4 Sales Processes That SMBs Must Automate

Sales reps are often inundated with administrative tasks that can limit the time they have to sell. Here are four sales processes to automate right now to improve your sales operations.

Written by Lucy Manole
Published on May. 22, 2024
4 Sales Processes That SMBs Must Automate
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SMB sales teams often deal with numerous routine and administrative tasks throughout their day, from data entry to lead tracking. These tasks, while essential, consume significant time and resources, reducing overall productivity. 

Checking these action items off the to-do list manually can lead to errors and inefficiencies. As a result, the sales team’s focus on closing deals and nurturing customer relationships is affected.

4 Sales Tasks to Automate

  1. Lead management.
  2. Quote and order processing.
  3. Collecting customer data.
  4. Sales performance tracking.

However, various tools are now available to automate these labor-intensive tasks, enhancing efficiency and accuracy. 

In this article, let’s look at essential sales processes that SMBs must automate to improve their sales operations and drive better results.

 

1. Lead Management

A lot of action items that come with lead management involve data entry, frequent updates and regular monitoring. This makes the relevant processes like lead scoring and segmentation tedious and vulnerable to mistakes.

Automation tools can assist sales teams of SMBs in this regard.

These software can collect leads from your landing pages and forms, score them by analyzing your interactions with them and segment them for nurturing. Each of these action items is done in the back end based on the rules you have set.

Sales automation apps track your leads across various touch points like email and website visits, to score them. For instance, if a lead has read 50 percent of your emails in the last month and downloaded a lead magnet, they may be classified as a “ready to buy.”

Again, the rules, such as what makes a prospect “ready to buy,” can be defined by the sales team.

Tools like Pipedrive, Freshworks, Zoho and ActiveCampaign are great options for most SMBs. Their no-code interface requires no technical knowledge which enables sales teams to set them up by themselves.

Sales teams will get all of their leads in one place, grouped, as per their readiness to make a purchase. Additionally, since these tasks were completed through automation, chances of oversights will be minimal.

Consequently, SMBs can spend more time perfecting the ideal customer profile (ICP), outreach messages and nurturing campaigns. This can enhance the conversion velocity and deal size.

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2. Quote and Order Processing

After ensuring that a prospect will make the purchase, the sales team has to send the quotation. The quote lists all the services or products the prospect will be purchasing and the amount they need to pay.

When the quotation is approved, the order is processed further to complete the transaction which marks the conversion of the lead into a paying customer.

This seemingly straightforward process requires a lot of personalization. For instance, what a client purchases and their preferred payment method are different for each lead. Manually creating these quotations and processing the orders after their approval can get hectic.

Sales teams can expedite this process by leveraging configure price quotes (CPQ) and order management tools. 

CPQ solutions can produce ready-to-send quotations based on the custom needs of the customer. Order handling tools can create contracts, invoices, etc., and track them automatically until payment is made.

Popular options for sales teams in SMBs include PandaDoc, DealHubCPQ and ConnectWiseSell. These tools usually integrate with other sales software to make your entire workflow streamlined.

Adopting the best CPQ and order management solutions can help the sales team build deeper client connections. With the administrative tasks automated, salespersons can spend more resources on understanding the specific needs of clients and offer better deals.

 

3. Collecting Customer Data

A sales team needs access to comprehensive customer interaction histories to personalize the buyer journey and build stronger relationships. We touched upon the importance of being data-backed multiple times so far.

However, SMBs often face challenges in collating relevant data from various customer touchpoints. Customer touch-points refer to channels like emails, phone calls, and social media. This can lead to fragmented information and inefficiencies.

Members have to visit multiple tools’ dashboards individually to get the relevant information. This hinders the teams’ ability to enhance their understanding of their clients efficiently.

Moreover, this can lead to silos within the sales team, particularly when each member primarily works with a different tool.

A better solution for sales teams in SMBs would be to build a single source of truth. Tools like Segment, Telium and RudderStack can bring data from different apps to one place via APIs.

Furthermore, teams can consider customer resource management (CRM) solutions that integrate well with other sales tools. Software like HubSpot and Salesforce can be great options due to their flexibility and scalability.

A unified customer data infrastructure is essential for bringing down data silos within organizations. This is particularly helpful for sales teams as they usually consider multiple metrics before making decisions.

 

4. Sales Performance Tracking

Sales teams in SMBs need to monitor their workflow and campaign performance. This is essential for tasks like pipeline forecasting, budget allocation and strategy adjustments. 

Tracking the metrics that reflect their operational efficiency and campaigns’ impact is crucial for this. These metrics help identify what works and what needs improvement. The insights derived from them directly influence sales strategies and overall business growth.

Some relevant key performance indicators (KPIs) are sales velocity, pipeline efficiency, conversation rate, and deal size. These numbers help sales teams in SMBs find areas of improvement within their processes, workflows, and strategies.

Typically, teams have to export reports from various campaign and operations tools and analyze them in one place for insights. As the metrics are often interrelated, putting them in one place can help get insights effectively.

Automation using data collection tools mentioned in the previous section or sales analytics solutions like Zendesk Sell and Insightly can simplify this. Sales teams can immediately get to insights and decision-making rather than spending hours or days on creating reports.

What makes these tools even better is their ability to make forecasts based on real data. This enables teams to pivot their sales strategies mid-campaign. Simply put, these tools can boost SMB’s sales ROI apart from improving their productivity.

While choosing a metrics monitoring tool for sales, it’s important to consider the ease of use and scalability. A lot of the tools we mentioned as examples offer both to ensure your sales automation is future-proof.

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Advantages to Sales Automation

Sales teams can automate various processes to enhance efficiency and productivity. Action items within lead capture, scoring, segmentation, and nurturing workflows can be automated.

Whether it is quote generation, payment management, learning about customers, and tracking campaign performance, there is likely an easy-to-use scalable SaaS tool for that. These no-code solutions can help you complete these routine but essential tasks.

Automating these processes boosts efficiency by reducing manual tasks. This enhances productivity by allowing sales teams to focus on high-value activities.

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