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Book more meetings through sales automation (4 steps to get started)

A step-by-step guide on how to use sales automation to get more sales meeting booked.

Published
August 4, 2021
Emanuel Frauenlob
Co-founder & CEO of Mesg.ai

As a head of sales, you have many roles and responsibilities.

When you start your day and check your CRM dashboard, you reflect on some challenges to overcome before the end of the quarter: 

Are we reaching enough leads?
Are we getting enough first meetings and demos?
Are we following through with interested clients, and are we winning them?

Sales automation is game-changing as it helps your sales representatives overcome these challenges - by freeing up their time to focus on value-add activities.  

As a head of sales, you understand just how hard your sales representatives are working to increase pipeline velocity and win rates. That’s why, if you equip them with the right tools, they will have more time to create value in customer conversations, qualifying prospects, and winning deals. 

Done correctly, you can use automation to streamline the sales process from day one. It can be as straightforward as simplifying manual tasks around the collection and prioritization of prospect lists. And it can be as far-reaching as improving outbound response rates via trigger events, AI-generated messaging, and scheduling automation. 

Thanks to new technologies, your organization can implement such automation in a scalable, easy-to-deploy manner. Get started today and establish a high-performance work culture!

What is sales automation?

McKinsey defines sales automation as “any technology that is able to replicate human cognitive capability, such as logical reasoning, pattern recognition, and so on, thus reducing manual labor in a given sales process.”

It ensures your sales development representatives (SDRs) and business development representatives (BDRs) have a firm grasp on each step, including:

  1. Reaching out to the right prospects
  2. Sending the right message addressing your prospects pain points
  3. Sending these messages at the right time
  4. Following up with the right tenacity

Since #4 requires personal interaction with high empathy and excellent objection handling, it is the first three points where automation has the most immediate positive impact. That’s where this article focuses on - the appropriate use of technology to identify, qualify, and win new customers.

Using AI to understand customer needs is an area reaching critical mass these days. Intel Corporation deploys AI to study publicly available customer data and proprietary sales records to give Intel’s salespeople better insights on customer goals to close deals.

An AI-driven approach has been a decisive differentiator between high-performing and underperforming sales organizations. According to Salesforce, 64% of high performers use a sales automation system for prioritizing and reaching leads, vs. 30% of underperformers

Source: Salesforce

According to McKinsey & Company, using AI to segment and target customers regularly has a sales uplift potential of 10%.

If you want to create a high-performance sales culture, equipping your SDRs with tools that automate repetitive processes and allow them to spend more time convincing prospects is critical. 


Takeaway: Automation frees up your SDRs and BDRs time. It makes your sales process faster and more effective. Implementing a high-quality sales tech stack helps your sales team on four main aspects: 

  1. It can provide valuable insight into how customers are purchasing your products.
  2. It provides those insights in a seamlessly integrated way saving your team time to collect this information manually. 
  3. It helps evaluate the potential of your prospects correctly and invest resources where it has the most impact.
  4. It increases pipeline velocity by removing friction points and manual steps in the sales process.


Let’s have a closer look into the sales prospecting process via such tools.

Step 1: Find, define, and communicate your buying persona 

Understanding your potential buyers inside-out is essential for all stages in the sales process. 

Whether creating your target prospect list, drafting your sales copy, deciding on the sales triggers to use, designing the outbound playbook, or preparing for objections and negotiations, having intimate insight into your potential buyers is a must-have. 

This understanding of your buyers is documented in what is known as a buyer persona.

Research shows that companies that carefully design their sales processes towards their different buyer personas are 2.4x more likely to meet their revenue goals.


Source: Cintell

A buyer persona consists of a description of job title, geography, industry, company size, and job responsibilities. However, to make a difference in your sales process, you need to include deeper aspects such as an understanding of your buyer's communication style and preferences, as well as their motivational drivers. And those buyer persona profiles need to be kept updated at least yearly. 

One of the ways to identify and confirm your buyer personas is to use data from Buying Intent Platforms such as 6Sense, Marketo Engage, LeadInfo, or Cyance.

Let’s say you sell an enterprise SaaS software that helps banks get better feedback from its major key accounts. Using tools like Hubspot’s Make My Persona Generator allows you to create different buying persona’s for your service. 


Source: HubSpot Persona Generator 

But how do you know if you captured all different personas interested in your software? 

Buying Intent Platforms provide you with additional insights into which other profiles are looking at your solution. Once you have this information on hand, you can add those new personas to your sales process. 

Now you have a valuable basis for creating your target list and the optimal sales copy.


Takeaway: To get the most value out of your automation tools and AI-enabled processes, you need a clear understanding of all your key buyer personas. Your sales representatives will benefit from high-quality and distinct segmentation as this will 

  1. increase response rates, 
  2. protect your brand through high-quality messaging, and
  3. improve message consistency across your team. 

Step 2: Create target lists and integrate them with your CRM

So now that you have defined buyer personas for your enterprise banking feedback software, it’s time to build lists of prospects you want to approach with your outbound sales motion.  

There are two places to collect this information: the existing leads you already have in your CRM and lead intelligence tools such as ZoomInfo, Apollo, and Cognism.

Our potential buyer persona for the business banking feedback SaaS is a VP or Head of Account Management and Customer Service departments in medium-sized banks. A quick look in one of the lead intelligence tools, such as Apollo, provides contact details and profiles of 213 people matching this buyer persona:  

Source: Apollo 


Using modern sales automation tools, it takes only a few minutes to define personas and create target accounts lists. The target account lists include email, phone numbers, recent news about the prospect and their company, and further information like software used by the company. 

