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  • Larry Barker

7 Ways sales process automation improves revenue

Sales process automation is a huge opportunity for sales leaders today. It brings massive benefits in the near-term, while also setting your sales organization up better for the long-term future. 

You’re on the verge of closing your next round of funding. 

You’ve been growing fast over the past few years. Your team’s hitting or exceeding targets most months, but they’re stretched to capacity. More funding is going to pour fuel on the fire, and you know you can expect your targets to skyrocket in the coming quarters. 

What’s a sales leader to do? 

Fortunately, you’ve got options. One really great option, actually: sales process automation.

Sales process automation is the key to unlocking more capacity in your existing sales team. As an added bonus, sales process automation can also cut costs, drive more top-line revenue, and increase the velocity of deals moving through your pipeline. 

What is sales process automation?

Sales process automation sounds like a fairly straightforward concept, right? 

At its simplest, sales process automation is about eliminating manual, time-consuming, and low-value sales tasks through the smart use of technology.

And while that’s true and seems simple, sometimes the fact that sales process automation is such a broad term creates its own challenges. Some sales leaders struggle to wrap their heads around exactly what sales process automation looks like in practice. What does it actually mean in real life? How could it help you in your organization?

Let’s clear up that confusion by looking at some specific examples of sales process automation in the wild.

Examples of sales process automation

Automated reminder emails

The abandoned cart reminder email. 

We’ve all seen this one a bunch of times, so it’s a great first example. In the screenshot below, eco-friendly shoe company Allbirds gives a gentle nudge to try and draw a visitor back into their sales funnel.

cart abandonment email

While this type of email might fall under the marketing team at an e-commerce store, the same principle can apply to a B2B sales organization. Say a member of your team has engaged with a lead, qualified them as a good fit, and held a demo. It’s been a few days of radio silence, so your rep drafts up an email and reaches out to them. 

Why not automate that email? With sales process automation, you can take tasks like this off your rep’s plate, freeing them up to focus on engaging with more prospects. 

This isn’t the only email that can be automated, either: scheduling calls, reminders about calls, prompts to view or sign a contract…the possibilities are virtually endless. 

Automated lead assignment

Your marketing team is driving a ton of new leads and you need to divide them up among your team. Your sales manager or sales ops person might be doing that task manually today, but with sales process automation you can eliminate the need for that.

automated lead assignment
Source: Zoho

Simple if/then logic can allow you to automatically route the right lead to the right person, every time, with no manual work involved.

Automated proposal creation

Most sales teams create a quote, proposal, and contract for every deal they hope to close. Talk about a repetitive process! Of course, you want to make sure that you’re tailoring these documents to each unique prospect, but 90% of each proposal and contract are probably the same every time. 

So why not automate this part of your sales process?

Using a templated proposal and contract can enable your sales reps to customize where needed while not wasting unnecessary time. And with Qwilr, you can also create content libraries to make it easy for reps to quickly pull in commonly-used content blocks to sales documents. You’ll save time, close more deals, and be able to scale while maintaining your brand. 

automated sales proposals
Source: Qwilr

These three examples illustrate the power and potential of sales process automation. And while they’re a great place to start, the sky really is the limit when it comes to automating your sales process. In fact, with today’s technology, the McKinsey Global Institute’s research estimates that roughly a third of sales and sales operations tasks could be easily automated, yet only one in four companies have automated a single sales process. 

7 ways sales process automation improves revenue

There’s a good reason we’re going to see a wave of sales process automation coming in the next decade. Sales process automation brings a host of benefits that you’ll feel across your entire sales function (and beyond). 

We’ll highlight a number of these benefits individually below, but realize that many of them are related and interconnected. For example, sales process automation can enable your reps to spend more time selling, which is one reason it can also help drive increased revenue and improved employee retention. 

1. Reducing costs

Your sales process is far more than just pitching customers. You’re generating quotes, proposals, and contracts. You’re calculating and negotiating discounts. And you’re closing deals and handing them off to customer support. 

Many of these tasks are ripe for automation. Once automated, you can see significant ongoing cost savings through the reduction of manual effort (and salary) involved. The McKinsey research referenced above also showed that sales automation reduces costs by 10-15% on average.

