If you’re looking to automate parts of your sales processes, you’ve probably realized there’s no shortage of sales automation tools to choose from. So why not go ahead and automate the whole sales cycle?
Well, as a wise man once said, “With great power comes great responsibility.”
When it comes to sales automation, quantity doesn’t equal quality. If it’s not done right, sales automation can end up worsening, not improving, the customer experience.
The trick is knowing where to draw the line.
Robots are great at many things human salespeople aren’t. Like tedious admin, logging interactions, tracking performance and analyzing data, to name just a few.
Empathy, listening to complex problems, and building the trust required for someone to actually buy from you? Yeah, not so much.
Successful sales automation is about hitting that sweet spot where humans and robots combine and complement each other to the best effect. That means building a tech stack that fits your needs and processes, and that your human salespeople will actually use.
We know all about sales sweet spots as our top-performing humans spend hours listening to our customers and designing solutions to help them.
We asked them to pick their top 20 tools to play on a human-robot sales dream team and share them with you.
Ok, so we’re still working on that last one, but we promise to deliver on all the rest.
Let’s get into it.
Want to scale your 1:1 sales conversations while keeping them 100% personal? Use Mixmax to skyrocket your sales with a personalized touch.
A sales automation tool is software that automates and streamlines repetitive or time-consuming parts of the sales process.
According to Salesforce, the majority of top-performing sales teams automate:
Robots are also great at:
Sales automation tools can be customer-facing (automated email campaigns) or back-office (CRM updates). Either way, prospects should get more time with your human salespeople, not less.
Sales automation tools make your business appear more human.
That’s right: Using robots to do robotic tasks frees humans up to focus on personalizing buyer-seller interactions at scale for better results. Sales automation also makes sales professionals more productive and efficient, which reduces the cost of sales so you can achieve more with less.
Think of it as your sales superpower (but keep your underwear on the inside, ok?)
Done right, sales automation happens in the background without the prospect ever being aware of it. To them, it should feel like you’re a trusted advisor who’s always on hand to help them find the best solution to their specific problem.
The secret lies in automating the things human salespeople don’t enjoy, like admin, but not the things they do well, like listening, asking open-ended sales engagement questions, and building meaningful relationships.
Sales automation tools also help reps stay organized, ensure nothing slips through the cracks, and break down the barriers to getting a response.
As an example, when a prospect fills out a form or answers a survey, SDRs get alerts so they can jump right on that warm lead. Alternatively, why not cut out the middleman and let qualified prospects (with a help of MadKudu's Fastlane) book a call with your AE via a one-click link on your website?
How’s that for reducing friction?
Less time waiting for a response = happier prospects = greater chance of closing the deal.
This is good sales automation. The kind we’re all about.
By contrast, offloading human tasks onto robots just to save time? Not cool. That sinking feeling you get when you call a business and hear “Hi, how can I help you?” in a voice that sounds like someone left the Tin Man out in the rain? That’s how your prospects feel when they receive 8-12 general emails from you that have no value for them whatsoever.
This type of sales automation just creates a barrier between you and your prospects.
This is baaad sales automation.
Here come our top recommendations to (legally) enhance your sales teams’ performance:
Sales engagement platforms come with a host of cool automation features designed to free humans from the shackles of tedious or repetitive manual tasks and give them back more customer-facing selling time:
Every interaction is tracked, logged, synced to your CRM, and analyzed by your robot back office so you get actionable insights to identify at-risk deals, support struggling team members, and train new recruits.
Our pick of the sales engagement solutions is Mixmax (full disclosure, we may be a bit biased). It comes as an easy-to-install Chrome download that sits on top of Gmail so reps can perform all essential sales tasks right in their inbox. It also integrates with popular sales tools like Salesforce, Google Calendar, Slack, Zoom, Dialpad, Vidyard, DocuSign, Pipedrive, and more, and is suitable for everyone from SDRs to AEs, CSM, and sales managers.
Sales enablement tools bridge the gap between sales and marketing by making it easy to organize, classify, and search for sales collateral. Imagine all your reps being able to discover, share and present targeted on-brand multimedia content, anytime, anywhere. Not to mention grouping content around specific personas or topics and getting personalized recommendations and AI-powered insights into what works.
Our favorite sales enablement solutions are:
For a deep dive into sales enablement, and how it differs from sales engagement, see our piece on sales engagement vs. sales enablement.
Prospecting has huge potential for automation without losing the human touch.
Prospecting tools enable more productive outbound sales by sourcing verified company and contact information details from databases and online sources like webpages, LinkedIn Sales Navigator, Gmail, and more. So you know your teams are always working with accurate information.
SDRs can search for qualified leads based on different criteria, identify high-intent buyers and decision-makers, and get data on intent, adoption patterns, and industry trends to identify new sales opportunities.
And there’s more: By analyzing buyer journeys, interactions, preferences, and digital footprints, prospecting tools build detailed profiles for targeted outreach. The best of the bunch even provide next-step recommendations, prioritize prospects based on the chances of closing, or route new leads to the most appropriate salesperson.
Our top picks for prospectors are:
As they say, you never get a second chance to make a first impression, so make it count. Writing assistants ensure your messaging is always on point by rooting out embarrassing grammar or spelling errors and the pesky passive voice so you can write more eye-catching communications.
We love Lavender for this. As well as doing all of the above, it compares your sales emails to millions of others and tells you how to make them more impactful. It works its magic in the background as you type, analyzing tone, sentiment, I-to-you ratio, and subject lines, among other things. It also lets you check how emails look on mobile and gives the next-best-action recommendations to maximize chances of getting a reply. You can even insert GIFs.
