If you have an active imagination, the term “sales automation” can conjure a variety of images. It could be an image of tiny robots completing sales tasks along an assembly line, or a computer spewing out countless emails day and night. Both are nice ideas, after all, an army of tiny robots never take bathroom breaks or ask for a raise. Unfortunately, sales automation has nothing to do with an army of tiny robots. (I know, I’m sad too.)
Sales automation improves productivity by taking manual tasks and turning them into an easily repeatable and automated workflow. In other words, sales automation saves time.
Which begs the question, what sales tasks should be automated so you can save time and focus on selling?
Whether it’s saving seconds or minutes, automating certain sales tasks saves time. To understand why sales automation improves productivity and maximizes selling time, we need to look at how you allocate your time throughout the day.
Allocation of Time
A typical day for any salesperson breaks down into two types of activities: selling and non-selling. Recent TOPO research reveals the behaviors that distinguish top performers from average performers. A key finding was that all sales reps spend 53% of their time on core-selling activities. The graph below provides a breakdown of the data point.
Automation is one way you can allocate more time for core-selling activities. Saving small chunks of time on sales tasks frees up more time for you to prospect and meet with customers.
We’ve detailed below five sales tasks that should be automated to save time.
5 Sales Tasks That Should be Automated
1. Phone Dialing
Spending even a few seconds on small tasks add up. Will Smith’s portrayal of real-life investor and stockbroker Chris Gardner in The Pursuit of Happyness is an excellent example. Gardner saved time by never putting the phone down between calls. Instead, he dialed the next number with the phone still at his ear. The technique only saved seconds, but it meant more time to focus on selling.
Dialer makes your sales calls a breeze. Making a call is as simple as hitting the “Call” button, and it’s all done within the SalesLoft platform. If you’re averaging 50 phone calls per day, automation saves not only time but contributes to your overall efficiency.
2. Leaving Voicemails
How long does it take you to leave a voicemail? Generally, the process takes at least 60 seconds to listen to the menu and record a message. A minute doesn’t sound like much, but over the course of a month those seconds quickly add up. RingDNA conducted a study that found sales reps spend on average 25 hours per month leaving voicemails. Across an entire sales team, that lost time impacts both productivity and revenue.
We’re not advocating for the omission of leaving human voicemails. Voicemails are an essential part of connecting with prospects and promoting engagement. Pre-recording voicemails and automating the process saves time without you having to be present during the entire 60 seconds it takes to leave a voicemail. Imagine what you could accomplish with an additional 25 hours to actively sell?!
3. Email Follow-Up (Or Any Follow-Up)
If you’re leaving a voicemail, then a short follow-up email should be the next step. Not only does it reinforce the importance of the voicemail, but it also builds rapport and humanizes you to the prospect.
It only takes a few seconds to write, “Hi John, just left you a voicemail – when is a better time to reach you?” If Chris Gardner taught us anything, a few seconds are valuable.
Automating a follow-up email saves time so you can focus on the next phone call. A few seconds saved here and there adds up.
Automation works for any follow-up reminder. There’s no need to leave post-it notes all over your desk when automation tools can remind you of next steps with a prospect, what tasks you need to complete, and even send meeting reminders for you.
4. Scheduling Meetings
It takes an average of 8 emails to schedule a meeting. Scheduling meetings shouldn’t be an endless back and forth trying to find a date and time. Features like SalesLoft’s Meetings make it easy to schedule appointments by offering the prospect a variety of meeting times based on your availability.
Additionally, since your calendar automatically updates your availability, there’s no need to switch between screens. It seems insignificant, but saving time on small tasks increases efficiency and productivity.
5. Taking Meeting Notes
Taking accurate meeting notes is tedious, but it’s vital to tracking key takeaways and accurately recording meetings. Conversation Intelligence automatically transcribes the conversation and documents the key takeaways from the discussion. This allows you to focus on the conversation and not have to worry about taking detailed notes.
Another bonus of Conversation Intelligence is the coaching potential. Managers can track performance and find coaching opportunities by reviewing the meeting afterward. It’s a win-win for both parties.
Automate Tasks to Save Time For What’s Important
Sales automation isn’t looking to take over the entire sales process (sorry tiny robots). Automating certain sales tasks frees up time for you to focus on what you do best: selling!
Voicemails, email follow-up, and scheduling meetings are a few areas that you should automate to save time. Take the time to analyze which tasks in your sales process take the most time away from selling. Every second adds up to contribute to your productivity and effectiveness as a seller.
Sales automation creates more time to focus on the things that are important to your success. If it helps you achieve quota faster then that’s more time for a vacation in Q4. Who complains about spending more time at the beach?
Get the full picture on the best practices of top performing sales reps by checking out our latest research here.