If you own or market a business, you’ll recognize this dilemma: you’re not meeting your goals for new sales. You ask yourself, “Do I need to hire more salespeople?” Of course, that means more money going to your salary line, and less to other key priorities. So, you ask yourself another question, “Are my current sales reps efficient? Are they making the best use of their time?”
On Average, Salespeople Spend Only 1/3 of Their Time Making Sales
The good news is that you probably don’t need to increase the size of your sales team. The bad news is that, if your business is like most, your sales reps are spending a lot of time doing things other than closing sales. According to a recent survey from Inside Sales, for example:
- Salespeople on average spend just 37% of their time on activities directly related to sales
- Almost 16% of their time goes to meetings and “customer interactions”
- Almost 13% is dedicated to your company’s internal policies
- About 12% of salespeople’s time is spent researching and prioritizing leads
There’s a Better Way: Marketing Automation
Wouldn’t it be great if there were a way for your sales team to spend more of their time doing what you hired them to do, and less on the grunt work they’re currently doing? Fortunately, there is—it’s called marketing automation, defined by Salesforce this way:
“Marketing automation is technology that manages marketing processes…automatically. With marketing automation, businesses can target customers with automated messages across email, web, social, and text…Marketing and sales departments use marketing automation to automate online marketing campaigns and sales activities to both increase revenue and maximize efficiency.”
How Can Marketing Automation Help Maximize Sales?
That sounds good, but what specifically can marketing automation do for your business? Well, to some extent that depends on where you’re currently experiencing sales inefficiencies. In general, however, marketing automation helps businesses improve efficiency in the following 4 ways:
- Prioritize leads with lead scoring: according to HubSpot, only about 25% of the leads marketing sends to sales are “legitimate,” meaning ready to buy. For salespeople, that’s a lot of wasted time following up on leads who are highly unlikely to close. Lead scoring is a process in which leads are ranked based on a variety of demographic and behavioral characteristics, so sales reps know which are the best to pursue. This both saves them time and increases their confidence level.
- Empower your sales team with CRM: CRM stands for “customer relationship management.” It’s software which will capture the details of every interaction your business has with customers and prospective customers. That’s a lot of data for your salespeople, all of it neatly organized and accessible through a user-friendly dashboard. With the right (which is to say, customized) CRM software, your sales team will have the critically important information they need to close sales and save a lot of time in the process.
- Nurture leads with triggered emails: salespeople spend a lot of their time with follow-up phone calls to leads. With a marketing automation platform in place, much of that follow-up can happen with triggered emails—that is, emails which are sent automatically by your system in response to key actions taken by the lead. If, for example, a lead views a product page or downloads content on your website, the system will automatically send them an email relevant to that action. This frees up your sales team for more important, sales-related work.
- Let your sales reps know what’s working: members of your sales team shouldn’t need to guess about which of your marketing strategies—and which of their sales approaches—are bearing fruit. With marketing automation, you can effortlessly measure the effectiveness (and the return on investment) of all your sales and marketing initiatives. That helps your sales team focus on those activities which are most likely to produce results and frees them up from having to make those determinations on their own.
Think about it: with your sales reps spending little more than 1 of every 3 hours actually selling, you’re wasting their time and, more importantly, losing a lot of potential sales. Said differently, the investment you make in sound marketing automation tools will, if your business is like most, more than pay for itself in increased sales and profitability.
Fortunately, there are experienced, competent agencies which can help you choose the best automation tools for your business. To learn more about the ways our CRM, marketing automation and sales lead generation services can help your business boost sales, contact us today.