Sales is tough for any business – which is why you need all the help you can get. Sales force automation software can help you lighten the load.

 Sales Automation

Sales Automation makes your job easier

Let me tell you a joke:

Salesman: This computer will cut your workload by 50%.

Office Manager: That’s great, I’ll take two of them.

Bad-doom-tish!  

Ok, that joke might be bad, but it kind of gets to my point. Sales automation is important, but the fact remains Sales teams face huge challenges collating, organizing and leveraging their data. A recent report from a contact management software reviews company, found that 84% of sales people desire efficient automated responses including scheduling reminders/follow-ups.

1. Centralize all of your prospect and customer data

 The report  reveals that the key component to closing more sales is by using sales force automation software. 39% of respondents expressing the need for more efficiency and organization. In our opinion, the best place to start organizing is your data.  

You’re probably working in a CRM, which is great. At some point, you may have added a phone number or changed an email address.

At the same time, your marketing team implements a new email drip campaign, in the marketing automation platform. Your customer care team is answering post-sales questions and adding their own customer data to their customer care platforms.

Data collected by Sales is helpful for other teams and vice versa. The problem is that Sales, Marketing and Customer Care teams often work in apps that aren’t integrated, which means that data is getting lost or not shared at all.

A report from Aberdeen Marketing found that “Almost half of sales and marketing users report being actively dissatisfied with their ability to get information in a timely way…”

This results in a huge organizational mess where departments are often overlapping their communication efforts, leading to unhappy customers who are fed-up with amateur efforts. Hard-won relationships are often broken by ill-informed campaigns which are exacerbated by data silos.

The ideal situation is that this extra data is automatically flowing bi-directionally to and from your CRM system so that all teams across the company have access to the most up to date information at any one time.

2. Use your data to nurture post-sales relationships

Sales teams rely on CRM systems to help them build and nurture relationships, including post-sales relationships.

Amy Van Atta Slater, SVP of worldwide sales operations for Rovi and former VP of enterprise corporate sales for Salesforce, agrees, stating in the Software Advice report that “A lot of people look at their CRM platforms not just for prospects, but for how they’re servicing that prospect once they become a customer.”

Post-sales customer care is more and more being considered a part of the Sales Pipeline. Afterall, it is more effective to retain existing customers than it is to acquire new ones. But communications to your post-sales customers has to be considered, and highly-targeted. 

As Peter Lavers, Managing Director of WCL Customer Management told PieSync: “It’s counter-intuitive to send a customer, who has just purchased the latest model of your product, a discount on a different model. It signals to them that you don’t care about their decisions and – worse- you look aggressive. For customers who have just made a purchase, you want to reinforce their decision and thank them.”

Showing your knowledge of a customer’s individual situation signals that you’re a sales rep who cares about their customer’s needs. In a world where customer choice is limitless, and rival companies market aggressively, there is little impetus for customers to stay loyal to one business.

Using your data to ensure your post-sales communication is top-notch can mean the difference between a customer who comes back for repeat business, or one who looks elsewhere.

3. Contact Management Functionality is High-priority

Interestingly enough, 98% of the respondents to the Software Advice report want a contact management functionality that goes beyond simply using a CRM as an expensive Rolodex.

Top-Request SFA Software Functionality. From Software Advice
Top-Request SFA Software Functionality. From Software Advice

CRMs are most powerful when they are integrated with other business clouds apps, such as marketing automation platforms, customer care platforms, and cloud accounting apps.

The reality is most CRM developers aren’t concentrating on integration functionality. You may be able to get one or two interesting integrations, but the choice is always limited. Add to that the complexity of API systems and you’ve got a recipe for a massive headache.

Many businesses resort to outdated ad-hoc methods to try and string their business cloud apps together.

“What we most often find is that individual sales or customer support people create their own spreadsheets that house their contact information and dates of interaction,” explains Susan Connor, president and chief CRM strategist at Salesforce integration firm Squareblue Consulting, to Software Advice. “What results is a splintered view of the entire organization’s relationship with clients and prospects.”

Another old favorite is the import/export function, but in truth, it’s simply not good enough. Contacts become quickly out of date.

We all know that deals can be made or broken in a matter of minutes, so you don’t want to be scrabbling through your in-house databases looking for the latest client email.

Instead, businesses need to use syncing solutions, such as PieSync, that connects  business cloud apps together to form one transparent tunnel through which data freely flows.  

Syncing your apps together will ensure that everyone will have access to the most up to date information when they need it most. No more ad-hoc “syncing” methods, no more import/export.

4. Take advantage of advanced reporting features

CRMs make reporting a breeze, but you’ve got to be willing to take on the learning curve and master this incredibly handy function. Here are some out of the box reports that you should be using to track important sales metrics:

  1. Pipeline or Deal Regression – this report provides a detailed view of all your leads that have moved from one customer stage in the pipeline to another. This helps you to seize opportunities and develop tactics for regressed leads. It also helps marketing to set quotas and launch campaigns such as email drip campaigns.
  2. High-Value Customers – this report is invaluable if you want to invest your time in customer retention, which you should. You can then decide to check-in with these customers to see if they need anything, or send them special offers and discounts. It’s a great way to turn a high-value customer into a brand advocate.
  3. Sales Cycle Reports – this tracks the average number of days it takes for your leads to get to a particular stage in the pipeline. Because sales and marketing are involved in the Sales Cycle at different stages, it’s important to know the effects on the sales cycle.
  4. Lead Status Report – This can be very useful to monitor progress and make sure to stay up to date so you can win deals from these leads. Additionally, you can find out which sources are most successful to translating these leads into deals and you can track the total amount of deals your organization locks up.
  5. Goal Progress Reports – tells you if your campaigns are meeting your pre-defined goals. This could be a report about total revenue or deals won, or if it’s for marketing the total ROI per campaign. They can help you determine the effectiveness of your campaigns which is suitable for helping decision-makers make a call on business tactics,  and are great for keeping your teams on the same page

 

automation

5. Your contacts on the go

If you’re on the road, and your idea of a good contact management system is scribbling customer info on a piece of paper, then spending hours inputting that data into a spreadsheet, you’re looking at hundreds of hours wasted on data entry.

You’re also running the very real risk of incorrect data being input into your CRM.

If your CRM doesn’t have a mobile app, you can always work around this by using PieSync.

Your sales team tap customer data into their Google Contacts, or Outlook on their smartphones. PieSync then syncs this data into your CRM in real time.  

With a system like this, everyone will always have accurate, up to date customer information in real time.

6. Integrate your data using PieSync

On average PieSync users save 25 hours per month on contact management.  That’s 3 working days each month that you could be doing something else to boost your business, like prospecting for new leads or closing more deals.

Synchronizing your business data creates vast opportunities for business growth. Try PieSync today and see for yourself.

START SYNCING
 

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Vanessa is a wordsmith extraordinaire. Originally from Australia, she has travelled the world and the seven seas to write scintillating content for you to enjoy. She likes books, travel, vintage films and sushi (not necessarily in that order).

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