Studies say more than 30% of sales-related activities can be easily automated. Yet, full-scale field-sales automation remains a distant dream for many. This is one area where automation can bring some major improvements by unlocking additional revenue in the sales funnel. Unfortunately, one in four companies has automated at least one sale process.
Sales play an integral role, bridging the gap between businesses and customers/clients. Minus that, the entire existence of an organization becomes a big question mark. Field sales automation holds the key to sales cost reduction and time spent on mundane tasks like administration and reporting. Automating paperwork leaves enough bandwidth with sales personnel to approach more leads at a given time, increase customer-facing time and render greater customer satisfaction. Early adopters of sales automation have reportedly experienced 10-15% efficiency improvements and sales uplift potential by 10% or more.
Lack of knowledge and a biased mindset are a few reasons many businesses have not taken advantage of automation and prefer sticking to traditional approaches to sales and marketing. Hence, it rests on educating you on the myriad benefits of field sales automation. But, before digging deeper into the benefits, let’s understand this terminology first.
What is Enterprise Field Sales Automation?
Automating sales operations is a win-win game for companies, customers, and sales representatives. Much valuable time is spent documenting and processing customer data on the centralized system. Sales representatives are expected to spend more time field capturing and converting leads. Unfortunately, the aforementioned mundane tasks drain their time and energy. But, abandoning them altogether will bring the entire process to a grinding halt. Chaos and confusion will follow.
So, field sales automation tools take care of these repetitive tasks and run them for you whenever needed. The process gets more efficient and errorless, thereby reflecting positively on the company’s overall revenue. Hence, executives and managers have enough time on their plate to focus on building strategies and reaching more customers than earlier.
Now, businesses need not restrict leveraging automation to only document and record customer details. Other areas in sales scream for attention. Let’s elucidate further –
Field Sales Automation Opportunities
Opportunities exist along the entire length and breadth of the sales value chain. It depends entirely on how businesses perceive the total opportunity and identifies promising use cases in the sales funnel for automation. A few such use cases include –
1. Capturing & Distributing Leads
More often than not, prospective leads remain stuck in the purchasing funnel and are eventually lost due to a lack of effort on the part of the respective sales representative. The latter handles thousands of leads at a time. Re-engaging each potential buyer becomes a humongous task for them, especially when they focus more on converting promising candidates.
But, an automated process independently shortlists potential leads, generate sales messages via direct text messaging or emailing, respond to leads’ enquiries and drive conversion accordingly. The entire process functions with minimal human intervention. That increases sales reps’ selling time by 15-20% or more.
2. Controlling Customer Churning Rate
Machine Learning tools can be aptly utilized to identify customers who are most likely to churn. Again, this task is humanly not possible; only field sales automation can help. The automated process does the screening and shortlisting task for the sales executives. Based on the data, respective sales and marketing staff can resort to targeted actions to prevent churn and get a conversion via pre-configured price discounts. Such incentives might work in convincing an uninterested buyer into becoming a loyal customer.
3. Reduce Time & Eliminate Human Errors
Drafting requests for proposals form an integral part of sales and marketing. But, the process is quite lengthy and are often subjected to errors if humans are involved. Here, field sales automation tools can effectively reduce the overall time taken to draft proposals by two-thirds. These automated tools hold the potential to speed updraft requests for proposals response time and eliminate human errors. Moreover, the tools always keep backups of every document, improving internal version tracking and storing important RFP content.
4. Automated Reporting
As mentioned earlier, sales representatives and managers have to maintain and generate multiple reports daily. Then, there are weekly sales reports to consider. These reports are crucial to understanding where your business stands at the end of the month of the year. But, reporting again is quite a hefty task. Tracking records, incorporating data, and analyzing reports are crucial but are subject to human errors. And that can prove damaging for the business. Reflecting wrong figures on the reports will paint an incorrect picture, hampering report analysis and strategy building.
But, automation can arrest all these mistakes and paint an accurate picture of the company’s current market position.
