“By increasing efficiencies through better qualifying leads and increasing effectiveness by ensuring sales efforts are more personalized and relevant, marketing automation enables sales teams to do what they do best – SELL.” – Kristen Hambelton , Chief Marketing Officer at ServiceChannel
Marketing automation  has become an integral part of many organization’s strategic mix as the toolset provides businesses with enhanced opportunities to transform raw leads into sales-qualified prospects.
This is done by continually nurturing leads with various forms of informative content and personalized communications as they move through the sales funnel.
But marketing automation, just like everything else in technology, is evolving at light speed. As marketing automation becomes commonplace, sales automation – often called sales force automation (SFA) – is becoming the new cutting edge focus.
After all, you can engage in all kinds of effective marketing tactics, but if you can’t get a sale out of it, your efforts are wasted.
As automation makes its leap into the realm of sales, businesses unlock new opportunities to gain heightened levels of revenue and success.
How to Scale Your Small Business With Sales Automation
If you are interested in understanding how sales automation software  can help elevate your business to the next level, check out these 3 steps SMBs can take to leverage sales automation for higher revenues and brand awareness.
1. Fill the Top of the Funnel
The top of the sales funnel  is the foundation of your entire process. Without a means to steadily generate awareness and attract leads, the entire funnel collapses and your company runs the risk of doing the same.
As the digital realm becomes an increasingly competitive, dog-eat-dog world, keeping your sales funnel full has become a job unto itself. Therefore, businesses arm themselves with savvy and skilled sales teams that know how to bring in new prospects to guide through the funnel.
Unfortunately, only about 27% of the leads the end up in a company’s funnel are actually “sales ready .” What’s worse is that only about 44% of salespeople  remain persistent after the first follow up. Most estimate that it takes somewhere between 5 and 10 follow ups to make a sale.
This means that a lot of potential customers and cash are slipping through the cracks. It also clearly illustrates why sales automation software is a necessity for many smaller organizations.
Using AI-powered services like Growbots , intelligent algorithms match a company’s customer profile against more than 200 million contacts to create an ideal list of high-quality prospects who are more likely to be “sales ready.”
The terrible loss that comes as a result of failed follow ups, however, also means that brands have ample opportunity to collect those lost leads and enter them into a highly personalized nurturing campaign with automation services.
But humans, cannot be expected to sift through these leads to establish which need to be cycled back through the funnel as this would be incredibly tedious and many would likely still slip through the cracks.
By implementing a sales automation tool that begins to track leads the moment they enter the funnel, however, prospects can be sorted into appropriate nurture campaigns that tout personalized outreach based on the lead’s demographic information and actions taken.
This allows businesses to better manage its leads and convert more potential customers into dedicated patrons.
This is not the end of sales force automation’s ability to help SMBs makes sales, though; it’s only the beginning.
2. Accelerate Productivity
No matter if a prospect enters a brand’s funnel sales-ready or if they are nurtured into it, it is vital to get those individuals over to sales representatives as quickly as possible. The fastest way to accomplish this is through automation.
The urgency of passing prospects over to sales teams in a timely fashion cannot be overstated; with each passing minute, potential customers become less included to buy.
This was proven by a 2015 Velocify study , which analyzed 3.5 million leads. The study uncovered that placing a phone call to a new lead within the first minute increases the chances of gaining a conversion by a staggering 391%. Waiting a mere 30 minutes reduces the odds all the way down to 62%.
If your brand employs a sales automation software that incorporates robust lead scoring attributes and processes, businesses can leverage quantifiable data to determine when a prospect is ready (or enters the funnel ready) so that they can be transferred to a sales team member immediately.
3. Enhanced Relationship Management
Purchase decisions are ultimately contingent on a variety of factors; and customer support is a huge factor.
Sometimes consumers opt to enter an agreement with a brand not because of superior products or services but because of remarkable relationship management; customers often break off deals for the exact same reason.
On this front, chatbots  are becoming an increasingly popular option as these AI-driven assistants can manage customer service questions, leaving your sales reps to handle more complex and in-depth service issues.
This has made services like ChattyPeople  extremely popular. Platforms like these enable enterprise-level companies to hand off a large portion of customer relations as it can be integrated with other online portals like Facebook and Shopify.
If chatbots are not an appealing option for your brand, however, CRMs have been the next best thing – until now. And while a CRM tool might be equipped to handle such customer-facing situations, the job should not solely be delegated to that sector; if a sales agent cannot answer a customer’s question because it is another department’s concern, there’s a chance your company could be losing an account.
By leveraging sales force automation software, however, businesses large and small can provide customers with better relationship management as they will often have transaction records and other vital account details at the ready.
Some of the more robust platforms enable sales reps to access this info from mobile devices as well to ensure they have all the data they need, even when outside of the office.
Using sales force automation software, SMBs stand the chance to significantly increase their number of leads and conversions by filling the top of their funnel with an abundance of leads, understanding more intimately where a prospect is on the buyer’s journey, and managing relationships with their customers in a more favorable manner.
In today’s day and age, sales automation is a tool that SMBs can’t afford not to add into their marketing mix. Combined with a savvy human touch, automation can be the exact edge a business needs to blow away the competition and achieve its loftiest goals.
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