The history of mankind has shown us that we are constantly on the lookout for ways to make our life easier. This started long ago when man needed to stay warm to endure cold nights and colder winters; thus, man learned how to create fire and create clothing to stay warm.
The same concept is alive today as we’re constantly looking for ways to make our life easier.
For example, trying to get places faster (Uber), avoiding things we dislike to eat (Checking Yelp), connecting more often with the people we like (Social Media), getting the best value for our money (Amazon, Walmart), and the list goes on.
Regarding business, we’re also trying to make our businesses run smoother and more efficiently. Yet, many things come down to finding ways to save time and money because time = money.
I’m always looking for ways to save time and work more efficiently. So here are a few ways to save time on your daily marketing and sales business tasks.
How to Save Time on Your Sales and Marketing Tasks
First, being more efficient relies on having the right tools, managing your time wisely, and following an organized process. When it comes to sales and marketing, there are plenty of online tools to help you save time.
This may include complete CRM and automation software like:
- Salesforce — Renowned for being the best CRM
- HubSpot — Best free CRM solution
- Pipedrive — Affordable tool for sales management
And web-based sync tools like Zapier for 1-to-1 data transfers between two apps.
If you’re like millions of people who use Gmail as their main e-mail client, you’re in luck! By using web-based software to check your e-mail, you’re pre-qualified to easily share your Gmail contacts with hundreds of other web-based apps.
1. Saving Your Gmail Contacts Into Your CRM
Long gone are the days when you had to export your contacts into an Excel CSV file, to then have to import that list into your sales software, such as a CRM. Today, you can automatically sync your Gmail contacts directly into a web-based CRM.
Depending on your software of choice, the sync can happen both ways (Gmail to CRM and CRM to Gmail) and can happen as quickly as every 5 minutes to maybe once a day.
I interact with all my contacts through Gmail, which conveniently syncs with my Android phone. Thus, as soon as I save a new contact on my phone, it’ll be on my Gmail list of contacts, and then once I have my sync setup, those contacts are automatically copied into my CRM.
This means that I can write notes about that contact, create follow-up tasks, and much more. Below is a screenshot of how AgileCRM syncs my Gmail contacts through a 2-way sync:
2. Connecting With Your E-mail Contacts On LinkedIn
Ever wonder who that person you’ve been emailing back and forth really is? Have you created a picture in your head of what they might look like in real life but don’t have the time to look them up online?
Recently, I was introduced to a great Google chrome extension that searches on LinkedIn for the profile of the contact I’m e-mailing with based on their e-mail address and conveniently shows me their profile’s basic information such as photo, title, and company they work for.
It also lets me send them an invitation to connect on LinkedIn, which saves me lots of time in figuring out who this contact is, what their title might be, etc.
Of course, if I want to dig deeper, I can press the link to view the contact’s full profile, which opens up his/her LinkedIn profile on a new tab on my browser. This extension is called Rapportive. Here’s how it looks inside Gmail:
3. Saving New Online Store Customers to Your CRM
For most small businesses, their online store is an isolated web system that works independently, and it’s not connected to their contacts’ database, CRM, E-mail software, or accounting system.
This means that every time they want to save their online customer information into another system, they usually need to export their customer list into an Excel CSV and then manually import it back into another system.
Frustrating right? Having to waste so much time doing this manually is tedious and time-consuming. Yet, thanks to Zapier, you no longer have to worry about that!
Zapier is a web-based tool that lets you sync data from over 500 web-based apps with each other, it’s the Holy Grail of data synchronization between different systems.
Zapier facilitates the transfer of data/information from 25+ E-commerce platforms into many of the 700+ other apps with which it connects.
Then, every time you have a new online store order, that new customer isn’t only saved on your store’s database but can also be stored in the other system you use.
4. Saving New Clients Into Your Accounting System
The next place where you can send your online store’s customers’ information is into your accounting system. If you’re an early adopter of web-based tools, you might use the market’s top tools, such as:
- Quickbooks — Leading accounting tool for small businesses
- Freshbooks — Popular all-in-one small business accounting software
- Xero — Best free accounting tool
To manage your company’s accounting.
If that’s the case, you can also use Zapier to create a sync to transfer your store’s customers’ information directly into your accounting software to quickly create new invoices and avoid having to re-type your client’s information on a new Invoice.
In the following screenshot, you can see how our company sync data from our AgileCRM account into our Quickbooks online account, just another example of how a “Zap” can help you save time:
Now let’s switch topics and talk about how you can save time on sales-related tasks.
How to Save Time With Sales Tasks
One of the greatest advantages of using a CRM system is the ability to keep track of all your tasks as part of your sales process. If you work in sales, you know that you do many repetitive tasks every day, so imagine the potential of saving a few minutes or seconds off each task.
5. Creating Follow-Up Tasks and Reminders
Sounds great, right? Automating the creation of follow-up tasks through a CRM is a great way for you to save time on each task you have to create for each potential client you’re in touch with.
Some CRM systems let you create triggers and workflows that help you automate the creation of these tasks, so you don’t have to worry about reminding yourself to contact that person in the near future. The CRM will remind you.
At our company, we automate this process in the following way:
- Someone fills out our online contact form on our website.
- Their information and notes are automatically saved into our CRM.
- We’ve created a sync process that adds a “Follow-up” task for that new contact and automatically assigns it to one of our sales team members, with a due date 7 days from the day the contact fills out the form online.
Here’s how the follow-up task shows up on our AgileCRM system:
6. Sending Follow-Up E-mails to Your Leads
Are you tired of having to write the same or similar e-mails to your sales prospects every day? If you’re like me, you’re frustrated just thinking about the time it takes to write e-mails to so many people and wonder if there’s a better way.
