Let’s begin with some statistics.
- According to a 2014 CSO Insights study on sales performance optimization, it was found that salespeople spend a majority of their day performing administrative and account management duties and only 37% of their time actually selling.
- The average sales cycle showed an increase of 22% over the last five years.
- According to Bulldog Solutions, companies that invest in marketing automation solutions see 70% faster sales cycle times and 54% improvement in quota achievement.
What do these figures tell you? While the first and second order talk about the lost business opportunities, the third one shows a solution to leverage on these opportunities.
Humans err, and so do your sales people. It would take only a superhuman sales rep to remember every contact, appointment, conversation or deadline. Hence, what your business needs is a sales enablement tool, which not only automates and streamlines the sales process, but also enhances the productivity of your sales team and drives revenue for your enterprise. That’s the power of implementing technology in your sales process!
Sales process automation reduces the number of opportune hours, days or even months, which are usually lost to ineffective or piecemeal communication with the customers in a typical sales process. Right from establishing an initial contact with the customers to closing the deal, sales process automation manages and integrates all phases of the sales process.
Here is a quick overview of the benefits of syncing your sales process with automation.
- Catalog Management
When you are selling millions of products, it is practically a mammoth task to manually maintain information on every product, category, supplier and distributor. Add to this the varying product taxonomy furnished by each manufacturer! However, with catalog management, your sales reps can manage the entire product catalog electronically. They can view, compare, research or cross – reference all products, prices and inventory at their fingertips in one single window.
- Customer & Contact Maintenance
Just like a single aggregated catalog, automation can also create a one stop repository of all your customers and contacts. The customer’s contact information, appointments, interactions and follow-ups can be easily viewed and maintained.
- Rich Content
Images, descriptions, tech specification, 3D views, instructions, comparisons – your sales reps can impress your customers with an interactive and information rich content, all thanks to an automated catalog.
- CRM, PSA, Accounting & ERP Integration
Let’s say you already automated your accounting or customer relationship systems in place. Or that ERP is already up and running well in your organization. But may we ask if all these systems are stand alone ones or fully integrated? Integration refers to 100% automation and consolidation of all your business processes and systems. For example, when your sales rep creates a new contact in CRM system, people working on ERP or Accounting software should get a real time update too, without needing to make a duplicate entry. This way, not only there is a smooth, standard workflow between all processes, but there is also a full visibility to rectify errors, if any.
- Quote Template
As soon as the customer expresses an interest, the first thing that a sales rep does is to prepare a quote. And the faster he prepares and sends the quote, the more are the chances of a deal closure. The quote templates embedded in sales quoting software can assist sales reps to create quick, professional and accurate quotes within no time. A proposal software equips them with every piece of information that is necessary to improve the win rate.
- Sourcing & Procurement
Can you ensure that your sales quote offers you the highest possible margin? Yes, you can, after you have streamlined and automated your sales process. While preparing a quote, you can be rest assured that you are getting real time distributor feeds with respect to price and inventory. Once that is taken care of and the customer has approved your quote, all your sales rep has to do is to key in few buttons. Voila, next thing you know, the quote has been converted into an order and the product is ready to be shipped to the customer!
- Tax, Shipping & Freight Calculations
Varying rates of tax, shipping and freight slabs in different countries can add to the woes of sales reps while preparing a quote. But, an automated set up can generate accurate rates within seconds. Even, when there is a change in either of these rates, the system will give a real time update. No more manual and time consuming calculations!
- Payment Gateway Integration
With a vast array of payment options (credit, debit, check, mobile, EBT, FSA) and card brands (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, AMEX, PayPal) available to the customers, automation can ensure a safe and real-time payment solution. Your sales rep can ensure a quick collection of payment, and avoid frequent follow-ups with the customers.
- E commerce & Mobile
When B2B customers migrate online, average value order is reported to increase by 44%. E-commerce and mobile are two trending sales channels, not yet tapped by the resellers to its maximum potential to grow the business. Showcasing your products on an e-storefront will help you to micro-target your customers; simplify your sales process; and let your sales reps focus more on customer relationship.
- Reports & Analytics
Since your entire sales process is integrated with other business systems and applications, you can pull out real-time and adhoc reports anytime for any function. Whether you want to scan through the performance of your sales team; review sales status & progress; measure the distributor or category wise sales; or get the minutest analytics of your online traffic, sales automation can generate accurate reports for you to analyze; forecast sales; and decide on a future course of action for your business.
- Data Security
Automation helps your sales reps in sharing data remotely and on the go. But that doesn’t mean that you have to worry about the security of your data. The automated tools are preloaded with security tools and other security checks at various levels. This way, you can assign admin controls and workflow approvals appropriately.
Sales process automation equips the salesforce with insight driven approach and also, adds value to customer engagement.
How about the sales process in your business, it is already automated? If not, think about it!