Here’s a question: How should sales teams spend their time? If your answer was anything other than “selling,” you’re in the wrong business. But as it turns out, that’s not how most teams operate. A recent study showed that reps spend less than a third of their time actually selling -- compared to a full 50% spent between administrative CRM tasks and searching for content.

There are two primary ways to ensure that sales teams actually have time to sell: 

  1. Make sure the right teams own the right tasks. Did you know that in 52% of companies, Marketing is held accountable for sales productivity?
  2. Decrease the time spent on “non-sales” tasks, or better yet, automate them.

Your company's organizational structure might not be up to you, so you might not be able to fix #1. But you can certainly take take steps today to act on #2 -- a first step to introducing automation into other parts of your sales process, like an automated email prospecting system (just make sure your emails are still relevant and personalized!). Below are six types of sales automation that can speed up your process and reduce time spent on tedious busywork.

1) Automate your reporting

At HubSpot, our sales teams get a daily morning digest with all the data they need to know for the day -- from high-level team results to deal status and rep productivity. The dashboard distribution sets up friendly competition and ensures that reps are holding themselves and each other accountable. In addition, it saves valuable time -- no more pulling data manually, screenshotting charts, and attaching those reports to individual emails.

How to get started:

If you're keeping data in Excel or Google Sheets, automating your reporting won't be easy. You might be able to set something up, but chances are it'll get complex quickly. If you're using a CRM, consult the system's help documentation to determine how best to set up an automated email schedule for your reports. If you use HubSpot CRM, build out your first sales dashboard now.  

2) Automate your lead distribution

Lead comes in. Lead sits in database until sales manager has time to check on it. Sales manager looks at lead and, without any defined method, assigns it to rep of his choice.

Does that situation sound familiar? Sales managers often spend too many hours manually rotating leads. That time should be spent coaching reps and helping close deals.

How to get started:

First, create a standard set of criteria for lead rotation -- something more than just a "gut" test. Is your team divided into territories? If so, document the specific boundaries of each region. 

Once you're satisfied with your criteria, use the lead rotator or round robin tool within your CRM to divvy up leads according to your plan. If you use HubSpot CRM, it's your lucky day -- you now have access to a brand-new lead rotator.  

3) Automate lead prioritization

Much of a rep’s time is spent sourcing leads. But once you have a list of target accounts, how do you know which ones to call first? Not all leads are created equal: Certain behavioral and demographic characteristics make some much more likely to close than others. It's crucial that you automate your prioritization process to make sure the best leads get the first follow-ups -- without spending hours poring through the data yourself.

How to get started: Utilize an automated lead scoring system. Assign scores to your leads based on your own criteria, or utilize a system that predicts likelihood to close for you. Once you have your scores, create views of leads with the highest scores / propensities to close, and call those leads first. If you keep your marketing database separate from your CRM, set up an integration between the two to ensure that the best leads pass seamlessly between the two systems.

4) Automate record creation

Here’s how sales reps often divide their days: For every two hours spent selling, they spend an hour on CRM administration -- creating contacts and companies, logging tasks to follow up on, creating opportunities, and associating them with records. Newsflash: If you can cut down on that hour of admin work, you'll sell more.

How to get started:

Explore the workflow automation section of your CRM. If you use HubSpot CRM, check out our brand-new sales automation features.

If you're not sure which processes to automate, here are a few to get you up and running:

  • Create a task whenever a lead visits the pricing page.
  • Create a deal when a contact fills out a demo form on your site.
  • Create a task to follow up when a contact's trial is expiring.

5) Automate your sales collateral repository

Reps spend a third of their time finding or creating content to send to prospects. Why is that the case? The average sales organization stores content across five or six different content repositories. Yet only a third of sales teams prioritize improving content access and utilization. Sales teams need actionable content that's centralized and trackable. Having content in an easily accessible place saves time for reps before and after every prospect interaction.

How to get started:

If you don't yet have a central place to store content, start with an internal wiki page or a shared Google Drive folder. Share the folder with your marketing team, and ensure there's a place to add ideas to the content creation pipeline. As your library grows, find a more robust document tracking solution with more advanced analytics to insure you have full transparency into how your prospects are interacting with your content.

6) Automate your meeting-booking process

While sales reps love meetings, the process of getting one on their calendar is incredibly frustrating -- the back-and forth, the dreaded reply-all. Booking meetings, quite simply, wastes time.

How to get started: 

Use tools like ScheduleOnce, Time Trade, or HubSpot Meetings to create custom booking links for each of your reps. Many tools come with a free trial, so it's easy to get started. Add the custom scheduling links into your email templates and signatures, and make sure your marketing team integrates them into their lead nurturing campaigns.

HubSpot CRM

Originally published May 5, 2016 6:30:00 AM, updated August 31 2017


Data Entry Automation