When it comes to your sales team, you get what you pay for. Experienced leaders know that the elite reps are worth their high salaries. They are the ones driving a disproportionate amount of your total revenue and building the strongest customer relationships. But instead of focusing on strategy, live demos, and in-person meetings, your highly paid reps could be spending up to 80% of their time on administrative tasks.
Given that your account executives are performing so well despite these inefficiencies, imagine what would happen if they could spend even more time nurturing leads and closing deals.
It’s not as far-fetched as it may sound: Many tedious administrative tasks can be automated away. Consider leveraging the power of technology to help complete the following 20 common sales tasks. Your sales reps (and bottom line) will experience immediate benefits.
A sales team needs a healthy pipeline, and maintaining a steady flow of qualified leads is hard work. That’s why a significant chunk of a rep’s day is usually spent developing a list of potential leads, and why 63% of sales leaders say building up a pipeline is harder than closing deals. Thankfully, it’s never been easier to leverage automation tools to save time and make this difficult process a little bit easier.
Determining who to reach out to and finding contact info can be daunting tasks. Even niche products can potentially be used by thousands of customers, so a quick sorting mechanism is incredibly helpful.
With LinkedIn Sales Navigator, all you have to do is input the general parameters of a search, such as business type and location, to receive an up-to-date list of contacts. It also lets you keep tabs on what the leads from your CRM are doing inside LinkedIn, so that your outreach will contain timely information.
Entering contact details
Efficient teams now use software that can automatically add contacts to a CRM. Once information from website forms, emails, spreadsheets, and even physical business cards is seamlessly added to contact profiles in your CRM, your reps will have a lot more time to focus on closing.
ActiveCampaign automatically ingests website forms, turns them into contacts in a CRM, and starts a drip campaign. You can also import data from Excel.
Chasing a dead-end deal is time consuming, demoralizing, and kind of embarrassing — especially for newer reps. Help them out by providing modern lead scoring tools.
There are services that can automatically analyze both explicit criteria, like budget and industry, as well as implicit criteria, like engagement metrics, location, and the tools they already use. Scoring leads like this will help your team find good matches and weed out less promising prospects.
Use a company like HubSpot to score and rank candidates to prioritize who your reps should pursue first.
Imagine you have reps covering different territories across the country, all selling slightly different products. You get an inbound lead.
How do you decide which salesperson has the best chance of closing it?
And how do you make sure it doesn’t just sit in a rep’s inbox?
An intelligent lead routing system analyzes a rep’s skillset, past performance, and location, and then matches the lead automatically to the rep who has the best chance of closing it.
Chili Piper automatically connects inbound leads with a sales rep and provides the lead with the opportunity to schedule a phone call right away.
Complex deals often require multiple touchpoints. Rather than trying to manually manage each unique customer interaction, establish an outreach strategy that uses sales automation to take care of a large portion of the routine tasks.
Using email templates
Personalization is great, and it does boost email reply rates, but it has diminishing returns. Once you alter more than 50% of a template, you get no further boost in responses. Use templates to increase the speed at which your reps create emails and then help them add personal flair. They’ll gain the ability to quickly do outreach while maximizing their chances at a response.
SalesLoft provides metric-based templates that help you authentically engage with prospects.
Sending emails and following up
An automatic email drip ensures the prospect is engaged at exactly the right moment, so your reps don’t have to remember to reach out. You can use drips to engage new prospects or to reach out to users that took an action on your site, such as signing up for a coupon.
With a service like Customer.io, you can customize drip campaigns based on segments and any other audience data you collect. You’ll almost always have to do manual emailing as well, but setting up drips allows you to step into a conversation only when necessary.
Auto-dialing phone calls
The best salespeople still use the phone on a daily basis. Use dialing automation tools so they can quickly make calls right from their CRM, no fumbling around for phone numbers required.
This automation works well in conjunction with a process that can auto-add a lead’s contact information into your CRM. SalesLoft auto dialing takes a process that used to take minutes and reduces it to a matter of seconds.
Scheduling and adjusting meetings can be a massive timesuck. Thankfully, reps can now use PandaDoc customer Calendly, which is a service that lets you schedule and adjusts meetings directly from an app. All parties are automatically notified of scheduled events as well as changes, and you get to avoid fraught email correspondence.
Many reps now include a Calendly link with their email signatures so that a prospect can easily throw time on their calendar.
Managing your pipeline
You can set up custom alerts in almost every CRM. Maybe you want a ping rep when a lead opens an email or clicks a link, or you want them to be alerted if a prospect is stagnant in their pipeline. You can even use tools like Agile CRM to structure alerts so that reps are following only the hottest prospects, which can help avoid distractions.
Automated alerts allow your reps to focus on higher-level processes because they are being auto-notified about the little things.
Integrating your CRM with your tech stack
Let’s face it, some reps don’t like to live in their CRM, and others understandably make mistakes when switching between a CRM and another tool they are required to use.
You can use a system that integrates your CRM with other applications so that CRM-phobic reps can stay in the loop and stay productive. Integrations can save time by auto-filling forms with pre-existing data pulled from the rep’s CRM. They are also great for alerting a rep with a message when an event happens that requires them to take a specific action in their CRM.
