If you're in sales, your role doesn't end at just closing a purchase. There are a host of activities you need to refine and pay attention to, which eventually lead up to the sale.
You have to find new leads, contact and nurture them, arrange meetings, log data, follow up, communicate with your team, and whatnot. And all of this can get tiring and divert your attention from what you're actually here to do—sell.
But what if you could put all your recurring and time-consuming tasks on auto-pilot so you can focus on revenue-generating activities?
You'd be surprised to know that you can automate a significant chunk of your daily, mundane tasks and shift your focus to more critical aspects of work. This won't only help you save time but also get better results. Consider these statistics:
- Sales representatives spend only one-third of their day making sales. The rest goes into completing manual tasks like writing emails, researching leads.
- More than 30% of their tasks can be automated.
- Automation can help cut down costs by almost 90%.
These figures show the enormous power of automation. No matter what field you're in, automation is the way forward if you want to grow your business.
Let's dive into what sales automation exactly is and how you can make the most of it.
What is sales automation?
Sales automation is the mechanization of tasks in your sales process that are—administrative, repetitive, and don't require direct interaction or relationship-building. By automating them, you can focus on those tasks that demand expertise and attention, like talking to clients and closing them.
Moreover, as there's a proper system in place, automation also makes your sales process more streamlined, uniform, and effective. This way, besides saving you time and money, it also helps improve your conversion rates and boost sales.
How do you automate sales tasks?
The answer is simple: with the help of sales automation tools.
Say you’re a freelancer or consultant. To get consistent leads in your funnel, you need to perform various tasks day in and day out to get steady work. But without a big team or much resources at your disposal, there’s only so much you can do alone.
This is where automation and tools help. Using tools, you can simply automate sales tasks that are repeatable or don’t require human interaction.
Here are some examples of such tasks:
- Extracting data from Linkedin
Instead of running the same searches on LinkedIn every day, you can use sales automation tools like Sales Navigator to do the work for you. These tools can save your search criteria and create a list of leads for you regularly.
Moreover, automation tools can also help you gather all the information you need about your prospects, like their role, company size, social media presence—saving you hours of research.
Then, you can either send these leads connection requests and start a conversation or extract emails from LinkedIn and shoot them compelling outreach mails.
- Scheduling meetings
Scheduling meetings with prospects is a pain, given the back-and-forth it involves. But by using scheduling tools, you can just send prospects the link to your booking page, and they'll choose a slot that suits them to take the call ahead.
Moreover, these tools send automated email sequences for reminding and sending meeting links, so the process becomes fairly coordinated and professional. Thus, automation makes the whole process hassle-free and quick.
- Adding new newsletter contacts
If you use a tool like Mailchimp or one of its alternatives to run a newsletter, you can easily integrate it with your lead sources—with a tool like Zapier.
For instance, every time someone submits their email address on your website to receive a free eBook or online course, they automatically become your newsletter contact as part of your email list. This not only helps you grow your audience but also markets your product or service.
This is exactly what Roota Mittal here does. Once visitors enroll for her free masterclass, they automatically become a part of her email list and start receiving emails from her.
- Receiving payments
Making invoices, chasing clients, managing payments—these are small tasks that end up taking a lot of time from your work. But with tools like Meetfox, you can easily automate these tasks. It can send your clients an invoice as soon as the meeting ends so that you can get on with your work.
From managing your lead pipeline and reaching out to following up, scheduling, invoicing—sales automation can look after all of this and more for you.
Let's explore some automation tools that can help you with this.
11 sales automation tools you need in 2021
But as easy as automation makes things for you, the benefits it offers depend on the kind of tools you choose. Invest in the wrong tool for your business, and your whole system can go for a toss.
Luckily, that won’t be the case for you. Here’s a list of some of the most effective sales automation tools that are worth considering:
Meetfox allows you to book meetings, host calls, send invoices and get paid—all from one platform. Using this tool, you can create a custom booking page, link it to your calendar, and send it across to all your prospects.
It even sends text and email reminders to both parties to ensure no one misses the meeting.
You can also choose how you'd like to get paid (whether right after the call or later), and Meetfox will do the invoicing bit for you.
By taking the responsibility of administrative tasks like scheduling meetings and invoicing—the tool saves you time and creates a seamless experience for you and your clients.
Expand touts itself as the "safest" LinkedIn automation tool. Using it, you can put your LinkedIn lead generation and outreach process (sending connection requests, messages, engaging) on autopilot. This helps you reach out to a larger number of people in less time.
In all the activities it carries out, Expandi mimics human behavior, so nothing appears fishy to LinkedIn. For example, it uses random delays and limits in sending requests and messages, making the whole process look natural.
Here's another interesting feature it offers: it can scrape all the followers of influencers in your market and then connect with them. So, for instance, if it sees a high-engagement post from someone in your industry, it tracks the people who engaged on it and then re-targets them with your campaign—as explained below.
Hyperise allows you to add hyper-personalized images and gifs to your LinkedIn or email outreach, landing pages, and chatbots.
This makes your message stand out from the crowd and makes it easier for recipients to understand it—given how humans process images better and faster.