Lead intelligence tools have integration possibilities with your CRM system to keep your target list updated, and your sales teams don’t have to edit those lists manually. With these tools, you can further prioritize accounts based on size, budget, and frequency of purchases. Now you have a high-quality lead list with prospects. All those prospects have pain points that your software addresses. 

Note: Data privacy is a growing concern and depending on your prospect’s location, you’ll have to follow strict guidelines when reaching out to new prospects (e.g., GDPR in Europe). Please check with the tool provider how they handle privacy concerns and how you can ensure compliance with local laws. 


Takeaway: Using lead intelligence tools allows you to skip the tedious manual prospect research process and find prospect information within your ideal customer profiles in minutes. It frees up sales resources that can be deployed to convince prospects in sales conversations. Writing to the right contacts also significantly increases response rates, which ultimately leads to more business. Integrating these tools with your CRM makes those improvements sticky and provides automated updates of your target list. 

Step 3: Use sales triggers for optimally timed outreach

In sales, establishing a sense of urgency is critical to converting leads. Even the most well-crafted, personalized mail will not work without the right timing. 

How can you optimally time your sales message? 

Sales triggers are an ideal tool to find the optimal timing. There are many sales triggers, and what is relevant for you depends on your business. Here’s a list of valuable sales triggers that can be used to time your outbound messaging: fundraises, key hirings, product launches, awards, lawsuits, mergers, acquisitions, and many other events that can indicate perfect timing for your sales emails.  


Source: Mesg.ai 

We are coming back to our SaaS company selling feedback software for banking. A hiring alert for a new Customer Success Manager would be a powerful trigger to reach out and position the software. 

Where can you source sales triggers? 

It will depend highly on the triggers that are relevant for you. An easy starting point is to set up google alerts for company news. You can also use Sales Trigger Platforms like Cognism or ZoomInfo to source trigger events. 


Takeaway: Optimally timing your sales outreach improves the odds of success significantly. It increases the chances of getting a positive response and the speed at which the opportunity progresses through your pipeline. Integrating tools that automatically provide you with relevant sales triggers is a crucial stepstone towards high response rates, more sales meetings, and ultimately more booking. 

Step 4: Create a highly personalized sales email sequence

The data is evident. A well-crafted and personalized sales email has significantly better open and response rates than generic templates. It’s why many automated email sequencing tools,  such as Outreach, Salesloft, or Mixmax, all enable personalization in their email sequencing.

According to Salesloft, personalizing by 20% of an email already improves response rates by 112%. And the performance of sales emails continuously increases with the degree of personalization of the email.

There are five ingredients to crafting a good business email on first outreach: 

  1. Using questions to increase engagement and segway towards pain points 
  2. Highlighting the most relevant pain points for your buyer persona
  3. Showing (not telling) how your proposition addresses those pain points 
  4. Having exactly one call to action
  5. Finding the appropriate tone that resonates with your buyer persona


Your SDRs are often judged on the first impression, and nailing this first impression is key to establishing them as helpful problem-solvers for your prospects. 


So what does a high-quality personalized outreach email look like? 

Let’s compare the good and the bad!  Below are two examples of outreach emails. The first is a generic template. The second is a personalized version using buyer persona insights and leveraging an award sales trigger. 


Example 1: Generic template

Email example: Generic template

Why this email doesn’t produce a good response rate 

  1. This email doesn’t demonstrate that the prospect’s company or business needs have been researched and understood. 
  2. It doesn’t incorporate a strong hook or reason for reaching out to the prospect, making the email feel “cold”
  3. The customer references are generic, which reduces their significance and doesn’t increase trust in the seller. 

Overall, this email hasn’t been personalized to the prospect, and as a result, they are much less likely to respond positively.

Example 2: Personalized email using buyer persona and sales trigger information

Additional personalization in green.


Email example: Highly personalized

Why this email produces a good response rate 

  1. This email is both highly personalized and relevant to the prospect. It leads with a sales hook that demonstrates that the SDR has researched the company and prospect.
  2. The second line of the email underlines a key business challenge specific to the prospect (Director of Customer Service), which makes the email relevant.
  3. Finally, the customer references used in the email are tailored to the industry (Media), which increases the credibility of the outreach and makes them much more potent than generic customer references.

Overall, this email has been personalized to the prospect, demonstrates a clear understanding of a critical business challenge, and the relevancy is apparent. As a result, this email is much more likely to get a positive response.

You can create personalized email sequences in tools such as Salesloft, Outreach.io, MixMax, and others based on this initial outreach email. 


Takeaway: People respond to relevant emails. To send relevant emails, you need to articulate the buyer’s pain points and how your solution addresses those. It requires highly personalized emails. Additionally, adding them to a mail sequence increases the odds of getting a positive response. 


Conclusion

Sales leaders in SaaS companies are facing many tough challenges. One of the toughest is the need to constantly source new leads with an SDR and BDR team that is busy performing manual tasks like finding prospects, wordsmithing sales emails, and inventing artificial reasons for connecting with a potential customer.  

When customers engage with businesses online, they come prepared and expect value-add in every touchpoint. They want a competent counterpart that can guide them through the purchase process. Your team will need the tools and resources to deliver value in every customer interaction. 

How do you enable your sales team to do a great job without making them feel overwhelmed by their tasks and mandate? Implementing sales automation in the four critical processes introduced in this blog is a great start: 

  1. Find, define, and communicate your buyer personas 
  2. Use lead intelligence tools to create and automatically update your target account lists 
  3. Leverage sales trigger events to time your outreach optimally 
  4. Create a highly personalized outbound sales email cadence 

Let me know how it worked!


Speak to a member of the team to find out how Mesg.ai can help you scale your outreach.
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