6 Inefficiencies In Your Sales Cycle & How to Use Automation to Address Them
There isn’t a person or product alive that enjoys being described as inefficient. It conjures ideas of square tires, leaky buckets, or crop-top sweatshirts. So, of course, if you notice an aspect of your sales cycle is inefficient, you want to address it. You can have an incredibly effective sales team that still is rife with inefficiencies. Effectiveness refers to your ability to convert leads, whereas efficiency speaks to your ability to do so quickly.
The fact is: Salespeople don’t spend all that much of their day selling.
Check out this graphic from HubSpot:
The best way to boost efficiency is to cut out the manual tasks taking time away from your day-to-day selling work. Here are some common inefficiencies in company sales cycles and how to automate them away!
Researching while prospecting
When your sales team first reaches out to a prospect, most of your reps will only have basic demographic information when engaging the buyer. On the flip side, 92% of your sales prospects already have robust knowledge about your company and offering.
It’s essential to empower your team with information. Instead of researching while prospecting on the fly, why not automate the process and implement lead scoring? Doing so gives your team insight on where they should be spending their time and aggregates information about your prospect to review before the call.
When you automate lead scoring, consider using metrics indicative of your leads’ health rather than generally-considered health metrics. For instance, while you might include things like:
- job title
- industry type
- company size
- buyer persona
You may also consider more in-depth knowledge of product usage, like:
- website activity
- page visits
- resources downloaded
- features implemented
- users added to the account
Aggregating and automatically scoring these things helps to give your sales team context needed for effective sales calls. Context fosters preparation.
Waiting for leads
Instead of just waiting for leads to be generated for them by your BDRs, your sales team could put automation to work. There are a few different ways that your team can work to gain leads, rather than just waiting for them to drip down from marketing.
Automated cold email drips
If someone visits your website or signs up for your trial, you should actively consider them as a prospect. Rather than your sales team reaching out to every single one of them, put automated emails to work. Some companies have seen wild successes with this strategy, like Growthscore generating 500 leads in 72 hours. Just be sure to personalize the messages you’re sending out; otherwise, some users may feel that you don’t care about them.
Inbound lead software
Some companies like Leadfeeder, Leadbot, and Continually do inbound customer identification and help your sales team understand which visitors are best to contact directly. Using software like this helps generate inbound leads automatically by tracking any users coming onto your site and what they are doing. From there, your team could choose to set up Slack alerts for valuable leads or add information into your CRM if you already have automated playbooks or drip campaigns built-in. Instead of actively needing to go out and dig for leads, your team can let them come to you.
Outbound lead campaigning
Tools like LinkedIn Sales Navigator empower your team to search for people that meet your unique lead specifications. These leads may not be as receptive as inbound ones, and your team will still have to reach out actively. However, this level of automation will at least give them a direction to go in.
Your sales reps might think that they’re killing it, but that doesn’t change the fact that 82% of B2B decision-makers think sales reps are unprepared. Coaching is an integral part of the sales cycle—after each deal, your team should be reviewing what went well and what could have gone better. Beyond that, if you’re the leader, you should regularly do performance reviews with each of your team members.
Regularly coaching your team is an excellent way to keep your thumb on the pulse of customer responsiveness or interest and also get better and faster at your onboarding processes. But just because it’s helpful doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s any less time-consuming and inefficient. Automating some of the review processes is a great way to gain time back and let team members get insights into their timeline.
Tools like Gong and SalesLoft are great ways to get performance insights in an automated and scalable way. They work by “sitting in” on your sales calls and making actionable, AI-driven suggestions to your team about how to improve performance.
Crumby proposal experiences
PDFs and other ancient technologies often put a wrench in the sales process. They can be hard to navigate, are difficult to send and receive, and are not easily customizable. Reps can spend up to 28 hours of their time searching for, modifying, or recreating documents from scratch.
Using tools like Qwilr can make this process much more manageable. Linkable files make your proposals easy to send, receive, and action; templates and content storage make documents easy to generate; intuitive UIs make it straightforward to know what you’re putting into a document and where. Instead of wasting 28 hours, let your team pick from a content library or template files to create a better, faster proposal experience.
Incomplete CRM data
You might have a CRM that’s got tons of information in it, but do any of your team members trust it? Only 15% of companies believe that the information in their CRM is accurate and up-to-date. What use is having something if no one trusts it, and it’s challenging to maintain and upkeep?
Automate your data collection and entry processes, and you’ll kill two birds with one stone. Your sales reps will be able to do their day-to-day job and trust the information in your CRM without needing to take the time and enter it themselves manually. You can do this using Zapier or a more dedicated CRM automation software. This way, you save your team time digging for accurate information and doing ongoing data management and maintenance. You can even trust the data to run email automation or other playbooks for your sales team.
Follow-up emails and scheduling
One of the most time-sucking things in the sales process is getting scheduling taken care of and keeping track of the follow-up emails you need to send—let alone sending them!
Consider creating playbooks within your CRM or helpdesk to automate your follow-up messaging and initial outreach after you identify a prospect. Not only does this ensure that you’re following a good schedule, but it takes the burden of remembering all of the individual actions off of your sales team. You can also set templates, use guidelines, and update your sequences for all sales team members at once. How’s that for quality control?
To level it up further, you can consider a scheduling tool like Calendly. These tools make it easy for your customers to book either a one-off meeting or have ongoing access to your team’s calendar if they need it. You can even set up a calendar that pulls from a pool of your employees, making it so that your customers can get attention almost any time of the day. The back-and-forth emails trying to find a slot that works for everyone take up a ton of time in the process and can exhaust even the most patient person. Don’t make your customers or your team suffer any longer.
Automate for a better future
Even if your team is blowing your sales goals out of the water, things can always get a little tighter and more efficient. Automate the looser areas of your process to make an even better (and swifter) buying experience. Automate the prospecting and lead generating process to get a real leg up on the competition and get things going smoothly. Use machines to benefit some of your coaching processes through AI and recording—your team can always serve to level up. Speaking of levelling up: get rid of those PDFs you’re sending and consider using proposal software to make the experience better. Lastly, use automation to supercharge your CRM, filling it with accurate and timely data to trigger your playbooks and follow-up emails. Here’s to you—things are looking bright.
Ultimate Guide to Modern Proposals
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