Writing follow-up emails, sifting through lists of leads, and building sales reports in spreadsheets are all tasks that take time.

Regular and necessary tasks that sales reps typically perform every day could easily take over a rep’s entire job, leaving little room to actually connect with leads, build relationships, and make sales. In fact, the average salesperson spends only 36% of his or her time selling directly to leads.

Sales force automation (SFA) solves that problem by automating those repetitive, mundane tasks so that sales reps are set up for successfully turning qualified leads into customers. 

Some businesses fear that SFA may diminish the human touch of sales, becoming robotic and detached in nature. However, done right, it has the ability to boost the connection your sales team creates with your leads. With 64% of surveyed companies seeing an increase in sales after investing in SFA, it’s clear that lead nurturing not only doesn’t suffer with the tool, but actually thrives. 

Here are seven sales tasks that you can start automating today to save time and money:

1. Personalize Pre-Written Emails to Save Time

Drafting Emails → Pre-Written Emails With Merge Fields 

How many hours have you spent hunched over your computer, writing email after email, inundated and exhausted? Many sales reps believe that drafting individual emails is key —  your leads can sniff a pre-written email, which will undoubtedly have negative consequences for your business. Yet maintaining personalization without writing each email is possible with SFA.

In Ontraport, you can use pre-written emails with merge fields. A merge field will autofill information from your contact’s record, such as their name or location. Simply pre-write emails for specific situations or points of times in your buyer’s journey, then include merge fields within these emails. Consider what emails you can expect to send repeatedly to your prospects and customers: thank you emails, welcome emails, FAQ emails, check-in emails. Then write emails with appropriate merge fields for these situations.

Imagine sending a check-in email to your leads, addressing each by name and asking each how the weather is in their hometown? This small detail can ensure personalization while negating the need to write each email, saving you and your team a lot of time.

2. Immediately Score Leads to Focus Your Time on Hot Leads

Prioritizing Leads →  Lead Scoring

Prioritizing leads is yet another sales task that is essential in a successful sales strategy. Without prioritization, you may end up ignoring high-quality leads while emphasizing attention on low-quality leads. Prioritizing leads manually consists of sifting through data, such as call notes, to uncover which leads are the best to pursue — a process that is incredibly important but incredibly inconvenient.

Using automated lead scoring will save you loads of time and uncover your most engaged leads. With lead scoring, you assign point scores for actions taken by a lead. These actions can include making purchases or subscribing to your newsletter, among other behaviors, or demographic information. Ontraport’s lead scoring can also assign points for actions that can’t be tracked manually, such as website clicks or opened emails. Total points are then automatically compiled, calculated, and presented in an organized list. This allows you to focus your time on your more qualified leads, which translates to more human contact and a stronger connection with those who are most likely to buy from you.

3. Boost Your Revenue by Focusing on Your Leads

Taking Notes and Logging Calls →  Task Automation

You should never let a good lead go cold. Sometimes follow-up calls are missed or forgotten, and sometimes a good lead simply goes unnoticed. After connecting with high-quality leads, many sales reps have to input a follow-up call into a spreadsheet or calendar. The first task to tackle each day is checking these calendars or spreadsheets to see who is up for a follow-up call which can be time consuming and inefficient. You can organize follow-up tasks for all your leads through task automation. 

After making a call, your sales team can simply log the call and its outcome. This will trigger alerts for non-automated task follow-ups, such as additional phone calls or discussions to have with coworkers about the lead or sale. Say your sales rep calls one of your hottest leads, but he or she doesn’t pick up so your rep leaves a message. With SFA, the rep can simply mark the outcome as “left a message,” which will automatically set up an alert to make another call in a week. Now your whole team knows that the lead has been contacted and that follow-up will take place at a later date.

Good leads may also come from abandonment — leads may begin filling out an order form, only to abandon it halfway through. Some sales teams simply do not have any tools to address this problem, whereas some rely on an abandoned form email. But if the order form was for a very large sale, wouldn’t you want more than just an email to close the sale? With task automation, you can create rules to trigger alerts when specific actions are taken. If a prospect abandons a high-priced order form, task automation can notify one of your sales reps to make a call and push for that sale. Gone are the days of good leads getting ignored.

