by Karen McCandless
Published on 3 July 2015
How much time does your sales force actually spend selling? According to CSO Insights, it's a worryingly low 37 per cent.
The reality is that sales reps are often burdened with cumbersome administrative tasks, such as data entry and managing their pipeline. But the pay off for automating these processes is significant, with the same CSO Insights study suggesting that increasing selling time to more than 45 percent would mean that, on average, seven percent more of your reps would hit or exceed quota.
The importance, then, of sales force automation software, is clear in terms of improving selling speed and efficiency, something that many companies have already recognized. In fact, in a survey by sales software advisory company Software Advice, sales automation software was the most requested type of business application, with 76 percent of respondents looking for this kind of app.
As demand for tools that offer sales automation in the cloud increases, existing platforms are feeling the pressure to keep up. Here is our selection of the best apps for sales automation in the cloud.
As part of its CRM solution, Zoho offers sales force automation functionality, which automates processes such as lead management, speeding up the time it takes from generating a lead to closing the deal. Other automated processes include pipeline analysis, quota management, and real-time forecasting.
Salesforce Sales Cloud is a sales force automation app with a strong focus on managing not just leads, but also all the information you need to improve your sales process. With the Visual Workflow feature, you can automate these processes by just dragging and dropping them, while when the system also automatically assigns leads to sales people when the clients are ready to be contacted.
Aimed at boosting sales speed and efficiency, Pipedrive's sales automation app includes activity reminders that automatically alert you if you need to make contact with a client or need to advance goals you have set (such as deals closed, people contacted etc). The visual pipeline also shows where you are in the sales process, while the system can be integrated with other platforms to get more updates.
Through Infusionsoft's Sales Pipeline feature, the company enables not only sales process automation, but also an integration of this into the overall marketing automation strategy. This functionality allows sales reps to understand at a glance exactly where all their clients are at in the pipeline so they can know who they need to talk to next.
ForceManager's strength lies in its ability to automate sales reports that free up reps time to actually focus on selling. This sales automation system does this by automatically collecting relevant data to provide a deep analysis (in real time if necessary) that helps your workers better understand the impact of their client interactions.
Pipeliner is another in the line of CRM systems that comes with sales (and marketing) automation features baked in. The way this cloud app works is by allowing your business to pre-design messages appropriate for all stages of the process, and then enabling automatic sending of these messages. This saves the sales force the time it takes to compose messages or wait for marketing to approve the copy they are sending out.
One of the key ways that RelateIQ uses automation to improve sales productivity is by not only automatically linking email addresses with the CRM system, but also helping sales reps automatically track their interactions with clients. It does this by creating tasks based on previous interactions with emails that clients have not responded to in a while, and giving the whole team visibility of the history and status of all client communication.
Nutshell is a great app for automating your sales workflow and processes, so your sales reps always know how to handle leads and what actions they need to take for each one. You can either automate the pre-configured workflows included with this app, or easily build your own processes, which can be tailored to your business needs.
If you don't see what you're looking for in our list, don't worry as we have other sales force automation options for you on GetApp, and find out how to optimize your leads by following these CRM best practices.
Update: This article was originally published on November 21st 2013. It was updated on July 3rd 2015.