In This Article
- Why Sales Pipelines?
- Why Use Automation?
- How to Improve Your Sales Pipelines with Automation
- Sales Process
- Build Up Good Habits
- Respond Appropriately
- Combine Your Marketing
- Take Advantage of Segmentation
- Have Everyone On Board
- Act on Your Reports
- Don’t Go Full Robot in Your Sales Pipelines
Why Sales Pipelines?
Sales pipelines are a fantastic way to give you control over your sales process, because of one key element: visualisation. They show you exactly what’s happening, so you can see which of your prospects are progressing, and which aren’t. Combined with a CRM, they show you the link between your contact, their activity, and which steps you need to take next. If you’re storing your business information in multiple spreadsheets, you might not be able to make these connections, or see the best way forward to closing that sale, because it’s hard to get the information in front of you.
Why Use Automation with Sales Pipelines?
Automation can be brought into sales pipelines to smooth that process along. Setting up rules relieves you of some of the more manual work, whilst keeping your prospects engaged and quietly working to build up the whole picture of what they’re interacting with. It’s a little effort for a lot of gain; especially in terms of freeing your workload and time so you can concentrate on other important aspects of your business. This, combined with the sales opportunities that you can now identify, can account for a real increase in sales rates.
How to Improve Your Sales Pipelines with Automation
What can you do to ensue your sales pipelines are the best they can be? Here are our tips on how to improve your sales pipelines with automation.
1. Sales Process
Sales pipelines show the progress of your prospects along your sales process; automation can actually progress that sales journey. These rules are driven by actions, which in turn drive your sales process, and defines your sales pipelines. They trigger responses to activity—either the prospect’s actions, or your own. For example, a prospect visiting the pricing page on your website can be tracked, and automatically moved into column closer to the end of your sales pipeline. You can also manually drag and drop your prospects into different columns—and set up actions to trigger in response, such as automatically adding a tag.
Being able to drag and drop by manually can give you a sense of control, especially as you’ll be regularly checking your sales pipelines, whilst the automation helps you to speed things along. This approach can go a long way towards preventing leaving a prospect behind.
2. Build Up Good Habits
If you’ve got sales pipelines, they should be core to your sales strategy. It’s your hub for the entire process—what step you take next should be corroborated by it. Automation doesn’t absolve you of this; it just makes the process smoother.
Maintenance of your sales pipelines is still necessary—you need to keep checking every day. But setting up rules to keep this going can be done. Your reminders, for example, can be used to keep up on top of this maintenance.
3. Respond Appropriately
Some of the activity triggered by a prospect needs to be responded to decisively, for example a ‘thank you’ email when they sign up to a newsletter. Other actions call for a measured, thought out response, such as a follow up a month away that has been requested. As part of the sales team—or as the entire sales team—you need to be reactive to all these situations, and give the prospect your attention when it matters. This is especially important when you consider what being on time means to a prospect: according to those who get back to a customer within the hour are more than 60x times likely to qualify a lead than a business that waits 24 hours or more.
Being on time is a crucial part of nurturing a prospect: they want to know you care but that you’re not rushing them. Automation puts you at their pace, so you can fulfil their requests exactly where and when they need them.
4. Combine Your Marketing
If going fully manual, it can be easy too focus on one aspect of your data in your marketing—when, in reality, your prospects clue you in to their thought process through a variety of different channels. Their activity on your website, or social media, for example, are just as integral as your email marketing. All of them help to build up that bigger picture of your prospect’s thought process.
Keep yourself updated on all their activity, and make sure all your channels of marketing have pipelines and are included in your automation rules.
One of the most powerful ways automation can improve our sales pipelines is by giving you reminders. This is especially useful if you’re expecting to follow up on someone in the long term; obviously, it is easy to forget after time has passed, so this prevents you from leaving prospects behind. You can set reminders within your CRM, so any information you need prompting on when it comes to your prospects are also easily accessible.
6. Take Advantage of Segmentation
One example of how automation can benefit you is by cutting time down on your reactions. For instance, a prospect signing up to your email newsletter could require two rules: sending a thank you email, and adding them to your newsletter campaign. It’d get laborious to do this for every single contact, which is where automation can come in. Your segmentation becomes less of a task this way, and your prospects benefit from decisive action.
7. Have Everyone on Board
If you’re working in a team, you may have a prospect that crosses between multiple people. Luckily, automation rules mean you don’t have to rely on people manually progressing prospects in your sales pipelines every time, which can reduce the likelihood of prospects missing out. This works as long as everyone is on the same page about which prospect goes where. Therefore, this point goes hand in hand with building up good habits: keep everyone in the know and regularly review whether your rules increase the efficiency of your team. Rules need to be there to help!
8. Act On Your Reports
Your automation will be helping you garner results, so keep an eye out for these. With rules in place, you can react to these results with actionable responses. Regular upkeep will make sure these are working as intended: monitoring, tagging and reacting to activity that happens in your sales pipeline.
Don't Go Full Robot in Your Sales Pipelines
There’s no pressure to automate everything possible in your sales pipelines. In fact—don’t. People buy from people; they can tell when they’re talking to a robot. Automation works best in conjunction with humans, not despite them. What you need is a set of rules that encourage your human touch, without burdening you with too many manual admin tasks. Of course, this changes from business to business; what works for you may not work for everyone else. What that means is testing and measuring—knowing how your prospects work, and working to get it right.
Automation can lift some of the burden of your tasks in your sales pipelines, especially when it comes to those that easy get forgotten. It can therefore improve your reaction time, the accuracy of your reports, and your conversion rates. Keep up good practices that manage your sales pipelines effectively, and they will pay back in kind.
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