Given the tremendous amount of time and effort companies put into the sales process, it doesn’t make sense to risk disappointing, or even losing, clients during the sales to service transition process. However, this is just what can happen in cases where a firm doesn’t pay attention to getting the transition right. One way to avoid this is to use automation to make the process more efficient and predictable. The following tips explore how automation can be applied to the process of selling to and onboarding customers to improve their experience and enhance customer acquisition and retention.
Automate Project Setup
The initial few months of working with a new client are some of the most crucial in the customer relationship process. As the saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a good first impression. If you flub the onboarding process you may never be able to do business with the customer.
Too often, firms find that communication miscues or other blunders prevent a smooth transition of prospects that have become customers from the sales to the service department. Salespeople are generally focused on chasing the next potential customer, which can make them less than attentive to ensuring that customers who have already signed on the dotted line are introduced to the service department in a timely matter. And service department personnel are often so busy servicing existing customers that they don’t have time to focus on new customers.
Automating project setup offers a means of avoiding the bottlenecks that can beset the client onboarding process. It helps avoid the problems of human error that can impede communication between the sales and service departments. Automating the process ensures that new customers are welcomed aboard in a timely manner and that all necessary information relating to project initiation is sent to the customer. It can also notify the relevant customer service personnel of the steps they need to take to onboard the customer.
Automate the Quoting Process
One of the worst things that can happen when trying to close a deal is conflicting quotes. If one member of your sales team quotes one price, and a different member quotes another, it is likely to confuse and, in the worst case, lose the client. Automating the quote process reduces the risk of this happening, while also helping to boost efficiency.
Taking such a step relieves sales team members from the need to constantly check with each other about which quotes to use. The same applies when a customer is handed off to the service team, which is spared from the onerous tasks such as:
- Trying to decipher the salesperson’s written quote
- Try to reach the salesperson by phone to verify a quote
- Searching through email chains to try and find the quote
Standardizing the process via the use of automated quoting allows both your sales and service teams to focus on their main duties, helping improve productivity as well as reducing the chances of misunderstandings.
Quote automation also can help make the handoff process as smooth as possible by including service data associated with the quote. If your quoting system is integrated with your CRM, it enables a seamless transition from the sales team to the service team. It also saves the time that a sales rep would otherwise need to spend entering this data in the company CRM. Typically, quote systems of this type offer several templates sales reps can choose between when selecting quotes. This allows for different quotes depending on various criteria, while making sure all sales reps are following a standardized process.
Automating workflows can help you avoid the inefficiencies often associated with various choke points in the sales process. Cutting down on the time it takes to, for instance, move a customer from the sales queue to the service department is highly desirable. The longer it takes for a customer to begin receiving service, the greater the chance that customer dissatisfaction may set in.
Using workflow automation increases your control over all aspects of the sales process. Workflow rules can be established to guide your sales and service teams at each significant point of the journey from first contact to customer. This can include:
- Initial contact
- Regular follow-up
- Closing the deal
- Handoff to Service Team
Train Your Staff to Use Automation
Your ability to improve sales processes via automation is only as good as the people using and operating the technology. If your sales staff doesn’t understand or isn’t comfortable using your automation solution, it doesn’t matter how efficiently it can organize the sales process – it will be wasted unless it’s used by your sales staff.
To make the most of sales automation tools, provide extensive training when introducing the software, and then continue to offer training on a regular basis so that new team members can learn to use the software and veteran team members can improve their skills. Along with training of this type, setting up a process for utilizing your sales automation tool is another essential step in getting the most out of adopting such software. Document the various policies that enable your personnel to most effectively employ automation in the sales process to optimize its use.
Engage with the Customer
A major benefit of sales automation software is that it makes it easy to stay in touch with the customer during each step of the sales process, including the transition to the service department. Such software enables you to build a sales funnel in which the customer, or potential customer, is contacted at different pre-established touch points as he or she progresses through the funnel. This helps to boost closing rates by making sure that potential sales don’t fall by the wayside thorough lack of contact. The same applies to the transition to the service department, as the automation software helps ensure a smooth handoff from the sales department to the service department.
A sales automation tool enables your company to improve the level of collaboration between your sales and services team. By providing greater clarity into the sales pipeline, plans for making a handoff from the sales to the service department can be drawn up well in advance. Collaboration between members of the sales department can also be intensified, as staff responsible for different functions can more easily coordinate their efforts given this greater clarity.
Nuvro is a robust online project management tool that helps improve the level of collaboration between your sales and service team. With Nuvro you can gain control and peace of mind over all of your projects, tasks, team members, workload and everything else important to your company. In addition to the project, task and collaboration features found in most PM tools, Nuvro also provides a company dashboard, a team dashboard, team member performance reviews, secure document management, an internal alternative to email and more. Nuvro is perfect for busy teams looking to accomplish more. Learn More…