sales automation

Written by Laura Farkas

Updated December 5, 2023

A Guide to Sales Automation The Right Way

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Introduction:

Sales is – unfortunately – still a dirty word for many people. However, without sales you don’t have customers. Without customers you don’t make money. And without a consistent income, you don’t have a business. So, let’s put sales into a perspective; it is something every business needs to survive. That said, there are good and bad sales, just like good and bad salespeople. Some car salesmen will think about money only, others will really want to understand your needs. And – eventually – they will sell more and will have more returning clients, too. 

 

Striking the balance between being effective in marketing and sounding like a pushy salesman is an art. Plus, today people need to see your messages more, as they have a lot of “digital distraction”. But how to do that without being too “salesy”? 

The answer is: automation. You will have to make the most out of the latest tools to build relationships and communicate with your audience. 

If you are still feeling a level of aversion toward marketing automation, you might need to think again. It allows you to get “in the picture” and communicate your value. 

In this guide, we will summarise 25 years of marketing experience; starting with cold mailing then moving onto basic customer relationship management systems and discovering and communicating your unique selling point. And we will be coming to the conclusion that “your customers want a relationship with you!”. 

I. Understanding the Pitfalls of Being Too Salesy: Sales Automation vs. Spamming 

When some people mention marketing automation they often think about cold emails and spam messages on social media. That’s not what we’ll cover in this post. There are so many people who call themselves “marketing experts”, when all they do is cold call and cold email. Simply put; they are playing the numbers’ game. 

Of course, marketing is a numbers’ game, and I am not denying that. But the quality of relationships matter more. 

Let’s take an example of buying a car and walking into a dealership. Marketing automation done the wrong way would mean that people will come to you asking if you made a decision and if you wanted a test drive every time you stop by a car. Good way of marketing automation would be asking you what your priorities are, what is your budget, what you would like to have in the car, what your lifestyle is, and match your needs. It would not even feel like you are being sold.

 marketing and sales car 

There is a huge debate about being too pushy about sales online. There are some bogus techniques people use. Some will fall for them, others will not. I have had a lot of experience dealing with marketing automation, and I know how they work. Not everything you see is real. 

 

Here are some examples:

  • Countdown – offer 

Most of the time this is just set for a certain time from the moment you click on the ad. Some of these are real, but not all of them. 

  • Limited space 

If you see a social media post that says that there are only 2 places left, think again. It is not always true. Many marketers use this technique to create a sense of urgency, while they haven’t even sold one ticket. 

  • Bogus testimonials

You find these on websites. In fact, some of the website templates come with them automatically. And yes – there’s a ChatGTP prompt for testimonials. Thankfully, most customers are wise enough to double check. For example, we just parted company with a client who wanted to buy Google reviews. Google (and customers) would figure out that a roofer cannot complete 100+ jobs in a day. So, be diligent

  • Clickbait: 

Creating sensationalised or misleading headlines to attract clicks may increase short-term traffic, but it can harm your credibility and lead to high bounce rates.

This indeed sheds a dark shadow on marketing automation, and that’s probably why so many businesses shy away from it. Because of spam, marketing emails have a bad reputation. Because of pushy retargeting ads, online ads have a bad rep… and so on. Let us show you the bright side of sales automation and the way it can help you grow your business online. 

II. The Benefits of Sales Automation:

The main purpose of sales automation is to communicate your value and measure lead engagement without having to do the daunting tasks associated with the business function. That’s all. For example, a car dealership where my daughter’s boyfriend works sends out a personalised video to all people who have booked a test drive showing them the interior and exterior of the car and talking about the features and benefits. It’s not salesy. It’s reiterating the value they provide. The client is already considering the purchase. 

The main benefit of sales automation is to streamline your processes, reach and convert more leads, and to do it in a way that benefits both your business and your clients. That’s all. It’s not even all about the money. If you serve the interest of your customers right, the money is automatically coming to you. 

Businesses that are planning to scale up will benefit from sales automation if it is done right. A system that is built to reach and convert more potential customers can work for many years and multiply the revenue of the enterprise. By getting a custom sales funnel designed today, you can lay the foundation for growth for 5+ years from now. 

There’s a difference between mass marketing and sales automation. Unless you are selling shower gels and cleaning products like Unilever, or soft drinks, you will need to specialise on different problems. The good news is that you will not need to reach as many people as Unilever does to make a profit. And you certainly don’t need the same marketing and sales budget.

 

Personalised experiences have a high perceived value today among Millennials and the members of the Generation Y clan. They want things to be made “for them”. They love being a co-creator of their experiences. And that’s where sales automation comes in. 

Using enhanced lead nurturing and follow-up strategies will help you create a relationship with your customers; in other words: the “Like Me Moment”(c). That’s when people realise that you are like them, they like you, and you help people like them. 

One of the best ways of personalising your messages is sales lead segmentation. We offer this as a service within our marketing automation packages. There are different ways of segmenting your list; based on engagement level, location, lead source, activity level, etc. A good CRM system working with your email marketing software can do this seamlessly, and streamline your sales process. 