4. Convert More Leads by Sending Them to the Right Rep

Matching Leads With Reps →  Lead Routing 

No two sales teams are alike. Some sales teams are composed of sales vets, while some are mixed bags. Sales managers are stuck spending valuable time assessing each lead’s quality and interests in order to assign the lead to the most appropriate rep. With SFA, this can be done in seconds.

Ontraport’s lead routing is available in two methods. The first is round robin: This evenly distributes leads among your sales team. The other method is weighted random, which assigns leads based on percentages you assign to each rep. For example, you might assign 5% of incoming leads to your new, inexperienced sales rep while assigning 25% of incoming leads to your top sales rep. Remove the burden of tedious sorting, and let automation save you time.

5. Segment in Seconds to Get Your Leads What They Want

Building Lists/Segmentation →  Groups 

Every sales team is familiar with sorting leads into groups. You might segment leads into an “already made a purchase” group or sort leads based on which of your products and services they’re interested in. Segmentation ensures that you get your leads what they’re looking for — why market an event in California if your lead lives in Oklahoma?

Building lists manually, however, is usually a tedious task. For some sales teams, sifting through individual contact details to weed out your targeted criteria is as manual as it gets. For some, it’s uploading lists into spreadsheets and working some magic to get information sorted. Regardless of the method, it takes up time that you could be spending on nurturing leads or fulfilling more important tasks.

Ontraport’s group functionality simplifies the process into a single step. With a CRM like Ontraport, all of your contacts’ data is in one place, which you can then segment based on any factor you choose with a few simple clicks. You can also assign certain groups to certain sequences and follow-up funnels to be sure they’re always automatically receiving targeted information from you.

6. Stay in Contact With Your Leads, No Matter Where They Are

Collecting Manual Opt-ins →  SMS

Gathering information from physical events, such as workshops or summits, can be a tedious task for many entrepreneurs. Some rely on online sign-ups for the event, but this proves ineffective when some of those sign-ups fail to show up. Many entrepreneurs rely on paper and pen, collecting contact information by passing around a clipboard. This method is time-consuming, since your sales team then has to input all of that information into your system. Why spend the time and money organizing this out-of-date collection method when you could gather this information with a tool every prospect has in his or her hand or pocket — a cell phone.

With SFA, you can automate SMS marketing, one of the best methods of staying in contact with your leads. During your live event, you can have the audience opt in to receive more information from you or subscribe to your newsletter by sending a text message to a unique number. Their message will automatically transfer their contact information to your database.

Sending SMS messages goes beyond just contact information collection. You can send specific messages for promotions or for appointment reminders. Using SMS is essential for every sales team: Messages sent through SMS have an open rate of 90%, a staggering difference from email’s average of 20%. Two-way SMS communications also gives you the ability to send and receive personalized messages.

7. Keep an Eye on Your Sales Successes With the Metrics Dashboard

Building Reports →  Metrics Dashboard

As an entrepreneur, you need to keep tabs on your team’s performance, even when the team consists only of you. You can track how often a rep is following up, how many leads he or she has converted and more, then compile it into a report. Compiling these reports regularly, though, is tiresome. You should be spending your time focusing on leads, not sifting through employee performance data.  

Instead, use Ontraport’s  Metric Dashboard, which provides you with a real-time snapshot of your team’s performance. This dashboard is easy to use and customizable, creating user-friendly displays of measurable stats. These stats can include the number of contacts who carried out an action, conversion rates, and the average time it takes a prospect to become a customer. This dashboard gives your team an easy glimpse into what’s working in your sales strategy, and what’s not — and it’s all done automatically so you don’t have to spend your time compiling another report.

This is just the beginning of how automating your sales processes can save you time and lead to higher sales closing rates. There are many SFA tools out there for small businesses, making it more accessible than ever. Find the right SFA tool for your business, leverage it, and let the system do the work for you.

Have you used any of these sales automation tools? How have they helped your business? Leave us a comment below!

About Emily Shapiro
Emily is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara with a B.A. in Communications. As an aspiring writer, she has been doing work with Ontraport and other local businesses in Santa Barbara. When she’s not sitting at her desk writing, you can probably find her at the beach with her French Bulldog or taking naps in the sunshine (with sunscreen, of course).