What’s not to like?
Email is great but sometimes you need to go old school and hit the phones.
Phone tools save a ton of time by finding and dialing phone numbers for you, anywhere, anytime, on any device. They can also route incoming phone calls to the most appropriate salesperson, or switch to voicemail out of hours (hey, toxic productivity is sooo last year).
The best dialers act as a multitasking secretary-coach combo, recording, logging, transcribing, and analyzing conversations, and delivering summaries right to your inbox, so reps can move straight on to the next prospect on their list. Some even provide real-time coaching and objection-handling or let sales leaders listen in and provide support.
Our go-to dialers are:
Conversation intelligence tools record and analyze calls so you get actionable insights to help struggling sellers, improve the effectiveness of your whole team, and train new recruits.
Our pick of the crop is Gong. It records, transcribes, and analyzes sales conversations and provides insights on how to improve. Factors it looks at include rep talking time, whether they spin off into a monologue, and how individual sellers compare with the rest of the team.
If there’s one thing sales professionals dislike, it’s admin. If there’s another, it’s not knowing whether their CRM data is accurate. See the problem here?
Salesforce notes automation kicks both these issues into touch by syncing to Salesforce as you type, making it easier for reps to stay organized and have better control of pipeline management. Some tools also combine multiple information sources like emails, calendar events, and activity history into a single view, or identify new contacts from meetings.
Our top notes automation solutions are:
Accurate sales forecasting requires accurate data, which takes time to pull together.
Analytics and forecasting tools analyze sales data from multiple sources based on different metrics and track the performance of individual reps, teams, and messages. All this means sales managers get actionable AI-powered insights, a full overview of sales activities and sales pipeline health, and can spend more time fixing issues than trying to identify them.
What better than a well-timed gift to stand out from the crowd and let prospects know you see them as more than just a name on a list? A gift with your logo on it, of course!
Now all you need is an underling to spend time researching what your prospect is into, going to the store to buy it, getting it customized, and waiting in line at the post office.
If minions are in short supply in your workplace, you’ll want to automate these processes instead. In the time it takes to say, “Upcoming renewal,” gift-giving platforms come up with recommendations for the most appropriate physical or digital gifts based on prospect data and interests, and connect you to an online marketplace.
Machine learning and activity tracking provide insights and continuous improvement so you can nail it every time.
Best swag/gifts tools:
Having seen how sales automation tools can help your teams close deals, you’re probably keen to add the above to your shopping list.
Here’s where we blow your mind.
We don’t recommend getting all these tools.
Stick with us.
Rather than an overstuffed tech stack nobody uses, we recommend you go lean and build a minimum viable stack that includes only those tools that fit your sales process and your teams’ roles and needs.
Remember, some tools are multifunctional while others only address one specific issue. As far as possible, go for multipurpose tools to reduce the number of interfaces and tabs you have to interact with.
We recommend you start with a sales engagement platform like Mixmax as this will do most of what you need. Then you can test other tools to see if they further reduce your workload or boost productivity. Whenever you find yourself repeating an action, ask whether it could be automated.
Whenever you find yourself repeating an action, ask yourself whether it could be automated.
Always make sure new tools integrate with the rest of your stack and complement, rather than compete, with each other. And remember, some sales automation tools only do that: automate. Personalizing interactions is up to you, the human.
This brings us to the golden rule: only automate those tasks a robot does better than a human.
Oh, and don’t try to automate bad processes or messaging. This will only allow you to be bad at scale.
Evaluate your stack regularly based on the quality of interactions it enables, not the quantity.
Unleash your human-robot selling machine and watch it go.
Photo Credits: ©Andrey Popov on Adobe Stock
By automating tedious or repetitive manual tasks, sales automation solutions can boost productivity and give sales reps back more customer-facing selling time. But they need to be used wisely to ensure buyers get more personalized interactions, not less.
There’s no one-size-fits-all sales automation solution, and that’s a good thing. Every business is different and the range of sales automation tools on the market gives you the freedom to experiment until you find your perfect combo.
Busy sales teams in fast-growing companies using Gmail and Salesforce will love Mixmax. Others may prefer to start small, testing out single-use tools and building up that way.
Whatever approach you take, remember that the goal of sales automation tools is to make your human sales reps more human by freeing them up to do what they do best: talking to people.
And selling. That bit’s important.
Want to scale your 1:1 sales conversations while keeping them 100% personal? Use Mixmax to skyrocket your sales with a personalized touch.
Sales tasks can be automated with sales automation software. Sales automation platforms use robots and artificial intelligence to do repetitive or tedious manual tasks like data entry, enrichment, and analysis; admin; activity tracking and logging; and generating documents, among other things.
The best sales automation tool on the market is one that fits your sales processes and your sales reps’ roles and needs. It should automate only the things robots do better than humans, and free reps up to focus on personalizing communications at scale.
B2B sales can be automated using a sales engagement platform like Mixmax. This includes features that allow sellers to nurture prospects over a long sales cycle. For instance, customizable workflows, email sequences, messaging templates, and voicemails, as well as calendar scheduling links, and polls and surveys, etc.
Sales managers increasingly rely on sales automation tools to track performance, monitor KPIs, generate reports, and forecast. However, the sales manager role still requires a human to perform high-value tasks, so it’s unlikely to ever be fully automated. By contrast, low-level repetitive jobs like data entry, taking notes and summarizing meetings, and drafting proposals and reports are good candidates for full automation.