Tracking leads throughout the buying process helps you get an idea for what sales are close to closing and which others are worth pursuing.
Monitoring every single lead within your company manually can be incredibly time consuming. But sales automation tools give you some helpful guidance and insights that allow you to prioritize tasks and close those sales faster.
Lead Automation Tips
Want to take advantage of this strategy? Here are some of the essential steps involved.
1. Define a Sales Process
If you want to constantly know where customers are in your sales process, you first need to actually create that sales process. You probably already have one, even if it’s not laid out in front of you.
It usually looks something like this:
- Initial contact
- Qualification of leads
Each business is different. But chances are your process looks fairly similar. So dive into your customer journey and lay out the steps in the order they usually occur.
2. Pair Common Activities with Your Normal Timeline
You know those sales related tasks that you have to handle over and over again? The ones that take a lot of time but not much thought or variation? Those are the ones you can automate.
Ivana Taylor of DIY Marketers explains, “Once you’ve defined your basic sales process, consider the typical communications that you have with prospects that turn into customers. For example, after a customer fills out a contact form, you send them an automated email that tells them that you received their request and how long it will take for you to respond.”
This isn’t just about tracking leads. It can actually help you move them along in the process as well. All the while, your software should make each step in the process accessible to you so you can see where prospects are, even if some of the communication is automated.
3. Keep an Eye on Where Customers Get Stuck
One of the major benefits of sales automation tools is that they visually map out where leads and customers are in the sales process. Having that information right in front of you makes it easy to identify opportunities to move leads along.
“Sales automation tools help you close more sales because of this visualizing feature,” says Taylor. “The biggest problem most small businesses have in sales is not following up. Sales opportunities fall through the cracks and get forgotten. A sales automation tool shows you where opportunities are stuck.”
Say you have a business consulting firm. You’ve sent the initial email and spoken with the prospect directly and they seem interested in buying. But then they don’t reach out again to complete the sale. You can set up your automation system to alert you after a certain number of days has passed since your last contact. It will let you know when to reach out to that prospect and check in again. Maybe getting back to you just got pushed to the side and they need a simple reminder.
One last point: Once you have the automation in place be sure your sales team makes it part of their regular duties to check on sales snags and follow them up. Otherwise the process you’ve gone through is a waste of time and will not increase the number of sales you close.
1. Outline the major steps in your sales process. This could include steps like initial contact, qualification of leads, meeting, proposal, negotiation and closing
2. Find a sales automation tool. This might include a CRM with features that are aligned with your process.
3. Observe and maintain where necessary. Regularly monitor where customers are throughout your sales process and step in when you notice any snags.