Sales force automation (SFA)—or software applications for sales management—is a growing market in the United States. This year, the global sales force automation market is valued at $3.8 billion. By 2023 the market could be worth close to $8 billion. That’s an astonishing level of growth.
What does this tell us?
That more and more businesses are getting on board with sales force automation.
But as businesses move towards automation, they risk losing other qualities. Personalization is one area for potential concern, though there are strategies you can employ to ensure you don’t fall into the typical traps.
Learning about how to personalize sales force automation can grant you significant rewards moving forward, so read on to discover more.
As we mentioned earlier, sales force automation is the practice of using software to handle sales management procedures. The idea is that automated software can help a business streamline its sales process.
Businesses use these automated solutions to handle time-consuming, repetitive tasks that would otherwise be managed by the sales team. This frees them up for other activities. It allows them to spend their time on revenue-generating tasks rather than administrative work.
Considering that most sales reps don’t even spend half their time selling, this is clearly worthy of attention.
It’s notable that sales force automation is useful for both big and small businesses. This is despite the persistent association it has with larger conglomerates. In fact, it’s arguable that small businesses have more to gain from it since they have fewer resources to throw at tasks that don’t generate revenue.
It’s worth remembering that sales force automation software comes in a variety of forms. It can help you trim down your sales team’s workload in numerous ways.
Modern support automation software has helped businesses learn to solve customer concerns automatically. That’s right, no human intervention is necessary. These operations use robotic process automation (RPA) to make their lives easier. Unsurprisingly, this has been a real game-changer in some spaces.
But what is robotic process automation? It’s a software solution that uses “bots” to enact business processes using a predefined set of rules. These bots learn through observation of human behavior, and they’re capable of using pretty much any system or software.
One example you might have come across is the use of customer support chatbots. These nifty advisors can deliver information or carry out tasks relating to a query. In the past, a real person would’ve needed to handle this task.
This is helpful not only because it reduces a team’s workload, but because it gives the customer an immediate solution. They no longer need to wait around for a person to show up to answer a customer’s questions in real time. This could result in a customer pressing ahead with a purchase when they might have hesitated in different circumstances.
This is just one type of sales force automation software, of course. There’s a wide array of software options that you might implement throughout your sales funnel, up to the point of sale and beyond. Using a variety of automated software and sales funnel tools will certainly obtain optimal results - if you can make the experience feel sufficiently personal.
There are considerable advantages for those who use sales force automation. Frustratingly, some businesses struggle with ensuring the sales process feels personal.
This is a big deal.
Around 71% of shoppers are frustrated when a shopping experience feels impersonal. Conversely, 90% of consumers in the US find marketing personalization appealing on some level. It’s becoming clear that you really have to personalize your sales experience.
Yet, for many businesses, sales force automation is totally new - and not fully understood. Accordingly, it’s hardly surprising that when automation is integrated into the sales process, issues with personalization arise.
So, how is it possible to utilize these powerful software solutions without sacrificing personalization?
If you’re going to achieve your ideal outcomes, personalizing your automated sales processes is essential. Use these five strategies to add a personal touch to your automated solutions.
Data is king, and the kingdom it presides over is a clear picture of your target audience. Businesses can access tons of information about both their customers and the wider market. It needs to be utilized. It’s possible you’ll know a customer’s age, gender, location, income, and occupation - amongst other things.
With data like this, it’s possible to get a fairly thorough rundown on the type of interactions your audience will prefer, along with the solutions they need. Using information submitted by your customers alongside market research resources, you can build customer profiles that make personalization much more straightforward.
This isn’t only about the words you use, but the method of delivery as well. You have a goldmine of information, it would be madness to neglect it.
Customers don’t like dealing with complications. They don’t want to have their lives made more difficult by your sales funnel. All they want is to get the service or product they need in a straightforward manner. Ease of use matters.
It might sound simple, but it’s a challenge to make the customer journey feel personal.
To start, examine where your leads are coming from, the interactions that you have in place at each juncture - and how these might vary from one behavior to the next. In conjunction with the data you’ve assembled, you can more easily implement personalization.
For example, imagine during a potential customer’s journey they decide to fill out a form for more information on your product, but they’re on their mobile phone, and the process is too difficult. The customer might decide to switch to their laptop but decide the effort of re-starting is too great and abandon the form, and the customer journey, altogether.
In this example, the multi-channel user experience has failed the customer—and cost you a sale.
This channel transition pain point is something you might find on a customer journey assessment and something you can easily improve upon. Have the customer enter their email on their phone and then have an email form automatically sent to them (personalized, of course) to enter additional details.
Or, improve the mobile user experience of your website so the customer can fill out the form on their preferred channel and progress to the next stage of the customer journey. It’s your call, and either option in this scenario will bolster your business, but automation has its benefits.
You might be surprised by how easy it is to automate various aspects of the customer experience in this way. The best RPA software is capable of handling increasingly complex workloads and doesn’t make mistakes. Actually, it tends to increase overall customer satisfaction.
There are no big surprises here - content drives customer engagement.
Whether you leverage blog posts, surveys, quizzes, guides, tutorials or other types of content, there are countless methods for you to utilize. Each of them can be effective at retaining customer interest in your business.
Again, data is important here. Look to the numbers to uncover the interests of your target audience, and then apply that information to come up with relevant content. Doing so will elevate the customer experience.
Did you know you can use sales force automation software to deliver these assets to your customers?
Automation still allows you to address customers by name and provide content that is relevant to their interests, which means you’re probably going to capture their attention. Sustained content creation helps keep them engaged with your brand vs. shopping the competition.
Ideally, you need to keep up with the shifts in your target audience’s interests. Why? If you keep offering them content on subjects they’re no longer engaged with, this is going to have the opposite of the intended effect.
Most businesses use customer relationship management (CRM) systems to help manage their interactions with customers. Of those businesses, many operators still manually enter customer data - but this is far from the optimal approach.
Not only is this a misuse of valuable time - but it’s also likely to lead to mistakes. Human error can result in misspelled names and erroneous contact information. A mistake of this type will seriously undermine the personalization you’re trying to achieve.
Getting somebody’s name wrong probably isn’t going to make your business popular with them. Even the slightest error could result in you losing their interest. That’s money down the drain.
Robotic process automation software can automatically collect this data for you, eliminating the likelihood of such problems. If you’re worried about the implementation of this software, an RPA tutorial will give you all the pointers you need and it doesn’t have to be complicated.
Automated software is incredibly effective at creating sales opportunities. It’s even useful for customer management. Even so, it’s important to remember that such software cannot be a total replacement for a real person. There’s still value in genuine human interactions.
A unified approach will pay dividends.
Your team will have even more time to build lasting connections through personal phone calls, video meetings, and in-person appointments using SFA solutions like customer mapping, performance analysis, and inventory management software.
Done right, this approach can allow you to serve more customers more effectively. The most accomplished businesses know the optimal times to use automated software and when it’s best to loop in a real human.
Using SFA solutions is an effective way to grow your business - and it’s possible to keep the customer experience personalized.
Businesses that are successful with sales force automation strategize carefully. They assess customer demographics, evaluate their pipelines, and deliver value through content.
If you try this approach with your business, you’ll reap valuable rewards.
Tammy Wood - Director of Global Technical SEO
Tammy Wood the Director of Technical SEO at Automation Anywhere, a leading business process automation platform. She has 20+ years in the SEO industry, often attending industry conferences world-wide. In her opinion the best part of SEO is always the constant learning.