As COVID-19 has left many businesses scrambling to adapt to changing economic and technological conditions, many top sales leaders are actively embracing the new normal with the latest technologies and best practices to improve their teams’ efficiency and make their numbers.
For sales leaders looking to increase their teams’ overall productivity, there are few more accessible levers to pull than automating the sales prospecting process. Let’s face it—the prospecting method is one of the most significant uses of time by your sales reps, and it takes away from time they could be spending closing deals. By creating a system to provide up to date information on your best prospects, you can better devote sales reps’ time to what they do best—selling. SBI has created the Prospecting Process Tool to help align with the buying process and provides a 3-step prospecting guide.
Nevertheless, automating your prospecting routine can take away from the personal touchpoints and interactions that some buyers desire. As always, weigh the pros and cons presented below to decide whether automated prospecting is right for your organization.
Increased Selling Time and Rep Productivity
Industry best practice selling time for a front-line sales rep is 60%. Still, we often see activities like prospecting and other lead generation activities taking up a large portion of a typical reps’ day.
If your typical account executive could reduce their time prospecting from 20% down to 10% of their day by using an automated prospecting system, it would contribute 200 hours of selling time every year. An extra 4-5 weeks of pure selling time a year and an additional 2-3 closed deals could be the difference between making and missing your number in this ever-changing selling environment.
Information Efficiency Important With Changing Markets
As markets have evolved due to the ongoing pandemic, we’re seeing an increased reliance on “retaining the base” or focusing on retention of top clients within your ICP to make your number. As new logo sales slow, having high-quality leads and the information necessary to sell into them is more important than ever.
Wasting time on unqualified leads outside of your ICP can make or break your year. Automated prospecting tools can help narrow your search, only providing leads that are prequalified and likely to be a good fit for your product. With these leads, your reps can spend time demonstrating value and winning deals.
Automation Can Be Difficult to Implement:
As with any technological initiative, the benefits are contingent on the work you put in on the front end. Unless your team can build a solution in house, automating your prospecting process often requires a third-party software provider adding a potential headache for setting up the system.
Additionally, your team needs existing segmentation work to understand your ideal customer profile and what a great lead looks like. Without this information, automating the prospecting process will only provide a faster way to fill the pipeline, but without a strategic method for addressing which prospects are most likely to buy.
Losing the Personal Touchpoints That Are Also Desired:
Automated prospecting often includes automated outreach to prospects, be it through emails or newsletters. Without careful design, these outreach efforts can feel impersonal, and top prospects looking for a personal contact can be driven to buy from competitors.
There’s an art towards balancing automation and personalization in prospecting. We’ve seen many industries move towards increasing the number of touchpoints with clients and prospects, especially as these buyers struggle with their own businesses during COVID-19.
While personal outreach can ensure your prospects know that you’re around to help support their business in any way possible, automating the prospecting process can help your team focus on the right accounts that will grow with your company in the future. Understanding the pros and cons will help you decide whether prospecting automation is right for your company.
If you need help developing your market-leading prospecting process, download the SBI Prospecting Process Tool. This tool will help you better understand your customer buying process and provide you with a detailed explanation of the P.E.N (Prepare, Execute, Nurture) Prospecting system. Take this time to connect with your peers and share best practices in SBI’s LinkedIn Group, “Inspire Others.”
If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me directly or submit a question to our Revenue Growth Help Desk.