Sr. Content Marketing Manager
If you’re on the hunt for sales automation tools, you’re not alone. With the goal of doing more with less, it seems like everyone is trying to automate manual tasks and spend more time on income-generating activities.
Whether you’re working with a bootstrapped budget or trying to improve your team’s efficiency, workflow automation offers one solution. While marketing automation has been a tried-and-true tool for a while now, sales automation software seems to be what’s top of mind these days.
What exactly is sales automation software? Broadly speaking, it encompasses any tool that helps automate sales processes for a sales team with the goal of delivering increased efficiency and minimizing manual tasks. Sales automation features are often built into other technology like CRM or email marketing tools, but standalone sales automation tools are typically designed to help streamline a large portion of sales team tasks.
Since the sales department is directly responsible for generating income, if you can free up their time and increase their efficiency, it should reflect positively on sales revenue.
But, just like choosing a CRM system, finding a sales automation platform can be challenging. There are a ton of sales automation tools on the market, and identifying the best solution for your needs can be tough. That’s why we’re taking some time to walk you through choosing sales automation software that’s the best fit for your needs.
We’ll share what to look for when shopping for a sales automation platform — so you can be confident that you’ve landed on the best option for your company.
7 steps for choosing the right sales automation software for your company
Here are seven steps to ensure you end up with the best sales engagement platform for your team:
1. Choose a department representative and (future) product advocate
Before you start sifting through sales automation tools, take the time to select a product advocate and department representative. We recommend choosing someone from the sales team to beta-test the platforms and advocate for the group. Once you decide on a platform, that same person will serve as the product advocate, learning how to use it and getting the whole team to buy in.
Establishing these advocates from the beginning is an excellent way to ensure you end up with a platform that works for everyone.
2. Assess your sales team’s automation needs
Take time to clearly understand what parts of the sales workflow you want to automate. Work with your sales managers and advocate(s) to determine what is and isn’t working with your existing sales workflow.
This process will help you pinpoint your most essential needs and make it easier to weed through features to find what you really need.
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3. Determine what features you’re looking for in sales automation software
In general, sales automation tools should track, measure, optimize, and ultimately drive revenue for your sales team. Since you already took the time to understand your team’s most important needs in step two, this step involves formalizing your key, must-have features.
Sales automation tools have a wide range of capabilities and features, including (but not limited to):
- Call dialers
- AI assistants
- Appointment and meeting scheduling
- Prospecting tools
- Multi-channel outreach sequences
- Automation triggers
- Collaboration features
- Data enrichment
- Automated proposal completion
- Lead scoring
- And more
Figure out which features are most important to your team before starting your search.
4. Make a shortlist of the top choices
Once you have a list of must-have features, take time to research your options. Aside from included features, also read through customer reviews and make sure you understand the pricing structure so you have a holistic view of the platforms. Are there additional fees once you hit certain limits (number of users, contacts, pipeline)?
Now, make a shortlist of the sales automation tools that best fit the bill. Based on your features and budget, you might still have a long list of contenders to choose from — or maybe you’ve already narrowed it down to a couple.
5. Figure out which platforms will work with your existing workflow (and how)
One of the most important things to consider is how the sales automation software will work with your existing workflow. For example, if your team does most of their prospect communication in Gmail, a sales automation platform with a well-developed Gmail integration is a must.
This also means narrowing any contenders down to only those that integrate with your existing tech. For example, it’s important for your sales automation software to integrate seamlessly with your CRM platform. The ultimate goal is to choose sales automation that disrupts your current workflow as little as possible.
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6. Do a test run
Finally, once you’ve narrowed your list of sales automation tools to consider, it’s time for your advocate(s) to run a test of the products. Almost every SaaS company out there offers a free trial of their product so that you can determine whether it’s a fit before you buy.
At this point, you should only have platforms that fit your needs, budget, goals and existing workflow. This will allow your advocate to focus primarily on usability and the learning curve. After testing, one of the platforms will inevitably come out on top. But you aren’t quite ready to purchase and onboard – yet.
7. Plan the launch timeline
After you’ve selected your platform, plan a launch timeline and strategy. Keep in mind that there will likely need to be some education offered to your team as well as technical integration processes to get the tool added to your tech stack. Some people may also feel resistant to the change. The more intentional and detailed your plan is, the more likely it is for the transition to a new tool to succeed. With the guidance of your product advocate, your sales team will realize the benefits of the sales automation software in no time.
Getting started with sales automation
The best sales engagement platform for your company will depend on many factors. By following the steps above, you’re likely to find one that allows you to take full advantage of sales automation.