Moreover, field sales automation gives real-time data on individual sales representatives, such as the total distance travelled by them in a day, the total number of meetings done, the total number of leads closed, and so on.
Companies can take important measures to improve their sales process based on this information.
5. Customer Journey Optimization
Robotic Process Automation and virtual agents like bots can create a seamless online experience for buyers, right from ordering, tracking to query management in bulk numbers. Keeping humans out of the picture entirely can speed up the process and manage more customers at any given time.
6. Product Activation
Now, preparing license certificates for new customers and generating emails with license keys to activate their purchases can keep more than one human hand occupied for hours. Why invest in extra-human hands and increase operational costs when automation can easily take care of this process? AI Bots are competent enough to verify the validity of each order and update internal functions needed for product activation, and generate emails for the same. Bots can not only spare sales teams hundreds of hours of mundane work per year, but they can also speed up the activation process for customers.
Benefits of Field Sales Automation
As per reports, the field sales automation market is expected to reach $8 billion by 2023. More and more businesses are leveraging automation in sales to improve sales team productivity and enjoy high ROI. Where does your enterprise stand?
If you are still wary of field sales automation benefits, why not take a look at the following points –
1. Simplifying Field Sales Operation
Field sales professionals have to spend a good many hours of their day on the field capturing and converting leads. Often, they need critical data about their prospects while in the field and updated customer feedback/concern. But, lack of a proper system in place, they lose an entire day addressing them on the spot. Field sales automation tools allow them to work remotely with real-time data and not lose a day or customer.
2. Improves Customer Experience
Sales automation allows managers and field forces to track and analyze customer orders history and improve prospects accordingly. Past sales information are valuable data needed to create buyer persona highlighting customers’ demographics, order patterns and preferences.
This can help sales managers, and other personnel better deal with the present leads and create better marketing campaigns to generate more prospects.
3. Improves Time Management & Productivity
As mentioned earlier, the sales team can benefit from the automated data entry and maintenance process. Mundane tasks like recording, documenting, and maintaining data consumes a good chunk of time, which the sales team can otherwise utilize to convert more leads. But, entering data is crucial for generating sales team reports later. Hence, this part cannot be ignored altogether. Hence, field sales automation tools automate the entire process and make it seamless and errorless. Further, automation of data recording helps sales reps in tracking collections, pending payments and returns easily.
They can create and keep a tab of their appointments and get auto-reminders. GPS enablement allows the field salespeople to save time in reaching their destinations on time. That improves sales teams’ time management and productivity, generating better output moving forward.
4. Faster Decision-Making
A centralized, automated system ensures that every team member, including the managers, has easy access to sales team data. Hence, managers can spend more time strategizing and working through issues instead of asking questions.
A strong field sales automation system and access to various collaboration tools allow field sales reps to tap into any customer insight and other necessary information easily. They can easily spot, capture, and qualify a lead and pass it on to the right sales channel without wasting an ounce of time.
They can make on-spot decisions with real-time data and convert more leads than earlier.
5. Improves Overall Efficiency
The use of field sales automation tools helps sales managers to understand past and current sales trends and capture a clear view of opportunities in the pipeline. Using this powerful, comprehensive real-time data, sales teams can make data-driven reliable future sales forecasting. That information will provide a better insight into the revenue pipeline to decision-makers.
Time is crucial for the sales team, and they need to optimally utilize every minute of their productive hours, chasing more leads and converting even more. But, mundane tasks eat away most of their productive hours. Further, when on the field, sales reps need real-time customer data to make on-spot decisions to convert prospects easily. Likewise, managers need real-time insights to make game-changing marketing decisions. These tasks consume much time but are not free of error if too many human heads are involved.
Field sales automation not only makes life easy for sales reps and managers. Further, it also helps the team to make reliable data-driven decisions effortlessly. More sales reps spending more hours on the field means more leads and conversions. Leave the rest of the task to automation – you will enjoy a handsome ROI at the end of the financial year.