Your sales cycle is one of the most important functions in your business so it’s vital that it is efficient so that you can convert more sales and win more business.
We have already covered how to automate your marketing tasks so this article concentrates on pushing these leads through the sales funnel to turn them into paying customers.
Why should you automate your sales processes?
The reasons for automating sales processes are the same as the reasons for automating all the other departments in your business.
Firstly, automation will save time and reduce errors. No matter how efficient your team is, they will make a mistake every so often from mis-keying data when copying it from one system into another, or someone will forget to follow up a lead, or reply to an enquiry. Automation removes that risk, and also speeds up processes because computers work so much quicker than humans!
Secondly, it makes your staff happier! People find repetitive manual tasks boring, so if you can free them up to do the more exciting stuff then they will be more contented in their work. They will also get time to be more creative, and concentrate on tasks which need a human touch.
Finally, you’ll make more money! Automation brings better customer service, so your retention rates will improve. You’ll cut costs which means your pricing can stay competitive, and being more efficient means you’ll be able to process more business in less time.
Which sales processes can be automated?
Using Zapier you can connect many different tools (over 6,000 currently!) so the chances are that you’ll be able to automate many of the apps you use on a daily basis.
Examples of sales processes which can be automated are:
- Collecting data using webforms.
- Booking appointments and scheduling meetings.
- Managing leads.
- Production of documents such as contracts and proposals, and collecting digital signatures.
- Processing e-commerce sales.
Learning how to automate your sales funnel and making these processes more streamlined will save so much time, making sure nothing is forgotten, so you’ll win more business.
How to automate data collection using webforms
When a potential customer first contacts you, the chances are they’ll use a webform to enter some information, such as Gravity Forms, Google Forms or Typeform. There are many different form builders available and once the information has been collected they will then notify you via email that a new form entry is available. Webforms can be used for surveys too, or to collect email addresses to sign up for a newsletter.
Receiving an email notification for a new form entry is great but then the next step often involves copying that data into another system to then work on the lead. This can be time-consuming and carries a high risk of human error.
You can automatically save the entry on a Google Drive or in Dropbox, or add it to your CRM such as Salesforce or Pipedrive. You can add it as a new row in a Google Sheet and add a task to your project management app such as Jira, Clickup or Trello.
You can visit Zapier to see the full list of form apps they connect with, and each one includes popular integrations if you’re looking for inspiration.
How to automate appointment bookings and scheduling processes
Most businesses book meetings or appointments with potential customers, for that vital first chat with someone looking to spend some money with you. It could be a free ‘discovery call’ or an appointment with an in-person business such as a dog walker or massage therapist.
The traditional way of doing this involves an email conversation about availability and then setting up a video conference meeting. This involves a lot of human effort which can be avoided if you use one of the dedicated scheduling or appointment booking apps such as Acuity Scheduling or Calendly. Your CRM might also offer this functionality, if you use Pipedrive, Zoho CRM or HubSpot for example.
If it’s a virtual appointment then the apps above will likely connect with your video conference provider such as Zoom or Google Meet. This is brilliant as it will set up the conferencing details and you can then trigger reminders to attendees the day before. You can also integrate it with your calendar such as Google Calendar or Microsoft Outlook.
Here is the full list of scheduling apps supported by Zapier.
How to automate lead management
If you use a CRM such as Salesforce or Pipedrive then your customer data will be held in one central place and you will be able to create ‘leads’ or ‘opportunities’. These can then be followed up and taken through your sales funnel via contact by email, phone or other means.
Here is the full list of CRM apps that Zapier connects.
How to automate contract and proposal production
Most businesses have some kind of document that they send customers before they can do business with them. This often involves creating a document in a word processing app, saving it as a PDF, and emailing it to the prospective customer. They then need to physically sign it and then send it back. These steps can be time-consuming and prone to delay. You might even lose the deal at this point because the process is so onerous to your potential customer. You can speed it all up brilliantly using automation, to save time and win more business.
There are specialist apps which make document creation and signing really easy, and you can create bespoke contracts, proposals and quotes quickly. Using e-signature functionality means that customers save time too, and hassle, so it’s a win-win!
Automations allow you to create a draft document, send it to the recipient and then mark it as complete once it’s signed. Once this has been done you can trigger further workflows to connect with invoicing apps to send an invoice, and notify your team via Slack or SMS by Zapier. You can store the final document in Google Drive or Dropbox.
Here is the full list of e-signature apps that Zapier connects.
How to automate e-commerce sales
If you sell physical or digital products online then there’s a good chance your sales processes are pretty slick already, thanks to the array of e-commerce apps available.
If that’s the case then don’t rest on your laurels because there could still be some manual tasks in your sales process which could be streamlined using automation.
Apps such as WooCommerce, Shopify, ThriveCart and SamCart offer e-commerce store and sales cart functionality. There are online course platforms such as Kajabi and Thinkific and platforms like eBay and Gumroad which can be automated using Zapier. You can link them to spreadsheets, invoice apps and email platforms to send the data automatically and update them.
Here is the full list of e-commerce apps that Zapier connects.
Which other parts of my business can I automate?
We have written plenty of articles about other areas in your business which are ripe for automation.
- How to streamline your sales processes with a CRM
- Which marketing processes can you automate?
- How to automate your operations
- How to automate your finance and reporting processes
Find out more
We hope this has whetted your appetite for how you can automate your sales funnel and win more business.
If you’d like to find out more then our founder Kelly Goss has written a book called Automate It with Zapier that goes into detail about these and many more processes, for all your business departments. The book is perfect for new Zapier users as well as seasoned pros. Here are links to Amazon (.co.uk) and Amazon (.com) to get yours now.
Reduce your overwhelm with our automation training programme
And finally, if you’re really keen to reduce your overwhelmand transform your business using automation, then visit the Solvaa Automation Academy. Our signature training programme, ‘Simple Automation Blueprint: Zero to Hero’ is aimed at anyone who wants to learn the fundamentals of business process automation from the experts – a sure-fire way to recession-proof your business.
It’s an 8-week blended learning course with on-demand videos, templates, resources and weekly group coaching sessions. And it’s more than just a Zapier course (although we do show you how to use Zapier like a pro) as you’ll learn about Process Mapping, Business Process Improvement and Business Process Management too – principles that can be applied to other areas of business too!
Whether you are a complete novice or have been using Zapier for a while, our programme is for you. It’s perfect for individuals and teams in micro, small and medium-sized businesses, including solopreneurs, consultants and freelancers. You’ll have access to our experts and can participate in live calls where you can ask all your burning questions, as well as hands-on workshops to keep you on track with implementing your new skills. We run regular cohorts so there will be an opportunity for everyone to participate.
Our head trainer, Kelly Goss, is a specialist in business systems, process improvement and automation, and one of less than 100 Zapier Certified Experts in the world. Kelly has many years’ experience in optimising systems and processes, and implementing automations for clients and is now passing on her knowledge to students through our trademarked ‘4-Step Solvaa Automation Methodology®‘.
Find out more via our dedicated Solvaa Automation Academy website.
Solvaa is a process and automation consultancy specialising in improving sales, operations and financial administration workflows. We help you to simplify and streamline existing processes, integrate your business tools to make data transfer more efficient and automate manual tasks to increase productivity. We are Zapier Certified Experts, Pipedrive Certified Experts and Xero Certified Advisors.
Contact us today to discuss how Solvaa can help you simplify, improve and automate all aspects of your business with Zapier to save you time, reduce costs and keep you agile as you grow.