The other major way that process automation helps reduce cost is by making your existing efforts more scalable. By freeing up your sales reps and sales operations team from time-consuming manual tasks, they’ll be able to focus on tasks that are more impactful. They’ll be able to do more of what you actually want them to be doing. Automating proposal creation is an easy way to fast-track your sales process and get your reps back to their core job: spending time with prospects.

Here’s a simple example: What if you could give your best sales rep 20% of their time back each week? How many more deals would they be able to work through the funnel? Where before you would have needed to hire new reps to handle those deals, automation increases your capacity to do more with the money you’re already spending.

If you can get more from your existing sales reps, you’ll eliminate the need to hire—reducing costs—while also unlocking more revenue.

2. Unlocking revenue

Sales process automation helps unlock additional revenue for your company in several ways:

  • Automated outreach. As shared in the example above, automating outreach tasks can help you keep more prospects engaged throughout the whole buyer experience, More engaged prospects mean higher conversion rates, which means more money for your business.
  • Identifying cross-sell and upsell opportunities. You’ve got a ton of data in your CRM and other tools. Combining that data with machine learning can lead to the automatic identification of cross-selling and upsell opportunities for your sales team, helping you know just when to engage customers for expansion opportunities. Tools like Gainsight and Totango are great examples of technology that can help with this.
  • Identifying churn risks. The majority of revenue for most SaaS companies comes from existing customers. You can’t afford to lose customers to churn, and sales process automation can help by surfacing customers most likely to churn in the near future. This enables your sales or customer success team to engage them early, resolving issues before they become nightmares.  Every churning account you retain is more money month after month.

According to Hubspot’s research, 61% of businesses leveraging automation reported exceeding revenue targets in 2020.

3. Improving lead evaluation and qualification

Your sales team only has so many hours in the day, so you want them to spend time on the right prospects. Through automated lead scoring and qualification, you can have confidence your sales reps are spending their time on the leads most likely to close. 

Once again, that means higher conversion rates and more top-line revenue for your business. 

4. Enabling faster throughput

The faster you get new contracts processed, the sooner you can start billing your new customers. McKinsey’s research showed that sales process automation can reduce processing time from several days to mere hours.

Multiply a few extra days of revenue by every new sale your team closes in a year. See the potential? 

A related area where automation can also help is in reducing the manual back-and-forth required to close a deal. A good example of this is Qwilr’s dynamic pricing feature. By enabling prospects to configure and choose the pricing package that meets their needs, you’re able to accelerate the speed at which deals flow through your pipeline.

5. Eliminating data errors

Many salespeople hate using CRMs, in large part due to all of the manual work involved in logging activities and updating contacts and opportunities. All of this manual work results in duplicate or inaccurate data, which then affects all of your sales reporting.

Any place you can use sales process automation to eliminate this manual work will reduce the likelihood of errors occurring. Cleaner data gives you more accurate reporting, which means as a sales leader you’ll have a clearer picture of the state of your pipeline and how you can best support your team. 

6. Hiring and planning more strategically

Sales territory planning isn’t sexy, but it’s critical to the success of your revenue strategy. Simply improving your territory design can lead to a 2 to 7% increase in sales, without any additional changes in resources. 

Using technology to automate or augment your territory and coverage planning brings a bunch of benefits, including a more efficient workforce and more strategic deployment of your resources. It’s a must for the modern sales function, and sales process automation can give you better results with far less headache.

7. Improving employee retention

Your sales reps didn’t join your team because they love data entry or mundane work. They want to get out there, talk to prospects, and close deals. Many of the benefits mentioned above—eliminating errors, better coverage planning, and so on—will have positive impacts on employee retention because they enable your sales team to focus on what they do best: selling. 

Create a modern sales function

Sales process automation is a huge opportunity for sales leaders today. It brings massive benefits in the near-term, while also setting your sales organization up better for the long-term future. 

There’s never been a better time to start investing in technology to help you automate the repetitive parts of your sales process.

For more on how Qwilr can help you start automating your sales process, we invite you to book a demo today.

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