There are a set of sales tools that can help shorten sales cycles. But, sales reps and sales leadership must use it in order to benefit from it.

But, that's exactly the difficulty: CRM Tools make so much sense for sales reps, but so few actually use it or update their CRM system. Why? And this is despite all the hoopla about CRM Sales Automation. What gives?

Sales-leadership advice all too often relies upon an underlying message, one that isn’t necessarily music to sales teams’ ears: add this new set of tasks to your workload and you’ll see better sales results

Thankfully, technology is helping build a more attractive alternative to that approach.

While improving the output and effectiveness of your sales team often does mean increasing the intensity of every members’ involvement — from tapping new banks of information for insights within your company to upping the amount of time and effort spent on best practices — one sales tool that helps teams streamline and lighten their workload is customer-relationship management automation. 

Rather than simply adding more meetings, more deliverables, and more tasks to your week, let’s look at what CRM automation does for sales, and how to best incorporate it ... talking to experts who make this tool a key part of their sales strategy.

CRM Automation Advantages: 4 Key Points

In a nutshell, here’s how CRM automation works. 

Form submissions, purchase histories, new contacts, task-assignment, custom documents and invoices — all of these management details are run through a software system that removes almost all of the manual part of the effort from your team’s to-do list. Furthermore, it allows you to automate push notifications to your customers, and then set follow-up reminders ... tracking all of this over time.

Beyond the basics, however, new strategies emerge from the CRM automation landscape. 

1. CRM allows your sales team to act and react at scale

No matter how big or small your shop, incoming queries and patterns between customers and products are crucial to sales success. CRM automation can help prompt conversions among the clients coming your way, especially when your catalog is large. “We are a furniture sourcing platform with 350-plus brands, one-dollar shipping, and free stylist help,” said Kelly Fallis, CEO of Remote Stylist. “Our CRM system houses lists of items that detail what clients are looking for … when we’re searching through millions of products it nudges us to be on the lookout for their needs. This enables us to be super pro-active and stay top-of-mind, which is everything in our 'biz … leading to increased trust levels and ultimately more sales.”

2. CRM automation creates new insights across systems

Another way CRM automation can help your sales team is that it ties disparate datasets into a newly understandable whole. CRM automation can elevate information on what areas of your website a customer checks out, what e-mails they read, and what links they open. This makes it easier to match specialized members of your sales team with the customers they'll best assist. 

3. CRM automation can streamline your team’s daily responsibilities

“In almost all sales business models it is important to be able to work better and faster without compromising levels of service and risking sales-conversion rates,’ said Fahd Khan, business development manager at ZSAH Managed Technology Services. “Through CRM automation a lot more can be achieved whilst also being able to monitor staff performance in greater detail. Sending out e-mails, calling clients, and setting important reminders is all done at a quicker pace and more intuitively, thanks to the CRM. Without it we wouldn't be able to deal with such a volume of workload on a day-to-day basis.”

4. Focus CRM automation on education

You want to focus on educating your prospects and leads through automation, not just selling to them. “Think of this as a four-to-one ratio of 'education' to 'sales,'"said Kai Davis, digital public relations and outreach consultant. "That means you want to educate, teach, and inform them four separate times before you make a pitch.” One great way to figure out what to educate your audience about? Read through your most frequently asked support questions or ask your sales team what questions they get the most frequently.

The underlying goal of these steps? Empowerment — getting your team to to work more closely with your customers, to work smarter with their daily workload, and to perform more effectively overall.

“My team is able to focus at the top of the funnel, knowing that leads that come in will be educated, nurtured, and qualified — without their direct, hands-on assistance,” Davis said. “Then, when a lead is ready to buy, my team knows exactly what information they've read, what they've engaged with, and what the next steps are to effectively close that lead.”

Granted, all the automation and benefits inherent — however much enthusiasm for CRM automation your department brings to bear — still requires some input and time spent on keeping all that valuable data up to date. You can cut down on day-to-day tasks, as our experts in the preceding items point out, but results do depend on a modicum of up-front maintenance. Some sales reps might look askance at that prospect, but it's well argued that putting care into CRM automation is time well spent.

That's the kind of holistic view that CRM automation can bring, and make central to your sales strategy over time.

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