The other day, our CEO Tim bought a new fridge.
It’s a pointlessly fancy one which automatically scans the barcodes of food items as you place them in... then alerts you when they’re about to expire.
Why am I telling you this? To make one thing clear: at CANDDi, we LOVE automating things.
But on our quest for total world automation, even we have come to realize that there are some things in your sales and marketing process which absolutely should remain human processes.
So let’s take a look at the shoulds and the should-nots of automation.
What should you automate?
I’ll go over a short list of common processes in your sales funnel, but a good rule of thumb is to ask yourself whether a task is:
- A common one
- Menial, or has a relatively small number of inputs and outputs
These tend to be the processes which aren’t just the simplest to automate, but have the greatest impact on time-saving with no sacrifice to effectiveness.
Frequently sent emails
This might be those “close or kill” emails to leads gone cold, or the simple confirmation emails to people who book in a call with you. Salespeople can lose countless hours typing out these near-identical emails over and over!
Take a look at the emails your business sends out regularly. If they can be handled by singular automated emails - or a drip-campaign of timed automated emails - then they absolutely should!
Generally, reporting is one of the most automatable processes there is.
Collecting a load of data and sticking it into an easily-understandable format is something a human will never be able to do as efficiently as a machine, so setting up some kind of automatic report is a no-brainer.
CRMs usually have reporting built-in, allowing a daily email to be sent to your team reporting on important KPIs for the day.
Lead assignment and prioritization
Lead assignment includes the passing of leads over from marketing to sales, and the choosing of which sales representative to own the lead.
This sounds trivial, but multiplied over hundreds or thousands of leads a year, and you have a huge drain on resources. Not to mention that an inefficient passover between marketing and sales can even allow some leads to slip through the cracks!
Tools like CANDDi allow you to identify the leads coming to your website, and automatically assign them to the most relevant salesperson. It means less manual work for your business, and a more connected marketing and sales team.
What shouldn’t you automate?
Complex sales interactions
If you have a stage of your sales process where you attempt to understand your prospects needs, concerns, and current situation, this isn’t something that can be easily automated.
Human intelligence is required to grasp the multi-faceted “truth” of a business, and to use this understanding to respond with a tailored value proposition.
A good example of this is how we approach our free trial sign up process. When someone signs up for a free trial, the creation of their account and their welcome email is automated, since this is a simple task which requires no human intelligence.
However, every free trial sign-up then gets an onboarding call which absolutely is not automated. This call discusses our new user’s business in-depth, and allows us to explain to them exactly how to use CANDDi to provide them with the most value possible.
It’s possible that this could be automated to an extent… but since businesses vary so much in their structure and goals, it’s likely that the tailored service we provide as a result of that call would never be quite as valuable. Plus, it’s always nice to create a human connection with our new sign ups!
Automated communication is great, but most people can spot it a mile off.
So any situation which requires empathy, respect, or real human connection absolutely should not be automated. If your prospect notices that you’re mass-sending an email that you’re pretending is a genuine one-to-one outreach, it’s likely going to kill your chances on the spot.
For example, when the coronavirus pandemic first took hold, we got a few messages from our clients who were panicking about their budget and were asking to cancel their CANDDi subscription.
Our response was generally the same to each of these individuals, but we didn’t automate it because it required empathy. Instead, we had a chat with our users about their situation, offered some sympathy, and agreed to simply offer a few months free while they got back on track.
Not only did it help our users to talk to someone friendly and understanding (something an automated message would never have achieved) but it also earned us some loyal, returning customers when the pandemic has calmed down.
So there you have it, get out there and start automating! I’ll be sure to come back and rewrite this blog post when our robot overlords have conquered the world of sales (and the world in general).