Salespeople are at their most valuable when interacting with customers one-on-one. They are highly trained, highly paid professionals who want to convert as many leads into sales as possible. In fact, 80% of sales people think the phone (where they can sell one on one) is the best channel for closing a deal.
The problem is that setting up a meeting with a lead requires a lot of tedious and repetitive work, which humans don’t do well. Automation helps a lot but doesn’t replace the sales person. Instead, it takes care of the necessary tasks that don’t require a human touch, freeing up your salespeople to have as much one on one selling time as possible.
Adopting automation doesn’t even mean upending your sales process. Here are three simple ways of harnessing automation that will unlock your sales reps’ ability to make conversions.
1. Stick to Email For as Many Interactions as Possible
One-on-one interactions are essential for closing but it is difficult to scale them. Where somebody talking on the phone might be able to make 8 calls an hour, you can prepare and send 200 personalized email campaigns in half that time.
Because email doesn’t require a person to communicate in real time, it allows human input to be focused on creating personalized content. Repetitive content and delivery scheduling can be handed over to your sales automation software.
Let me give you an example. Most of the words in an email can be repeated. This means that you can create a template with spaces left for the sections you want to personalize. If you use an email outreach automator like Growbots, Yesware, or Outreach, all your sales rep has to do is create personalized information to feed into the template, saving them from having to write a completely new message every time.
That really comes in handy when you consider that with cold outreach only half of the responses you get come after your first email. We did a study of over 600,000 cold email campaigns sent on our platform to find out what percentage of positive responses come after each email in your outreach sequence. What we found was to get 97% of your potential responses, you need to send at least four emails.
It takes only a few minutes to set up a sequence of messages to be scheduled automatically to hundreds of email addresses. Not only that but most decision makers check their own email. Over the phone, that many touch points would take over three days. Even then your sales reps are more often than not likely to reach their lead’s secretaries or some other gatekeeper that they will need to work past.
It is easy to test and optimize different aspects of your delivery and messaging. Your templates can be easily A/B tested to see which subject line, format, and sequence works best. Even optimizing the time of delivery can have a big effect on the response rate. Different targets have different habits when it comes to positively responding to your emails. Take the example of this prospect:
Automation means you can schedule your emails to be delivered at the right time, pretty much doubling your conversion rate over less desirable times.
2. Collect and Reuse Content That Works
You will find that certain responses to questions and objections work better than others. These can be loaded into an email accelerator like Cirrus Insight or Mixmax. They sit in your inbox and provide you with a previously prepared response you can send out immediately. You can also share these responses with new members of the team so that they don’t need extensive onboarding before they can begin fielding queries from leads.
When a lead needs more convincing or stops responding, they are not lost. An email automator like followup.cc, rebump, or vocus, lets you set up a sequence of automated messages that you can customize to address the specific pain points the lead has. Your sales rep can use a combination of responses that have previously been effective and then set them to deliver automatically. This way they can keep in contact with this lead without having to take the time to continually check in with them.
3. Don’t Leave Meeting Scheduling to Chance
After your sales rep has done all of the work to get a one on one meeting, they don’t want to lose the lead in the time between agreeing to meet and holding the meeting. Despite the fact that your sales rep’s lead has signaled that they want to meet, they can still lose them if your sales rep isn’t careful.
The ensuing back and forth that comes from agreeing to a time to meet loses a surprising number of leads. An automated meeting scheduler allows your lead to pick a time when both of you are available. There is no back and forth and no chance for the meeting to be broken.
An automated scheduler will not only update both your calendars but also send a friendly reminder to your lead. While this may not sound like a lot, it makes a big difference. Before we started using a scheduling automator like Calendly, only about half of the meetings we set would be attended. After that number rose to 74%.
A scheduling automator frees up your sales rep’s time while doing the job better than they could do themselves.
It is time to unleash your sales reps with automation
Automation is most effective when it gives your sales people more time to speak one on one with their leads. Things that computers do well and humans don’t, like scheduling interactions and doing repetitive processes, can be easily automated. This means that your sales reps can add their human touch to many more interactions. We have found that on average, a sales rep can triple the number of meetings they book using automation than they can without it.
About the Author: Lewis Stowe is a content marketing specialist at Growbots and has written extensively about building an automated outbound pipeline in The Art of Customer Acquisition.