Automation to Boost Sales and Marketing

Automation to Boost Sales and Marketing
Vlastimil Vodička
November 24, 2021

There has been an ongoing debate about the effectiveness and necessity of sales and marketing automation. How much of the process can be automated? Is automation really a good investment?

Does automation lose the human element consumers need to feel a connection to a brand? People have spent the last few decades asking and finding the answers to these important questions. And the answer is clear: sales force and marketing automation is the future.

Change always comes with hesitation. Many companies feel that what they are doing is working well enough, and they don’t want to go through the effort to alter their routines. Training a sales team on a new method of selling is taking some time away from prospecting, cold calling, and, most importantly, closing deals. But, this time spent has been proven to lead to more deals closed in the long run. 

A Need to Invest in Automation 

There has been a heavy leaning towards marketing and sales for automation, and this is intentional. Coined as marketing and sales productivity systems (MSPs), this focus in the world of business automation acknowledges that marketing and sales are two skills that require a lot of time invested from a lot of different team members. An automated MSP has been proven to both minimize costs and increase revenue. Introducing automation into this process allows talented team members to focus their energy on the needier aspects of the business, like closing the deals and communicating directly with the consumer. It has been proven that sales force automation can eliminate up to 75% of the work of a sales team. That is 75% more time staff members can be closing the deals based on the leads generated by the automated system, which will bring in more leads than the average sales representative by a staggering amount. 

Investing in sales and marketing automation is also not all that expensive when related to the revenue increase generated by the automation tools. Once an effective automated system is in place, the number of generated leads will continue to increase, leading to more sales, assuming an effective sales team on the other end closing the deals. Reports as old as from the 1980s cite success with the introduction of sales force automation, declaring an increase in sales by up to 30% and over 100% return on investments. And this was the 80s. Technology has evolved so much since then, making automation easier and more effective.

The modern era of technology has the tools needed to increase productivity, but still, people are hesitant to switch out of their old habits. Productivity is a necessity in the workforce, especially with all the new challenges posed within a semi-new digital age. As companies are beginning to understand what they can do in the modern age to receive the proper brand recognition, achieve with global expansion, and scale with many new channels for quality lead generation, others are getting left behind. Investing in automation is vital for success in a digital marketplace. 

Social Selling, Digital Marketing, and Automation

Social media has created a new wave of easy lead generation strategies and marketing techniques. With these advancements have also come advancements in sales and marketing automation. Cold calling is becoming more and more obsolete, with more people turning to social media for products and services. The ability to increase brand recognition and expand globally has never been simpler, and yet it is hard for some to see the benefits of getting involved. Selling social media marketing is where many professionals are halted. It may be hard to convince a traditional marketing team that automation and social media brand awareness campaigns are the best courses of action. When in reality, 73% of companies are making the switch to social media advertising and social selling. 

An increase in automation means an increase in outsourced sales and marketing services. When there is a need, it will be filled. There are hundreds of companies ready to use their automation technology and, a lot of the time, artificial intelligence capabilities to improve social selling and digital marketing strategies. Many sources of social selling interest are through LinkedIn, which is arguably the leader in regards to network marketing lead generation systems. It is a platform designed for social selling, brand recognition, and business opportunity. Social selling and digital marketing thrive on LinkedIn, and companies are realizing this and incorporating LinkedIn into their business strategies, either manually or through automated means. 

There are multiple ways to automate social media selling and marketing. The search and customer selection process can be automated, with tools capable of doing advanced searches to scan through websites and databases for the contact information of the most qualified prospects. It is also easy to automate outgoing messaging or cold emailing leads. Artificial intelligence tends to play an important role in this process. The right messages are expertly crafted and personalized for every business, giving the consumer on the receiving end the feel of a real connection with a business. 

