The act of converting a lead to a deal is more challenging than ever before.

Thanks, in part, to technology. From marketing automation to robocallers, technology has influenced the expectations of some 58% of consumers and 77% of business buyers. If you’re wondering why your prospects have sky-high levels of skepticism, you can go ahead and blame the tech revolution.

Today’s consumers have more information—and more questions—than ever. And the onus is on the sales professional to deliver smart answers, fast.

As a salesperson, you’re expected to engage with leads, deliver exceptional customer services and crush your quota—all while juggling an average of 26 hours worth of miscellaneous tasks per week.

It’s a tall order, for sure. But by reframing tech as an ally, not an enemy—you can win back your time while closing more deals.

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Figure: State of sales in 2018

Automate, but keep it human

Data shows that 65% of a rep’s time is spent on non-revenue generating activities.

Most of us are guilty of trying to do everything ourselves.

But the right kind of sales automation can help eliminate your most tedious tasks so you can get back to doing what you do best.

The operative word here is: smart.

With all the shiny new tech tools at our fingertips, there are a million different things you can automate. But remember, customers are smart. They know when they’re being automated.

Here are two areas you can automate without losing the human touch:

1. Complex lead management

Only 27% of the leads that enter a company’s marketing funnel are “sales ready.” Even if you had the super-human ability to dial up every person in your database, it still wouldn’t be a worthwhile effort.

Fact is, every lead has their own unique buying timeline. Rather than blanketing them with a cold call (or worse, automated email campaign), use a smart sales automation tool so you and your team can see at a glance which leads are in need of personalized follow-up, and which can stay on your mailing list a little longer.

2. Customer data collection

“If you can remember that a lead has two boys, a girl and a dog called Charlie, you’re going to really score some points. You simply cannot make too many notes on a person,” says Robert Slack, owner of one of Florida’s top-producing real estate teams.

Agents on Robert’s team add their notes straight into a lead’s profile in their sales database so they always know exactly who they’re reaching out to and what to say next.

Imagine a system where anyone can pick up where the last conversation left off, without having to go back over the basics again and again. In today’s age of heavy automation, your customer will love you for remembering who they are and what they’re looking for.

(And you won’t have to waste any time doing discovery work you’ve already done.)

Use behavior-based insights to get to know your customer

In the words of another million-dollar Realtor: “Behavior-based follow up is the name of the game. Not automation.”

Sales leaders like Renee Funk of the Funk Collection real estate team have doubled their transaction volume in just one year by focusing on lead behavior.

Rather than spending countless hours (and dollars) trying to collect, organize and analyze vast amounts of lead data, why not focus on the few fundamental things that clue you into your prospect’s wants and needs?

Here are a few high-impact actions to track:

●       Latest email opens
●       Website visits
●       Time on website
●       Web pages visited

While there are endless ways to use customer data to your advantage, using it to track how your customers actually engage with your brand is the best way to really understand their needs.

It’s also a great way to make sure you’re not sacrificing your ROI by spending too much time on leads that just aren’t ready to buy.

Focus on what you’re good at

According to coach Donna Stott of Your Coaching Matters, “The best way to keep from burning out is to get out of doing the parts of the job that are drudgery or stressful and keep doing the high energy positive activities.”

Next to time and money, energy is the only other currency you have.

If you’re bordering on burnout, make sure you’re doing everything you can to protect your passion and focus. And yes, that may mean letting go of a few tasks.

Here are three common areas most reps should delegate:

1. Boring admin

The only difference between salespeople who run around chasing their tails and the true rainmakers is whether they can tune out the noise and focus on what matters.

Look for the bottlenecks in your sales workflows and develop some Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to start offloading your most time-consuming tasks. If you don’t have the budget to hire an admin, use automated systems to build your own business intranet and double your transactions while working fewer hours every week.

2. Email marketing

It’s incredibly time-consuming—if not impossible—to deliver personalized emails to every single lead consistently. But with the help of a behavior-based CRM, you can create hyper-contextual content based on how your audience actually interacts with your brand.

Whatever you do, make sure you resist the urge to put everyone on autopilot with a year-long automated email campaign. Believe it or not, this actually takes more time and is way less effective than simply following up with leads instantly as soon as they’re ready to engage.

3. Client communication

Speaking of instant engagement, if you’re like most sales reps, you’re probably drowning in email right about now.

A team of Inside Sales Agents (ISAs) might be just what you need to free up your time and convert more deals. If you’ve got the volume to justify it, a smart ISA can help make your calls and answer inquiries from some of your cooler to luke-warm leads, so you can focus your energy on the big-ticket leads most likely to convert.

Just make sure your ISA or customer support specialist adds all relevant lead intel to the notes section of your database so it’s easy to pick up where they left off.

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