The middle of a global pandemic may not seem like the best time to make a potentially huge expenditure into new technology; particularly if yours is a business which has had to make some significant and difficult cuts over the last few months. However, in the case of sales automation, you could truly be making a wise investment – and the timing couldn’t be better. 

Data shows that automation can result in an 18% reduction in sales cycle time and a 30% increase in closures. What’s more, automating processes enables the redirection of stretched resources to more strategic, bottom-line-impacting tasks. It means that, at a time when businesses are operating with fewer people, you can ‘do more with less’. It allows geographically dispersed colleagues to have transparency and clarity over the entire sales journey, promoting more efficient working.

But sales automation isn’t only useful during times of lockdown and home-working, it can help your business operate in a wholly modernised and slick way, regardless of any external factors which are beyond your control. Don’t believe us?

Automated insights enable those at each stage of the sales cycle to measure, improve and refine the process; to identify and better target ‘warm’ leads. This information allows for the production of more engaging communications – an important consideration, given 91% of consumers are more likely to purchase from brands that send relevant messages. And at a time when most people are buying online, this comms strategy could be a goldmine.

It’s also a time when many businesses have scaled back, unable to understand or ignorant of the fact that sales automation can actually add so much – and not necessarily at great cost. It’s a train definitely worth jumping on while there are so many empty seats.

The choice is yours

There are many sales and marketing automation platforms available, with strengths in different areas. Some are great for creating verified prospect lists, like Prospect.io, while others are a whizz for email marketing, such as MailChimp. For social media, you might choose Hootsuite and for lead engagement there’s Keap (formerly Infusionsoft).

Alternatively, an all-in-one solution can cover myriad processes under one package, designed to uncomplicate, streamline and optimise the sales process, from start to finish. All-in-ones include Pipedrive, which helps sales teams identify and repeat successful activities, Agile CRM, which suits small businesses and Salesforce, which allows teams to better use the cloud to connect with prospects. Then there’s HubSpot, which offers solutions for the entire sales workflow and boasts thousands of seamless integrations.

HubSpot, in particular, receives many positive reviews, singled out as a ‘favourite piece of technology’ which some senior managers cannot live without. One CEO praises the ability “to monitor everything one place…which saves a lot of time”, while another claims “it has revolutionised our business and lives.” 

Choice of platform depends on many factors: business need, cost and ease of use, to name just a few, but there’s no denying the positive impact it can bring, when they are used effectively across the workforce.

What success looks like

Should anyone need proof of said positive impacts, a High Growth study by Hinge Marketing found that ‘high growth firms are much more likely to have a highly mature marketing and sales automation strategy in place’. What’s more, businesses that successfully implement the right levels of change ‘typically see 5% – 10% revenue growth…often within a few months’.

There are many success stories; HubSpot lists dozens on its website, including British market intelligence company Corinium, which unified its disparate processes via the all-in-one platform and was able to grow, scale and adapt more efficiently as a result. Growth-marketing agency, Advance B2B experienced a 267% increase in leads and now boasts 90% of clients are on retainer. Then there’s US software company, HR Cloud, which used HubSpot’s analytics to tie-up marketing and sales, improving customer engagement and resulting in a 51% increase in conversions.

By using HubSpot, recruitment software firm, Top Echelon, was able to reduce cold-calling and ineffective tactics to save 70% of their salespeople’s time. This led to the ‘highest revenue month in five years. Finally, at-home-wellness service, Stella, used HubSpot’s chatbots to answer customer queries, website tracking pixels to create targeted calls-to-action and analytics to make more informed decisions, seeing revenue grow by $10m. All extremely impressive statistics, you’ll agree.

It’s not just about the stats and pound signs, though. Success can also be measured in terms of employee well-being. Implementation of such software has seen that both customer and employee satisfaction can improve – and who wouldn’t want that when ‘return-to-work anxiety’ is such a current concern for employers? The pandemic has presented workers with the space and time to re-evaluate their working life and priorities; providing technology which demonstrates staff are valued and which will make their lives easier (and more lucrative for those on commission). What’s more, automation innovators, like HubSpot, have invested much time and research into ensuring user experience is easy, so there shouldn’t be any gripes from employees who ‘can’t work it out’. It all makes a lot of sense.

Now’s the time

If anything, it could be argued that now is the best time to invest in sales automation tools – it’s not about replacing people with technology, it’s about enhancing people’s jobs with technology. It’s about enabling them to reach more, and warmer, prospects. It’s about giving businesses the tools to seek out and harness opportunity; to grow at a time when you could otherwise flounder. And it’s about providing a service which your customers demand. Sales automation tools benefit everyone across the entire sales cycle, not merely those making the top-level decisions. Pandemic or no pandemic, this is why investing in sales automation is probably the best business decision you could make right now.