Combined with Expandi, you can automate the process of sending out these messages at scale. This not only helps you reach more people in less time, but personalization can also improve your engagement rates.
Fun fact: Expandi saw a 72% acceptance rate and 40% reply rate in a campaign using Hyperise.
A sales engagement and email marketing platform, Mailshake is best suited for small B2B businesses. It allows you to send automated but personalized cold emails, schedule follow-ups, helps you store data on your leads, and has proven email templates you can use.
Its email performance tracking features are especially useful. It collects KPIs like bounces, opens, clicks, and unsubscribes for you—so you know what’s working in your campaign and what’s not without spending hours studying it.
Mailshake also has an email cleaning tool that helps reduce bounce rate and the chances of your mail ending up in the spam or promotions folder. This makes your outreach process more efficient and reduces any wastage of time.
Reply is a sales engagement platform that automates personal emails, LinkedIn outreach, follow-ups, calls, and more.
It allows you to create and automate a multi-channel sequence, which you can also personalize using variables in your messages. And if you use LinkedIn to look for prospects, Reply's chrome extension can automatically find their emails for you within seconds, so you can start reaching out to those leads.
Moreover, you can also improve your sales proposal email using its AI-powered quality score. The "Interested" folder in the tool lets you know which leads are engaging the most with your campaign and are likely to convert—so you know who to focus on.
Autoklose is an email outreach software backed by machine learning. Using it, you can automate your email outreach while maintaining a level of personalization—using variables in your emails—to establish better connections with prospects.
They also have in-built email templates you can take inspiration from, and the "template analyzer" lets you know which words in your mail look spammy so you can replace them and optimize your emails for best results.
But that's not it. Autoklose also helps you automate your lead generation process. They have a database of verified B2B leads—all you have to do is configure a client profile using their filters, and you'll get a list of prospects you can contact.
Much like Autoklose, Growbots also automates two crucial parts of your workflow - lead generation and outreach.
It starts with you selecting your target market, based on which Growbots generates a list of potential customers for you with their contact details. So, instead of finding leads and researching them manually, all you have to do is pick the ones you like.
You can also schedule an email campaign using the tool. It allows you to personalize your emails and A/B tests and track them.
After you automate your follow-ups, Growbots sends them out as per your prospect's timezone to increase your chances of success.
Fun fact: Growbots claims to improve campaign results by up to 40% within a month!
Sales Navigator is an automation tool best suited for consultants and freelancers who already use LinkedIn actively and want to scale their efforts.
It provides advanced filters that help narrow down to and target your ideal prospects—instead of aimlessly searching for them, using broad and generic filters.
Besides providing context about your leads, it also sends you updates and alerts on them, so you know when it's the right time to take action. Moreover, it keeps suggesting prospects similar to those you're working with, so your lead pipeline never runs dry.
Overall, this is a great tool to automate your prospecting and assist your outreach process.
Pipedrive is a fantastic automation tool that comes with many exciting features. It can pull data about your leads from different channels, send personalized emails to prospects, and has a scheduling tool that seamlessly helps you book meetings.
Using Pipedrive, you can put parts of your onboarding process on autopilot. It triggers third-party tools to create proposals, contracts, and quotations for you using the information it gathers. This saves you time and makes the whole process more efficient and hassle-free.
A cherry on the top is how it calculates your conversion rates for you—to give you an idea of how many new leads you need to reach your targets.
HubSpot sales is an all-in-one tool that helps you automate your sales process—right from prospecting and lead enrichment to scheduling meetings and setting drip campaigns.
While scheduling mails, it allows you to add some personalization tokens to tailor them. So, for example, you can tailor your subject line to make it specific for every prospect. It also has a recommendations tool that gives you a score based on how personalized your mail looks so you can tweak it accordingly.
Besides this, the tool gives you important insights like who opened your mail, clicked on a link, downloaded an attachment—this can help you identify which leads are the most engaged so you can prioritize and nurture them better towards the sale.
It constantly tracks and creates reports on your emails, allowing you to keep a check on what’s working and not so you can optimize your process for better results.
As brownie points, it converts your best-performing ones into templates you can repeatedly use, thus taking away the hassle of creating them from scratch every time.
Leadfuze is one of the best automation tools for lead generation. It has a database of over 300 million people and 14 million companies. All you have to do is provide details about your ideal clients, and Leadfuze will scan its database and prepare a list of leads that match the criteria along with their email ids.
You can go as specific as “CEO in the eCommerce industry with 50+ employees who uses Shopify and is looking for marketers” in your search. This feature saves you hours, helping you spend more time connecting with prospects than looking for them.
Moreover, you can also automate the process of sending emails and follow-ups to prospects using Leadfuze.
Sales automation undoubtedly helps you save time in the day. But that’s not it—the powerful automation tools that are coming up can also make your sales process more efficient than it would be if you did all the tasks manually.
The 11 tools mentioned above can help you automate elements of your sales cycle while giving you charge when and where it matters. Get started with one or more of them, and you’ll make your sales flow a breeze!
About The Author
Eduard Klein is an International Digital Growth Marketer, Blogger, and Entrepreneur with a global mindset. He guides through the process of starting and growing a digital business, and riding the wave of digital technology and marketing without getting swept away.