By Ben Spector, Zomentum
Historically, the B2B tech sales process was known for "wining and dining" handshake agreements. Today, it's more like grabbing a GrubHub over Zoom. Relationship-building remains vital to sealing the deal, but now, it's tech-enabled.
As a former MSP, I'm all for using tech to make things easier and faster. Automatically booking web meetings with Calendly? Responding to sales inquiries with chatbots. Sign me up!
If it were up to me, I'd automate the entire sales motion. Why not? While automation can't eliminate all person-to-person sales interactions, it can make them more productive. Automation makes processes systematic and repeatable, so they happen faster and at scale.
Ironically, it seems technology itself may be the answer to slow tech sales.
If you’ve ever spent too long writing an excel formula in an *attempt* to make your life easier, you know what I mean!
Here are five reasons to consider automating your sales process.
- Improved Consistency
You know that consistency is a virtue, but what does that mean when it comes to sales? It means consistent sales follow-up and follow-through. It means adhering to consistent time frames, communications styles, paperwork, and processes. Consistency requires discipline that's made significantly easier through automation. Being an MSP, especially on a busy day, can leave you feeling caught up in a whirlwind of reactivity, so it can be difficult to take the time to think about making sales processes more deliberate and proactive.
One easy but effective example is setting up automated alerts to follow up with a prospect who's inactive for a few days. While it may seem like a small thing, that one scheduled check-in could be the difference between winning and losing the deal. If you want to take sales to the next level, use a sales automation application to log follow-up conversations, so your pitch remains consistent with your target's needs.
- Effective Pipeline Management
By collecting and tracking critical data points, a sales automation application can help with effective sales pipeline management. It can enable you and your salespeople to follow deals from lead to opportunity to close and, more importantly, gauge whether there are enough deals in your pipeline to meet revenue goals.
Compared to a spreadsheet, automated sales tracking allows you to evaluate and optimize your sales process more easily. For example, if sales always stall at one stage of the process, you know that's where you need to focus or refine your efforts. With incremental tweaks over time, you will not only meet but exceed your sales objectives.
A sales app gives you that bird's eye view that you might not see otherwise. It also can generate the data needed to define your ideal customer characteristics so you know which leads are most likely to convert so you can prioritize your outreach.
- Streamlined Productivity
By streamlining your sales process through automation, you can focus your time and effort where it's needed most – whether that's on increasing sales activities or improving customer support.
If you're searching your email for your prospect contact info and cobbling together proposals manually from word documents or excel sheets, then you already know what a huge time suck sales can be.
Simply putting all data and templates in one place will help, but imagine that they can be populated, customized, and sent to the client with only a few clicks. The right sales automation application can do that for you and more. Not only can you save time, but you also can get more proposals out the door and increase your odds of winning sales.
Once your clients are on board, the right sales automation platform can help you expand the services they buy from you. Account data paired with automated assessments can quickly identify upsell and cross-sell opportunities without conducting in-depth, manual reviews.
- Improved Administrative Support
Automating your sales process with the right sales application is like having a virtual assistant. Prospective clients are contacted promptly with the right information, and follow-ups happen promptly. Consistent contact creates a smooth sales process that improves service levels and makes a good impression on would-be customers.
Plus, sales automation can help you quickly create consistent and professional-looking quotes and proposals. Instead of referencing multiple vendor pricing sheets and cobbling together bespoke pricing, sales automation enables all that information to be added to proposals by simply checking a box. Not to mention, when you move proposals to the cloud, you create a collaborative experience! Clients can facilitatingAnd of course, when ,eeth as well as unnecessary
- Proactive Client Services
Sales automation can not only improve the initial sales process, but it also can improve service to existing clients. It’s important to set up – and follow through – with a regular cadence of technology business reviews with clients. Look for a platform that can help manage accounts by facilitating those reviews and performing routine risk analysis to identify technology gaps and areas of improvement before they become a problem for your clients. Proactive planning (and sometimes intervention) with QBRs can help you gain wallet share. When clients can trust you to look out for their business, cross-sells and upsells happen easily.
Automation systems also may allow you to set up and send proactive alerts for domain expirations, certificate renewals, mismatched configurations, etc. Staying one step ahead of your clients' technology needs can help you build trust and earn contract renewals.
As tech pros, we're constantly advocating the virtues of technology enablement on business processes. Now, it's time we take our own advice and tech enable our sales processes. With the right platform, sales automation is much more than a crutch helping us techies limp through sales interactions; it's a way to create smoother sales processes that help us better manage our sales activities, build solid client relationships and grow revenue.
About The Author
Ben Spector is an ex-MSP owner turned Product Manager for Zomentum, creators of the first Revenue Platform for technology partners. He leverages his previous experience running a managed service provider (MSP) for nine years, which he grew to support more than 100 clients. Following a sale of the business in Oct 2020, Spector was introduced to Zomentum while consulting with a London-based MSP. After the first demo, he was so impressed that he joined Zomentum to become an advocate for the MSP community in perfecting a platform to solve revenue problems for technology partners.