Lead scoring is another great way of maximising your sales opportunities. By scoring your leads on your CRM or autoresponder, you will be able to deliver more personalised messages to each and every prospect. 

Finally, the most important thing you need to do to implement advanced sales automation processes is providing valuable content. Anything that helps your prospects make an educated decision will help them out and help your sales team out too, massively! 

In the next section, we will cover the process of creating a customer-focused sales automation system that benefits you, your sales team, your customers, and please your accountant, too. 

III. Crafting a Customer-Centric Sales Automation Strategy:

The first step of creating a sales strategy for your business is to clarify your target audience and understand their main pain points and their buying triggers. Without this, you are likely to spend time and money acquiring the wrong leads. Make sure that you are communicating the value that your customers find important. For this, you will need a clearly defined customer avatar. We offer this service to our clients, and – to be honest – it’s one of the favourite activities of the team. 

 

Book your ideal client session or download the free customer avatar worksheet to have a go at it yourself. 

To make sales automation work for you, it’s important that you develop multiple personas for segmenting your database. There are loads of tools available online, but your first point of service research is the most important factor here. Understanding your target audience is like winning half the battle. 

Once you know who you are talking to and what they are interested in, it’s really easy to create content that resonates with them. That’s why you want to do the ideal client exercise first. Think about the worries they have about buying from you, ask yourself what keeps them up at night, and ask yourself how you can help them avoid pain or make their lives better. Then you have a full content strategy to work with and can get started with the sales automation system. 

Once you’ve created a marketing and sales plan, and know what types of interaction your audience prefer, you will be able to leverage automation tools. Sending personalised messages, just like the car dealership in the example above, will help you build the relationship you need to make a sale. 

IV. Building Trust and Authenticity:

It’s crucial that you build trust and come across as an authentic business. I will tell you a short story about my visit to a private dentist in the UK. And then I will tell you why I immediately booked a flight to Hungary. 

So, here it goes: I managed to break a tooth on roasted banana chips last year. It was painful, so I decided that I will call a local private dentist, as I had no way of getting an appointment with the NHS. At this point, I was motivated and ready to buy. I was on the waiting list for non-private for 16 months at this point. And I had a problem. I turned up at the dentist’s office, and boy, was I in shock? All high end screens and ads in the waiting room, everything is looking as it should. Then I sit down in the chair, and get an assessment. The lady tells me that they have to do an initial assessment. They did. Only to find out that they cannot recognise a Zirconium crown I had. Bad news. Then they do an X-ray and put 6 plastic plates in my mouth. The ones I used to have back in the 90s in Hungary. After that, they quote me £7,500 for fixing the tooth and a root canal, but it would not be CAD design as they don’t do that. Oh, and if I took on the treatment they would give me a mouth guard for half price, as they know that I grind my teeth at night… The quote was like a scribble from a doctor; I could only see the final price. So, I called a private dentist in Hungary, was on the plane next week, and got it sorted. I was given options and saw my Panorama X ray on the screen within 30 seconds of walking out of the X-ray room. 

 

Why did I not go ahead? Because I didn’t trust them. 

If they explained why they did things, if they told me about the different options, and if they looked as if they knew what they were doing, it would have been different. Most of all, I informed them that I wasn’t going to go ahead, still they booked me in for a follow up automatically and charged my card. 

Bad customer service and lack of empathy, human interaction, and pushy marketing never works with me. And it doesn’t work for most people. So, human connection is needed as well as automation. They go hand in hand. 

Your best asset in business is your reputation. Nothing speaks louder than your happy customers, so the best way of selling without coming across too salesy is to let your reputation speak for itself. 

Then, you can show your clients that you help people like them; an important element of creating the “Like Me Moment” © 

The main message of this section is: if people don’t trust you, they will never buy from you, no matter how many times your sales team contacts them. You need to show them that you can solve their most urgent problems and have done the same for other people before. 

V. Measuring and Adjusting Your Sales Automation Efforts:

Of course first hand feedback is extremely important when it comes to sales. You will have to hold regular meetings with your sales team to find out about the customers’ view on the communication. You can also send out questionnaires to ask your current clients what made them choose you and not another provider. 

 

The key metrics you should track include the number of leads versus number of sales, the level of engagement across your CRM system, and the average order value. Happy customers will always buy more, and this means that you make more money. 

 

You can’t improve what you don’t measure, so make sure your CRM system gives you easy to understand snapshots of how your sales are doing. For example, if one particular email is getting low engagement, it might be time to think about how you can make it more helpful and relevant to your target audience. 

 

Sales automation is not a set-and-forget process. There’s always room for improvement, and you have to optimise the strategy constantly, especially as your business grows or changes. 

 

VI. Conclusion:

Sounding like a bad and desperate car salesman will never get you on the cover of Forbes Magazine. Authenticity, good reputation, attention to detail, and listening to your customers might. 

Remember that sales automation can help you achieve your goals faster, if it is built around your business and your customers’ needs. Not taking advantage of sales automation tools is like trying to ignore that cars exist and walking everywhere, including places that are far away. It just doesn’t make any sense! 

 

Want to have a chat about sales automation? Book a free consultation with our experts.

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