Healthy business relationships don’t happen overnight, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot of time building them either. As soon as you find yourself repeating a task with multiple customers or sending similar emails to new clients, you’ve revealed a process that you can almost certainly automate, without even touching a line of code to do it.
Laying the groundwork for sales process automation with a lead magnet
To start automating your sales process, you need to establish a direct point of contact with your potential customer’s digital self. That’s usually an email address, but it can also be a phone number or an instant messaging account.
One of the most efficient ways to find new customers is to use a lead magnet. A lead magnet starts with a brand-related giveaway and ends with a conversion. You’ll need to put in a little leg work to kick off a lead magnet campaign, but once it’s set up, you can use it over and over again.
As a first step, decide what you will give away. Informative pdfs about your industry or exclusive how-to videos are popular items. You will use this giveaway to introduce your brand to new customers and barter for their emails.
After you choose the perfect item, create a custom landing page for your giveaway that collects emails with a plugin like Gravity Forms. Use targeted pay-per-click ads to drive traffic to your offer’s landing page.
Once someone submits contact information to get your giveaway, let the power of automation work its magic!
Automatic relationship building with drip campaigns
As soon as someone fills in your contact form, it can automatically send the information to a list in your email service provider (ESP) such as MailChimp. With an ESP, you can schedule a series of submission-triggered emails that include not only access to the giveaway but also useful information about your industry as well as a description of your offer and its benefits.
One of these automated emails should contain a Call to Action (CTA) for the outcome you desire. With this method, whether it’s “book an appointment” or “buy now,” you’re CTA is sent to a highly-engaged lead instead of a complete stranger!
What happens when your leads bite? You guessed it: automate the follow-up.
If you design your forms correctly, you can send your low budget prospects to a self-serve page to order products or services, while high budget prospects get sent to book a meeting with you.
Appointment scheduling software like Calendly will automatically sync appointments with your schedule and your lead’s. Some types of software can even process payments.
At this point, you haven’t lifted a finger since running ads to generate traffic for your landing page and your calendar is either booked with qualified leads or you’ve sold your offer.
Welcome clients to your business automatically
If your business serves clients, you know how time-consuming on-going management can be.
Using the information your client submitted in previous forms, you can automatically bring your client into your internal customer relationship management and project management systems with an app connector like Zapier. With Zapier, each form submission triggers a zap, and that zap pipes the form’s information to any compatible online location. Freedom from manual data entry at last!
Of course, automation doesn’t have to end once you’ve made a sale or scheduled a meeting.
Automate your growth
Follow up is key to good relationships, and it’s also an extremely effective way to grow your business. But it’s hard to remember to send an email a month out, a year out, or on birthdays.
This is the moment in your sales pipeline where your ESP comes into play again. Create another email drip campaign and use it to request a testimonial from your happy customer, upsell another offer, or ask for a referral.
Automate to Optimize
Automation frees you from an expensive and cumbersome sales process, allowing you to focus on areas of your business where your time is best spent. The entire process is digital, which means it can be automatically recorded, analyzed, and optimized. Automatic data can feed into tools like Google Data Studio, AirTable, and Cyfe, all of which produce stunning visualizations of the process and reveal opportunities to make your sales funnel better.
We’ve all heard the saying “if you can’t measure it, it doesn’t exist.” Well, now it’s time to make all of your work “exist” to its fullest potential and measure it with automation.
Abby Spyker is the co-founder and CEO of NW Media Collective, a full-service digital agency. To learn more, visit northwestmediacollective.com.