There is a better way, and you can, in fact, save lots of time performing these repetitive daily tasks. A simple solution would be to pre-write several e-mails and save them on a Word document.
You could then have the word document open all day on your computer and be ready to easily find, copy and paste the e-mail you needed. The other solution — a much more efficient one — is to save each of these e-mail templates into your CRM.
Then, anytime you want to e-mail someone the “Same e-mail,” you can easily select an e-mail from your templates list, which loads it into your e-mail editor. Once loaded, you can customize your e-mail to your specific contact and send it.
7. Ensuring People Received and Read Your E-mails
Do you ever wonder if that e-mail you sent a few days ago was actually received by the person you sent it to? How about if they opened it, and how many times did they open it?
Many salespeople spend lots of time following up with people to verify whether they received an e-mail and viewed it or clicked on any of the links. To save you the hassle, you could use a CRM or Gmail extension that’ll track all of your e-mails and tell you:
- When the e-mail was opened (or not)
- How many times was it opened
- Whether the reader clicks on any links
Our AgileCRM system tracks all of this, just like many other CRM and marketing automation software. Yet, if you don’t want to invest in a fancy CRM and want to keep things simple, try using HubSpot’s Sales Chrome extension for Gmail.
Formerly known as SideKick, this extension will track all your e-mails on their platform. This is what HubSpot’s e-mail tracking dashboard looks like:
8. Scheduling Meetings With People
Are you spending too much time trying to schedule meetings? Like most people, you either schedule your meetings or have an assistant do it for you. Want a third option?
Well, in today’s world, plenty of online tools will facilitate this process, so people can book an appointment with you easier, faster, and without you having to spend so much time on back-and-forth conversations.
Doodle, Assistant.to, and Calendly are some of the most popular tools for these, and I encourage you to look into them to see which one will best fit your needs. At our agency, we use our built-in meetings scheduler via AgileCRM. This is how it looks:
9. Sending Proposals to Your Prospects
Writing proposals takes a lot of my time, and I don’t think any salesperson ever loved spending lots of time doing so. Before I tell you how you can save time on this process, let me be clear that we’re talking about writing a multi-page proposal, not a one-page quote.
Quotes are easy to write and send, and there are many tools for doing that already — one of the best in this area is undoubtedly Bonsai, another all-in-one CRM solution designed to simplify your business processes.
When it comes to proposals, most people I know write them in Microsoft Word. Yet Word isn’t really the best tool to customize, reuse and build proposals. For that, web-based solutions are now specifically built to help sales and small business owners with this time-consuming task.
At our company, we recently started using Proposify, and we love it. Proposify lets our sales team create as many templates as we want that can be easily customized later for each new client proposal.
It also allows us to save sections or pages into a “Content Library” so that when we want to create a new proposal template, we can easily reuse some sections (without wasting time copying and pasting text, as we used to do when using Word).
It even allows you to save specific paragraphs or text sections called “Snippets,” so you can reuse those. This is how our existing list of templates looks like inside Proposify:
How to Save Time With Your Marketing
10. Saving New Website Leads Into Your CRM
Another great way to save time in your daily sales and marketing tasks is to save your new website leads directly into your contacts or e-mail system database.
Believe it or not, many small business owners who receive new leads or inquiries through their website still get a simple e-mail with the contact’s information.
They must then manually retype that person’s information into whatever other system they use, such as their accounting system, e-mail software, or CRM. Instead, you can save time on this repetitive and time-consuming task by automating this workflow.
To do so, you must create and use an online form on your website that can capture and save your contact’s information into a database (not just capture it and send you an e-mail).
Once saved on a database, you can automatically transfer or sync this information to some of your other systems using tools such as Zapier. At our company, we create all our online forms using Jotform and integrate the form’s data with our CRM system. We highly recommend this tool for any online form building.
Moving on now. So anytime anyone fills out a form on our website, the following automatic workflow is triggered:
- The contact’s information is saved on Jotform’s database
- An automatic e-mail is sent to me via Jotform, notifying me of a new website contact
- Another is sent to the contact to confirm that we got his message.
- Then, through a multi-step Zap that we created on Zapier, we sync the new contact’s info information into a new contact on our CRM and add its notes/comments/questions into its “notes” section.
11. Adding New Leads to Your Newsletter E-mail List
Once your new website or phone leads are saved into your CRM, you’ll probably want to add them to your e-mail newsletter list.
Instead of manually exporting and importing an Excel CSV file with your contact’s info, you can create another Zap on Zapier to automatically add all new leads to your main e-mail newsletter list.
To set up such a sync on Zapier, choose a trigger that’ll start the set of tasks that should be completed to sync the data from your CRM into your e-mail system. At our company, we achieved this task in the following ways:
- When a new contact is tagged as “lead” in our CRM, the Zapier sync task is triggered.
- Once the Zapier task is triggered, Zapier connects to our CRM and checks to see which new contacts have been tagged with the “lead” tag.
- It then copies the information of those new contacts’ name and e-mail into new contacts on our Mailchimp newsletter list.
12. Promoting Your New Blog Posts on Social Media
Finally, you can save lots of time on the time-consuming task of posting and engaging on social media. Many tools out there let you manage, schedule and monitor all your social media accounts from a single platform.
I highly recommend that if you’re serious about using social media as a marketing and sales tool, you start using a professional social media platform to manage your activity. Such systems include:
- Sprout Social
At our company, we use Sendible, a UK-based company that allows us to schedule posts and get reports and set up auto-reply tweets, monitor any keyword or phrase on social media, and much more.
Have any other ideas on how to save time on your sales and marketing? I’d love to hear your feedback and invite you to comment below.