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There are many aspects of the sales process (i.e. the process of generating and nurturing leads, and closing sales) that need to be bespoke and personal – especially as you edge towards closing a sale – but you’re wasting valuable time if you’re not automating processes that target prospects further down the funnel.

Here are 6 ways you can automate your outbound sales, and at the same time, improve the efficiency and performance of your sales team.

1. Prospecting

Prospecting involves identifying potential leads and collecting information on them. It’s historically been a long and labor-intensive process (or it was, if you wanted to target prospects who were in any way qualified).

Today, that’s all changed. The market is overflowing with solutions built to help companies streamline and scale the process of finding and qualifying prospects, or automating it entirely.

  • CrunchBase is a database of new and growing companies and their people. It offers an advanced search function that allows users to filter results according to a wide range of criteria.
  • LeadMine feels a little less sophisticated, but it does boast 200 million contacts, and promises only to return email addresses that can be verified as being correct.
  • Accompany uses AI technology to help you find and connect with qualified prospects.

You can learn about more of the best prospecting tools available right now, here.

2. Sending Cold Emails and Follow-Ups

While in some instances it makes sense to put the extra effort into writing a really personalized outreach email or follow-up, more often than not, your time would be better spent elsewhere. If you’re not using templates in your cold outreach campaigns – along with a tool like Mailshake that makes it easy to execute campaigns at scale and track their impact – you probably should be (and we’re not just saying that because Mailshake is our tool).

Ideally, you should be scoring leads and using this data to decide how much time to invest in personalizing an email. You can get away with sending prospects with very low scores emails that are 100% templated, but prospects with very high scores (indicating that they’re both well-qualified and about ready to buy) should be granted significantly more of your reps’ time and attention.

3. Lead Management

Lead management is the process of acquiring, tracking and managing leads. It’s usually carried out using a CRM that monitors things like how far along in the sales process your leads are, who they’ve spoken to, and what’s been said.

This is important because it assists in lead prioritization and helps reps approach prospects in the right way, and with the right information. It also helps assess staff performance, what’s working, and where changes need to be made.

Lagging behind and sticking with spreadsheets instead of upgrading to a CRM will, in short, have an impact on your bottom line – and not a positive one (not to mention the fact that you’ll be making life far more difficult for your staff than it needs to be).

4. Product Demonstrations

While there will be cases where demonstrating a product needs to happen over the phone or in person, earlier in the sales process, you can do this using video.

  • WeVideo makes it really easy for novice filmmakers to capture, edit and share video.
  • CamStudio is a free desktop recorder that’s ideal for making simple product demonstrations.
  • BombBomb makes email and video more impactful by sending your videos as your emails.

Try creating both very short (i.e. 30 seconds or less) videos for inclusion in cold outreach emails, and longer videos (2 – 3 minutes) for sending to prospects who are engaging with you and have expressed an interest in learning more.

5. Answering FAQs

Salespeople shouldn’t be wasting time typing out a bespoke reply each time a prospect asks an FAQ; they should be making use of a text expansion tool instead. This will allow reps to answer common questions, or insert sentences they find themselves saying often, using just a few keystrokes (and it will ensure they avoid typos, too).

There’s a text expansion tool built into Mac computers (go to system preferences > keyboard > text), although it does have limitations. Windows users don’t have a choice – you’ll need to shop elsewhere. Options include TextExpander and the free Auto Text Expander plugin for Chrome.

6. Scheduling Meetings

Odds are, your best sales reps schedule a lot of meetings – but are they scheduling them as quickly and efficiently as they could be?

Meeting schedulers (like Calendly and Assistant.to) remove the need for back-and-forth when scheduling meetings. You simply select when you’re available, and ask your prospects to do the same. The tool will then automatically schedule the meeting at an appropriate time, and even add it to your respective calendars.

This is the sort of thing that might not seem like a big deal, but in actual fact, those few minutes spent scheduling meetings really add up, and could be time better spent elsewhere.

What other things do you do to automate your outbound sales? Let us know by leaving a comment below: