pages they spend the bulk of their time on, as well as how they interact with these pages. Freshsales also comes with an advanced lead scoring feature that automatically qualifies leads based on characteristics and behavior.

Nail the follow-up process

Think that following up is a highly painful process? Not with the right tools at your disposal! Freshsales comes with an easy-to-use sales pipeline that allows reps to locate the deals in each stage of the pipeline with a single glance. You can also sort and filter deals easily. Received an email from a lead, but forgot to reply? Simply use the “Awaiting Response” feature to find a complete list of emails pending your response.

One last point on following up - if someone in your team is sick or unavailable, this doesn’t mean that things should grind to a halt. Freshsales provides your team with a common inbox so that your sales reps can step in and answer each other’s unanswered emails, get instant context into conversations, and follow up right away. This reduces unnecessary delays, and shortens your sales cycle.

Simplify workflows

Anything that can be outsourced should be outsourced - that’s how you keep your team lean and highly productive. Freshsales allows you to create workflow automations that operate like clockwork; these free up your reps to work on activities that actually move the needle. At the basic level, you can set up your system to use events to automate field updates. If a new lead is created in your CRM, you can also trigger a welcome email to them.

Looking for sales force automation tools?

Freshsales CRM is a sales force automation tool and  CRM system that’s built to help sales teams skyrocket their effectiveness. This CRM system comes with all the features that you need, including built-in phone and email integration, reports and automations, lead scoring, profile enrichment and auto lead assignment functions, and much more.

With Freshsales CRM, you get free, 24x5 support over phone, email or chat regardless of whether you’re a free user or a paying customer. Want to explore the magic of sales force automation tools? Click the button below to secure your free 21-day trial.

 

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