A sales rep’s life becomes so much easier and efficient once he or she has sales automation running smoothly. Sales automation enhances relationship with existing customers and prospects, keeps track of leads, organises documentation – all the while saving precious time.
An automation software like Infusionsoft helps guide prospects through the sales process in a seamless way. It releases emails automatically, and not the generic ones but those that are relevant to where the client is in the sales process. This automation ensures that relevant and timely communications are sent without the need for the sales rep to check on his notes. This gives a clearer picture of what’s forthcoming and what needs to be done to improve the sales process.
How what automating the sales pipeline look like?
- Infusionsoft has an opportunity record that tracks the progress of a prospect. It helps by:
- Providing a macro-view of where the lead is in the sales process. If, let’s say, a prospect is in the Contacting stage, the sales rep may try to reach them. Prospects in the Qualified stage, on the other hand, are qualified to purchase, so the sales rep may then work on closing the sale.
- Tracking the date and time for the next action that the sales rep should take. With the opportunity record, the sales rep can see how many leads are in each sales stage and which ones should be given immediate action.
- Effective automation clearly defines each sales stage so that the leads can be moved from one stage to the next. Finding out if a lead is qualified to make a purchase happens in three stages:
- Contacting – New prospects enter this stage. This is the stage when the sales rep attempts to successfully contact them.
- Engaging – The sales rep has successfully contacted the lead but they are still determining if they could become a buyer.
- Qualified – The lead is now considered a qualified buyer and they will be moved further down the process.
The movement through each stage is triggered by automated emails and tasks. For example, the contacting stage involves calling up the prospect. If the sales rep is unsuccessful in his first attempt, a follow-up email is sent automatically.
- Sales automation sends relevant emails. To determine the relevance of an email, past and future communication with the client must be considered. To do this, think of the following:
- What action must occur to necessitate this particular email?
- When this email gets out, what is the expected action?
- What is the best time and day to send an email?
- What other emails should have been released prior to this particular email?
- What are the safe things to discuss at this stage?
- What are the off-limit topics?
When sending automated emails, try to make them look personal. Remember, automated emails work best when they don’t look automated.
- In the Contacting stage, the sales rep attempts to contact the prospective client. In Infusionsoft’s Contacting stage, there are four emails released over a month. These emails bring to focus the fact that the sales rep has been trying to initiate contact via phone and that the prospect did not respond to any of the attempts. When the emails are sent, the name of the particular sales rep who was initiating contact will appear as the sender. This will give the email a personal touch instead of something that’s automated.
- Once contact is successfully made, the client is moved to the Engaging stage where the sales rep determines if the client is qualified; i.e., if the company can serve their needs or if the client has the budget to make a purchase. In the Engaging stage, clients may receive blog posts, videos and other content that will inform them of the product offerings. Once the client is deemed qualified, the automated emails they will get may then include pricing information, comparison and other information that will direct them towards buying.
An automated sales pipeline will deliver many benefits. Firstly, leads will no longer slip through the cracks as sales reps can accurately track their progress. Secondly, sales reps can be more efficient when they no longer have to search through old notes and emails. For management, an automated sales pipeline provides reliable data that can identify bottlenecks that hamper the sales process. If, for example, leads disappear after the Contacting stage, it raises a red flag that must be attended to. In the bigger picture, sales automation improves relationship between sales reps and prospects and this will positively impact conversions.