This is part three of our ongoing blog series on the Process Automation Decade, in which Eric examines how automation is evolving the workforce.
The urgency to automate core business processes is at an all-time high. As dispersed work becomes more standard and organizations globally scramble to adapt to necessary changes, leaders may experience setbacks as their technologies fall short. Those who once considered themselves ahead of the digital adoption curve could be forced to reevaluate their transformation strategies.
Sales teams aren’t exempt from the need to consider and respond to changing workplace dynamics. As buyer behavior shifts, expectations will remain stable — and high — underscoring the need to implement smart processes across sales teams.
Automation has already transformed sales by allowing more effective lead tracking and compliant document creation. But even today, Salesforce reports that salespeople consider excessive administrative tasks as the primary cause of ineffective internal processes. Sales teams spend more than half their time on processes outside of sales and just 18% on customer relationship management (CRM).
Sales teams should prepare to lead their companies and industries into the next decade of productivity by proactively adopting robotic process automation (RPA) tools. RPA holds the potential to automate process-oriented work like repetitive administrative functions and tedious workflows and allows workers to become more invested in identifying opportunities for automation. In addition to shifting the types of tasks workers across industries perform, automation enables collaboration and removes the roadblock physical distance imposes on many sales teams.
In short, automation allows salespeople to focus on what they do best: generating leads and selling products and services. People will always be critical to sales enablement — you can’t automate CRM. However, today’s sophisticated technology aids salespeople in creating effective, customized sales pipelines, allowing them to shorten sales cycles and deliver a better customer experience in the new decade — even if functional aspects of the role look different.
Transforming selling in 2020
As personalization and automation become the industry standard, finding ways to differentiate your business through creative sales tactics will be increasingly difficult. Even at B2B companies, buyers expect hyper-personalized experiences and will throw a prospective technology partner to the curb if they’re not keeping up with competitors. But to spend time on creative campaigns and nurturing prospects, salespeople need time to devote time to high-value work without getting bogged down by mundane, paper-pushing tasks.
Sales teams must start upskilling to prepare for new responsibilities as automation changes core functional aspects of sales, including:
- Simplified contract management
Today, e-signature tools like Nintex Sign have transformed the way sales teams manage contracts, breaking down distance boundaries that may have once derailed a sales process. Still, digital contracts require salespeople to enter data. When humans are responsible for data entry, small mistakes like missing signatures or typos can cause major delays and problems.
By 2030, sales teams will easily create digital contracts with sophisticated automation tools that enable seamless management. With a few clicks, a salesperson can use an automation tool to review existing client data, and automatically generate and store contracts. RPA can quickly send contracts to key stakeholders for review, speeding the signature-based approval process with integrated e-signature tools.
- Faster sales proposals and approvals
Today, many companies rely on in-person meetings to secure a sale. Most teams have adopted tools like DocGen to create proposals that can be signed digitally, but still face challenges securely storing and tracking many similar copies of the same contract. Even with basic automations that secure online forms, salespeople are vulnerable to human error during the signature and approvals process, where they must carefully document manual changes to contracts for their audit trail.
By 2030, sales teams won’t need to focus on drafting proposals during the sales process. RPA can auto-generate custom-branded sales proposals by looking at existing data, speeding up the reviews, signature, and approvals process. Bots will help teams maintain a secure audit trail of all revisions and develop insights about the sales pipeline.
- New client onboarding management and protocols
Today, sales teams are tasked with balancing good client relationships with nurturing prospects and onboarding new clients. Managing current and future clients come with a large stack of forms and documents that most sales teams manually create and then input with client data.
By 2030, salespeople will have more time to build relationships and focus on client satisfaction. Nintex RPA captures prospect data without needing spreadsheets, then triggers alerts and follow-ups to share the right information with sales leads in moments. Sales teams can shorten lead times, streamline the sales pipeline, and learn their customers’ needs on a deeper level, rather than focusing on inputting data about them. Automation tools also ensure compliance in every digital form, from a sale through onboarding.
The sales process has come a long way from the traditional firm, in-person handshake. More than ever, sales teams must level up their processes to focus on building and sustaining authentic client relationships that transcend physical boundaries. Salespeople should rest assured that letting new tools in the door doesn’t create job vulnerability — it allows sales teams to be more efficient and effective, and ultimately, sell more.
Check back on the Nintex blog next month for my take on how automation will impact the government.
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