Zapier is the industry standard for basic integrations of this type; Troops is excellent for connecting Salesforce and Slack, and PandaDoc has all the integrations necessary for creating client-facing documents.
Managing sales documents usually requires a lot of back and forth, using both email and regular mail. But with modern automation tools, the time and energy it takes to get your contracts to a finished state can be dramatically reduced.
Sending and tracking proposals
Similar to email, it would take a massive amount of time to create every single proposal from scratch. By utilizing templates and a content library, reps can dramatically shorten the time it takes to create a good sales proposal.
With tracking tools, you can increase the close rate of your proposals. One way is through automatic notifications when certain actions are taken on the proposal. For example, with tracking and notifications, reps can send a strong follow-up email right after a decision maker has reviewed the pricing page.
Sending and tracking contracts
It ain’t over ’til it’s over, don’t count your chickens before they hatch, and don’t sell your ox before you’ve found a horse. Whatever your favorite saying, you get the point — sending a contract does not mean you’re guaranteed to get paid.
Save time and boost your chances of getting the contract signed by automating as much as possible. PandaDoc has 200+ contract templates to choose from. Leverage those templates, pre-approved content, and auto reminders to ensure the contract process is seamless.
Editing shared docs in real time
Without document editing capabilities, emails can pile up quickly and important information can get buried. Use a system that allows edits to be made directly on a shared doc and that alerts all parties when edits are complete. This is especially useful when redlining contracts, which can require a lot of back and forth and input from multiple parties on each side. Automating this process can help you dramatically shorten the sales cycle.
Electronic document-signing has skyrocketed in popularity, and for good reason. It allows you to mitigate the inefficiencies created by paperwork and physical mail. Your whole team will be more efficient when they use software that lets them sign documents online and automatically messages everyone involved once the (digital) ink has dried.
By using PandaDoc for legally binding signatures, you can reduce time to signature by days.
For those who love Google Docs, PandaDoc has you covered — we allow for electronic signatures directly in Google Docs.
Utilizing editable pricing templates
Just a decade ago, agreeing on a price required multiple rounds of emails and calls. Now you can use a template that offers an array of prices and allows the prospect to make edits in the document. You get automatically notified when the buyer makes changes, has questions, or completes the document.
The more hoops a customer has to jump through to make a payment, the higher the likelihood your invoices are paid late, and the worse your customer experience will be.
Keep it simple with a system that integrates your invoices with modern payment platforms. Allow the prospect to set up a recurring billing process and automatically contact the customer when they have an invoice due. Recurly, which uses machine learning to improve billing continuity, is a solid option.
Reminding users about renewals
It’s much more expensive to get a new customer than to keep an existing one, so churn is the ultimate enemy.
Companies like ChurnZero improve the renewal process by automatically reaching out to customers based on their engagement metrics, or when a renewal is approaching.
Track and analyze how emails perform as rigorously as you analyze your other outreach. Tweak them until you’ve optimized for open rates and responses. It seems like a no-brainer, but sometimes teams will not treat the renewal process with the reverence it deserves.
Growth requires accurate measurements. By automating certain aspects of your reporting process, you can get better, faster insights into the state of your sales team.
Monitoring rep activity
Good sales leaders don’t micromanage, but they still keep a pulse on the activity of their reps. The more active they are, the better the chance that they are closing.
Don’t rely on your reps to submit accurate data for you to monitor. Those reports tend to be rushed and ad hoc anyway. You want them busy selling, not doing data entry.
Thankfully, it’s now fairly simple to set up your CRM to provide automated reports that detail emails sent, calls made, close rates, and all other key metrics.
Reviewing phone calls
No sales leader has the time to listen and give notes on every sales call, even though doing so could dramatically improve team performance. That’s where services like Chorus.ai come in. They allow you to automatically log phone calls and leverage AI tools to learn how reps can perform better. Busy sales leaders can lean on the automation tools to give their reps consistent feedback, and they can discuss the data with the reps at a higher level during a one on one.
Manual sales forecasts are particularly time-consuming. Not only is there a lot of data to cover, but the analyst is prone to injecting their personal bias. They might really believe that a certain prospect will close this month, and optimistically create a forecast that reflects that, even though a neutral observer would say otherwise.
That neutral observer is a tool such as Datahug, which integrates with your existing CRM and automatically creates forecasts based on your current close rate, deal length, and potential revenue generated. Your reps will love the lack of busy work and your C-Suite will love the accuracy.
Empower sales creativity
There are no shortcuts to succeeding in sales — it will always require grit, hustle, and determination. But that is precisely why automation is so important. By becoming more efficient, you unleash the full potential of your sales reps.
While your account executives are not counted on to be creative in the same way as your designers and content creators, it still takes ingenuity to put together complex deals. If your all-star reps are bogged down in spreadsheet minutiae, they can’t show their true creative potential.
It’s time to utilize every sales process automation tool at your disposal so that your sales team can save time and find the most clever ways to close deals.