The sales funnel is a framework that helps sales and marketing teams turn potential customers into leads and eventually into paying customers and clients. But modern buying trends have re-shaped the sales funnel. 67% of the buyer journey is now done digitally, for starters, while B2B buyers are typically 57% of the way to a buying decision before even engaging with your sales teams. However, by choosing to automate the sales process, your sales organization more easily adapt to these changes to the buying process.
So many sales and marketing teams continue to rely on manual, disjointed processes which often result in a breakdown in the sales process. For instance, if a member of the sales team doesn’t get back to a lead fast enough, they may end up going to a competitor. Or, a salesperson may log a customer’s expression of interest in the CRM, but then is too busy and forgets to call that customer back.
It is a tricky balancing act. But if you can automate the sales process, there are far fewer breakpoints where a lead could potentially fall out of the funnel.
In this post, we’re going to explore each of the four sections of the sales process. For each, we’ll look at how workflow automation can help sales and marketing teams streamline their sales funnel to improve productivity and efficiency.
How to Automate the Sales Process
The sales funnel, or sales process, is made up of four key sections:
The primary goal of sales and marketing teams is to move customers from one stage to the next. So how can you improve lead generation and conversion if you automate the sales process?
Awareness concerns a potential customer’s first experience with the company. As mentioned, they are coming from more locations and avenues than ever: Google searches, social media channels, blogs, whitepapers, conferences, ads and chance meetings, to name a few. This is the stage where you capture the largest pool of potential clients. Automation can help you in providing the opportunity for that audience to travel further down the funnel.
Automate the sales process to improve marketing consistency
Workflow automation can help create a consistent structure for your brand’s marketing, to provide potential new customers as much information about your business as possible. For example, you could create a workflow that functions as a blog calendar, informing your teams when it’s their turn to post content to keep your blog updated.
Once a potential customer has interacted with your company—perhaps by filling in a contact form on your website or landing page—it’s time to nurture their interest. This is usually done through content, pushing blogs, eBooks or whitepapers that demonstrate how your product or service can help. This is your first chance to build a relationship and develop trust between your brand and your prospect, so don’t let it go to waste!
Automate the sales process to send leads relevant content
With workflow automation, a workflow can be triggered when a potential customer fills in a form on your site. The workflow can automatically send them the appropriate content (if the form was to download a whitepaper, for example), or contact a sales representative to get in touch (if they filled out a contact-us form). For the latter, notifications can be routinely sent to the salesperson so they can respond as quickly as possible.
When the user has a good understanding of what you can offer them and think they’re ready to invest, we reach the decision phase. This is when the sales team are going to start offering a plan-of-action to the individual to work out a deal. Although the customer is considering investment, this is also when delays have the most potential to stall or completely end the sales opportunity. If you automate the sales process, the chances that internal delays stall your deals drops significantly.
Automate the sales process to streamline document approval and send
Workflows can integrate with your CRM to streamline the creation, retrieval, and sharing of relevant sales documents with your leads.
With document generation, sales can quickly create approval documents and contracts and route them based on set metadata to close deals sooner. An automated and comprehensive audit trail of interactions, including approval history, means these can be accessed at any time.
Action is where the deal is finalized, whether it’s signing a contract or clicking ‘purchase’.
Again, at this stage delays can be particularly costly. Employees must get the right level of reviews and approvals on prices sent to clients and services agreed – getting ‘sign-off’ from the client, as well as internal managers. With manual processes, inefficiencies in these areas can prevent deals from closing and again lead to a negative impact on your revenue.
Automate the sales process to act faster
Create an automated review-and-approval workflow that triggers from updates in your CRM system. Document generation can automate the creation of sales quotes, forms, proposals, discounts, invoices, account summaries, and more, so everyone who needs to see the details and sign if off sees it and can either agree to the deal or raise any concerns.
Streamline Your Sales Funnel
Nintex Workflows can help numerous sales and marketing scenarios, allowing workers to speed up every element to the sales funnel.
Companies using sales and marketing automation can expect a 53% higher conversion rate, resulting in 3.1% higher annualized revenue growth and 10% average increase in sales-pipeline contribution with automation.
It’s time to automate the sales process. Get in touch with Nintex today to get started.