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Doing more with less: How to scale up your sales efforts without spending a fortune

Looking to put your enterprise on firmer footing by increasing your sales as the economy recovers from the Covid crisis? Join the club. 

It’s been a tough 18 months for many of Australia’s two million-plus small businesses. Protracted lockdowns in both 2020 and 2021, disruption to supply chains and closed borders have pushed many operators to the brink. Those in the retail, tourism, hospitality and entertainment sectors have done it particularly tough, and “For Lease” signs have become an increasingly common sight in commercial and shopping precincts since the pandemic began.

But with mass vaccination bringing with it the hope of a return to more normal trading conditions, many enterprises are looking to take advantage of pent-up demand to fuel their return to profitability and growth.

Ramping up your sales and marketing efforts is one way you can stimulate demand and grow sales. In the past, that was an expensive exercise that was frequently beyond the reach of many smaller organisations.

It no longer has to be. In the automation era, it’s not necessary to put your cash flow under pressure by taking on additional team members to sell your products and services. 

Here are three ways you can use automation technology to get customers through the door.

Identifying and prioritising leads

Lots of leads coming in but no idea which ones are most likely to convert to sales? It’s a familiar scenario for SMEs that don’t have the resources to follow up with every single potential customer personally. A sales automation platform can eliminate some of the guesswork and allow your sales team to focus their efforts where they’re most likely to result in success. 

Implement one in your business, and you’ll be able to use an algorithm to track the way prospects engage with you via telephone, email and website activity, and rank them based on their likelihood of spending – and spending soon. Funnel the high scoring leads to your sales team for priority attention and watch them write more new business faster.

Staying engaged with prospects

Not sure how to remain connected with prospects who aren’t quite ready to buy? Calling them regularly is time-consuming for your salespeople and may be annoying for them. Sales automation provides a solution that keeps your business top of mind while they’re making up their minds. 

Once prospects have indicated some level of interest – by signing up for a webinar, say, or registering their details – you’re able to include them in what’s termed a ‘drip-series’ email sequence. Depending on the nature of your business, that might entail sending them discounts codes periodically, inviting them to open days, or offering to schedule demonstrations of your product.

If they remain engaged, by reading your emails and clicking on your links – and your sales automation platform will be able to tell you exactly how much time they’re spending on doing so – you can assign them to a salesperson for follow up when you deem the moment is ripe.

Personalising your lead nurturing process

If your sales team is a lean one, reaching out individually may not be feasible. Sales automation enables you to do the next best thing – create a personalised follow-up sequence based on how a prospect has interacted with your business online.

A plethora of research shows that personalised marketing achieves much better results than the old school, scattergun approach. Today’s software makes segmenting your audience and tailoring multiple campaigns a straightforward matter. 

Yes, potential customers will likely know your messages have been automatically generated, not crafted solely for them by a human hand. However, if they provide genuine value – sending through an industry whitepaper about a product a prospect has expressed interest in, for example – odds are, they’ll be seen as proactive and useful, rather than pushy and irritating.

Driving profitability and growth in the post-Covid era

Increasing sales and improving cash flow are perennial imperatives for small and medium-sized business owners and, in the wake of the Covid crisis, they’ve become urgent ones for many. Embracing sales automation can help you bring more customers through the door without breaking the bank in the process. In today’s times, it’s an investment in profitability and growth you can ill afford not to make. 

Read more: How to drive a customer-centric sales culture

Read more: Growth marketing mindset – the user-centric approach

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Will Drysdale

Will Drysdale

Will Drysdale has more than ten years experience in sales and business development and is currently APAC Sales Manager for ActiveCampaign where he is responsible for expanding sales and market momentum for the company’s category-defining Customer Experience Automation Platform. He previously worked at MYOB for seven years in several management roles and was an Account Manager at ASI Solutions.

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