According to a study by Harvard Business Review, companies who respond to leads with a personalized response within 5 minutes are 10 times more likely to engage with their leads than those who wait longer. Workato’s Report on Inbound Leads reveals, however, that only 1% of companies tested are responding to their leads within that time frame. Longer sales cycles means longer lead times and fewer engaged leads. Accelerating sales processes can help you close faster and close more deals.

Many companies are turning to the help of AI and automation to expedite their sales process. McKinsey posits that AI can generate $1.4 trillion to $2.6 trillion of value in marketing and sales globally—in this day and age, companies need to tap into the power of AI in order to access their full potential. 

Here are 5 ways to speed up your sales process and improve your customer experience using automation:

Automate repetitive tasks 

Automating tedious, manual tasks can save your sales teams valuable time. On average, sales teams spend 21% of their day writing emails and 17% prospecting and researching leads. A significant portion of an SDR’s time is dedicated to repetitive tasks like reporting, data entry, meeting schedules, and sending emails instead of interacting with their leads—these are all things that could be automated. Gartner lists hyperautomation, “the idea that anything that can be automated in an organization should be automated,” as one of the top IT trends for 2021. 

Not only does automation help handle an SDR’s manual workload, it also provides a more seamless experience for your customers. Instead of waiting for your sales team to respond or update information, customers’ needs can be handled efficiently. With more time in their day, your sales team can focus on high-level tasks that require a personal touch, like addressing customer pain points and sales forecasting. 

Make the handoff between marketing and sales seamless

Too often companies have independently structured their sales and marketing teams. As a result, data is often duplicated or siloed in various applications, making it difficult to foster full visibility throughout the sales process. In order to achieve a faster sales process and engage more customers, a seamless relationship between your sales and marketing functions is imperative. Driving alignment between these orgs can help you achieve your business goals. 

Introducing automation and integration between lead routing can greatly reduce time spent. Instead of waiting for the marketing team to identify the right sales representative, you can use automation to directly route the lead to the appropriate sales rep. In addition, you can leverage an intelligent automation platform in order to optimize your applications: Avoid siloing data in various applications by utilizing an intelligent automation platform that allows your apps to “talk” to each other and share data. This will enable your marketing and sales team to use actionable insights to play out the customer journey and make it a seamless and efficient process. 

Implement lead prioritization automation

One of the most significant ways to accelerate your sales process is to implement lead prioritization automation. Sales representatives spend a lot of their time sourcing and qualifying leads, but all leads are not of the same value. Lead scoring and grading is the process of prioritizing your inbound leads for your sales team. 

Automated lead scoring systems can rank the quality and value of leads based on criteria such as company size, industry, and type of inquiries. These tools can determine which leads require your sales team’s immediate attention by assessing their level of engagement and how likely they are to purchase your product. Effectively prioritizing leads allows your sales team to respond with your prospects within the critical time of engagement.

Utilize bots 

Drift reports that there has been a 92% increase in the use of chatbots since 2019, and the proliferation of these bots doesn’t show any sign of slowing down.  Companies can employ bots in their sales process to gather data throughout the entire customer journey and collect valuable insights. These bots can help identify customer pain points through live chat features, allowing the sales team to evaluate this data and tailor their approach to best fit the customer’s needs.

Bots can be introduced at various touchpoints in the sales cycle like routing inbound chats to the right representative and department, setting up notifications for high priority leads, scheduling demos and calls with human representatives, and more. With this type of model, your sales team can determine important sales triggers that could cause customer churn, cross-sell, and upsell. Not only can these insights help increase revenue, they can also provide sales reps with complete information as soon as the leads come in, allowing SDRs to make fast, targeted followups.

Furthermore, bots can help with the overload of work in the sales process. Bots can engage with customers at a faster pace at all hours of the day. Additionally, bots can interact with multiple queries simultaneously. By allowing bots to handle tedious tasks like ticketing, lead routing, and lead scoring, your sales team can engage in higher levels of the sales funnel. 

Invest in conversational intelligence platforms 

Conversational intelligence platforms that utilize AI capabilities can greatly improve your sales cycle. These platforms can record your sales team’s interactions with customers and prospects across all of your communication channels, giving your team the ability to review comms and pinpoint their strengths and weaknesses while interacting with customers and prospects. 

Some conversational intelligence platforms offer analytics that can timestamp keywords, making it possible to search through a library of phrases. Furthermore, team leads and managers can assess how their sales reps can streamline their process and provide their customers with the most intuitive experience possible. 

Want to gain a better understanding of how accelerate your sales process? Join the Systematic community and join the discussion with 1000+ BT professionals. 

Mary Hodges
About Mary Hodges

Mary previously worked in IT recruiting and is thrilled to bring her community building skills to the business systems community.