How to Implement Automation 

It is daunting to consider changing the way a business operates. It is a lot of different people with unique work styles and needs. Getting a diverse group of people working effectively in a new system may cause some roadblocks in a company. Additionally, it is essential that the new tools and techniques be implemented properly. The automatic elements of the business model can only be successful working in tandem with the dedicated staff who understand how to utilize automation and where to step in for that much-needed human element in a sale. 

1. Fully understand and explain the benefits of automation 

It is important to lead by example. Make a plan backed by research and proven successful methods. One major thing that prevents people from taking action and embracing change is fear of the unknown. Many sales reps and marketing team members may not understand the advantages of automating certain aspects of their position and may fear that they are becoming obsolete as the machines can outperform them. But, they can be incentivized with the knowledge that automating a hefty portion of the early lead generation busy work will lead them to close more deals and communicate with more customers, making their job easier and their workday go by faster. Ensuring that all staff members understand the purpose and the benefits automation has on their livelihood will aid in the transition to automation. 

2. Start off with simple automation and introduce it piece by piece

Introducing a team to the concept of automation in a way that doesn’t drastically alter their daily routine aids in getting staff on board more effectively. People are way more likely to accept smaller changes than larger ones. There are many different aspects to automation that could be chosen from as a branching-off point. Setting up some automated lead generation through the use of cold emailing could be an easy way to introduce a sales team to the concept in a way that is minimally invasive. Use these introductory implementations as proof that automating these processes will be beneficial, allowing things to snowball from there. Soon enough, everything that can be automated will be, and productivity will be vastly improved. 

3. Focus on the benefits to the customer above all else

Automation benefits the company attempting to make sales in many different ways, which makes it even more important to ensure these benefits do not outshine the needs of the customers. The implementation of sales automation must not only factor in the needs of the customer but put them as the top priority. Examining the sales practices with the customer-focused lens helps to keep the planning for automation implementation focused and more deliberate. This is when the creation and inclusion of an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) could be really beneficial. Taking the time to understand the target audience of a brand reflects greatly on the sales performance, as this can be used as a guide to tailor marketing, cold emailing, and many other forms of lead generation tactics. 

4. Encourage feedback and listen to sales reps

Automation can only be a successful part of a business if the team members most affected by it are happy with the capabilities, features, and outputs. The sales representatives will know firsthand what is working and what is not. Pay attention to the data and the opinions of team members. Adaptability is essential in any business model, and the introduction of automation may be something that will need some alterations to perfectly suit the needs of a unique organization. Check-in with team members regularly to discuss as a full unit how the implementation of automated sales and marketing services can be improved. 

5. Work with an outsourced sales team 

A major benefit of sales automation services is the staff that comes with them. Investing in an automation service gives the added bonus of a team of dedicated individuals experienced in the craft. Some or all of the processes of sales can be outsourced, which leads to more savings for the business owner. Without a need for a large in-house sales team, the money saved on office space, salaries, and more expenses can be funneled directly back into the business. This will give the opportunity for business expansion, potentially scaling globally with the help of the expertly trained individuals leading the way with their automation technology. 

Automation Starts Today

Sales force automation is inevitable. Choosing to allow other companies to automate while remaining in old and outdated sales practices is hardly an option. As the world of social selling progresses forth, it is becoming more and more necessary to join in, as losing this important aspect of outreach will leave a brand outdated and will surely fall short of their competitors. It is about time the repetitive, mundane, and time-wasting tasks many sales reps are forced to do are replaced with a system that does it for them. Modern software and AI technology are ready and available to take on the lead generation and social selling tasks of any business in need. With the help of technologically advanced professionals working in tandem with or independently from a dedicated sales team, automation will lead to an increase in leads, sales, and will cut down on marketing costs.

Taking the time to seek the benefits of sales and marketing automation is essential for a future full of growth and scalability. Do thorough research and discover the companies, software, and services that will best suit the brand. Automation will quickly begin filling the holes in lead generation and marketing strategies that an average human sales representative would easily miss. The power of automation technology is too great to be ignored. 

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