Automating your business is not just a nice thing to do; these days, it’s an absolute must. Why spend unnecessary time handling administrative duties or other repetitive tasks when your time is better spent talking to prospects and clients or just working to grow your business?
With a plethora of online tools at your disposal, adding automation to your sales, marketing and customer service process can be simple.
Automate Sales Processes
Ideally, the only people your sales team talks to are the people who are already qualified, know exactly what they want, and are ready to sign a contract. In reality? Your sales team all-too-often spends their valuable time talking to prospects who are just kicking the tires, not ready to make a commitment.
By automating some aspects of your sales process, you can help the team get closer to that ideal. One option is adding a pricing calculator to your site. This lets the prospect pick and choose the level of product or service as well as compare features and benefits. They’ll be able to determine if they even have the budget to hire you, which makes the sales call geared towards the benefits of working with you rather than focusing on the cost.
Another way to free up your sales team is to set up a service to automate meeting scheduling. Your sales team dreads having to go back and forth with their prospects via email, trying to find a time for a meeting.
Ask your team to set up the blocks of time they have available, integrate with their calendar, and voila— prospects can pick and choose which time works best for them. This makes the process of talking to sales effortless; your prospects (and your team) will appreciate it.
Finally, automating the follow-up emails for sales means they don’t have to spend all day chasing leads, but rather talking and closing the leads that are actually interested. Setting up a tool like HubSpot CRM’s Sequences means you can have a phone call, put the lead into a Sequence and let them drive the next steps. You can provide reference material, case studies and other useful info in subsequent emails, and set up another call to close the deal.
Automate Marketing Processes
Marketing is by far the biggest source for time-saving automation ideas. It starts off with automatically segmenting your list in your marketing tool. You can create lists based on contact record information and see your Marketing Qualified Leads, Sales Qualified Leads, and those leads who are in your system but will never buy— all at a glance. You can also see, depending on your forms, what they’re interested in, what their biggest need is, and when they’re looking to solve their problem.
Based on those above lists, you can set up Workflows or drip campaigns to email leads over time and point them in the direction of sales. Someone interested in one of your services may not be interested in another service; you want to be able to send them content relevant to their interests instead of mass-emailing them all. You can use Workflows as a way for HR to manage potential new hires, and automatically change contact records based on what they click in an email.
Finally, a task that most marketers spend too much time on is social media. Simple automation like having new blog posts automatically post to Twitter or Facebook can be easily set up. Tools like Edgar allow you to set up buckets of topics and post information automatically based on a schedule you set up.
Automate Customer Service
Supporting your customers post-sales is the only way you’re going to keep them around for the long-haul— and we all know it’s better to keep an existing customer than to find a new one. When customers or clients have questions, answering those questions in a timely and thorough manner is paramount.
You can automate some of this process by using two methods of support: support tickets and knowledge bases. A number of project management tools also have a support ticketing method in place, whether it’s just sending a simple email to a Trello board or a full-fledged system like Salesforce or Teamwork Desk. Whatever you use, make it easy for your customers to get their questions in front of you and out of your email inbox.
Having a knowledge base means common questions that come up all the time can be turned into a valuable resource for new customers. You can transform support tickets into knowledge base items as they come in, building that resource with every support request.
And finally, creating a feedback loop for client support means getting quantitative and qualitative feedback, instead of relying on gut-feeling. Maybe there’s someone on your team who’s amazing at retaining customers and you just didn’t see it, or maybe someone is dropping the ball and you need to have a chat.
A great program for setting up a feedback loop that I use for my clients is Customer Thermometer. You can create different ‘thermometers’ for sales, marketing, support and for one-off times like on-boarding. Pair this with an automated workflow and you’ll only need to set it up once.